P.S. Dad may enjoy this letter also. Please confide this letter to the family. Love Arnold
Nova Scotia Highs
July 2, 1942
This letter, my Darling, I fully expect to reach you by personal messenger, a little different from the ordinary I admit, but just something to give that added personal touch, that really something that I am a going concern & not far away. I’m afraid I slipped up a bit in the last few days but I really haven’t had time to turn around. In fact, as I write this with one hand & eye, I’m reversing the fitting of boots for men in the company & that’s taking all my ingenuity as a diplomat to persuade Doctor & Regimental Quartermasters that its necessary that all these boots be exchanged even if they’ve only been worn a few times, because if you’d ever walked 30 miles in a day with boots too small, which I just succeeded in doing Tuesday, you’d really know what sore feet are.
Sunday, Orderly Officer; Monday all Officers in the Unit out in Tactical Maneuvers arriving back at 1130. Left Tuesday at 645 to obstacle course 11 miles distance, Noon meal, over the course in tactical order 6 miles, Supper & then 11 miles home. Arrived in at 10 O’Clock to be informed that 14 Officers & 32 NCO’s would be ready to leave at 7A.M. for field exercises. My feet when I stopped were sore & practically unusable, yet, strapped on another pair & away Wed morning. Conference with Officers & NCO’s other units, whom we were to act as safety men for, & after a talk by a Brig. we took to the wide open spaces on foot & covered & discussed the ground we would use the next day. Back to Camp at 330 for field sports which were finished at 7 P.M. Left again for the field exercises at 8 O’Clock & I thought for a moment the things we do they’d wonder that we’re not all dead. If we ever put an exercise on in Canada the like of Yesterday’s show, common place over here, the Canadian Government would be forced to resign the following day.
Personally, since I’ve come over here, I’ve gotten a lot of respect for that same government, which I’m afraid I didn’t have before I left, and all in all they’re not making a bad job of looking after the boys over here. The food, although not as good as at home, is certainly well prepared & well served & very rarely is there a complaint.. Boots are our big trouble, because of the amount of marching we do, but in this Unit the moral is very high. I might mention to you, that if there are any charitable societies around who desire to donate any money, the Salvation Army is who should get it. We have an attachment to us here & they do a wonderful job. Well stocked & well supplied they give the boys drinks free, meeting us on the road on long marches & selling chocolate bars & sultana cake to the boys. No organization ever deserved more recognition for their services than they do & its the boys over here that know it. They supply note paper & ink free for all concerned, as you may have noticed from time to time, but all in all they are doing a wonderful job. They supply all our sports equipment also.
Naturally, this was only weeks training & a tough one at that, but it just gives you an insight into the condition the Canadian Soldier is in & what he can take & laugh at. The Heat yesterday was something cruel, but I wouldn’t be surprised by the look of things that our Unit will now do it through rain. Weather means nothing over here, just an added trial. Really, I was never in better health. Hope you are all well & remain so, thinking of you all continually.
Love to All,
(note to reader: Salvation Army note paper. No scary flag but the badge. Says ‘Keep in touch with the folks at home” at top. Also ON ACTIVE SERVICE with the CANADIAN FORCES)
July 10, 1942
Wet & is she wet. No parades to-day & it sure is a welcome relief to our lads who have been working hard of late to say nothing of the Officers who are a little the worse for wear after a dance last night. Really, it was a most successful dance, plenty of women, & everybody enjoyed themselves immensely including me. The English girls are all very nice in there ways, language etc. 98% of them don’t wear stockings, but they just don’t even border on the Canadian girls for looks, shape, or form.
Oh my Darling! How I’d love to have you over here if just for a day each week. Terrible, you know sweet, to have you home there, the contented little home wife with her wee baby child, & I thousands of miles away. Never mind Sweet. One of these days, not too far distant, I’ll be back to see you & when I do we’ll more than make up for all the time we’ve lost.
Orderly Officer to-morrow so that means another quiet day spent in camp. Well My Darling! I continually have you in my thoughts so its just a case of hope & pray.
Love to my Loved One,
(note to reader: on same letterhead)
July 11, 1942
Just another day around the corner & boy I woke up to find after all that rain that there was practically frost on the ground. Cold is no name for it, after all our warm weather, but then we Canadians are a hardy race & we sure need to be able to take it with the changeable weather we have over here. Orderly Officer & I’ve been slopping around in mud puddles all morning inspecting this & that.
