March 27, 1916

Dear Miss Griffis;-

Your very interesting and newsy letter of Feb 27 came to hand a few days ago when we were out of the trenches and I did not get time to answer it before we came back in again. The fine weather I think I told you about in my last letter did not last long and it is again quite cold enough for winter. We had a big snow storm when we were out in billets. I am afraid the cold weather will stop the hens laying and the Belgian peasants will put up the price of eggs. They sell them now 4 for a franc which you will admit is a fairly high price for eggs. The wind has been in the S.West since we came in for this tour until to-night when it switched to the East, so the “Gas alert” is on. Do you know what the gas alert is? It is also raining cats & dogs, but even rain has its compensating advantages as there is not so much shooting in bad weather, and fewer bullets keep coming over from Fritz.

A serious misfortune has befallen me. My mouse trap, which a Belgian girl gave me as a present, is out of order and I feel like an infantryman left unsupported by artillery. The mice invaded my dugout in strong force when I first took it over but I soon cleaned them out with the trap. The trap also caught the fingers of a brother officer whose language upon the occasion was not what one would expect from a soldier of the Onward Christian variety. Now however that my mouse trap is out of action, the mice have returned not as single spies but in battalions and are rapidly regaining the moral ascendancy.

Many thanks for the papers and magazines you are kind enough to send. I note what you say about transferring to the 137th etc. I get your meaning all right. Something like Eliza on the ice isn’t it? jumping from one cake to another in search of safety. Verily they have their reward, but do not think for a moment that the boys out here fail to appreciate the situation. And by the way I see by some clippings from the Calgary papers that are to hand that a certain ex officer of ours is back in Calgary swanking around pulling the heavy returned hero stunts, giving interviews to newspaper reporters, etc. He is quoted as having a low opinion of the enemy’s prowess, also that he among others did not care any more for German shells than for apples falling. Well his views have undergone a remarkable change since he was with us for when he left here his feet were cold enough to start an ice factory. It is all very well for a man in Calgary to talk about not minding shell fire, but the boys that are out here standing up to the music are not saying anything like that. This man was not in the trenches half a dozen times during the several months he was out here. He is the only member our battalion, either officer or man, who has shown the white feather and we are naturally not proud of him. You will perhaps think I am too bitter over a small affair like this but am sure you will understand my view point. It is not as though we were doing this work because we like it.

Please excuse this short measly letter.

Sincerely yours

Harold W McGill

P.S. When you get this letter look up the war news from the British front in your newspaper files for to-morrow and the day after. HWMcG


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