April 14, 1918
My Little Sweetheart:
I am so very sorry I have kept you waiting so long for a letter. It is ten days since I last wrote you, but it is not through neglect Girlie. Our time has been very much taken up lately, and until now I have not had a chance to write either to you, or mother.
There's is lots doing out here now eh Girlie? It gets more like real war every day. But thank heavens it has come to this point at last, because this in undoubtedly the beginning of the end. Fritzy is doing his damndest to bring things to a finish and we must admit he has had some success so far. But our turn will come any day now, and when it does, God help Fritz!
We are out in rest now after having spent seven weeks in the line, and I don't remember a time we were so glad to get away from it. Not that we had any harder time than any of the other previous battles that we have been in, but because the last two or three weeks have been so miserable - fog, rain and pitch black nights. And we have done more than our share of night work this time in. It was really marvelous that we did not have one accident during those trips in pitch darkness! Night after night Crickie and I would take turns steering and laying way out on the front fender to call out directions and to spot shell holes. We only lost one car, and one driver, but that was not caused by an accident. The driver we lost (G.K.Perry) was gassed. He was going up for a load of patients and ran through a cloud of gas that had been dropped along the roadside from a shell. He is Blighty now, and getting along fine. He was one of the boys in the orchestra - a cornet player. Of course the orchestra has fallen through now. We have sent all our instruments and piano to be stored at the base.
I said that we had lost one car. That's a mistake, we didn't really lose it, altho' it was very badly smashed up. It has since been repaired and overhauled and is in use again. The boy that was driving it is the one I had my picture taken with - Fred Woolner. He, and the second driver were coming from the line with a load of wounded and one particular part of that road is always heavily shelled on account of a battery position right on the side of that road. A shell landed about 15 yards in front of the car right in the middle of the road, and a few pieces went right thru the car, but nobody was hit. Because this is always a dangerous spot, they were not losing any time getting over it, so they were unable to stop the car in time to miss the shell hole. It was rather a large crater, and the car went with a crash! They got out to see what damage had been done, and another shell landed too close to be comfortable. On finding they could not get the car out on account of the damage done, they decided they would have to leave it and carry the patients out as best they could. There were six cases in all, four of them being able to walk, crawl, or get away by some means, the other two they had to carry out.
They carried them, through heavy shell fire, for almost half a mile. Then, when all the patients were safely in the dugout, they walked to the main dressing station for another ambulance and went back for them. Before daylight next morning. Fred, went back up with a lorry and salvaged the ambulance. Amongst the patients that they carried was an officer, and he "recommended" Fred (he being the one in charge), and he has since received the Military Medal. That makes three M.M.'s and one D.C.M. won by our Mechanical Transport, which is comprised of only 15 men in all. (Two drivers to each car, with 7 cars, and one dispatch rider). That's a good average isn't it? We were all awfully glad Fred got it because he's one of the very best and the best mechanic/driver we have. It's rather unfortunate that the second driver received no recognition altho' he shared the danger, and did the same work. You see, it's only the man in charge who receives the recognition.
I am enclosing a circular that was dropped over our lines by a tiny balloon, a few days ago. It wa intended for Fritz, but several thousands dropped in on our lines. The interpretation is on the back. There were dozens of the ballons in the air that afternoon and it was a cloudless sky. Altho' they are really quite a size, they just looked like tiny soap bubbles, and the pamphlets that dropped from them like tiny flakes of silver. I followed them for a long way before I eventually got one.
The flowers that I have enclosed I picked by the ruins of an old church at V--- (Vimy) - they are the first flowers of spring.
I tool Jack Wilkenson up to see Fred Taylor the other night, and that is the first time they had met since they left Meota. I am always glad to see Jack, but Fred Taylor is the same ignoramus as ever! Jack has seen Tobey, Art and Bruce Seeley, and he told me which battalion they are in, so I am going to look them up at the first opportunity. That is if none of them have been wounded yet. Their battalion took part in one of the recent battles. While I was talking to Jack the other night, a fellow passed and stared hard at me, and I looked at him. I knew the face, but I couldn't place him at all. I called him back and asked him who he was, and it was Jack Martin. You remember him - from Battleford - Mrs. Webbs star boarder? He is in a labour battalion at the present time.
I haven't seen Ross for a couple of weeks, but we are quite a long way apart now, so will not likely see him for some little time. Lord, I wish the Canadian Mail came a little more regularly. It's nearly three weeks since I received your last two letters. Are you still at Fairweathers Honey Bunch? And what have you decided to do? Take the Post Office job, or go to Saskatoon? Please Dear, write to Tommie that I have not had an opportunity to write to her. I received such a pitiful letter from her, and Girlie, when I do get a chance to write, I always write to you, and so have neglected all my other letters that I should answer. I had a letter from Nan last week. They have been in quarantine for a month - Harlow had Chicken Pox. Arch is still in England and expects to stay there
Well, Baby Girl, I must write a note to our wee son. I will send you a couple of spoons for Ree.
All my love to you, my own Girlie, Ever yours, Cis.