Somewhere in France
My Dear Father & Mother:
We all received an awful big mail a couple of days ago, & I got sixteen letters all together, of which seven were from home - the parcels are also beginning to come good now although I have not received half of mine yet - your parcel from home has not arrived yet. Got a small parcel from Mrs. Shepherd last night - all candy in it. I also got a small box of apples from some one in Vancouver - Ada Tinghy sent me some apples & they were dandies. I got them about a week before Xmas.
Your letters range from Nov 20th to Dec 7th. That (?) City Potlatch certainly was a success & I am awful glad to hear it turned out no good after your work - hope you win out in the competition which you are pulling off now.
Am glad to hear that Arthur is getting called up again befor the tribunal - his father cannot be very blind if he can shoot a (?) at 200 yds!
So John bent the front Axil of the Whyte - I know that bit of road good between Macabee's place & the Perry Ranch. Suppose he was trying to break some records was he? - I had a ride down from the guns one night befor Xmas that I will remember for all time - four mules & an empty wagon with a few Whiz-bangs taking up the rear made a pretty good combination for speed!
Say is John going to take out a commission, he had better, as the conscripts will have kind of a rough passage over here, not from Fritz but from the boys that are hear now. believe me I am glad I beat it by two years. I got in an argument the other day with a 1st. Div. man, he got mouthy about us fellows not coming out till we had to! - I asked him to show me his pay-book (the date of enlistment is in them) which he did & he had June 1916 - I then showed him mine which as you know is May 19 - 1916 for Active Service & two years before that for home service - I had been in the Army two years ahead of him - that shut him up pretty quick.
Gee I laughed at that part of your letter where you were talking about (?) McCarthy & the medical examination. I read that part of your letter to the boys & they nearly split from laughing. Tell John that that is no B.S. about being made to cough, he will get more than one M. Exam, I know I have had about twenty, two since I have been in France.
Yes I new de Pencier was in the flying corps, but I have not heard from him since he first got in it. I have not a great fancy for that branch of the service, would sooner be on solid ground - the next green envelope I get, I want to ask your advice about a few matters pertaining to a commission in the Art. - Gee I wish I could get with the guns, I had two weeks of pulling the firing lever & I want to get back at it.
Sam Macabee is lucky getting his discharge isn't he that is one thing about the Infantry a man stands a good chance of getting a "Blighty". I saw Archie MacDonald a few days before he got hit & he was in great cheer because he was going in on the guns for a spell - everyone gets tired of grooming horses. Archie was hit in the last big scrap the Canadians were in.
It has been terrible cold here for the last six weeks, snow, wind & pretty hard frost - I was out last night with my team till 1 A.M. & it was snowing & blowing a regular blizzard but I was fairly warm except my feet - just a list of the cloths I had on - undercloths - two prs. socks, riding breeches - high boots, two sweaters, tunic, leather coat, (?) (?) & gass mask or "box respirator" & mitts, that aught to be enough to keep a man warm in thirty below. You know I am away from the (?) now & am attached to the Royal E. with my team; there are quite a bunch of us up on the job - I did not get up till 11 A.M. this morning, & I am on piquet tonight.
Did not get a chance to mail your letter the other night so will add a line tonight.
We are have pretty warm weather now, all the snow is gone & there is mud everywhere. Was up the line last night till midnight, & had the pleasure of hauling a Staff Officer & his car out of the ditch with my team. His chaufeur mistook the white chalk in the ditch for the road & ran into it, but as he felt the car going he swerved the front action half up on the road again while the hind wheels were right in the mud. Well I was coming down the road with my team (am driving long line on this job) & the officer stopped me and asked if I would pull him out; (I did not know it was an officer at first) so I said "Sure old sport Il drag out your buggy for you"! - well I unhooked & was going to sling my double-trus on the front of the frame where it protrudes out past the radiator; - well when the driver saw me doing this he would not hear of it, said I would bend the frame!!!!! Well I looked at him & thought to myself that there was no d___ wonder the car went in the ditch; he wanted me to hook on behind & pull him - well that was impossible owing to the way car was in & there was too much barbed wire off the road to work a team in. So I told him he was there for the night unless he let me hook on in front, because I could not begin to pull him out from behind & even if I could I would not put my team in on account of the wire; so he said try it but do not pull to hard!! - it was then that I spotted the Staff Officer & I was wishing that Fritz would put over an odd shell & I might have got an M.M. for it anyway!!!?!! At least I expected twenty francs - well the team yanked it out in no time & all he said was "Much Obliged"
I am going out again tonight so I guess I will stop now.
With love for all from