July 1st, 1918
Dominion Day, 7:30 p.m. and I must write a letter home. I intended to write yesterday but had a fairly busy day and did not get around to it. In the forenoon we built a living room for ourselves above ground. We are living in a cellar and we built a corrugated iron shack over the entrance, put a small table on each side of the stairway, made some seats, a cupboard for our dishes and by noon we had a splendid little home, the envy of all the other dugouts round. I did some washing which took up most of the afternoon until tea time - washed two shirts, a suit of underwear for wearing to O. P., some socks, a couple of towels and some handkerchiefs, not a bad afternoon's work seeing that I did it all in a two gallon petrol tin and also that I had to boil most of them owing to a couple of greybacked friends found after coming in from the day before.
I am on duty in the exchange and as there are quite a number of calls coming which I have to answer. I expect this letter will be a bit mixed up so will apologize in advance.
Since writing last I received a parcel from you containing chicken, coffee, butter, milk etc. all of which are very welcome and for which I must express my sincerest banks. Needless for me to tell you how much they were appreciated. You know already how welcome parcels from home are. Also received your letter of June 2nd today.
Dominion Day 1918! Two years ago today we had our first real big bombardment at the beginning of the Somme. Little did we think that in two years time we would still be in France with the end still in the vague future. Yet how quickly the time has passed; to us it seems more like six months than twenty-five since we landed in France. Our time here is so well filled that never a moment drags and the days and weeks soon crawl into months and ere we know it the months become years.
Your letter with the description of the old home and the trees in bloom almost made me homesick when I read it first and as I sit here now I can picture the whole scene in my imagination. How I would like to run in this evening even if it were only for an hour and see you all. I can picture it at this time of evening with the sun setting over the bay, a scene of such pure unalloyed beauty which can scarcely be equalled anywhere. Personally altho I have seen a number of world-famed beauty spots in Scotland especially I have never seen a view which can equal that from our own west window at sunset on a clear evening.
Too bad that Mr. Stirling is leaving. You are certainly losing a fine man, and, I think, a man who was universally liked for while perhaps he was not all that one might wish as a speaker yet as a man and a worker he can't be beaten. I always thought a lot of him while at home and I have by no means changed my mind since coming away.
You spoke in a couple of your letters of the possibility of Earle's being called up. I don't think you would need worry about that at least for some time yet. From the latest report his class won't be called up for some time yet probably not this year and if he is I think that his being the only support and one of the family being already overseas will be sufficient reason if not for some exemption at least for leave of absence. Next year will certainly see the end and if he is called up sometime next summer it will only be for a short time and the Soldiers of the Soil movement will be able to supply someone who can at least partially fill his place. I know it seems a big sacrifice but when one sees what the people of France - [?] - and there is a great deal of trouble in getting a cheque or money
order cashed over here. Would enclose it in two or three different envelopes however to be safe.
By the way of college friend of mind, a Miss White from North River will probably be spending a part of her vacation this summer at Preston Warren's and if you are having anyone in while she is around would be glad if you would invite her. She has the honour of holding the same certificate as I, Second Year from Prince of Wales and as a friend of mine I know she would be perfectly welcome and know she will appreciate it. I believe that - [?] - of inviting her over but I thought I would mention it.
Now I must ring off as I have some messages to send regarding the nights firing. All well. Will write again soon.
Love to all, Harold