Original Letter

[This is scrawled on an angle across the upper left-hand corner of the page, before the date:]

God bless the Irish. Ross

 

France. 15th Nov. 1917

My Dearest Maidie:-

Ooch! The mail came in yesterday as predicted and I got two and in one of them, that of the sixth to be explicit, I did get a good rating a perfectly well deserved sitting out and every word of it was true excepting the things you said about yourself. And they were not deserved not true and were the only things in your letter that did hurt me. There are no circumstances that justify you in trying to depreciate yourself Dear, and I won’t listen to you writing them. I put my fingers in my ears as I read them. And all the other things were true. I have been writing rotten letters, try as I may I cannot write the letters that I want to write to you. If I only could tell you all the things I think of in the twenty four hours that make up a day I am sure that it would be an interesting letter. There are always lots of little things happening too that would be interesting in a letter. When I see them I always say to myself “I must tell Mary about this” But always when I am writing there is such a turmoil about that it is very difficult to think or remember anything. And so my letters are strained, perfunctory and unsatisfactory  Each one worse than the last, conveying the perfectly natural impression that they are just stuck in anywhere until finally I get myself reprimanded and know that I deserve it. I must surely exaggerate the difficulties of letter writing here and yet it always seems when I am writing that there is a special demand for my services. But I shall try to behave. What would you say if I sent whizz bangs on moving days? You would get them with the first letter written after a move was finished anyway as there is no chance of mailing anything when we are about. One day I shall show you our moves on a map and if you are not a surprised lady I’ll be very much surprised. But that is only drawing a herring across the trail and does in no way explain the miserable scrats of letters I send you. What am I going to say? I have told you the truth and yet it doesn’t seems a reasonable excuse. I should write a decent letter sometimes and I shall if the moon falls. But you know, Dearest that even if my letters are off colour that I love you tremendously with every bit of me, that you are all my life and that all I do is love you I couldn’t ever have you doubt that. And I know that I am a pig for not writing you better letters.

I never told you that our Band, when we were at the farm, played in the other end of the barn every other afternoon that they played “365 days”. I never told you that the other night when we bivouacked I fell in an old shell hole and nearly drowned, got out and slipped in another which hadn’t a thing in it but mud – all this not twenty feet from my bed room. And there are dozens of little odds and ends which would make a fair decent class of letter if they were assembled properly and here I send you letters which even leave a doubt in your mind as to whether I love you or not! There are lots of little parodies that would amuse you. I have meant to collect them one day and send them to you but like everything it gets put off
The infantree in the firing line
“The artillree behind them
“But when you look for the A.S.C.
“I’m blowed if you can find them.
But there are dozens of them and all good and nearly all printable for here they are not inclined much to smut. Everybody swears and blasphemy is everywhere but smut is most uncommon. I expect that when they get away when the strain is off that the devil comes to the surface.

Since writing the above Turk and I have been out salvaging. He is shy a water bottle and somebody took my entrenching tool. In addition we had to find a ground sheet for Miller. Up here no one ever buys anything on repayment. They just go out and find them on the prairie. We easily got what we needed and we didn’t have to walk ten miles either. It is [a] très interessante game and I could wish for a barrel more time to play at it.

And then just to show you how quickly things happen – we move demain. Now what do you think of that? And this is another long one and will I hope take us clear of this benighted country.

I can’t write very much more as things are starting to liven up as they have a habit of doing on the eve of a move. But, Dearest, if we do not move too early to-morrow I shall write you before we go. You have me properly scared now, you see. But please don’t be angry with me, and don’t suggest that I don’t love you or love you less because I do love you more and more each day, you know that I do. And I’d much sooner have a reprimand from my CO than from you – even when I deserve it. But the talking to won’t do me a particle of harm and I’m going to try and be a better boy  Will you take me in your arms Maidie please and tell me that you forgive me?

Your own

Ross

Operation Order

The 50th Battalion will be relieved to morrow the 16th inst. by the 2nd Battalion A. & S.H. ...Advance Parties to report to Lieut. A.W. SCOTT at TORONTO CAMP BRANDHOEK (G.18.a.5.5.) at 9.00 A.M. to morrow

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War Diary

Weather Very Fine. ... In Divisional Support and supplied Working Parties of 12 Officers and 580 Other Ranks. Casualties. 12 Other Ranks Wounded.

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Map

  • Location: Potijze
  • Battalion role: Support

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