Norman McIntosh writes to his Father and Mother, Mr. and Mrs. Alex McIntosh
France June 6th, 1915.
Just a few lines this time to let you know that the Germans haven't got me yet. Just now our horse lines are in a pretty safe place, or at least the Germans haven't found out where we are as yet. Sometimes we pass the time away playing games of different kinds, but at present we haven't got time for that.
I don't think the Germans would let us finish a game anyway, without dropping a few shells on us.
There has been a lot of talk around here about us going back to Canada after one year is up (and that won't be long now) but I don't think there is anything in it.
In my last letter to you I told you about some of the boys being in the Hospital. Frank Love, is back with us again and you bet I am glad of that. Joe Mulhall and Sergt MacNachtan are not back yet. I don't know what is the matter with them.
I got a little French poodle the other day and I am going to try to take him right through the war with me, and then bring him back to Canada with me as a souvenir. I named him Joffre after the great French General. He is a dandy little dog.
Joe O'Toole, who used to work on the Bell Telephone line in Peterborough, died of wounds.
There is going to be another big battle here soon. They are preparing for it now, and it will make a big difference if we win, as I think we will. I wish I could send you a map of France and Belgium as I would like to show you right where we are situated, but I suppose you can see by the daily papers where the Canadians are fighting. The Germans are a dirty lot of fighters. They have killed thousands by that awful gas - (Chlorine) but they are going one better now. They pile their dead (and wounded too, I guess) up in front of the trenches and just barely cover them with earth, and when our big guns fire on their trenches, the dead and decayed bodies are all stirred up. You can imagine the result. The idea of course is to cause disease, fever plague. Of course they only do this when they are going to retire (or run away). However, we have been very lucky as I have only heard of a few cases of fever, though the hospitals are over-crowded.
I was talking to a Red Cross man the other day and he told me that they handled forty thousand killed, wounded and sick men in forty-eight hours - at that last big battle.
The English and Scotch troops say that the Canadians are the bravest they ever heard tell of, but add that they are also the most headstrong, and that is the reason why so many Canucks get killed.
I sent father a little keepsake that I made myself, I hope he gets it all right.
I am glad that the garden is coming along fine. It is a great treat out here to get any onions or lettuce or radishes. However, we manage to swipe a few now and then. Eddie Raymond just now told me that Rev. Wm. Beattie had fallen off his horse and was in the hospital, but you will see it in the papers if it is true.
Italy is now in the war, and that ought to make a big difference. They can quit this war anytime they like for my part, and I think all the boys are of the same opinion. Chum Markle (from Cobourg) got kicked by a horse yesterday, but he is not as bad as we thought he was. He is up and around again to-day.
I saw a great aeroplane fight the other night - An English and German. They were up about six or seven hundred feet. We saw the German plane fall to the ground, and the fellows on the English plane told us that the German who was steering the plane was shot dead and consequently the machine came down.
Tommy Miller came over here to-day. Ace White is back from the hospital.
I was at church this morning and had the pleasure of listening to a good sermon delivered by an English Church minister. He told us to be sure to pray every night and morning. He said that the Lord's Prayer covered every sin, and that if we prayed and were killed the next day, all our sins would be forgiven. He quoted this verse: - 'Greater love hath no man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.'
Well that is all for now.