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Date: December 2nd 1915
Mother and Father
William R. Mitton


Preparing For Christmas In the Trenches - More Canadians Should Enlist

November 7, 1915

I am still in the best of health, though at present I have a slight cold, but guess it will be O.K. in a day or so.

Things have been rather quiet here lately and I guess that nothing much will happen on the front till spring.

We are sleeping in the old convent and I hope we don't have to move till spring. We have made stoves out of old oil cans, etc., and although they usually give out more smoke than heat, they are much better than nothing. We have also made beds from a few odds and ends of wood from the engineers in the next field and a few old sacks stretched over them. Really, they are not so bad either. When you have been sleeping on bare floors and cobblestones, etc., for over a year, you can make yourself comfortable any place. I don't believe I'll ever be hard to suit in the matter of accommodation or fastidious about my meals again.

Quite a few of the fellows have been away on leave to England. They get seven days in England, so that's not so bad. We are sending about five a week at present, so guess I'll get a leave sometime.

Say, dad, do you remember an Englishman named Tommie James, who used to work for Dugald Blue on Clay St.? He says you placed him there and often asks about you. He is a very nice quiet fellow.

So Harold James has enlisted. Well its near time a few of the native-born Canadians came over here. In this battery I don't believe there are twenty-five native-born Canadians. There seems to be a disposition on their part to wait till its over and then enlist. No, it don't look as if the war would be over for some time yet but I guess we can stand it if Fritz can.

Well, Christmas will soon be here and I guess we will have a mild celebration of some kind. We used to be able to get English beer and stout here, which would have added a little to the spirit of good fellowship, but that is now prohibited, so guess we will have to be content with tea. All the beverages you can get here are light wines (red and white), the first tastes like red ink and looks the same, and the other tastes like vinegar thinned out with water, and Belgian beer of which no white man will take more than two glasses.

I had a letter from Bernice the other day. They are both well. She was talking to Sam Hughes when he visited Berlin {now Kitchener} recently and seems to think he is the greatest military genius since poor old Napoleon snuffed out. She told him that she had a brother with the 1st contingent and he asked for my name and number, so don't be surprised if you hear that I have been made a corporal or a spare general or something like that.

Well, folks, I really must close as there is absolutely no news. Nothing ever happens here so if I write long letters I'd have to draw on my imagination and there are far too many doing that now. Write as often as you can and I'll do the same.

Your son.