France, April 9, 1918

Dearest Emma; –

Your letter of April 3 came yesterday and I was pleased to know that my letters had been reaching you alright although I fear that there was not much in them to cheer anyone. Just a year ago do day we went “Over the top” at Vimy Ridge and we all thought that we had the Germans beaten to a standstill. The prospects are far different now but I presume that the situation is never so bad nor so good as it may appear at any particular moment.

The weather has been very dull and miserable the past few days but whether the rain is helping us or the enemy I really do not know. Outside of the effect it has on the military operations it is certainly very disagreeable for everyone.

Just at present our unit is m/c of a C.R. 8 miles behind the lines. We have comfortable quarters and the work is not heavy. Last night my batman put a hot water bag in my bed. This doesn’t sound much like a tale of the “Horrors of war” does it?

I was much interested in your remarks concerning the offer you had had to take up hospital work. Of course if you could arrange to get off whenever I go on leave you might start in any time. Certainly we must have our next leave together and we shall get far away from “The madding crowd”. Naturally I have no idea when leave will again be opened and really with the military situation in its present critical state leave is a matter of very small relative importance. I presume you would prefer to return to the Canadian service and I think I should also rather that you did.

Please excuse this short letter. I may be able to do better next time.

Yours with world of love
Harold W. McGill

Published in: on January 23, 2008 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

France, Sept. 7, 1917

Dearest Emma;-

Your letter of Aug. 31 reached me to day. It took 7 days on the road, the longest time any of them have done up to date. I am sure I do not know what the matter is unless the mails are being deliberately held up. I have also had several bundles of the “Times” from you and wish to thank you very much for them. Really though it is not worth the trouble to send them for they are several days old before they reach me.

Was much interested in your account of your dance and other activities in the social way. I think we shall be able to get along without many fights, for apparently we like the same sort of people. I trust young Owen will do well and that he does not go in for a temperature of 105° to any great extent. I remember well the day he left to get his commission. It was on April 8, and we were resting in a wood preparatory to going into our assembly trenches for the great attack on Vimy Ridge the next morning.

September has been a fine month so far and I hope that it maintains its record. We had a heavy thunderstorm yesterday but to day has been fine and very warm. I walked down to the Hq. 5th F. Amb this morning to hear a lecture on treatment of fractures of the femur. It was hot and close for walking. My mare has gone lame again and I fear that some of my riding program will have to be abandoned.

I am still with the battalion and we are still enjoying the blessings of peace. I do not know why I should be in a hurry to change while present conditions prevail. There are no souvenirs to be had here. The funny thing about souvenirs is that one is usually too busy with other things to think about gathering them when he is where they are to be picked up. Thélus was the best place I ever saw for souvenirs for we went into the place right on the heels of the enemy. In some of the dugouts we found their kits half packed lying on the beds. I didn’t manage though to find anything especially interesting or valuable. The next time we get the run on the Germans I shall keep my eyes open for something. I should like to get a compass pistol, field glass, or something of that sort. A 5 pfenning piece was all the German money I found in Thélus and I threw that away. I am sorry now I did. It would have been a rather interesting keepsake. When I go with the field ambulance I shall not have quite the opportunity to gather these things that I have had, for the prisoners are usually pretty well picked by the time they reach the dressing stations. Personally I never took anything from a wounded prisoner nor did I allow my men to do so. It never appealed to me as being “Quite the thing, you know”. Somewhat infra dig as it were.

What do you think of the political situation in Canada? Rather makes one think of Russia doesn’t it? I see by the papers that the number of automobiles in the western provinces has doubled during the past year. There are thousands of people over in Canada who do not give a damn (Excuse the expression please) how long the war lasts or how many men are killed or maimed so long as the prices of wheat and hogs do not fall. I have serious thoughts that, if Canada fails to enforce conscription, I shall never live there again but merely return to settle up what little business I have and then take up my abode in some new British possession East Africa for instance. I suppose I should say “We” dear girl shouldn’t I, for you are now certainly never out of my plans for the future. Would you be willing to go off to some new and wild part of the world?

Had a letter from Margaret yesterday. She said that it was time I had somebody to keep an eye on me, that I had had my own way long enough. I should like to know what Margaret had to say to you. She told me she had written to you but gave me no intimation of what she had said. I wrote to my other sister in Wpg last night telling her of our intentions.

Goodbye for present and good luck always.

Your lover,

Harold W McGill