France, April 22, 1918

Dear Emma;-

I have your letter of April 16 enclosing the one from Mrs. Mackid. It came to-day at noon. I should have let you know that my invaluable batman got me a bottle of ink without having been told to do so. Nevertheless I shall be able to make use of the one you are kind enough to send.

The news as you say is not very cheering and I fear we must look forward to a whole summer of ferocious fighting. Most good Americans now wish, I imagine, that their nation had stepped in at the beginning, or at least started preparations then. It will be another year before they can render any military aid of great value, and in the meantime we shall just have to stick it. You express great faith in the Canadian troops and I feel sure that your faith will be amply justified when the hour of trial comes and they take part in heavy engagements. The fact that the Germans have carefully avoided attacking the parts of the line held by Canadians is a sincere compliment upon the part of the enemy.

Our weather still keeps cold and disagreeable but there has been no snow or rain for the past two days. This is my third spring in this country and all have been cold and backward. Warm weather came last year about the end of April so I presume we may look for some fine days in about another week.

I have been busy this afternoon making up the mess accounts for the week. We are running a good mess and are all enjoying the comfort and advantages of a good location while we are still here. It seems strange that since the most trying period of the war began on March 21 our unit has had probably the best quarters that it has had since I joined it last September. However our share of the rough stuff will surely come later but none of us are spending any of our time indulging in gloomy foreboding.

Must write a letter to Margaret this afternoon. It must be nearly a week since my last letter to her went off and she may be getting nervous.

Yours with best love

Harold W. McGill

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Published in: on February 7, 2008 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

France, April 2, 1918

Dearest Emma;-

Your two letters of March 26 & 27 respectively came to hand last evening. I was just sitting down to answer them when the mail came in and brought yours of March 28. You certainly keep up a fine record as a letter writer and every line is much appreciated.

I very much enjoyed reading the letter from Mrs. Dean. The Deans were very good friends of mind in bygone days. Mr. Dean is a chemical engineer. When I was in Exshaw I met some very nice people among the technical and engineering experts who had charge of the building and equipping of the works and with some of them I have maintained a more or less desultory correspondence ever since. Prof. Christie of whom you have heard me speak was another friend I met there for the first time. He had charge of the installation of the turbine engines in the power house of the plant. He has written several books on technical matters connected with steam engineering. In Exshaw we were a small clique of professional men among a big crowd of labourers and naturally we were thrown much together; thus the conditions leading to the forming of close friendships or otherwise were present. This afternoon I wrote to another old Exshaw friend, a French electrical engineer named Louis de Gilleul. Louis can curse the Germans in five different languages.

The situation militaire is somewhat less exciting just at present but the condition is most likely no more than a lull in the storm.

We are still in our good quarters but a move on an hour’s notice would not surprise us. We marched 26 miles one night. It was not pleasant to hear the people in the villages through which we passed cursing the English. When they heard we were Canadians however our “apology” was accepted. During the past week I have seen the terror of inhabitants of an invaded country upon the approach of the enemy. It’s a frightful thing to watch, poor old women loading the few poor belongings they can carry in a wheelbarrow and fleeing away from the sounds of the guns. Shall write again soon.

Your devoted husband

Harold W. McGill

Published in: on January 17, 2008 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment