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.