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Date: March 10th 1916
Beulah Bahnsen (wife)
Ralph Watson

10 March, ’16.

My dearest Lallie: —

This will not be a long letter — just a note telling you I am K.O. and everything going well with me. . . .  

Things are — I would have thought at one time — the limit; but at times like these, and given a bunch who work together, the almost impossible can be done, if done with a will.

We came out of quarantine K.O. No more cases of fever. All the boys were sent off to C.C. or B.D. (Base Details — waiting to go back up to the front.) Immediately we evacuated, we filled up, and I was still alone in two wards.

I wish I might tell you the details, but I can’t — not till Aprѐs la Guerre. Sufficient maybe when I say that the trenches are full of snow (you’ll have seen the English picture papers), and I have had a ward full of men who, having taken a trench from the Germans, owing to certain conditions lost their trench waders in the slush and mud, and fought for thirty-six hours without any boots of any kind. Of course you will understand, without my giving you details about frozen feet. Even then we couldn’t keep them — only a while.

Believe me, it’s hell up the line these days — and worse is to come.

We haven’t our water laid on in my ward yet, and it’s upstairs as I told you. But, all the same, we have just everything else for the boys that you can imagine. The water is my personal trouble. What I meant was the men get everything. Thank God, we give ’em all just the same: oranges, eggs, cigarettes. I wonder if the people who subscribe to those things in Canada realize how fine a work they’re doing. The other day I sent out a ward full of men on stretchers, and all had bed socks and nearly all pyjamas — every blessed thing a gift from the Canadian Red Cross. Imagine, if you can, a man piled on a stretcher and transferred from the warm ward to motor ambulance, taken through the town streets, then the boat — a bitterly cold crossing, then his long English train journey, then again motor ambulance and lastly his new bed in the English ward. Don’t forget it — he suffers alright! And to have given one blessed pair of bed socks, which have helped a fellow on such a trip, is something to comfort yourself with.

The Sisters have sure gone some, too, recently — and are, this minute. I don’t know how they do it and keep up.

Today noon was the first day I have eaten at our mess for three weeks. Quarantine has been over for some days, but I haven’t had time to quit for dinner or for tea—I’ve eaten standing up in the wards. I’ve been as much as three days without a decent wash. And yesterday I heard (genuine news) our work is to be increased one third. . . .  

But that is only the beginning. This war is going to go out, more terrific than it came in.

And now I must beat it. About a million jobs await me.

Always — understand — I am yours yours yours — my work is for you, I am for you.

I am your boy and your husband,

P.S. Kisses for Billie — our Billie eh? She will kiss you for me — give her Dad’s love.

Original Scans

Original Scans