France, March 2, 1918

Dear Emma : –

It is just two years ago to day since I heard my first really intensive bombardment. It was the day the British retook the old “International” trench from the enemy. Since that date I have seen and heard many such bombardments, but the one that morning made a very vivid and lasting impression on my mind. Intensive artillery fire must have an appalling and terrifying aspect to the newly arrived soldiers and it is to their everlasting credit that almost to a man they face it without so much as flinching. At the time I spoke of above I expected to be back in Canada, married to you, (If you would accept me) and carrying on as a civilian practicioner by this time.

Your two letters of Feb. 23 & 24 came yesterday and the one of Feb 25 came to day. I was very pleased to read what Miss Hurcombe had to say. So Mrs. Smith is away from the C.G.H. Ted, an orderly who used to be there and who is now in our unit, told me the other day he had had a letter from one of the CGH [Calgary General Hospital] nurses, I think he said from Mrs. Edy-

The slip from the paymaster you mention is of no consequence and you may destroy it. I have already returned the correspondence to which it was attached. I referred to your separation allowance. You may continue to address me as “Major” if you wish. I note that you enclosed Miss Drysdale’s address. I think I addressed my letter to her “North Godalming”, instead of “Near Godalming”, but I presume she would get the letter alright. If she doesn’t I shall have an excuse to write to her again. Haven’t had any letters from Canada since the Lord knows when. I am enclosing in this letter the one I had from Mrs. Clarke. I thought it very nice. I answered it the day before yesterday. If everyone in Calgary had as high an opinion of my professional skill as Mrs. Clarke I should be able to make you a fairly respectable income when we finally return there, if we ever do. The Clarkes were always very kind to one.

Poor Reidie! I feel awfully sorry for her, and she certainly deserves better times than she is having. Please give her my very kindest when you see her or if you are writing.

The weather has turned very cold and a regular blizzard is in progress outside now. We have a nice warm mess room, though, and there is nothing for me to do out doors; so I shall just lie low until the weather improves.

Your loving husband

Harold W. McGill

P.S. Leave perhaps, in another l or 2 months!

H W. McGill

Published in: on December 20, 2007 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

France, Feb. 17, 1918

Dear Wife; –

I had your letter of Feb 8 and also one from Margaret dated Feb 13, the day before yesterday but drew a complete blank in the line of letters yesterday. I am getting away behind with my correspondence again. For the past few days I have been fairly busy and besides have not had the letter writing spirit.

We are having fine sunny days now but the wind has gone around into the East and the nights are very frosty. I had a few men spading up a little ground for a garden but the ground has been frozen too hard lately for them to do any work. This morning I took a walk over a portion of our old line that we held over a year ago. There was a sort of melancholy pleasure in visiting the scene of our former activities. Some of our old trenches and the dugouts in which we used to live are still in fairly good condition. The place I had for an R.A.P. though has been destroyed.

I note that you have been indulging in speculations as to what might have been the several courses of our lives had we not chanced to meet. Such speculations are about as profitable as those of the little girl who used to wonder where she would have come in had her mother and father each married somebody else.

We had no church parade this morning but I had the men celebrate Sunday by scrubbing out their huts. I rather expect the Colonel along to see one this afternoon, it is so fine out. Have not had a horseback ride since I returned from leave.

I forgot to tell you that I received a letter for you addressed to my care yesterday. I shall enclose it in this if I do not forget to do so as I did in the case of your cousin’s letter the other day.

You said something in your letter about being sent home to Canada. Have you heard anything to that effect I hope it is not so, but if it is you may possibly avoid the net by going in for V.A.D. work or something of the sort. At any rate you are not likely to be sent home before I have another leave. By the way somebody told me that the leave period was to cut down to the original length, i.e. 10 days.

Be sure to send me one of the new photos. Good bye for present.

Yours lovingly
Harold W. McGill

Published in: on December 6, 2007 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment