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Date: February 14th 1918

255637 5 Platoon
1st C.M.R.s B.E.F.
Feb 14th 1918

Miss Curtie Allin.

Dear Curtie,

I received your kind and welcome letter yesterday after I came back from England. It could not have been waiting for me long judging from the date that you wrote it. It appears that letters from Canada reach France far quicker than letters from France to Canada. I can't say why.

Well Curtie I never had a leave-taking from my folks affect me so much as the present one did. I stood it well and kept a bold front at parting with them, yet beneath that apparent cool exterior all the emotions of a feeling heart were surging within me. My brother's eyes were filled with tears as I shook his hand. He never appeared so affected when I left him last May or when I twice left him to go to Canada. Of course many sad changes have occurred since I first left for Canada, as you are aware. I lost my parents and two and a half years ago he lost his wife. His nineteen year old daughter is now looking after the house for him and two younger children. His two eldest girls have been married about nine years and his eldest son got married in Toronto last year. He also has a boy who joined up at the beginning of the war and is back again in the line after being a year in England with wounds. One of my brother's sons-in law is still in England from wounds received fifteen months since. He is now on light duty, being unfit for further active service. I have also a couple of boys on my late mother's side who have been killed in action so you can see that our family have been pretty severely hit in this war, although it is nothing compared to what some families in England have suffered. Of course the brother I have spoke of is really my half-brother. I have only one full brother and sister and I have now lost trace of them both. I don't know why I tell you so much of my family history Curtie. I guess it's because I have known you so long that I feel you should know my folks.

I am very sorry to hear Curtie of your fiancé being taken. It does seems so hard, but dear girlie you must bear up and consider that millions of women have been so affected by this dreadful war, many who have parted from loving husbands and left with dear little children to care for, many of them now, alas fatherless. I am not a fighting man myself, and I may say that one reason why I joined up was that if my enlisting could keep some young father at home with his loved ones then I could consider myself well compensated for all the trials I endure. You must think that this is an awful sentimental letter, but I guess I am writing so soon after leaving old Liverpool.

I could not make out what you meant when you asked me what I thought of the letter written by those crazy "kids" but I soon found out for yours was the first read of five that were waiting for me. Then I saw Beat's name on one of the others so I read that next. It sure was some Xmas eve letter. The next I read was from Marion Bravener. I always give the Base Line and neighborhood my first attention. It sure was very generous of you to take the chance of your employer's displeasure by writing to me on his time. You must be very busy plying the needles after office hours. But say girlie you must not get it into your hand, and you cannot convince me that you are an old maid. Why Curtie you are just in the bloom of beautiful womanhood, a picture that is good for sore eyes. So cheer up for you will always be young to me, for I have known you from a schoolgirl and to me your are to be compared to old wine, that is you improve with age. So you now know that whatever you may think of yourself, my opinion is far different.

I am enclosing, as I promised you in a previous letter, a picture of myself that I had taken in Liverpool. You can see I have grown something on my upper lip. And don't I look sad. I am also enclosing one for you to give to Beat Down. It may surprise you to know that some of the folks hardly knew me since last May. They say I have gone so fat. They readily knew me after seven years knocking about in Canada and yet I appeared to change to much to them after seven months roughing it in France. My little ten year old niece who has been sending me kisses in her father's letters to me for the last five years utterly failed to recognize me since last year. I don't know if you can see any change in the picture from the one you last saw but I think it is a very poor picture of myself. If I have changed as much in my folks estimation as living in England has in my estimation then it must be complete. I told Marion Bravener all about it in my last letter. If you happen to see it, it will astonish you.

Well Curtie I guess I will close now. I feel like keeping on writing to you, but I think you will agree with me that this is a pretty good letter, that is as far as length is concerned, a lot of it may be of no interest to you. So in conclusion I will again remind you to cheer up, keep a brave heart and bold front and remember you are enduring a sacrifice that is affecting millions. Hoping this finds you well, allow me to remain,

Yours sincerely,
Joe McCartney