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[Pages are missing. Written late-1915/early-1916.]

however, conveyed the impression that a little movement was in order, and we finally got ourselves started on the way home in a blinding rain, steering wildly from one side of the road to the other, now into a young and ambitious river and now through a dull and lifeless slough of Belgian mud. After many adventures that food arrived in the trenches and was duly issued to the troops for Xmas dinner. In the evening we made three brimming dixies of rum punch and splashed around through the trenches ladling it out amidst exclamations of surprise, astonishment and appreciation. If it hadn’t been for the Germans, it would have been a very successful Christmas, "considering” as Tommy is always careful to insert.

The troops had been carefully instructed that there must be no truce this winter as there was last, but Fritz thought otherwise and in many places stood right up on the parapet. We shot a couple of them and they disappeared opposite us, except for one foxy chap who kept shoving up a red hat. A lot of our chaps collected and unfortunately one of them exposed himself too much and a ricochet bullet hit him on the head just as I happened to come up and was ordering them down. Later in the day poor old King Nash was shot in the head and died instantly. Poor boy, he was always so bright and reliable; it gave me an awful shock when I saw his body at Headquarters. I imagine he will be buried to-day in the Third Battalion cemetery just back of here about half a mile north of the village of Wulverghern. So far as I know, his sister in Edmonton is his only kin, and his personal effects will be sent to her. Kae may know of some relatives in Toronto who might like to know about him. If so, you might tell them he died instantly and without pain, that he was a good soldier and will be missed tremendously by the regiment and particularly those of us who knew him.

I saw Allen Harvey about two weeks ago and he looked splendid. The Pat’s have not been in action for a couple of months now, so he looked pretty spick and span. It appears that he is a cousin of Bert Alley, our Adjutant, and there is some talk of his transferring here, especially now that the Pat’s are being attached to the Canadian Corp Troops Brigade, which by the way is the one which will relieve us when we go back; the Pat’s, R.C.R. 49th. of Edmonton, and 42nd. Royal Highlanders of Montreal.

George’s leave and mine should come along about the middle of January - ten days of old England, bright lights and soft seats again. I don’t know yet what we shall do; I presume we shall stay in Folkestone for a day or two at least with Mr. Mackenzie and Eleanor, and then, no doubt having collected old John Crawford who is still teaching the young idea how to shoot at Sandling, dash up to London for a day and on to Bramshott to look over the 35th. Bn. and see what it is doing for the honour of our arms. Thence probably we shall carry on to Somerset and spend a day or two in sweet domestic simplicity in the land of Lorna Doone and Jan Ridd and then back to Folkestone for the remainder of the time. I would like in a way to run up to Scotland, and were I in need of a rest, would do so. It would mean devoting practically my whole leave to it, however, and as it isn’t a rest I need but only a change from the beastly monotony of walking up and down a trench in the rain and stepping into a dugout to eat a meal

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