5 A.M Nov 12, 1917

Dear Emma;-

Your two letters of Nov 5 & 6 respectively arrived yesterday. I am very sorry to hear of your illness and hope that as you say you were better by the time your letter reached me. I have had quite a bunch of letters lately but have not been able to answer any of them. This is a peculiar hour to be letter writing but it is about the only time of day that I have a chance to do any. I got up at 3:15, had breakfast at 3:30, and then saw to getting away relief parties, rations, etc. I expected to take the parties up myself this morning but another officer was going up so I did not have to go. When there is no officer in the party I take the reliefs up the line myself and then return. After I got the parties away this morning the place was so quiet that I thought it was a good chance to talk to you for a short time. The last time I wrote to you was on Nov 6 while I was sitting up waiting for “Zero Hour”.

Yes, I received your letter speaking about Longham or Longman and have not forgotten the matter. However I scarcely see how I can help him much. Is he anxious to get with a field ambulance? If so I shall mention the matter to our C.O. and it may be possible to get him out as a reinforcement to this unit.

I really do not know what to say to you regarding your coming to France. You see I am very anxious to marry you when I next go on leave and am looking forward with a great deal of pleasure to spending the leave with you. This could hardly be if you came to France. However if you receive an order to report for duty in France I presume you will have to obey but I am afraid our marriage in that case would have to be delayed some months. I shall leave the decision entirely with you. Of course I should like you to have a record for service in France during the war but am selfish enough to wish very much to have you spend all the time with me when I next go on leave. What you will do afterwards when I return to the front is matter that I have not yet taken under serious enough consideration.

The 31st Padre is returning to Canada very shortly and I am afraid will not be available for our purpose. He was around to see us the other day and I had him bury one of our sergeants that had been killed in action. A number of fine 31st officers and men whom I know well went under in the recent fighting. Do you remember a young officer you noticed on the Victoria Station platform! He was killed by a bomb the other night.

Best of love dear sweetheart

Yours always

Harold W. McGill

P.S. Ted, you used to be at C.G.H. is with our unit. He returned from hospital yesterday. H.W. McG

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Published in: on June 18, 2007 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

France, Nov. 26, 1916

Dear Miss Griffis;-

Your letter of Oct 21 has been to hand for some days. I was delighted to hear from you but sorry to hear that you were still more or less in poor health. I sincerely hope you will feel quite alright by this time and able to enjoy a pleasant and happy Christmas. One month from yesterday is the date of the holiday.

We are at present in the trenches but hope to be out for Christmas day. Of course the time of relief may be changed but if we are for out Christmas we shall be in for the New Year. I spent last Christmas in a very dirty Belgian farmhouse and New Years Eve and Day in a dug out.

We had some very heavy rains at the beginning of this month but on the whole the weather during November has been much better than we experienced last year. We actually had a stretch of ten days without rain. There was a very hard frost and a little snow last week.

Everybody out here has been greatly uplifted by the news that Sir Sam Hughes has been fired. He should have had the wheels put under him long ago. We have a splendid Commanding Officer for the Canadians in the field and if our politicians will only leave him alone we shall be alright. Sir Sam kept our men armed with the Ross rifle until last summer and for that reason I heard some one say his hands are bloody to the elbows. Jobbing and wire pulling among the Canadians in England were becoming a scandal and I sincerely hope that there will now be an improvement. I believe that Sir Sam was sincere and honest but he made a mess of everything he touched and rendered himself impossible by his outrageous statements to the press.

We are having things very easy now so far as fighting is concerned but of course we never know how long it will be before we get into something rough. The battalion has changed very much since this time last year but we still have a few of the original officers and men. Did you know Capt Pinkham in civil life? He was one of the “Noblest Romans of them all”. He was killed on Sept 15 in one of our big fights. I saw him last at about 3.30 o’clock in the morning just before he left headquarters dugout to join his men whom he led over the parapet at 6.20 A.M. We lost a number of fine officers in September but I think I miss Pinkham more than any other. He was a quiet chap but a splendid officer and without fear. Another fine man and valuable officer whom we lost was John Arbuckle. He had been promoted from the ranks. He was wounded at St Eloi last April and had been all Summer in England. He rejoined us just before our second action in Sept. and was killed 2 days after he came back. He was as pleased to get back to the battalion as a schoolboy on a holiday.

My sister is still at No 2 General Hospital. In her last letter she complained of feeling lonesome as some of her chums had gone to other units. In my reply I told her not to get discouraged as the side that hung out 15 minutes the longer would win the war. I wish though I could get down to see her.

With best of Seasons Wishes I am yours sincerely

Harold W McGill

P.S. Please excuse my writing paper.