c/o Sergeants Mess
12th Can Res Bn
My own darling Wife.
I just received another letter from you to day posted Feby 13th so you see it has taken over a month to reach here, I need hardly tell you how glad I was to hear from you, but so sorry dear to hear about your poor head, I wish I could get home to you so that you could cuddle it against my shoulder, I think that would ease the pain as much as anything, I hope, dear, that you are not worrying about me, I know that you long for me to get home again & so do I, but you know, love, that I can’t help myself, I just have to do as I am told, If I had had my way I would have been home long ago, only for that & a whole lot of home sickness I am all right & my health is as good as could be expected. I am sorry that your house has turned out to be so draughty, I was sure from the way you wrote about it that you would be all right & have no trouble in it & of course as long as it is draughty you will always have a cold. I see that you have sent me another parcel & some papers but I have not got them yet, I must say again, dear, although I appreciate the parcels when I get them, I would rather you did not send me any more, it is months now since I got the last one from you, the last one I got was the one you sent me for my birthday, so you see I am not getting them at all & besides I would much rather that you would use the money for yourself & the children, I am sure, now that everything is so dear, that you have not got any too much for yourselves, & that you will need all the money you can lay your hands on, I bought some razor blades to day & I had quite a hunt for them, when I did get them they charged me five shillings for them, that is a shilling more than they have been before. I see that you are going to use the war flour, well I hope you will be able to make better bread out of it than what we get here, it is awful stuff, sometimes it is nearly black & the nearest it ever approaches to white is a kind of a dark gray colour & then if the butter is a bit hard it breaks it up & crumbles, no one likes it, but we have to eat it as it is the only kind we can get. Starting from next week all the YMCAs & canteens will cease selling tea & cakes or anything eatable except candies, to soldiers, nor will soldiers be allowed to eat in any Hotel or restaurant unless when he is on leave, & to make up for this, we are going to get an extra meal or supper I should call it at 8.30 at night, it will consist of soup or cocoa & bread, even with this fourth meal I don’t suppose our appetites will be satisfied & I know I shall miss my cup of tea at night, I am afraid I shall have to start drinking beer again to help to fill up, but don’t be afraid of that, dear, I have been off so long now that I have no desire for it any more. I remember Harry Woods very well, but I thought that he had joined up in the Army & I am surprised to hear that he went into the navy, the sailors out there sure have a cinch compared to those who are on this side, I cant imagine any harder life than that of the sailor who hourly is risking his life guarding these shores, I don’t think that people in Canada realise what is going on in this awful war, I don’t think that the horrors & the fearful hardships of it all, has been brought home to the people at home, if they had I am sure that there would not be near so many slackers about as there are, people do not realize what we are up against on this side, I wish I were at liberty to write what I know & what I have seen, you would be dumb founded, in fact I don’t think that you would believe me, my tales would be so strange. It certainly is a shame the way the shop keepers raise their prices, but of course they have the upper hand & can do pretty much what they please, it was the same in this country till the government stepped in & fixed the prices for nearly all staple commodities & even at that the purchasing power of a pound in only equal to 10/3 compared with the pre-war prices, the great shortage of foodstuffs & the greater demand are the causes of such high prices & I am afraid the war will be over a long time before prices become nearly normal again.
This is Sunday night again, dear, I had to stop writing last night, as the lights went out on me, I went to church this morning & I think the preacher must have been an Irishman as he spoke quite a lot about Ireland & St Patrick, (this is St Patricks day, you know) I enjoyed his talk very much, One of the Sergeants here got a big box of Shamrock sent him from Ireland & he gave me a sprig I have worn it all day; this afternoon was nice & fine so I went for a walk out into the country, I was out for about two hours, & I must say that the country round here is lovely & I intend to see more of it before I am through, it is much nicer going out into the country than going towards town, one does not meet with nearly so many people & there is nothing to see in the towns anyway. I am still working on the drill staff & I am afraid I will have to quit the job if my throat & voice don’t get any better, I am so hoarse now that I can hardly make myself heard & instead of increasing the staff so as to make it easier for us they have taken some of them off, which makes it so much harder for the rest of us. I don’t think that there is anything more for me to say just now, dear, I am sending you a couple of papers by this mail, you will notice that the price of these even has gone up, there is not an awful lot of news in them, but they may be interesting to you. Well dear love I must close now as it is getting on for bedtime, oh how I long for the time when I will be able to lie in a decent bed again & with you beside me, so that I will be able to cure all your headaches & heartaches for you, Give my little darlings a great big love from their daddy & lots of kisses, & for yourself there is the truest love of a true & lonely husband for his own darling wife.
Yours & your only. Jack.