*Canadian Base Reinforcement Depot for the West Nova Scotia Regiment.
1 CBRD, Cdn Army, CMF
My Beloved Darling:
So sorry so many of my letters have arrived un dated, will keep a close check from now on. Your mail, sweet, is coming very nicely, about 2 weeks which isn’t bad at all. Getting back Monday night I find 6 letters waiting for me all from my adorable & lovable darling wife. It certainly really puts the old pop right in there to know that my beloved loves me just as much as ever, in fact, perhaps just a little bit more & that when I come back she will be waiting for me with open arms & ready to adjust her thoughts & ideas into making her hubby happy. From your letters, sweetheart, I don’t think that there’ll be much adjusting to do & as for being happy, ours will be just one long honey moon for the remainder of our lives.
Heat has really hit here now, but with it comes a lot of other things- such as disease, flys, etc but why talk of such things like that, the trees are all out in green, the fields green, plants fully grown & indeed the grain is about ready to cut. Actually, right now is exactly like the first of July back home & there are plenty of places about much like Canada, even to a bit of red soil. I haven’t felt so well for over a year, the last weeks out doing me a world of good. That climbing has done me the world of good. The only thing that gets me down now are the these dam hives & they are brutes. Seem to arrive just as we’re going to bed, about an inch long, big welts & irritable like hell. I’ve got plenty of company though, & the doctors everywhere are puzzled as to their cause. It certainly isn’t from eating our food.
Wouldn’t I just love to cuddle you up awfully close to me. Sweet dreams, & all my Kisses to both,
xxxxxxxxxxxx Love xxxxxxxxxxxxx
1 CBRD, Cdn Army, CMF
May 14, 1944
My Sweet Darling:
In the last couple of weeks my mail has gotten badly mixed up so I’m going to start at Saturday, April 29, 44. Saturday morning & the dance finished I spent a big part of the day returning articles to various places & I was darn glad when it was all finished. The C.O. was pleased the way it went over, & as I was responsible to him that’s all that was necessary. There were 25 Italian girls & 10 nurses & all went well until just after 2200 hrs. At that time there was a practice scheme took place in the area & of course a great number of officers had to leave for their respective companys. That wasn’t so bad, but some Ack-Ack guns started to let off & the fun began. It was useless to remonstrate with the Italian women that it was only a scheme. Every time one of those guns let off they started to scream. One Major took to trying to peaceafy two of them with the result that every time the guns fired, both flung their arms around his neck & yelled blue murder. One insisted on sitting on the floor & screaming. Thank heavens it only lasted a half-hour or the officers left would have been hard pressed. Outside that, it went over with a bang.
I soon found out you can’t be head & tail of a dance & expect to enjoy yourself at it. I can tell you I was faged out & darn glad when it finished. I’ll never get stuck for another job like that.
Sunday, bright & early, I motored by jeep to the 14th & 15th General Hospitals, to visit boys from our regiment & take them cigarettes & chocolate bars. Started at 12.30 to visit & never quit for a moment up till 5.30 when it was either stop or get left behind. I never realized before how men like to think that they are being remembered. I met a number outside strolling about before entering the wards & in no time at all I had a large group about me. Question’s as to hows the unit unit getting along & where’s this officer & that man? Etc. I left them all with a big grin on their faces.
I moved in about the beds after finding out in each ward office the whereabouts of each man. If they were playing cards they stopped immediately & if asleep it didn’t take them long to come too. One Cpl gave me an awful scowl for being wakened up out of a sound sleep, which I didn’t blame him for, but once wide awake he really got going. I found out on my trip that you not only have to be able to talk yourself, but also be a good listener. Before I left him, he assured me that if I hadn’t wakened him he would have been very disappointed.
One boy alone made me feel my visit a complete success. Just as I was about to leave ward P3 a boy came up to me & asked if u would speak to another patient in the corner. He did not come from out regiment but was an Islander. I went over & found a mere lad of 20, white faced with eyes wide open gazing at the ceiling. He seemed quite taken aback & shy when I first spoke to him, but after a few words I found out he came from Montague. I mentioned the names of a few people that I know there & it was as if I had lit a fire & watched it grow larger & larger. In 5 minutes he was sitting bolt upright, his face flushed with boyish excitement, & the words just tumbling out. For 15 minutes I got in exactly 3 words & those just answers to questions. Here was a boy, very young & lonely, with no immediate friends on hand, who had at least found some one he could talk too, & unburden his thoughts about home. I left him laughing as I passed along the corridor & his eyes never left me until I was out of sight.
And so it’s the same all over Italy. Kids, near kids, down here with rifles, grenades, guns of all sorts, etc, out to do a job that must be finished if the world is going to be free to think once more for itself. I wonder if the people back home ever will realize just what they owe to the youth of Canada who are fighting their battles so that Freedom may still flourish.
Well Darling! I got back from that trip at 2200 hrs to find that I was due to leave for unit only next morning for a 2 day session. Tuesday we went mountain climbing & I never thought I’d last it out, but I did & by next evening I was feeling great. Then we were informed that we were to stay for another 4 or 5 days & all moved off bag & luggage next morning. What we did & where we went you can just guess at except that it was training & the whole time I was down there I never got up later than 530, the first 2 mornings 3.00 AM.
In one town where I was, they hadn’t seen a soldier since the war began. One or two could speak English. I got a shave there, somebody loaning the barber his shaving bowl & afterwards a basin of hot water, towel & soap to wash. Everybody that could get in, stood around while I was shaved. Wouldn’t take a cent for the job either. One man insisted that I have a glass of wine & piece of cake before I left.
And so, darling, I’m back in CBRD but I expect to be leaving very soon. I am really feeling so much better, sweetheart. My love & thoughts are always of you both,