February 2nd 1916
35th Trench Mortar Battery
1st Canadian Division
My darling Wife -
I have just received your letter dated Jany 4th also the popular & two papers, the parcel has not come to hand yet, but I am still expecting it. I am very sorry indeed, dear, that you have been so sick, it is too bad that someone cant give you a hand to chop the wood, it is too much for you, it just breaks my heart to think of you all by yourself & no one to help you out at all, I will sure have something to say to some people when I get home, I am greatly disappointed with certain people in Vernon, amongst them being Vallance & Hawthorne, they might easily have remembered you at Xmas & have sent the children something, I suppose they are spinning the usual hard luck story about trade being bad & so forth, but if the Vernon News is telling the truth, all the stores have had an exceptional good season & I am sure the Hardware was among them. I wish you had thrown the bar of chocolate in Charlie Christiens face, taking it all together, he has had a good deal of our money & the least he could have done would have been to give you & the children something decent, as for the people I sent the cards to, I am sorry I sent them now, as none of them have had the decency to acknowledge them, I have sent several cards now to Vallance & Hawthorne & have also written to them but they have never replied, so I wont send any more, I suppose it is a case of out of sight, out of mind, just like the parcel Mrs Edwards was going to send to me, but which I never got. I have read in the papers about what a fine lot of things were being sent at Xmas to the Okanagan boys at the front, but I have never seen any of them, I believe apples were sent, I did’nt get any, I suppose the gallant CMRs got them all, that beautiful regiment that turned tail & ran like a pack of dirty mongrels, they are the kind that get everything while those of us who have done any real fighting get nothing, you are quite right when you say that you dont suppose that Mr Vallance would think of sending me a parcel, he did’nt, & I dont expect any. It is too bad you did’nt get a wood heater instead of the one you got, I am afraid you will find the briquets very expensive, I am glad you are getting some one to split the wood for you, it is better to pay for getting it done than to be laid up trying to do it yourself; you are not strong enough, I wish I could get away from here & go home so that I could do all these things for you, dear, I would just love to be chopping & helping you do the chores again, do you think you would let me, dear. Yes I read in the Vernon News about the childrens treat & I can well believe what you say about the party not being worth going to, you see, I am beginning to know the Vernon people now & I know that anything of the kind could’nt be a success, because those who got it up would keep all the best things to themselves & then write to the papers telling what a success it was. So Joe Harwood is still getting his three meals a day, is he, well I always thought he would, but I dont see the joke about getting the three drinks, unless he means that he is still able to bum them, which used to be his usual habit, I am not surprised that Bob Harwood wants to get back, I think he is further away from home now than he ever intended to be & I suppose he has been hearing about what it is like out here, from soldiers on leave, & wishes he was out of it again, he should have stayed out when he had the chance, as for Arthur Edwards, I cant understand at all how he manages to get all the stuff he does, of course it is not for me to say, but I am very much afraid that he does not get them honestly, I am sure he couldnt buy them out of his salary, even if he did’nt assign any of his pay to Janet, if he gets caught playing crooked it will go pretty hard with him. It is too bad that your fund money has been cut down, but I suppose it cant be helped, all the same it is a great shame, as I still think that others who are much better off, are getting more than their just share. I havent seen Andy Campbell now for a long time, he had’nt come near the company for a long time before I left it, the boys didnt have much use for him, he had been drinking pretty hard & was getting awfully fat & bloated looking, I can quite believe that Mrs Campbell is much happier with him away, I am sure she will have an awful time with him if he ever gets home again, I guess he will just drink himself crazy. I hope I will get the parcel with the tot of rum in it all right, I could sure do with it, you know we get a tot of rum every morning, but it is such a small taste that it does’nt do us much good, many a time when it has been wet & cold I have felt that I could drink a canteen full & not feel it, but it has never been my luck to get a decent drink of it yet. You can address my letters now as Sergt. as I have now been promoted to be a full Sergeant; that is about as high as I expect to get now for some time, I think I have done very well, dont you, dear, arent you proud of your old hubby, now that I have made good, it is not much over a year ago that I was only a private & now I have full charge of a bunch of men & four trench howitzers & have at last landed into a kind of half decent job, I am much more comfortable here than I was in the Battalion, the food is much better & I have a kind of a bed to sleep on, it is better than sleeping on the floor anyway, & I dont have to go to the trenches any more, except to go up about once a day & fire off a few bombs & then go back to my dugout out of the way, sometimes we dont fire any for a week at a stretch, & during that time we just be around, & then every other week we go away back from the trenches altogether & get a good clean up & a good weeks rest with nothing to do at all, so you see I have got a pretty good job now, dear, & I dont think you need to be very uneasy about me, now, of course there are still risks to be taken & we are always more or less under shell fire, but it is not nearly as bad as it was with the regiment. I am going to get my leave at last, I will be leaving here on the 12th Feby. that is on a Sunday I think, & I should be in Glasgow some time on Tuesday, I am writing to Mr Clarke & to your sister to let them know when to expect me. I will probably have to stay in London for a day to draw my money from the pay office, but I wont stay there any longer than I can help as there is nothing there to interest me & I want to get to Glasgow as quickly as possible so as to get settled down quick & get a good rest, I intend to take things very quietly when I am away.
I sent a card to your brother George at Xmas & it has just been returned to me with a note on the envelope to say that he could not be traced, it had been to two different hospitals & to the base in England, I sincerely hope that nothing has happened to him & that he is all right, however, I’ll be able to find out when I get to Glasgow.
If you can manage it, dear, I would like you to send me some more Razor Blades & some soap, I cant get them in this part of the country & mine are nearly done. I am now in Flanders, the people speak Flemish Dutch & are a much nicer class of people than we have been mixed up with in France & Belgium, they are much more hospitable & kindly & do not seem to be after the money so much as the other people. I have had an awful dose of Toothache & had to go to the dentist with it, it was a superating gum & he lanced it for me, & I am glad to say that I am all right again, I think this is all I have to say just now, dear, but I will write to you again before I go on leave. Take good care of yourself, dear, you know how anxious I am about you, I dont want anything to happen to you while I am away. & I want you to be at your best when I come home which I hope will be soon. Kiss my little darlings for me, dear, & give them a great big hug from their old daddy, & with love & kisses to you, my own darling, I remain, as ever XXXXXX
Your loving Husband. Jack.