France, Jan 12, 1918

Dear Wife Emma;-

I have your three letters of Jan 4 – 6 inclusive. Thank you for writing me so often for I dearly love to hear from you. Please forgive me my neglect. Last night though I got my wallet out for the purpose of writing to you but was interrupted before I got started. I have been fairly busy lately.

I have been orderly officer this week, getting up at 6 30 every morning, etc. and have had very little time to devote to correspondence. I have now on hand 3 letters from my brother unanswered besides a host of others.

All week we have been preparing for an inspection by the G.O.C. division which took place this afternoon. It meant a lot of work and driving the men, but was worth it for our unit looked quite smart on parade. The G.O.C. seemed quite pleased with our turnout. During the week we have had the men parade time after time in full kit until we got them into a fairly presentable state of dress and general bearing. The idea of the duty of a military officer possessed by the people at home is one depicting him leading a bunch of heroes up the line under a rain of shells, whereas actually nine tenths of his work consists in hammering at his men to make them shine their buttons, keep their equipment clean and in order, and to prevent them throwing food on the floors of their billets. Besides these things he has a hundred and one other little details to look after, all trivial perhaps, but all necessary for the maintenance of discipline and efficiency. The battles are merely breaks in the general monotony of the life.

I note the list of announcement recipients you enclosed. Please send one each to Lt. Col. Mewburn and Capt George R. Johnson both at Duchess of Connaught’s Hospital, Taplow. I believe the hospital goes by another name now but you know the one I mean. Please do not bother to send me more than a very few of my calling cards; I have no use for them over here. Neither do I desire you to send me the locket. It was a rather peculiar wedding present wasn’t it? I had a letter the other day from Miss Marion Macdonald of Winnipeg an old friend of my schooldays. She said she did not know whether to send me a wedding present or a Christmas parcel but had finally decided upon the latter. The box arrived to day and contained all sorts of good things. I must write and acknowledge it one of these days. I hope to be less busy during this coming week and shall try to get over to No 4 C.C.S to see if Margaret has turned up there yet.

Yes, the next honeymoon we have we shall run away and have a real time all to ourselves. Perhaps we should have done that during our last but we had a very nice time as it was; at least I had I know. Is there anything you require or want?

Your loving husband

Harold W McGill

France, Nov. 21, 1917

Dearest Emma;-

Your letter of Nov. 15 reached me to day, it being the only letter I received in the mail. I wonder why it is that my letters seem to travel so much faster than yours. It nearly always takes six days for your letters to reach me and never less than 5. Some of mine have apparently got to you in 3 days – eg. the one I wrote you early one morning while I was waiting for Zero hour. That was the morning the Canadians took Passchendaele.

So you are not coming to France. Well I am pleased but at the same time it would have been nice for you to have seen some service over here. However had you come we might not have been able to see each other for months, and the date of our marriage must have been postponed almost indefinitely. Do you expect to remain in Bramshott or will you be transferred to some other Canadian Hospital in England? Just so soon as you are reasonably certain of your probable destination I shall start negotiating for the months leave and if there is any prospect of success I shall write to Col. Hewgill and ask him to be my advance agent. Will you be ready and willing? Could the thing be done on 14 days leave?

Am very sorry to know that Miss Reid has been ill and hope that she is better by the time this reaches you. Are you still running a temperature yourself? Please let me know for I am anxious about you.

It is raining to day and altogether the weather is very gloomy. This month however has been much better than was November either last year or the year before. We have had a lot of mist and fog but not a great deal of rain and scarcely any frost. When we are married we shall go down to the sunniest part of England, Devon or Cornwall. What do you think about it?

Had a long letter from my sister in law in Vancouver yesterday. She wrote to congratulate me on the event of my engagement. She expressed her pleasure that I was to marry a Canadian girl and was not about to take some one back from England. Margaret had mentioned you in one of her letters to Ethel (my sister in law).

Goodbye for present and please forgive my long lapses of silence. The letters would not have gone away even had I written them.

With best love


Harold W McGill

Published in: on July 9, 2007 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment