November 21, 1944
I am Orderly Sgt. today and as such have considerable time to myself, so thought it a darn good idea to drop you a line. Yes, I am a full Sgt. again. In fact, I was only a Lance rank for about seventeen days. Of course, my confirmation suffered. The two months I had prior to this don’t count, so it will be nearly in January before I’ll be in a position to thumb my nose.
We are still out for a rest, by the way. When I say rest, I mean a rest from Gerry. In all other respects, it is more restful at the Front. I think you know what I mean: parades, inspections, regimental guard duties, and all the parade-ground soldiering that goes to remind you that fighting Gerry is only one small item on the long list of a soldier’s duties. I really shouldn’t complain, however, because at least we have comfortable quarters. The weather has been lovely and fine these last two weeks. It is very much like “Indian Summer” back home.
We had a special service for our fallen comrades last Sunday. Our padre gave a very fine address and, as there was a very good military band in attendance, I actually enjoyed the affair. Marching along to a good military tune brought back memories of another parade back in Edmonton on November 11, 1939. Things have changed since then. I guess I, too, have undergone a great change, but I feel sure you will approve. Well, Mom, it must be rather a nice feeling to watch your “brood” leave the nest one by one. I am very proud of those young sisters of mine. I firmly believe that with the good sound home training they got, plus the experience gained in their jobs, they should do very well. I often regret that I was such a stupid young ass when I wasted such opportunities available to me. ----
I expect you are all watching the political developments with keen interest these days. We on Active Service were pleased to see a man of McNaughton’s calibre take office. However, it does seem like a dirty political trick on Mackenzie King’s part to ask him to assume responsibilities at such an inopportune moment. I for one hope that “Andy” succeeds in his drive for volunteers. As far as the Zombie is concerned, let the white-livered, frightened son of a coward, stay at home. We can get along without him or his kind. His failure to accept his responsibility as a man and a Canadian probably meant that many good men died needlessly and the remainder served five years without leave, when all other armies were getting it, but leave him alone. I really feel sorry for those chaps, whether they know it or not; we who made our choice have our self-respect and an experience that can’t be bought or sold.
Just to know that you can face death and still carry on is well worth the time wasted otherwise. The French Canadian issue worries me more than the conscription issue. It isn’t because he’s yellow that the French Canadian won’t volunteer. It goes very much deeper. Someone in Canada (I expect the R. Catholic clergy) are doing their utmost to stir up racial hatred between the French and English-speaking Canadians. I have seen French Canadians in Action and will vouch for their fighting qualities, second to none. I think Senator Bouchard in his fight against certain societies in Quebec, had his finger on the real trouble. If Canada is ever going to amount to anything, this sort of thing must be stamped out. For these reasons, I hope that old Andy succeeds, even if the government is using him as a “Cat’s Paw.”