Somewhere in France
23 Sept. 1916
Dear Sister and Brother
Your letter reached me the other day while I was away up the line living in a hole underground twenty feet, a dug out built by the Germans. I was delighted to get it and trust the every two week plan will not prove to be too much writing. It was very interesting. Glad to hear everyone is getting along fine …
I saw today the last teacher I had in Harrowsmith Public School. He is a lieutenant in one of Canada’s famous regiments.
I hardly know what to tell you about myself. Nellie read you some of my letters telling of some of the warm things of a few months ago. The last week put all this far far in the shade. One night shells were taking the measure of my height and burst just beyond. A German or two was shooting at us. Don’t know how he got in a place where he could see us but there were the bullets not going high as I tried to imagine for I saw them go into a tree just near a man. Oh this war is terrible, terrible! This night I was a bit afraid. Last night was like one huge nightmare but I shall not bother telling you about it until some day I visit you. Tonight, to my great disappointment I was put on duty in the dressing station after being out in the hot old line last night until three a.m. and got back where things are comparatively quiet. I should like to rest, sleep steady for about tree days. This is about two o’clock in the morning so don’t be surprised if my letter drags a bit.
I am feeling great, hungry always, sleep any old place. The mud of the last two days was worse than ‘tater’ picking in November. Mud to the ears. This morning I got a wash. First time in over three days. Simply could not, no water, no towel, no soap. A shave too. The first one in six days and I am accustomed to shave every day. I felt like a monkey and likely looked more like one. UI have seen German prisoners by the score. I had a trip of three quarters of a mile one night helping one old German along to the ambulance. Not a bad old rascal. The Allies these days are giving Old Fritz zip and perhaps he will cut and run soon and the war will end. Clearly he is not as fast as he was a month ago even. Tonight I saw in the distance showers of fire fall. I don’t know what it was but I guessed. It looked awful.
I see I am to go on pass to England very soon, perhaps a little over a week off. I shall go to Coventry where Father was born. Those flowers were picked in Belgium, near Ypres, that part of the battle line which Canadians so far know best. I don’t remember what the flower was.
This is morning and we are packing up to move. Oh no not to another house but into another field carrying the material, some rubber sheets to build our house out of.
I must close now and get back to some other work. Please excuse this sleepy letter. I will expect a letter again next week.
Your loving brother