France, May 12, 1918

Dear Emma;-

I did not have any letter from you in to-day’s mail but because it is Sunday and also the 12th day of the month I feel that I must write you. 5 months ago to day we were married and 3 years ago to day I left Calgary with the 31st Battn. We all thought then that we should be back home within two years at the very outside.

It is a miserable day out, quite cold, and every few minutes a squall of rain comes over. It has not been raining hard at any time though. I have been half expecting some of the 31st officers to drop in this afternoon but so far nobody has shown up. We have a nice fire going in our fire place and the temperature is quite low enough to make it appreciated. I do not suppose you ever have a fire in England now with all the fuel conservation rules in force.

Have you heard from Roehampton yet? I hope that you may be able to find something congenial in the way of a billet over there. Are Canadian nurses still being brought out from Canada? Matron in Chief Macdonald must have been speaking in a Pickwickian sense last winter when she told you to apply to her when you were ready to go to work.

We had another concert last night but I stayed away and wrote two letters, one to you and one to Margaret afterwards. Those who went to the concert reported that it was not up to the standard of the one the night before.

I am very sorry to know that Col. Hewgill has not been well. He was on the sick list very little, if at all, in France and I feel quite sure he will soon be himself again.

Good bye sweetheart.

Yours lovingly

Harold W. McGill

Published in: on February 26, 2008 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

France, Feb. 8, 1918

Dear Emmie; –

I had two letters from you yesterday – they usually come in pairs. One was written on Feb 1 and the other the day following. The latter enclosed a note from Miss Drysdale. She must be a very fine young lady and Col. Hewgill should make preparations for carrying on a vigorous offensive.

Dear girl, do not waste you time counting off weeks and months. Heaven knows, the time goes fast enough and one should not be wishing it away. As I have previously warned you, leave is a most uncertain commodity, and personally I shall not be in the least surprised if it is very much curtailed, if not cancelled altogether with the onset of Spring and the beginning of the season of military activity.

I am saying this not for the purpose of worrying you but simply to prevent you building your castle of hope on the sands of my expectation of leave.

Our fine weather has come to an end for the time being and during the past few days it has been cloudy with showers of rain. There has been a very high S.W. wind during the past 48 hours but it is not at all cold. In fact one has no reason for complaint even now in regard to the weather. Snow and hard frosts are what I dislike.

We had a very quiet night last night and I did not have to get up once. A few nights ago the Huns tried to raid us but did not get very far. He left a few prisoners in our hands but did not get away with any of our men. I had three wounded Germans through my dressing station. Two out of the 3 will likely die. It was really hardly worth while carrying them out of the front line. The other chap had a fairly severe wound but should make a good recovery. His watch was gone and he informed me that a “Kamerad” had taken it.

I have just had lunch after censoring the mail which latter is now ready to go out. My mess orderly went sick this morning and I have a new one on to day. It is quite a task keeping everybody busy around the place. I am after some N.C.O. it seems to me about half my time. This afternoon I am starting some of the men building a new cookhouse —Had an interruption of an hours duration. The mail has not yet gone away so I shall have time to finish this and get it off.

The stove is smoking somewhat this afternoon. The pipe sticks straight out through the end of the hut and I think the wind must be shifting around to the northwest and blowing into it.

How are you making out about rations? We hear so many wild stories about shortages of meat, sugar, butter, etc. etc. that I am afraid that at times you may experience some difficulty in obtaining enough to eat.

Col. Kappele is back from a 30 days leave and was in to see me yesterday. He intended coming again to day to have a good look around the dressing station but the rain must have frightened him away. He will likely come to-morrow. Had the Chaplain of the 31st in to dinner the other night. Have not seen Major Doughty for over 3 weeks. My cousin I hear has been on leave which he spent down around Nice. That is where we shall spend our leave next winter, D.V.

You may be interested and probably pleased to know that your ever faithful and loving servant is now entitled to all the respect, pay and privileges of an acting major. It came through a few days ago but I believe has not appeared in Gazette yet. I hope it will be made “Temporary” later on. At present I am entitled to the rank only while in command of a section. You had better address any mail as heretofore until my promotion has been confirmed.

The mail has just come in and I am bitterly disappointed in not receiving a letter from you. Up to now I have always mentioned to you the fact of receiving your letters. From now on I shall remark upon the fact of not receiving one.

Have not seen the paper to day and haven’t an idea of what has been happening in the war or elsewhere. Am always pleased to hear from you. Thank you for the flowers. I ate the last of the chocolates last night. They were very nice but please do not send any more.

Your loving husband
Harold W. McGill