Dec 5, 1915

Dear Miss Griffis;

I have not heard from you for an age but as Christmas is now not far away I am writing in the hope that the letter will reach you before that day.

Our brigade is still holding a section of the line but there is some talk of taking us out for a rest before long. The battalions take turn about in the trenches, i.e. we spend half our time in the front line and the balance in billets behind the firing line either in support or reserve. I have no doubt that by this time you are fully familiar with the meaning of all ordinary military terms such as I may use, at present our battalion is in the trenches and I have my Regimental Aid Post (R.A.P.) in a dugout about 500 yards behind the front trenches. When the battalion is in I stay here with my two orderlies and pass the wounded on down the communication trench to the dressing station of the field ambulance. The field ambulance usually sends up stretcher squads to take over the wounded from the regimental stretcher bearers. So far I have been very fortunate in my stretcher bearers; they are doing splendid work and not one of them has had a scratch. We have fortunately had no wounded so far to day. Yesterday we had two men hit. One of them a corporal of signallers was shot through the head and died here in the dugout. He was a fine young chap and very popular in the battalion. Firing is rather quiet to-night for a heavy rain is falling and it is as dark as a wolf’s mouth except when the star shells are going up. The Germans are apparently a little nervous as they are shooting up a lot of them. To night about dusk our heavy guns gave them a fine “Straafeing”. We could see the mud and timbers fly as the big shells burst in their trenches. I sent my blessing with every one of them. We sent a few shrapnel after each H. E. shell to catch any of them that might be chased out of the dugouts. A pleasant time was had.

I hope that I have not neglected to thank you for the copies of ‘Life’ you have so kindly sent me from time to time. Papers and magazines are always most welcome.

My sister in France writes to me occasionally. They got moved into their winter quarters at the hospital a short time ago. I have never been able to go down to where she is and see her and I am afraid her chances of getting this close to the front are not good. She expects to get some leave in January or February. She says that another nurse and she are going to make an attempt to get into Paris to spend their holiday.

Had a long newsy letter from Dr Chambers the other day, the first for a long time. He gave me considerable of the local medical gossip and the names of a number of the doctors still in Calgary that had offered to go to the front.

I shall close by tendering to you my best wishes for a Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year.

Sincerely yours

Harold W. McGill

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