Nov. 9, 1917
Am off-duty this afternoon and must send you a few lines, not that I have any news - but just to let you know that I am okay. I received your parcel last night - containing strawberry, chicken, dates and oxo. Many thanks. Say that strawberry went right to the spot. I had just come in off a forty-eight hour shift out forward on liaison duty with the infantry and wasn't feeling just the best but a taste of that strawberry set me up fine. We will have the chicken for supper tonight. I certainly appreciate the trouble you went to in canning all that chicken for me and believe me I have enjoyed it. Nothing could be more welcome out here than it is.
Did not receive a letter from you last night but am expecting one tonight. Had letters from Dora, Enid, Albert and Laura and Sat. Evening Post from Clemmie, also the Witness and World Wide. Not a bad mail for one night eh? Came in off forty-eight hours liaison duty yesterday morning. We got a nasty little touch of gas and I have been feeling rather seedy but am much better this afternoon and will be all OK by tomorrow again.
I saw some figures on conscription yesterday. No doubt you will have seen them. Some showing isn't it? Out of 157000 who registered 144000 applied for exemption the remainder reporting for service. I wish some of the boys who are holding down soft jobs could know what their one time friends here think of them and I think they would sign. We are willing to do our share and I think everyone of us has tried to do his duty as it came to him, but we don't want to do the other fellow's share too, especially when he is every bit as able to do it as we are. I know a bunch of fellows teaching in P.E.I. who
have no excuse in the world to stay back and I know a number of girls would be only to glad to take their schools. There is only one thing can account for it. They have no patriotism, no manhood. To a true Canadian the name conscript would mean everlasting disgrace, but I hope that those men may be found to bear it and if they have any sense of shame at all they will realize the stigma which is attached to it.
Saw Dave and Sis a couple of nights ago. They are billeted quite near us, only three hundred yards away. Also saw a number of the other college boys I knew. They are all fine. Things have been pretty interesting here since we moved up. The mud is our worst enemy. You could hardly imagine how bad it is. Deep dugouts are impossible so we are billeted back about three miles behind the guns and go up on duty for 24 hours at a time. In that way we have a very good time in our billets which are just outside of the towns and for our twenty-four hours at the guns we have splinter proof shelters which are quite comfortable so we do not fare at all badly. We expect to move out in here again before long so no doubt by the time you get this letter we will be away from here and in more comfortable orders again.
Well Mother I don't think I have any news. The boys are all well and I will be all straightened up again by tomorrow. Now must say au revoir as I want to write to Clemmie.
Love to all from your loving son, Harold
PS. By the way I saw Mr. Cross the other day. He came around to the billets and we had a nice long talk over old times. Bye bye