“…it seems a long time since I saw the old place…”
France, June 16, 1918
Yesterday I received your letter from Washington… I didn’t recognize the handwriting or your envelope at first and after getting a squint at the postmark I began to wonder who I know down there, but it didn’t take me long to get wise.
It’s some time since I got your last letter and I was beginning to think you had disowned me or that France is not the only place in which one is kept busy. You surely had a fine time trying to reach Belleville… I’m afraid if they set me down there now and left me for six hours they wouldn’t find me again in the next six unless I was in a coffin or something similar.
It’s more than a year since I left and over ten months since I came to France. Although the time seems to have passed rapidly it seems a long time since I saw the old place. There is something doing…all the time here, which keeps the mind occupied, and I often think it’s a bally good job that things are so busy, for we don’t realize what we are missing or putting up with here until we start thinking of home or “leave,” and at such times you get so fed up that you’re not only miserable but you make everybody else miserable around you. Consequently we don’t, or at least I don’t, look forward too much to the time when I shall get back again and it saves a lot of “blue” spells. “Leave” seems almost as remote as the end of the war now, so I’ve even given up looking for that too. Just before the big offensive started we were expecting to go any day, but it closed down tightly before we got away and since it reopened they have been going so slowly that I guess it will be about Christmas when we get away. Oh well, “we should worry.”
…From all accounts conscription in Canada is working fairly smoothly. We haven’t got any of the draftees over here yet but I understand there is a bunch about ready to come and I rather expect our next drafts will consist of them.
I believe you are getting the food rationing down to a system. I suppose this all seems strange to the people over there who have always lived in plenty, but they will get used to it alright and the effect should be felt for years to come.
Well, guess I’ll have to cut this ramble out. I have ten minutes till “lights out” and have to get dressed for bed. The nights are quite chilly here throughout the whole summer and we still have to put on all our clothes on going to bed, even our greatcoats, which serve as blankets now, all our blankets having been called in for the summer.
Best love to all, Garn
Selection from the letter collection of Sergeant Dobbs, to his sister Millie and his brother Walter
George Metcalf Archival Collection
© Canadian War Museum