France, Jan. 14, 1918

Dear Emma;-

I received your letter of Jan. 8 yesterday with enclosure OK. Is this latter from Miss McPhedran? Now I fully intended writing you yesterday as I realize that I am getting on your bad books on account of my neglect. However I didn’t get a chance to write before the outgoing mail for next day was closed.

You of course know from my last letter that we had our general inspection on Saturday. Did I tell you that I wore my old great coat on parade? If the G.O.C. noticed that there was no hem on it he did not comment on the matter. Yesterday was a lovely day, bright and sunny. In the morning at 11 I took the unit on church parade. That makes twice in succession I have had to go to church. I was not sorry though that I went yesterday for the padre gave us a really good talk, much above the average of its kind. In the afternoon I went to a town a few miles away to inspect the P.R.S. our unit is running there with a section. On my way back I called at the Hq of the old battalion where I saw Col. Bell, Major Doughty et al. Major Hewgill had been around to see them but has not come around my way yet.

There was a heavy snow storm during the night and snow was still coming down when we got up this morning. I do not have to rise so early these mornings. This afternoon I took the men out for a route march. We were gone about 1½ hours and found the going very bad and the roads slippery. It is not very cold though.

Had a letter from Prof. Christie and also a parcel of tobacco and cigarettes from him. Did you send the announcement to him? His friend Miss Hubbard of whom I spoke to you has been writing to me and in her last letter she mentioned having knitted a sweater which she was sending. She had been down to Santo Domingo with her aunt and wrote to me a long account of her adventures. Do you think I should send her an announcement? You will understand I have never met the young lady. My friend Christie who is head of the Mechanical Engineering department at Johns Hopkins had been telling her about me and she, being an enthusiastic supporter of the allied cause, wrote me a very nice letter to which I replied, thus starting our correspondence. I had a 15 page letter from her to day to which I must reply before long. Her address is 2106 Mt. Royal Terrace, Baltimore Md. (Miss Louise Hubbard, by the way)

Do not worry yourself that you did not send me a box. I have had more than I can possibly use up for some time to come. You should see the pile of socks and other things that came in Christmas parcels. It makes me feel mean to be accepting so many things. At present I have still 3 unopened parcels on hand, one from Herb, one from Ethel (my sister in law) and one from Prof. Christie. Christie has sent me a wonderful lot of things since I came to the war.

Yes, I have written to Margaret since my return but have had no reply since she received my letter. That is not very good rhetoric, is it? Naturally she could not reply before receiving the letter. What I mean to say is that I have not had any letter from her since she received mine but have had one that she wrote since she came back to France. Margaret is no great shakes of a letter writer herself. I shall really have to get busy on my correspondence as my pile of unswered letters is steadily increasing. I have now 4 from my brother on hand all of which have arrived since I last wrote him. I have also one from Ethel to answer and one from my little 7 year old niece Mary who wrote to find out if she had a new auntie yet and what her name was.

Please do not have any more unpleasant dreams about me. I should much rather you slept soundly. That last episode of your dream though, that about my refusing to leave France is terribly likely to come true.

With greatest of love at all times

Your husband

Harold W McGill

Published in: on November 5, 2007 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

France, Sept 30, 1917

Dear Emma;-

I had three letters to day, one from Canada and 2 from you. I had intended writing you to
day anyway in spite of the fact that I had had no word from you for 6 days. The reason your letters were not reaching me sooner though was because they were going to the battalion.

This is a most beautiful day and September is maintaining its record for fine weather right to the end. It would be a nice day for a ride on horse back. Most of the ambulance officers are out somewhere and I am staying in to keep house. My first official duty was taking charge of the church parade for the unit this morning. This was my third attendance at church parade since coming to France.

It may be that I shall be able to get short leave before very long but do you not think it would be better for me to wait a respectable time and then apply for the month? How long notice would you require before you would be ready to move? Of course if I get a month the urgency in regard to time would not be so great but in any case the longer we have to spend together the better isn’t it? At least it would be for me but you might be glad of a chance to ship me back to France again. I think I shall have to take the padre of the old battalion into my confidence the next time I see him and get some information and advice from him. He is a good sort. You see I haven’t the most nebulous idea of the proper proceedure and if I were to get leave to morrow would know less about the steps to take regarding getting married than I would about forming a joint stock company in England. You may have acquired some information on the subject before now. It is just 3 months ago to day since I landed in England for my last leave, the most enjoyable holiday I have ever had. How is the sprained ankle that was such a good friend of mine?

It may be that I shall get up to see Margaret this week. An ambulance car will be going up in the direction of her unit on Friday and if possible I shall go along and look the C.C.S. up. Of course I shall see other girls as well and thus be on equal terms with you who are meeting so many nice men at the hospital every day. The colonel says that it will be quite easy for me to get off for the day. That is one advantage of being with a F. Ambulance. With the battn. I was pretty well tied down all the time.

Please excuse this short letter and the official paper on which it is written. Give my very kindest regards to Miss Reid. Do you think that there is any danger of Hornby becoming a casualty?

Your lover

Harold W McGill

Published in: on March 5, 2007 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment