Nov. 16 1915
My Dear Mother.
It is 4:30 P.M. and I have just finished my last patient. It gets quite dark about 4 o'clock, so that our day's work is over about this time. I am writing this at the office, and using one of the Army form book, because I have no other here, also I have no pen, hence the pencil.
Yours and Emily's letters arrived yesterday. It is always a relief to hear that everybody at home is well and happy. We are having better weather now. It is quite cold, and the ground is all frozen over. It is much nicer than tramping through mud over one's ankles. It rains a lot, but has not rained much for two or three days. Although we have had a very nice fall, and if the weather is as good, comparatively, I will be quite satisfied. I was at a funeral this morning. One of my old friends, an officer of the Canadian Engineers, and a very fine chap. He did a lot of work for me when I was running or attempting to run the mess at Otterpool. You might remember the family. His father is J. L. Hughes who used to live across the street from Grandma in Toronto. I think he used to be Public School inspector. Quite a lot of the Big Ones were present. General Alderson, O. C. for Canadians, also General Turner O. C. of our Division. The service was very short & quite impressive. It was quite characteristic of our life out here, army life in general, I suppose. The band played the 'Dead March in Saul' on way to the grave. There they played 'Nearer My God to Thee' and sounded 'Last Post'. At that the service was ended, and the band about-turned and marched off playing their liveliest piece of ragtime. No use in feeling blue when there is so much to do. And I guess that is the proper way to look at it.
We are expected to be moved out of here shortly for a so-called rest. The rest consists in building a railway back somewhere behind the lines. However, it will be a change for the boys. I will go along with the brigade of course so I may be back in France again soon.
No parcels have arrived as yet. I have given the socks up for a bad job. I appreciate the work and the time you spent on them and I hope they will keep some poor chap warm. However, they may arrive later on in [the] game. If they do I shall let you know.
'Old Father Time' down at the house is a bit peevish these days. He has ordered our men out of his house, so rather than have any trouble with the old gent we let them go. They now have a better room just across the street in the house we eat in. My old batman has at last been sent to the Base. He was very poorly so I worked it with the M[edical] O[fficer] to have him returned to England. I have another one doing the job temporarily. In the meantime I have my eyes open for a good man.
I hear that my old regiment (90th) are coming over again. I am going to try to get transferred to them. They will be right in the midst of it and I may still be able to do a little fighting on the side. The last time I asked the Brigadier about it he was quite cross and said "No" quite emphatically. However I can at least try again.
Well Mother it is nearly time for me to eat again. It seems to me that I do nothing but eat and sleep over here. Give my love to all the friends and lots for Father, Em and big share for yourself.
P. S. Kindest regards to Elizabeth & the Giles'. How are Mr & Mrs Giles?
W. H. G.