France, Aug 16, 1917

Dearest Emma;-

Just a few lines to assure you of my perfect safety. Your letter of Aug 9 came last night. As you will notice it was six days on the way. Your letters are lovely and I am on the look out for one every night after the transport comes in with the rations. I wish I could do nearly half as well in the way of letter writing.

As you will see by the newspapers we are having a somewhat lively time just at present. Our battalion was in reserve during yesterdays action and all I had to do was to sit by the side of the trench and watch the prisoners march down the road. We all had to “stand to” before daybreak and obtained a fine view of the fireworks when our barrage was put down. The weather was very threatening the night before last but although yesterday was a little showery it was not at all bad for military operations. To day is fine but there is a high wind blowing which is somewhat cool.

Now in regard to my future, do you wish me to transfer to England now or when my next leave comes around? Please know my dear one that the sweetest thing in the world to me is the prospect of living with you always, but we must remember that we are both soldiers and our personal inclinations must always have a secondary place. As I said in another letter my proposed transfer to a field ambulance may make it more difficult for me to obtain long leave, but whether it be a long or short time in coming, and no matter what the duration of it is we must get married when I next go to England. It will then be time enough to discuss the advisability of my remaining there. Many things may happen in the meantime that would affect our decision. I know how you feel about the matter and it makes me most anxious to know what is the best thing for me to do.

You will begin to wonder why I have not sent you the ring I mentioned. I have to make all arrangements by post – all of which takes time, but I have not forgotten it. I have alas been trying to get some war souvenirs for you but have not been able to obtain anything nice enough to send.

Major Horby our adjutant is going over to the 21st Reserve Battn. You will probably meet him over there. He is a good soldier and a first class fellow. I saw your friend Grant yesterday. He is in the best of health and spirits.

I am hurried and must ask you again to forgive me my poor efforts in letter writing. How I wish I were going on leave to morrow!

Always your lover

Harold W McGill

Published in: on December 4, 2006 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

France, July 20, 1917

Dear Emma;-

I have your letter of July 13 and was pleased to know that you were having a good time in London. I wrote you from the trenches and addressed the letter to 133 Oxford St London. I hope it reached you safely.

We are at present out in reserve, billeted in a ruined village. It used to be just behind the line but is now some distance back since the Huns have been moved along. The civilians are already coming back and starting in to rebuild their shell destroyed homes. It makes one savage to see the terrible destruction the Germans have left behind them. In the line we now hold there are pianos in a number of dugouts. These the Germans had looted from the towns they occupied. When we hustled them out they gutted and destroyed practically all the beautiful French homes. Of course in the smaller villages there was very little fine material to destroy but in the larger towns and cities the destruction has been wicked. I hope to live to see some of the fine German towns laid flat in ruins. Their people will then not be at all anxious to go to war again.

The records arrived to day but we have no gramophone as it was left up at the horse lines. One of our officers going on leave intends to bring a new machine back with him.

My correspondence is in a frightful state of neglect. I have a pile of unanswered letters in front of me that I can scarcely see over. I had a letter the other day from Mrs. Clarke of Calgary whom you will remember. She had not been very well. The Clarkes were always extremely kind to me. I had my room at their house for over four years.

How is your ankle? I am glad to know that you will not have to go back nursing those lungers for some time at least. Do you think you will apply for service in France? I wish you could get up with a C.C.S. but I presume that will not be possible until you have put in a certain period of nursing in a base hospital. And before too long a time elapses I hope we may be able to map out an entirely new program. Are there not such a lot of things we should have talked over? I should have had that taxi go out to Richmond and back. I shall look forward to my next leave with a particular interest and pleasure and if the war should be over then so much the better. Do you know anything about weddings? They are entirely outside the range of my experience; I was never at one in my life, not even as a spectator. With best of love I am

Yours ever

Harold W McGill

Published in: on October 2, 2006 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment