France, Oct 13, 1917

Dearest Emma;-

Your letter of Oct 7 reached me yesterday. Was very pleased to hear from you and to know that your general inspection passed off with credit to your unit and to your own ward in particular. These general inspections are very trying ordeals no matter where they occur.

No, I have not been able so far to get up to see Margaret. I wrote and asked her if there was a landing stage for aeroplanes near them in case I could persuade a pilot to fly me over some time. They have not been molested lately at her unit with Hun planes. I saw in the casualty list to day the names of 4 nursing sisters, 3 of whom were killed and one had died of wounds. 2 were V.A.D. nurses.

Unless my plans alter very materially I shall not spend the winter months in England. Now do not think dear girl that the idea of being with you does not appeal to me. It most certainly does very much but I shall try to give you a few reasons for my decision. First, I left Canada to take part in the war and the war is being fought in France and Belgium and not to any extent at least in England. There are so many slackers among officers in England, men who have never been at the front and have no intention of coming if they can help it, that I wish to avoid even the appearance of being associated or connected with the bunch. Second, if I went to England for the winter I would be struck off the strength of the B.E.F. and would lose my turn in any promotions over here. I am now one of the senior captains in our divisional C.A.M.C. personnel. I am now known to some extent by the senior medical officers in the division and corps, and, although this may sound a bit egotistical to you, I think I am fairly favourably known. Naturally I do not like the idea of leaving and being thrown among “A generation that knows not Joseph”. I have always heard that a medical officer that goes down to the base or to England from the front with rank less than that of major has a very thin time of it. The occupants of “Safety first” positions look upon him with very little favour. Third and perhaps most important, I do not see how we could live comfortably at present in England on captain’s pay.

Now, my dear sweetheart, does this explanation satisfy you? As a matter of fact you will probably be quite happy to get rid of me for a time at the end of a months leave. As to your coming to France, that might be possible to manage. If you could live in Paris I could get away to see you more often probably than if you remained in England. I believe though that you would have to give up the nursing service. However you know the rules regarding that better than I do. I quite agree with you that you would be better off to have something to occupy your time. Something in the nature of canteen work might be available over here. Mrs. Bell lives in Paris and the Colonel takes his leave there every 3 months.

Our weather is atrocious, nearly continuous rains & high winds. I certainly dread the winter. Give my kind regards to Miss Reid and Good bye for yourself.

Your lover

Harold W McGill

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Published in: Uncategorized on April 16, 2007 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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