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Date: October 18th 1918

Reading Berks

Oct, 18 1918

Dearest Mother:-

Am going to try and take time to get you off a letter to-night. The men all seem very quiet so perhaps I can get on without many interruptions. The parcel for Atwood mailed Sept 5 same time as mine, turned up to-day and I am going to remail it to him in the morning. I am sending you a copy of the little magazine “Canada” as I had a notice of our wedding put in that and Mary also sent a little piece for the Personals. I didn’t know she was going to do it, but it reads all right and if you like it could be copied for a Saturday telegraph.

I will send Mrs. Mackay a copy of it too.

The orderly officer has just been around and told us that the British are in Ostend. We are getting very much elated over the news at present and only hope the good work keeps up., I hear from Sem nearly every day. His battery is beyond Cambrai now and they have been at it steadily since the 1st of August. Did I tell you his Majority came through he day we were married and he is now in command of the 12th. He said he was going to write you and father after he got back to France but if you don’t hear from him, you will know it is because he hasn’t the time. Haven’t had any more Canadian mail since the budget I got last Wednesday but there will probably be some more in by the first of the week.

We have a lot of Americans in now – some pretty badly wounded too, but they can’t stick pain like the English Tommy or the Scotch lad – they hardly ever complain, while these lads keep up hopping all night with their groans and cries.

One of the Sr. Sisters at No.2 Section where May is, died last night. She had only been in a few days with influenza. She is to have a military funeral and I expect we will all have to go. We have all had to put mourning bands on our arms.

An Australian V.A.D. here a great friend of ours is going home next month via Canada. She expects to sail about the 3rd of November. She might possibly land in St John or go through from Halifax. So we have told her to look our families up if she happens to. Her name is Eileen Bailey. She was at my wedding so could tell you all about it. I am going to write Hazel too, because she might possibly land in Montreal & it would be so nice if Hazel could meet her, a stranger in a strange country …  and see her to the train for the west.

I am enclosing a couple of post card views of the church we were married in showing the outside and inside. It is one of the oldest in Reading. May & I are going to service there some Sunday morning, if we’re not to sleepy.

We are quite comfortable in the night peoples quarters. Have such a funny old body to look after us. She seems to have taken quite a fancy to Mary and me and we can get anything we want out of her.

The sugar you send me is so lovely and white and fine compared to our ration here, which is so dirty and coarse. I keep it for my porridge, which I eat quite often. The meals are even better than they were at Park House but then there are fewer of us to cater for.

Mrs. Trueman and Kathleen sent Mary and me each a lovely two pound box of chocolates the other day. We certainly had a great feast but they are a novelty these days as you can’t buy chocolate in this country now.

I owe so many letters I often wonder when I will get them all answered. Must try and write to Katie and Jean tomorrow night as I owe the both of them for two lovely long ones, also Gladys Barker.

When we come off duty in the morning we are generally pretty sleepy and often go right to bed after breakfast. Nearly every day though we walk up to Park House to see if there is any mail then come back & go to bed. Mary hasn’t got in the room with me yet but will on Saturday as one of the others is going on day duty.

V.A.D’s are very scarce at present and our Matron in Chief in Reading is having a dreadful time to get enough. We are very short staffed at present and Devonshire House can’t supply any more for a month at least. All the newcomers the last month have been Canadians 5 in all, but rather ordinary, from the West. I believe haven’t seen much of them of course, being on night duty.

Haven’t heard from either Atwood or Stan for quite a while now, but expect they are both busy.

Did I ever tell you about George [?] being here to see me or about the day Jean Daniel & Dorothy Purdy spend here with us. It was just a couple of days before Semi arrived on the scene and I didn’t write you a letter that week. Am afraid I rather neglected you for a couple of weeks. I am wondering what you thought when you got my cable.

Well I must make a round of the wards and see how everyone is.

Haven’t much to write about when on night duty as you feel as though you are living in a different world.

Heaps of love to you and Father


P.S. I am also sending a copy of Canada to the Aunts in S. Africa.

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