[transcription and transcription annotations have been provided by the collection donor]
January 11, 1918
My Dear Leila,
I suppose you have heard all my news of the past few weeks from Mamma and Ina. I went in a convalescsnt hospital on New Year's Day with a cold for a few days and on my return to the Battery, I found a bunch of mail, among them a letter from Ellerslie [the family home in Barbadoes].
We had a good Xmas dinner of turkey, plum pudding, raisins, cigarettes and beer etc. but I spent a rotten day, as it was my turn for the job of Battery Runner. But I never have received so many parcels in my life as I did this Xmas. They were: cigarettes from Mildred Yeo, Murrill, and my friend, whose picture you must have received by this time. A box of eatables from Mrs. Waith. The same from Mrs. Mc Fadden of L'ville, the lady with whom I boarded, and enclosed were socks and candy from my manager's mother.
Three boxes of cake, cigarettes, hand' chiefs and fudge from 3 girls of the Bank of Commerce, Winnipeg, whom I haven't heard from all year. They sent me a box last Xmas . We only correspond at Xmas time. Very decent of them, isn't it? Candy from Herbert and Carl. A sweater and mittens from Mrs. Stanley Thomas. Had a letter from Jones and Swan saying that there was a parcel on it's way, but has not arrived yet, nor has the one from home. That's not doing so rusty, is it?
All the boys have been receiving likewise, so we have not been living only on army rations for the past few weeks.
The weather has been bitterly cold for the past month, with lots of snow on the ground.
I've just had quite a long stay at the wagon lines, and as I never can settle down there, my correspondence, with all these parcels is behind hand. We all prefer the guns to the horse lines. There is not so much red tape up here, and we are not worked as hard as we were in the first position.
We are pretty comfortable in this position. Sleep in the cellar of some body's shattered home, and keep a good fire going all the time. There is no scarcity of wood, as all we have to do is take the roof or side of some ruined house. There's not a single house with an untouched wall or roof standing in the vicinity. [Lens, France]
January 15th 1918…..
I've just been talking to one of the three lucky fellows to get a pass to Blighty for Xmas. It certainly does put the spirit of leave into one, but 116 have to go before I do.
I have an "O'Pip" which I will send to you. It's very good this time.
I had long letters from Carl, Herbert, Norman and Ella last week, all in the pink of condition Also from Mrs. Yearwood. She says that Cam. has been turned down, because of a weak heart.
How's Hubby getting along? Just as wonderful as ever, I suppose. Give my news to the ones at Ellerslie and write soon.
Lots of love and kisses from your affectionate brother,