Dear Mom, Dad, Bette and “Commando Jack”:
…Boy, Bill was a mad fellow night before last. All the regiment went out on scheme and our Coy being Duty Coy was left behind. Well at three o’clock in the morning the Sgt. Major came in and woke me up. The Colonel sent a dispatch rider back to camp saying there wasn’t enough men on the scheme and all the clerks had to go. Boy, I was ripping. The only men who went from our company were the officers, and I was darn sure I wasn’t going to be the only (non-officer) man from the coy. The Sgt. Major said I had to be ready at five thirty so I get up and go over to the officers’ lines to see the duty officer. I got him out of bed and told him what came in then gave him a big story about all the work there was to be done. After about a half hour of talking I got his permission to stay so I came back and went to bed again. I am getting to be quite good at getting out of these schemes. To date that is two twenty-five-mile route marches I’ve missed, and two schemes, not bad, eh?
That swell box you sent, Sis, arrived yesterday and it sure was a swell box. Everything was there, including the chocolate cake. You should see the feasts we have at night now. Jonsey got a box and comes in every night and the two of us have a feast. We have our choice of tea (Jonsey’s), Cocoa or Vi-Tone with toast, cheese and cake to top it off. You see we snitch a little extra bread at every meal to make the toast and when no one was looking we got a can of milk and a cup full of sugar.
The Major says that Jonsey and I are the biggest scroungers in the Canadian Army. Every morning when he comes in he says, well, what have we in store today? The best of it is he encourages us to get all we can. He is quite a case…. We are in company headquarters and always stay together so when no one is looking we sneak away to get some eats. We usually go to houses and give them a sad story about not eating since morning and they sell us a loaf of bread or apples and it is very seldom we go without. The Major got a great kick out of that….
You folks sure look after me. You know I am leading everyone in the battalion in getting parcels. I have had eight in nine days.… The boys all plan on raiding me….
How are you feeling now Mum? I hope by now you are all O.K. again and ready for a big Christmas. I am waiting for a letter from you so get better soon. That Bette sure writes a swell letter, but I want yours too. Guess I am greedy. Pretty soon Mum you will be out skating again and doing a little boxing, they can’t keep you down.
How goes the battle Dad? Have you still got the CNR running smoothly? I don’t want to see any more of the advertisements in the Halifax Herald understand. You have put too much into that home to go selling it and someday when you are resting it is going to be your home so don’t get any ideas, understand? Sure I like Stellarton, but our home is not there so don’t go changing it Dad….
How is the housecleaning coming Sis? That boy on the West Coast is going to have quite a housewife. Did you tackle the bread yet? Just what do you do at night to amuse yourself in Hopewell? It sure must be dead after Halifax, no shows or anything. The boys say you must spend your spare time doing up parcels for me.
Have you got your three stripes yet Commando Jack? You know you have to sleep in the rain, go without meals, walk thirty miles and be smarter than Jerry to be just a soldier. Think what you have to be to be a tough Commando. Can you do all those things? If you can, stay out of sight because if the Canadian government sees you they will have you in the Army, and one of us is plenty.
The training in Scotland still stands so will write Saturday and then maybe I won’t get a chance until I get back on the twenty-third. However I will try to write when I am there.
Thanks a million for all the parcels folks. I sure appreciate them. Give my best to the Grandparents, Joan and Burton and everyone else. I will write soon again and the best of everything to the best family in the world.
Lots of Love to All,