March 29th, 1918
My Dear Mother:-
Picture to yourself a long, narrow shed with passage way down the centre and three tiers of bunks on either side and you have a vague idea of my present abode at the base a short distance to the rear of the line. I only wish I could tell you all I have seen and experienced since landing in this country but it would fill volumes. Really, one experiences more here in a single day than befalls the lot of an ordinary person at home in a life time. Naturally we are all looking forward to the first trip into the line. Some are going up today but Reid and I are not sure that we are one of the chosen. Although we can hear the guns, see great numbers of aeroplanes overhead and note the result of war on all sides, still it is hard to realize the real significance of being right into the affair at last. Today we have been up since 4.30 ready to move at any time but so far we are merely standing to. Last night and this morning it rained quite heavily there is lots of fine, sticky mud outside. It seems to be clearing up now. France is a very nice country altho' I would like to see it better in peacetime. We passed three towns on our way up that had been practically destroyed by shell-fire and were now almost deserted. A few minutes ago Reid, Storrey and I had a meal of eggs, potatoes, coffee & bread at a little French house near the camp. They tasted very good and only cost one franc and a half. A franc is worth 20 cents in our money. The house wasn't very clean and the youngsters, there are thirteen of them, I think, weren't very well washed & clothed. They were doing a land-office business, ten or more were eating and as many more [were] waiting a turn. The weather is fairly mild, no snow and fields of spring wheat remind me of home. The grass is quite green and we saw a few trees, cherry I believe, in full bloom.
Now I haven't much paper left so I'll change the spirit of my letter. In case anything happens to me you can get my trunk, library, books etc. by sending to Mr. Rex Newth, Lipton, Sask. They are stored in his warehouse. Aunt Lizzie also has a few small things; an album, Kodak etc. You know about my insurance and the terms of payment in case of death in action. Use personal effects as you please but use all money & books for Charlie & Beatrice. I only wish it were a hundred times as much. But don't let me discourage you for I'll be back myself and then in my first real holiday I'll tell you all that I have seen and describe more minutely the varied experiences which we have experienced and visited and lived in during the last five days. Today is Good Friday. It is hard to realize. Well, bye, bye. Write my letters to the 19th Can. Mach. Gun Co., C.E.F. France until I give you a new address. Best wishes and love from