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Date: November 3rd 1916

Anzin-Arras Sector


November 3, 1916

Darling Budsie:

Your nice long letter received yesterday. Did I write a very cranky letter? You said it was, but I don't remember. I guess I must write my letters, and express my feelings accordingly to the mood I'm in at the time of writing. But take no notice. If I were at home at the present time, I don't think I would do much kicking. Oh, Lord! I wish I was home again. I'm heartily sick of this damn country. While we are up the line it's jake sometimes, but when we get back again to rest camp, life is so dull. It's all fatigue. I am on the water wagon again. I think we are going to stay in the vicinity for a few months. I rather hope we do, for the duty up the line will be a pleasure - that is, if it doesn't get any hotter than it has been for the past three weeks.

Well! I was 24 yesterday! Getting quite old eh? It was not until about 5 o'clock that I remembered it was my birthday. It was while reading your letter. You mentioned you were sending a parcel and some cigs from Nina for my birthday. I am sending you a wee packet with some souvenirs. None of them are of any value, but you will likely appreciate them on account of where they come from. There are two little brooches. One I bought in Y--- and the other in A---. Two buttons cut from my tunic after I came from the gas school - see the effect on brass, and you can imagine what it does to the lungs. There is also a small piece of a "lachramatory bomb" or tear shell, a piece of a high explosive, a shrapnel bullet, my cap badge that I have worn right along, a piece of glass from one of the windows of Cloth Hall dressing station on the Somme Front. Also a German button from one of their tunics, and a ring I found in a dugout during the third battle of Ypres on 3rd of June.

Two other boys and I are going to start in tomorrow and make a few souvenirs from shells, shell cases, bullets etc, so will try and get you a nice little Christmas present made up. I want so much to send you something for your birthday, but we are in a French burg that has two stores and all they sell is beer and chocolates. However, I may get a chance to pick up something later on. Accept my wishes for very many happy returns, and please God, I shall be spared to spend them with you. I wonder, shall I be home with you this time next year? Oh! I hope so! Just think it's thirteen months since I quit Gregory & Fairweather.

I got a nice parcel from Aunt Cissie last mail. Also a short note from Frances Fraser Burke, written and enclosed with a letter from the Frasers. They write every Sunday. All enclose a few lines.

I had a bath this afternoon, the first one in 6 weeks. Also the first change of clothing, although I haven't been able to get a haircut since last August. I have to do it up in a braid every day.

Oh! I got a note from Jack Wilkinson yesterday. He is only about three miles from us. I must try and get a pass and go to see him. Haven't seen he or Vic since last August.

Well, I must close. I am writing this in bed, and Harry insists that I lay down so he can warm up. The blankets we share are off him, and he's cold.

Ever yours,