“…churches seem to be a special target for his guns…”
France, Sept. 6, 1918
Mr. W.E. Dobbs,
511 Craig Street,
Winnipeg, Man., Canada
I have been trying about a week to acknowledge your fine parcel but “Golly Gee” they keep us going and I haven’t been able to get settled before this morning.
I received your parcel some few days ago and it arrived in first-class condition… I always sit right down and have a good feed as soon as a box arrives, providing of course that the contents warrant it and this one was no exception.
…I’m writing this on ground recently held by the Hun and which he said could not possibly be taken from him, but that’s a pretty broad assertion when the Canadians are in the neighbourhood. He said that about us when we were in front of it and it took just about four hours to send him skeltering. The Australians are also doing some great work and have pulled down several supposed impossible positions.
I had an opportunity recently of taking a walk through one of the large cities here which has been under shellfire for a long time. I was smoking one of the good cigars at the time and when I got my feet on the pavements I felt quite civilized again. It’s a pity to see the condition of this once fine city. All battered up and scarcely more than a heap of stones and bricks. I imagine from the architecture of some of the ruins that it would have compared favourably with many of our Canadian cities and I tried to picture the feeling in Canada had it been one of our cities. I was particularly interested in the ruins of what had once been a magnificent cathedral. Nothing left now but an occasional lone pillar rising out of the heaps of debris, splendid monuments and pieces of sculpture lying all over the place. One couldn’t possibly imagine the scene of destruction unless you saw it. Churches throughout the whole country seem to be a special target for his gunners and are invariably the most battered buildings in any bombarded town or village.
I also received your letter about the same time as the box and of course was glad to learn that “the home fires” are still burning and that you’re going to have lots for us to eat this winter. Coupled with the way things have been going over here lately, it puts fresh “pep” into a fellow and convinces us that we’re winning all around…
Hope you are all in good health as am I.
Yours as ever, Garn
Selection from the letter collection of Sergeant Dobbs, to his sister Millie and his brother Walter
George Metcalf Archival Collection
© Canadian War Museum