France, Jan. 24, 1918

Dearest Emma; –

It was just a month at 7:35 this morning since I bid you goodbye at Victoria. I note your reference to that occasion in your letter. Please do not make affairs of such trivial natures matters of deep concern to yourself; if you do you will be worrying over something all the time, and worry is what hardens one’s arteries. It has been a long month to me and on the whole an uneventful one. December and January are however always long gloomy months and time seems to go much faster when we go into February. Last winter I remember I thought January would never end. If leave continues coming as at present I should be able to get away on leave again some time in May. It is quite likely though that all leave will be cut off if things get very hot on this front in the Spring.

Your two letters of Jan 16 & 17 arrived, the former on Jan 21 and the latter yesterday. Send Dr. Haszard an announcement by all means. He has gone back to England and transferred to the C.A.M.C. I do not know his address. We have now I presume nearly completed our list, although every day or so I think of somebody I should have remembered in making out my list.

I am very sorry to hear of Miss Reid’s continued illness and quite agree with you that she should go back to Canada. She is not helping either herself or the service by trying to carry on when she is physically unfit. I keep in such good health myself that hardships and exposures that knock other chaps out hardly effect me at all. Please give Reidie my kind regards when next you see her. By the way Col. Hewgill has not called to see me and I do not suppose he intends doing so.

Our weather has been keeping quite tolerably good for the season lately. It rains a little every day and keeps cloudy most of the time, but we have had no frosts lately and the rain is not heavy enough to make things too bad in the trenches and on the roads. Very wet weather and very cold weather are both bad, but men can get along very well under our present weather conditions, provided the tactical situation is more or less stagnant as it is now.

Your parcel arrived in good condition on Jan 21. Many thanks. The visiting cards will not be of much use to me out here. The figs were fine and I am sorry to say did not last for long. The bar chocolate I gave away to my dressing room staff. I have most of the box of chocolates still on hand. I eat two I think and Capt Muir ate one. Please do not send me any more chocolates; I really do not care for them and you need all the sugar and sweets you can get over there yourself. Also I still have plenty of bar chocolate left out of my Christmas parcels. That is a beautiful scarf; did you knit it yourself? It is certainly too good to wear over here anywhere near the front line. I presume it is intended to be worn under a trench coat. It is a beautiful thing anyway.

Just at present I am living a lonely and solitary life. Capt. Muir and I were running the M.D.S. of the ambulance and were settling down nicely to our work when he had to go away for a course at the R.A.M.C. school leaving me alone. So long as peace conditions prevail I shall be able to handle the work without being killed by overstrain, but it is nice to have an associate with one on a job of this kind, for company if for nothing else. Another thing, when an officer is alone at a front he is very thoroughly anchored by the heels until his relief comes.

Margaret has written me a couple of times since her return to her temporary billet. She has not rejoined her own unit yet for their quarters are not completed. When they do come down I expect to see Margaret and a bunch of the girls up around the front on a sight seeing tour for they see to wander all over the place. They went all over the Ypres salient when they were up there.

Please excuse the frightful envelope I am using to enclose this. It is one of the only two I have on hand except official envelopes.

Your loving husband,
Harold W. McGill

No Canadian mail recently. HWM

Published in: on November 15, 2007 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

France, Oct 6, 1917

My dear Emma;-

I was more than pleased to day to receive your two very nice and loving letters of Sept 24 & 28 respectively. You see they were reposted from the battalion and as you will see the first took 12 days to reach me. You should have my change of address long before this and I shall expect another letter to-morrow. Yes, I really truly love you – very much and all the girls I may ever meet will not make the slightest change.

It made me jump a foot to read about griddle cakes & maple syrup. I am certainly all in favor of that. I wonder how long it will be before we are able to have our first breakfast together in our own home and what we shall feel like. I know I shall feel quite excited and very happy.

No, I have not been at all busy lately although for the past few days I have been orderly officer and fairly well tied down to quarters. We had a move to-day but only for a short distance. It rained in buckets for most of the day and was altogether very disagreeable.

Had a letter from Margaret to day written on Sept. 24. Her unit was bombed but nobody was hurt. She told me not to worry any over her safety as they had a good trench to get into when the airplanes came over. They have to keep the lights out and sit in the dark or moonlight when there is danger of a raid. Margaret said that she had been out for a horseback ride, the first she has had in France. I have not been in a saddle since I came to the field ambulance, but a motor ambulance is good enough to go on with. I have not had a chance to visit the C.C.S. yet. I shall have to go either in a motor car or airplane. One of the R.F.C. officers invited me down to take a joy ride with him. I wonder whether I could persuade him to take me up to where Margaret is. The journey would take about 20 minutes in an airplane.

The war news from the Ypres salient is very good these days and I trust that it will continue so. I fear the rain will have a prejudicial effect on operations. How is the Hornby offensive proceeding?

Good bye for present. Kind regards to Reid.

Your lover

Harold W McGill