France, May 31, 1918

Dearest Emma; –

I did not have a letter from you yesterday but the drygoods stock, or should I say haberdashery ? arrived. My dear, I asked you to send me one suit of underwear, not a whole wardrobe. I already had one light suit of underwear and two heavy. I also had three top shirts, two heavy and one light weight. However the mind of my batman has now been set at rest for he seems quite pleased with my new clothing. He intends to get some marking ink with which to put my name on the clothing. The handkerchiefs and tie were quite superfluous. I had three handkerchiefs so that I could always depend on a spare one even when one was in the wash and none of my ties are nearly worn out yet. However the underwear is just the thing I needed and I may be able to make use of the other things some day provided I can get the transport to carry them.
As evidence of my appreciation I took a bath this afternoon and put on new things all around, underwear, top shirt, collar & tie. I shall be able to go without my serge now on hot days without causing people to comment upon the condition of my shirts. Really though I didn’t need any new top shirts.
Your letter of May 24 came to hand this morning and I was as always very pleased to hear from you. I hope you are still finding life and conditions at Roehampton House at least tolerable. You will probably be able to see quite a few of your friends who come up to London. How far are you from Charing Cross which I presume is considered the centre of London? Did you see that Grant had been mentioned in dispatches, at least I presume it is our Grant, Lt. E.G. Grant of Alberta Regt.
The weather here lately has been much like that of Alberta, warm days and with quite chilly evenings and nights. The only fault with the nights is that they are too fine & clear.
I am pleased to know that you have heard from Margaret. She has not written to me for some time. I am somewhat anxious about her for the Germans have been doing a lot of bombing hospitals and clearing stations. We had a moving picture show this afternoon but I did not go except for a few minutes. I was busy going around with a couple of officers on another field ambulance showing them our station. They may take over from us but we shall not be badly disappointed if they do not show up for some time.
Let me hear from you soon often and at great length. Also do not build your hopes too high in regard to my getting leave this summer.
Yours fondly
Harold W. McGill

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

France, May 5, 1918

Dearest Emma; –

Did not have any letters from you yesterday or the day before but the one you wrote on April 29 arrived to-day. Now my dear girl, I don’t wish you to take what I said about buying articles of household equipment too much to heart. By all means if you see anything that you fancy, and which you think might contribute to our future happiness & well being, buy it, i.e. if I send you enough funds to enable you to do so. I fear that you will not be able to do any extensive shopping on what you can save from the pittance I am able to contribute to your monthly income. I shall therefore expect you to be able to show me a few pieces of superfine linen for our “Little grey home in the West” when we next meet.

Yesterday was a peculiar sort of day. The morning was fine but heavy showers of rain kept coming on all day with bright sunshiney intervals between squalls of rain. I did not go out horseback riding as I had intended but went off in a car going up towards the line. I saw some men of the old battalion on the street of a village so I got off the car and questioned them with the result that I found that two companies were in the village and the other two with Hq. in the adjoining town. I called on A & B companies who were messing together and saw Major Hornby and Captain Tucker, the respective company C.O.s. They were just going over the Bn. Hq. to a conference so I went along. Major Doughty is now m/c of the battalion. After the conference we had afternoon tea in the Hq. mess. There were 11 at the table and Capt. Petty called attention to the fact that 8 of these had come overseas with the original battalion. In the evening I walked back and had dinner with the combined A & B mess, and afterwards walked back to my own unit, which I reached just at dark. Col. Bell is now a Brigadier General and is in command of the brigade. I am very pleased that he has at last obtained that which has been due him for such a long time.

Had a bath in a time tub this afternoon. I have finally decided to discard one suit of underwear and the top shirt to which you had such a pronounced aversion. The cuffs were becoming very ragged and the sleeves were nearly worn through the cuffs were hanging down and showing at the wrists. I had some idea of cutting the sleeves off and wearing the balance of the garment during the remainder of the summer but finally decided to make a complete sacrifice.

Am pleased to know that your had such a good time at the Drysdales but feel very sorry that Miss Reid is not improving any in health. The poor girl I fear will have to return to Canada but what then?

Have not heard from Margaret for a week or more. I presume she is now kept very busy. I wrote to my cousin in Toronto to-day and when I answer the letters from Herb and one or two others I shall be again caught up with my correspondence.

I dream about you nearly every night. This may mean that I am soon going on leave but more likely that I very much wish to be with you once more. The latter is true any way.

Your very fond husband
Harold W. McGill

Published in: on February 20, 2008 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment