c/o Sergeants Mess.
5th Can Reserve Batt.
My own darling Wife.
I would have written to you last Sunday but I have been busy since I wrote you last, In the first place, we went out for three days manouvers last week, we worked under active service conditions, marched about twenty miles from here past Dover way & bivouacked in a field, it rained the first night & as we had only one blanket & a ground sheet it was rather uncomfortable but we were all very tired & slept all right but woke up rather stiff & sore next morning, but after a rather small breakfast we soon got loosened up as we had to start what is called a rear guard action & we fought all day long, doubling over ploughed fields & meadows & covering quite a lot of ground, I was acting Quarter Master Sergeant & it was up to me to see that my company got their proper rations & their blankets when they were wanted, we started out on Wednesday morning at about 5-30 & got back to camp on Friday Night at 8.O.C. I can tell you we were a tired bunch, but we all enjoyed the outing immensely as it was such a change from the Barrack Square, I thought I was never going to stick it, but I stood it out a whole lot better than I thought I would, the only this is that the rheumatism seems to have settled in my right leg & bothers me quite a bit especially at night, but that has got to be put up with, well, the day after we got back I had to mount the main guard which is a twenty-four hour duty with no sleep, so you see I had no chance to write that day as I had the sentries & prisoners to look after & then on Monday I started on a Lewis Gun course which finished last night, it was a very interesting course & I enjoyed it very much, the only thing I did’nt like was that there was too much night work, it kept me till 10 or 10-30 every night writing up detail & lectures that we had had during the day, yesterday we passed out, by firing on the ranges, it was a rotten day it rained all the time we were firing, I passed out succesful & know all about the Gun now, Next week I am going on another course, this time I will be away from here for a month, I am going to Bexhill on a Bombing & Trench Mortar course, Bexhill is close to Hastings & I believe it is a very nice place, I think I will like the course all right as it is very interesting & I have never done any of it over here, of course I did lots of it in France, we had all the practise there & no theory, so now I have a chance to learn both, if I make good on this I think I will have a chance to qualify as an instructor, either on the Lewis Gun or Bombing, as an order has come out that all A category instructors who have not been to France have to go now & all B & C category men to be sent back to Canada, so there will be a good chance for those of us who have seen service, as hardly any of the instructors here have been to France, & now that the Winter has set in, I for one would rather stay on this side than chance another winters campaign out there. I am perfectly sure I could’nt stand it. Just as I am writing this I have been warned by the orderly sergeant to be ready to proceed to Bexhill to-morrow morning at 10-15 A.M., just write to me here as usual & I will make arrangements to have my mail forwarded on to me. The night we got back from the three days hike I received the parcel of sugar you sent me also the Popular, I was expecting a parcel but not near so much sugar, I opened it all up to see if there was anything else in it, but there was’nt, but oh my, you should have seen the boys faces when they saw the sugar, which has been such a stranger to us for so long, there are nine sergeants in this hut & we have all had some every morning in our porridge & it is not half done yet, it was funny the different advice I got from them as to what I should do with it, some wanted me to sell it to the mess for 10d a lb a couple who are married & have their wives here wanted to buy it from me, the others like myself said no, seeing that it had come so far & safely we would enjoy it ourselves & that is what we are doing, I was glad to see the old Popular again it was like old times, but I cant understand why I do not get any papers, they must be held up somewhere. I have two of your letters to answer, the first is one I got with the parcel & encloses the letter from your sister, in your letter you mention that nothing can be done with Georges eye, I am real sorry to hear it, dear, but you must not blame yourself any more for being the cause of it, it was an accident pure & simple & could not possibly have been helped, I would be the last one to blame you, dear, & I do wish you would not take it so much to heart, of course it is hard on the little chap, but what has to be, has to be, & cannot be helped, so do not greet any more, dear. As to losing my kilt, they did not take it from me at Seaford after all & I am still wearing it, I have an extra one now, I got it from a chap who has gone to France & it is a private one that he got made for himself in Toronto & it is a much better kilt than the one we get issued with, I only wear it when I am going out, or on church Parade as it is much too good to knock about in, I would like to send it to you along with my Glengarry, but I am afraid you would never get it, however, I will see what I can do, I would also like to send you my badges, the ones I wore in France, but if I find that I can send them without fear of losing them I will do so, I value them more for their