c/o Sergts Mess.
5th Can Res. Bn.
My darling Wife.
I wonder what is the matter that I am not getting any letters from you, I have one here that I got when I came back from Chelsea but it is dated October 28th, two months old, I do hope you are getting my letters more regularly than that, it is now seven weeks since I got a letter, that is, before this one, & I have neither received any parcel or papers for longer than that, it is most discouraging, I know what you must feel, dear, when you don’t hear from me, I know it makes me feel awfully down hearted, & I have felt so lonely this Xmas, not getting any news from you & the other fellows here getting 3 or 4 letters a day & all kinds of parcels, I have felt that I have been forgotten by everyone & have been left entirely out in the cold. I hope you got the cards I sent from London, they were not up to much, I know, but I thought they would please the children, & that they would be a nice souvenier, I got back here from Chelsea on Xmas Eve they kept us there longer than I thought they would, I passed my examinations all right & made a 92% pass which is considered very good, I had a very exciting time on the night before I left, I had gone out with two Australian friends, who were at the course, when an air raid took place, we were not very far from Barracks at the time, so we thought we would beat it back, but we could’nt make it, there was all kinds of shrapnel flying around & a couple of bombs fell pretty close to where we were so we did the wisest thing & took shelter in a tube station, I think it is just as well we did, for a bomb dropped in one of the streets that we would have had to go through, I saw the hole it made & two omnibuses could easily have been placed in it & there was a regular tangle of gas & other pipes in it, this makes three raids I was in up there & I have no wish to be in any more, I must say, though, that the people of London took them very calmly, seeing that so many people have been killed & injured, everyone took cover in the tube or the places provided for them, there was very little excitement except for a few who got hysterical & a few children crying, all the same, I am thankful that I don’t live in London & that you & the children are safe from all this frightfulness, I had a most uncomfortable journey back here, the train was packed & I could not get a seat so had to stand all the way, you see there are very few trains now for passenger service, as all available trains are used by the government, so passengers just have to do the best they can & travel when they get the opportunity. I had a very quiet Xmas, I felt too lonely to enjoy myself, but the men of the Battalion had a good time, they had a good dinner of Turkey & Plum pudding & all the officers & sergeants waited on them, they rather enjoyed being waited on by us & ordered us about just as they liked, the Colonel was there & directed operations, at night we Sergeants had our Xmas dinner, but it was rather a disapointment as there was hardly enough to go round, we only had three turkeys for 84 men & the cooks & waiters had to get their share so you can guess how much we got, however, we had a concert afterwards & each of us got two bottles of beer & two cigars, so the day did not end so badly after all, we are going to have another dinner on New Years night, & we expect to have a much better time than we did at Xmas, we have invited the Colonel & the 2nd in command & a few other officers, & there is a good concert arranged for the occasion; we are also going to see the old year out & the New Year in in the most approved style, we are having a punch bowl in the mess & at five minutes to twelve each of us will get a glass of punch & a cigar, the pipers will be there & at 12 O.C, they will play the usual tunes & we will drink the old year out & the New Year in, New Years Day will be observed as a Holiday & there will be a football match & sports if the weather is good, we have been having rotten weather lately, snow & sleet & strong winds & frost, now it is raining & the whole place round here is a regular bog of mud, so unless it stops raining & freezes up I am afraid there will be no sports. Well, dear, I see you have changed your address again, I hope you will like your new house & that you will be nice & warm & comfortable in it, you don’t say what rent you are paying, I hope it is not too dear, I guess you will find your rooms all right for you, you wont need so much furniture, the range & bath are both most useful, but I did not know that houses were let with ranges already in them, I thought they had to be bought.
I see you have sent your marriage lines to Ottowa, I hope you have got them back again, I think it would have been safer to send them a certified copy, but perhaps they would not stand for that, however, you did the next best thing by having them registered, for then you will have a claim on them if they lose them; I am glad that the children are better & able to go to school again, they must have been very sick, Eileen must have looked a sight with all those spots on her, although George looks the delicate one of the two, somehow I think he is the strongest & would stand more than Eileen, but of course, dear, it is hard for me to say as I have not seen them for so long.
I don’t know whether Annie Shaddick went back to Canada or not, I went round by the place where Sir Richard lived, while I was up in London, but the place was closed up & of course there was no way of finding out whether she had gone back or not.
I think you are wise to get a Sewing machine, as I think you will be able to save money by making the childrens clothes for them, you can make them much better than you can buy them & I am sure much cheaper, but why not buy one on the instalment plan, then it would be your own, if you pay rent you will very soon pay the price of it, but it never becomes your own property.
I will have to get your new address published in Battalion orders & from there it will be copied into the records at the Record office, London, this has to be done, so that in case anything happens to me, you can be notified at your proper address. I don’t think there is much more to say just now, dear, but, Oh how I wish I could get a letter from you, so that I would know how you all are, I do hope there is nothing wrong, but perhaps the mail is being held up somewhere & one of these days I will be getting a whole bunch at once, but just now I feel very much in the dumps, I was at Church this morning & the minister said that he hoped he would be preaching next year to a peace congregation, meaning that he hoped the war would be over then, he only echoed the hope of all of us, if this war is going to last another year, where will we all be then? it is a hard question to answer & no one knows what is in store for us in the future, perhaps it is as well that we don’t know, but I do know this, that I am sick of it & I wish to goodness that it was over so that I could get home again, if I don’t get home soon I am afraid that I will develop into a very crabbed old man. Well dear one, I must close now or I will be making you think that I am worse than I really am, I am in fairly good health only for a bad cold & every one has that now, kiss my darlings for me, dear, & give them a great big love from daddy & with all my love & lots of kisses for you, my own darling wife I remain
as ever & always will be
Your loving Husband.
Trusting that you & the children may have a much happier year than this last one has been is the earnest wish of your own old Hubby.
X X X & a great big one for each of you.