Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: October 9th 1917

Oct. 9, 1917

Dearest Mother:

It is three o'clock and an hour before supper time so I want to take advantage of the opportunity and drop you a few lines. I received your letters of September 3rd and 9th last night and a letter from Aunt Maggie, also papers from Clemmie and the Witness and World Wide. This is the first mail in two weeks and I expect that there will be more tonight.

Was glad to hear that Walter Randall was better again. It is rather fortunate that he was so near home for although he would probably have received as good care elsewhere it would help to alleviate the worry for his people to have him so near home. Personally I think that when a fellow joins any military organization his people imagine him passing through all sorts of hardships which do not really exist or if they do are enjoyed by the adventurous spirit of youth rather as a pleasurable excitement than as a hardship. I don't think I am a pessimist neither do I consider myself an extreme optimist yet in our two years of military life I have not seen anything that I would class as a real hardship.

Our present position is a splendid one and we are very comfortable, in fact more so than ever before since coming to France. I am one of seven in a dry, roomy dugout. Around three walls we have our bunks, which makes the dugout very cheery during the long evenings, then a table which accommodates the seven of us very comfortably at mess when we set it out in the middle of the floor which at other times is clear. At the foot of our stair we have our side board on which we can show a very creditable array of dishes, which although they are not all the same patterns serve the purpose well. Add to this four chairs and a few shelves and you have our home complete. Just to give you an idea of it.

You speak about writing to Mrs. Proctor. I wrote to her after receiving her parcel but will write again as soon as I get round to it. Was sorry to hear that Joe Clark had been wounded. I did not hear from him for quite a time and was beginning to get anxious but received a card from him a short time ago and thought that he had only been busy. Was also sorry to hear about Father's foot but hoping it will be all OK now. By the way I had a letter from Murdoch MacLeod a few days ago. He is in England in that last draft that came over.

We are having a touch our fall weather now, high winds and a good deal of rain. Of course I suppose they are not before time and we are well prepared for them. I wrote to you on the 3rd. By the way did you understand what I said about the Y.M. There is a goodillustration on the opposite page which is well worth while hunting up.

Now I have a bit of news which I know will interest you. To put it in a nutshell I received word on October 5th that I had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery and efficiency. There are out of the bunch four other names besides mine: Ben Conrad, George Walker from Charlottetown, Corporal Wagner, an R.O.G.A. chap from Quebec who is in charge of the telephonists, and Jack Callaghan one of the gun sergeants. All of us but Callaghan our telephonists.

The medal is for all-round efficiency but the special stunt for which it was granted was for our work on Aug. 15 and 16 [around Amiens] where we followed up the infantry in an advance and established O.P. just in front of our new frontline from which we could command a view of the enemy's back country. Jenkins was in charge of the party, his first job as a band officer, and we did our best to make it as successful as possible. We got our line laid without much trouble and although it went down a good many times during the day we were never more than 15 minutes at a time out of communication with Headquarters. We tossed for who would do the line work and who man the O.P. and the
former fell to Ben and me. And so having a job to do we did it to the best of our ability and a line would hardly be cut before we were on to it. And in consequence the trip was very successful. We were all out of our own free will but they had called for volunteers and feeling it our duty to go we went; and it is on a job of this kind that one proves the doctrine that one volunteer is better than ten forced men. I understand that Lawson is in for a M.C. which is an officer's equivalent for an M.M.. I don't think any of us expected such recognition, for although it was no doubt a lively day, - I think the most exciting experience I have yet had - we only did our duty as it came to us and personally I enjoyed
it. After all it was not so bad when one looks back over it and I would do the same again, if the call came for men, without a moment's hesitation. However fall is here now and there will probably be no more such stunts this year at least, so no use worrying.

Now I think I must quit as it is tea time. All well. I am as usual fine. Will write again in a few days. By the way don't publish what I said about the medal. Time enough when it spreads from other sources. Of course I don't mean for you to keep the absolutely quiet, you can suit yourself about that but I don't believe in sticking letters in the paper or anything of that nature.

Now I must say au revoir with love to all from your loving son, Harold