France, Oct 9, 1917

Dear Emma;-

Your letter of Sept 30 reached me yesterday. You will note that the time the letters take in coming is getting slightly shorter, 8 days this last time instead of 12. I trust that I shall soon be getting some sent directly to my present address. These will not take such a long time to reach me.

We have been getting most deplorable weather lately, almost continuous rain with very high driving winds. However we have fairly comfortable billets. I am afraid though that the mud will tie up active military operations for a time at least, and it takes a long time for mud to dry up at this time of the year.

I hope that you had a good time in London and were not bombed. I am afraid the weather would be rainy at the time you were up. However even rain is preferable to bombs. The present weather is entirely unsuited to bombing expeditions.

I note what you say regarding the deportation of Canadian women. Is this official, and if so when is the deportation to begin? Would you be sent home if we were to get married? I certainly would not be in favor of that. It may be that I shall be able to get leave before many months, and what then? Have you found out how much notice you have to give for a resignation? If I were to go to London on leave to-morrow I should not have the faintest idea in the world as to the measures necessary to adopt in order to effect our purpose. Wish one could get a firm of brokers to arrange all details. I thought of taking Col. Hewgill into my confidence and asking him to help me, but I hate to bother him and he might not wish to be troubled with such a matter. What do you think of it?

Had a letter from Margaret yesterday dated Oct 3. They were looking forward to the waning of the moon when she wrote. Moonlight nights are not popular in C.C.S.s any more than in London.

Write often and at great length.

Your lover

Harold W McGill

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France, May 28, 1917

Dear Miss Griffis;-

Your letter of May 17 is to hand. Please excuse my writing in pencil; I lost my fountain pen during our last tour.

We are now out in reserve under canvas again Dieu merci. Our periods of rest have been mighty short and those of duty very long for past two months or more. Our last trip was a long trying one but fortunately our casualties were light. The weather though was fine all the time except for one days rain. When the battalion was in the front line I used to stay up all night and sleep during the day. The early mornings were beautiful. Some times I could see & hear 3 or 4 skylarks at once and other sing birds were plentiful. The screaming of the shells didn’t seem to disturb their singing at all. The first morning after we took over the Hun put on a vigourous straafe with 15 cm shells around our premises. He first blew in our aid post and shortly afterwards smashed in our sleeping dugout. Fortunately I had retreated in each case with my orderlies before the direct hits were landed. None of my men were injured although one had a very narrow margin. A man of another battalion was killed at the door of the dugout. It was lucky we had no wounded on hand when the hate started to come over. It took us 3 hours to dig our belongings out of the wreckage after the storm was over. Our rations were at the bottom of the dugout and we could not have any breakfast until we recovered them.

The records arrived this afternoon. I really do not know how to express my thanks. Somebody has made off with our gramophone but I have a search party out to locate it so that we may have some fresh music. The gramophone sounds like voices from home when we come out of the trenches.

I note your remarks re Major Hewgill. The Major is a very fascinating personality and I am going to make a stab for some leave in order that I may go over to England and see what he is up to. I hear that he has command of a reserve unit over there. No one could deserve it more.

I had the pleasure of dressing a badly wounded Hun last tour, a compound fracture of the right humerus. He was under 19 years of age and had been in the army over a year. He had been a student at Munich University and could speak a little English. He told us that their colonel had warned them all against the Canadians. The colonel had told them that the English were not so bad but that Canadians were a rough cruel lot who would use prisoners very badly. When he told me he was a university student I asked him where were the dueling scars on his face. In reply he gave a wan smile and pointed to the wound in his arm. After I put his arm up in splints he said “I thank you very much for your kindness to me.” I told him it was not our habit to make war on wounded prisoners. He wanted to know if I was acquainted with Philadelphia. One cannot help having compassion on wounded enemies but the sight of a dead Boche does not excite any sympathy in me. No body invited them here. I have just read of the recent air raid on England.
Do you ever see Capt. Geo. Johnson? I saw his name in the casualty list as wounded some time ago, but have not heard from him and do not where he is or how he is progressing. Neither have I seen Haszard for months. Major Gunn is still out here but I hear that Dunlop has been evacuated sick.

Let me hear from you again soon.

Sincerely yours

Harold W McGill