Dec 20th 1915
My own darling wife
I would have written to you several days ago but have been kept so busy that I did not have time to write a decent letter, we have been having a pretty hot time lately, the enemy have been bombarding us very heavily & the other morning they threw the gas over on us, but we have got the upper hand & to day they are much quieter, I am glad to say that our casualties have been very small, but from the way our artillery & machine guns were working their losses must have been very heavy, it is expected that they are going to make a grand attack on us before Xmas, but it will be a sorry day for them if they do, as we have the bulge on them now & they cant do very much, of course all this shell fire is very bad for the nerves, especially for the new comers, but the rest of us are all used to it now & dont mind it so much, I had thought that we would be out of the trenches for Xmas & have been back in billets, & we would have been too, only for the much vaunted C.M.Rs; we were to have gone back for a two weeks rest & they were to take over our line & hold it till we came back, they had already taken over part of it & we were going back in a day or two, when they tried to pull off some grand stand play & got hopelessly licked; the result is that they have been sent back for further training & our leave & our rest has been stopped, you ought to hear what the boys here have to say about the CMR, we are all sore about it & it will be a sorry day for them if this bunch ever meets them outside the trenches, as we have had to take back what they lost & it was no easy task, however it was done & I am glad to say that we still hold our good name. We are still having lots of rain & things are no better so far as roads & trenches are concerned than they were a month ago, in fact they are worse if anything, but like everything else, we are getting used to it now & we pretty nearly forget what it is like to have good weather.
I received your letter all right telling me about the fund & about Mr Remnant & I think it is about time that something was done in the matter, I dont see why you should not get what is coming to you, Mr Remnant is a dirty coward & had no right to talk to you the way he did, if I was at home just now, I would make him sing a different tune, however, I have written to Mr McKelvie a letter, which I enclose for you to read, you can please yourself whether you give it to him or not, but I wanted you to read it first & I certainly think that you ought to give it to him & let him look into the matter for you, he is a fair minded man & if you tell him that I feel very sore about Remnant talking to you the way he did, I feel sure that he will do his best & see that you get your just dues, so far as I can see, Remnant is taking advantage of all the men being away, & it is just his petty nature to bully a woman who has no protection; at any rate I cant see how he can stop your allowance as the fund is not confined to Vernon alone, but is national, the money is pooled & so much is allowed to each district & Mr Remnant has no more power to stop it than I have, unless he is playing a big bluff & lining his own pockets. I have also received the popular & two Vernon News, I see all the soldiers have left & also that some more Vernon boys have joined up, I guess there wont be many left now but old men & women & children, things must be very dull indeed, the evaporator will certainly be a great help to some, it is a thing that might have been years ago, to help people through the winter. Bob Hannah tells me that his brother Jack is in England & has been up to his home in Scotland, he expects to be out here soon, Bob is pretty sore just now as he had all arrangements made to get his leave & spend Xmas at home with his brother, but thanks to the CMRs, that is all knocked on the head & like me, he does’nt know when he will get away now. I have also received your letter with the addresses I asked you for & I will certainly have great pleasure in calling on your sister & the Clarkes. If I had got my leave when I expected to, your letter would have been too late, but as it happens now, it came in lots of time for I dont know now when I will get away, but I am glad I got the addresses for now I will have some one to go & see & talk to & I will not feel so lonely as if I had nowhere to go, my word, dear, I am looking forward to that holiday, just to get away from this life for a few days will seem like heaven to me, I wish you could be there too, dear, but as you say, it would cost far too much, but all the same it would be nice, would’nt it, sweetheart, I am sorry that the children have not been so well, it is a pity that they wont take the Scotts Emulsion, I think it would do them good, poor wee dears, I guess they do miss their old daddy sometimes, but I hope it wont be much longer now, dear, & once I get home, I think we will all be much better, at any rate we will be happier & that is the main thing. I think you are wise to let Santa go, he is too much of a nuisance to you, I would’nt pay the tax, let the police take him, you will be better without him.
I am afraid this is all I have to say just now dear, as news is very scarce out here, you will excuse this scribble as my hands are very cold & I can hardly hold the pencil, I had hoped to be out in billets for Xmas & New Years & have a good time, but that is all knocked on the head now & I will have to spend them in these beastly trenches, I am sick of them & the rats & the rain, I think they get a mans nerves more than being under shell fire does, however, I guess it is all in the days work so will have to put up with it. Remember me to Harry Lang & old man Robinson & any others who are asking for me. Kiss George & Eileen for me, dear, & give them a big love for me. Oh how I wish I could be with you to love you, how I would love to have you in my arms to crush you to me, I am hungry for you, dear, & I am longing, oh so much, to be with you again, I dont think I will ever be happy till I get to you again; so with lots of kisses & fondest love to you my darling, I remain as ever
XXXXXX Your loving Husband Jack XXXX