associations than for what they are worth from a money point of view. Poor Etta certainly has had a hard time of it, I am very sorry indeed that she has lost her husband, it must be an awful drag on her to be left with so many children, it is very hard, I see the letter was from Georgina, she seems to be doing all right now & I hope she will continue to do so, I will write to her one of these days, I would write to Etta, but I do not know her address. Your second letter enclosed the photos, I think they are just splendid, my word how they children have grown & they look fine & I think they have grown more like each other in features and Eileens doll, it is nearly as big as herself, I thought at first it was a baby you had in your arms & I was wondering where you got such an ugly baby, you know dear, that our babies are pretty, ar’nt they, as for yourself, I don’t think you look a day older & from the way you are laughing, you don’t feel any older either, & I hope you don’t, dear, as that is the way I want you to feel all the time till I come home, when I will make you feel younger yet, in fact it will be a second honeymoon & we will both feel frisky, wont we now, & I am glad to see that George has grown to be such a big boy, he seems to be enjoying himself all right with his bicycle, & it is a good healthy exercise for him. Now I come to the question of your money & about my rank, & I find it very difficult to explain what I can hardly explain to myself satisfactorily. I will try & explain about my promotion first, in the December before I left the 15th Batt to go on the Trench Mortars I was promoted L/Sgt & when I joined the Mortars there was already a Sergt there & he was senior to me, he was killed & me being then senior N.C.O. I was promoted to be Sergt, it was entered in my pay book & my pay according to that was to be $1.50 a day, this was signed by the officer in charge, shortly after this, we increased our strength from one battery to four & as I was senior N.C.O., I was put in charge of the whole lot, & as a compliment for the work I did in organizing I was made Sgt Major & carried my rank, about a month afterwards word came from Divisional Hdqrs that no Sgt Majors were to be carried on the Strength of Trench Mortars, but seeing that I had held the position to their satisfaction, I could carry my rank, but draw Sgts pay, now it was before this that I had increased my allowance to you & I really thought you were getting it, till some time ago you wrote & told me that you were not & I started to make enquiries, my pay book was sent to London as it was full up & I had to have a new one, the new one came back to me & my Rank in it is L/Sgt & the pay $1.30, I at once took the matter up with the paymaster & although they allow that my promotion was entered up properly in the pay book, it never passed through Base Part Two orders in France & so they could not recognize it, I have written to the Paymaster of the 15th also the Capt Hanson of the artillery who made the promotions but I have never had any reply, I will take the matter up with them again right away, as soon as I had the reply from London I went to the paymaster here & as you were not getting the $2500 I had assigned to you I wanted to make it over again, but he pointed out to me that I was in debt in my pay book, although there is $150 deffered pay coming to me which I cannot touch or assign to anyone & I cant get it till the war is over, this deferred pay is the difference between 50% of my pay & the assignment to you, now you know a soldier can only draw 50% of his pay & as I had been drawing full Sgts pay for so long, I was getting more than I ought, so he advised me to assign $20 to you & I could draw £1.0.0 a month till my book was square, this I did & you ought now to be getting $20 a month instead of $17.50 & when I get my book square I will increase the amount, I hope this is clear to you dear & I am sorry that you are not getting more, as I know you have been under very heavy expense. As to my rank, I think it will all come out all right in the end if I can only get in touch with Capt Hanson. There is no promotion to be had in Eng all N.C.Os who have not been to France have to revert to Privates when they go over as they are only acting, all this is pretty hard to explain, dear, but I am doing the best I can. I certainly think the doctors in Victoria soaked you good & hard & I think it is a d – d shame, they tell us how well they are looking after our wives & families but they only give with one hand & take away with the other; & now dear love, I have just been looking at the photos again, they do make me feel so lonely & I am longing so much to be with you again, Oh how I wish I could be with you to-night, how I would love you & cuddle you & kiss you, I would not let you out of my arms all night, the other night I woke up sudden, I thought you were bending over me & kissed me, I could see you & feel your lips touching me, it all seemed so real that I cant get it off my mind, I guess it must have been because I was thinking about you so much, I very often dream about you, dear, but that one was the most vivid yet, this is a pretty long letter dear & I have to pack my kit for to-morrow, so I guess I will have to close, kiss my little darlings for me & tell them how much daddy loves them & with all my love & lots of kisses to yourself my own darling Wife I remain as always.
XXXXXXXXXXX Your loving Husband
XXXXXXXXXXX Jack XXX