France, May 12, 1917

Dear Miss Griffis;-

Your letter of May 5 came to hand yesterday and I was much pleased to know that you are enjoying life and not worked too hard. Two years ago to day we left Calgary for the war. By “We” I mean the battalion; there are now not very many left of the crowd that pulled out of the C.N.R. station that fine morning. It seems ages ago to look back for the two years have been very eventful ones. Sometimes I feel that I have never known any other life than this of campaigning with its associations of blood and sudden death.

Just now we are out in a rest camp for a few days and are surely enjoying the change. We are sleeping under canvas and taking all the advantages of the prevailing fine weather. The coming of warm weather was a wonderful relief to us; I had begun to fear that I might never be warm and comfortable again. We had a strenuous time of it during our last tour in and went through some hellish fighting. This last is not a mere figure of speech but is literally correct. I did not have my clothes off for 15 days. It was like a taste of paradise to get back to a camp where one could have a wash and change of clothing.

It has been very hot to day. Capt Bob Pearson of Calgary now with the Y.M.C.A. put on a concert for our boys this afternoon and most of us attended. The concert took place in the big Y.M.C.A. tent. We have also got our old gramophone going and enjoying hearing the records ground out for perhaps the hundredth time. It has a most restful effect to hear the old machine grinding out the canned music when we first come back out of the line. Music does not have to be real high class to satisfy us. Our band is now in good shape and its performances when we are in camp also give much pleasure. Most primitive means of recreation such as pitching horse shoes give much soul satisfying amusement in a rest camp.

The papers and magazines you are sending me so often are very highly appreciated and I do not know how to thank you enough. Have you heard any more about coming over to France? No leave is in sight for us here yet but I shall make a desperate effort to get over to England before you leave for this side. I have not seen my sister since a year ago last February.

I lost my fountain pen and am using the Paymaster’s which is nearly out of ink.

Sincerely yours

Harold W McGill