France, Jan 8, 1917

Dear Miss Griffis;-

A few minutes ago I was standing in my dugout with my back to the fire thinking very hard things of you, I really was. I was just about to sit down and send you a red hot letter in spite of the chilly atmosphere of the dugout, for it must be nearly a month since you wrote to me previous to your letter just received. As I remarked I was just making your ears burn when an orderly came in with your very nice and flattering letter. Of course we all like a little flattery and yours was so nicely given that I could not feel otherwise that pleased.

Many thanks for your congratulations. I am afraid the people at home attach too much importance to these decorations. Sometimes they are awarded to the deserving ones and sometimes —— . Gen. Byng our corps commander held a battalion inspection the day after Christmas and presented the ribbons to those awarded decorations.

Just at present we are in support trenches but it will soon come our turn for the front line again. The weather is atrocious, cold with high wind and rain nearly every day.

We had a much better Christmas this season than last. Fortunately we were out of the trenches in reserve and billeted in huts. The weather was fairly well behaved although we had some rain. All the men had a good Christmas dinner including turkey, plum pudding, beer, nuts, candy, etc. We had previously ordered 500 kilos of turkey. We made a contract for them and the dealer shipped them from Normandy. I must say that the French know how to raise good turkeys. The tables were set in the YMCA hut and we hired dishes from the French civilians. We had to divide the dinner into four sections, one for each company. Two were held on Christmas day and two the day after. The band rendered musical programs during the dinners and each night put on a minstrel show which was really not at all bad. We had a good dinner in Bn. Hq. Mess but most of our pleasure was derived from seeing the men have a good feed and enjoy themselves for once.

It is very good of you to send my sister the magazines. I am afraid she sometimes becomes a little homesick and lonely. She has just returned from having leave in England. She reached her unit Christmas night after spending nearly all day on the train from Calais. She should have crossed over from England on Dec 23 but there was a terrible storm that day and the Channel boats were held up.

Please accept my thanks for the papers and magazines you so often send. Everything you send is new to me except the Saturday Evening Post. I get this regularly every week. A friend of mine at Johns Hopkins University subscribed for it on my behalf. We are always pleased to see the Calgary papers although some of the things they print about the war are certainly very wide of the mark.

I expect to go on leave again about the end of this month. This will likely be my last leave for a time for the dust will be flying rather lively when Spring opens. Please excuse this short letter and do try to write more often.

Sincerely yours,

Harold W McGill


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