Saw a few Jerries flying high last night with our own spitfires in close pursuit, & when those things move they certainly make anything that they’re chasing feel bloody uncomfortable. I see by one of the Canadian papers that the American Troops in Northern Ireland are being gradually trained so that they will be able to march 25 miles in a day. If they were to move over here for a few days we’d actually show them how to do it & also be ready to fight at the end of that time. I’m afraid some of our American friends have a long roe to hoe as yet, but we’re sure darm glad to have them over here with us.
Well Sweet, the Orderly Officer must now make a skirmish & so for the present its Au Revoir.
Love to My Darling,
(note to reader: This note paper reads MOOR HALL HOTEL, NINFIELD SUSSEX Telephones: Office: Ninfield 330. Visitors: Ninfield 376. Stations Sidley, Bexhill)
July 21, 1942
Just a few lines in haste. (What a pen). Just off on another scheme, which will take a few days, so my letters are liable to be well dispersed. Had a feed of raspberries yesterday to say nothing of some cucumbers. Cucu’s by the way are on the luxurous list over here, that is, not considered necessary for human consumption etc so very scarce. Have to scurry.
Note to reader: Salvation Army note paper
July 24, 1942
Off again on another week long scheme & from all accounts its going to be a doozy. At least marching 25 miles per day, full kit, so I expect to be ready for the old age pension just as soon as its over. By the way, I’m getting just a wee bit lonely lately. Outside of cigarettes mailed in Taylor Doug, Co’s name & one Air mail letter, I haven’t had a letter of any description for over 3 weeks. Always keep my spirits screwed up though that I’ll receive a whole lot all at one time. To-day the Camp is one hum of activity as everybody prepares for to-morrows start. The sun is shining & the sky a beautiful deep blue, interspersed with planes darting hither & thither. Did you know that when planes get to a certain height that everywhere they go they leave a big streak of white vapor from their exhaust?
Just outside our camp other units are on the move & we can hear the continued rumble of trucks, tanks, carriers etc. Ordinarily you can walk the roads & here & there see a soldier now & then, & you begin to wonder if there are actually any soldiers about, but on a move like this its just the opposite. You wonder where in heaven’s name they all come from, as Hank(?) would say; scads & scads & scads of them. Perhaps if you were to concentrate that mind of yours for a moment, you would remember an accident that took place around last June between Kensington & Summerside when an Indian woman was killed & an elderley one badly hurt? Husband of that girl is a Cpl in my Platoon, the older woman being his mother, & I had the nice job of breaking the news to Steve. First news we had of it was in the Summerside Journal. Don’t know what we’d do without that paper now & again. In the same one, Benny Richards, a boy from Summerside, learned for the first time that his mother had died & I received the news all about Nora’s wedding (note to reader: his sister). Haven’t heard a word from her since, or for that matter from any of you yet about that wedding, but I do hope everything went along O.K. & that Nora is happily married & has a half decent place to live.
Every now & then I pause to look over this fair country & I really have to marvel at it. Everything is kept so clean & neat. It is really more like a toy land that you would find in fairy land. Just let your mind wander the last bit & you could readily imagine King Arthur & the Knights of the round table, or William the Conqueror & the battle of Hastings on the plain there, (by the way saw Richard & King John’s castle, talk about bleak). Or, if interested, you could walk through some of the woods here and readily believe in Robin Hood.
Hard to believe all these things & yet if you were here it wouldn’t take much imagination to realize that most of all these tales are true & that even yet the Dukes & Duchess’s are still about; although the War has done a lot to bring these feared people to their knees. Yes, My Sweetheart, it’s all here & how heavenly it would be to have you here to enjoy it all with me. It would be heaven in itself to have you walk in the door of my tent over here some fine morning but that is not to be for awhile yet. All we can do is to wait & pray & hope that the day is not too far distant when you & I shall be together again, when I’ll be able to take you close in my arms again & whisper sweet nothings in your ear just to reassure you, as if you needed it, that you are the one & only whom I shall adore & be bound to until death do us part, or some other foolish words. Me & you at 90. Could we still make whoopie?
Well, my angel, I must run.
Love to My Beloved Darling & Baby,
July 30, 1942
Well my sweet love, I have been a little neglectful of late but I really have been quite & these last 5 days it was quite impossible to write to you being on this scheme. Received exactly one letter from you this month & that an air-mail, do you realize Darling that your husband gets damn lonely over here & that he practically sits on the mailbox every time Canadian mail arrives, that you are his only correspondent, outside of mothers letters now & again, & that when there isn’t any mail from my beloved that it hurts like hell. Can’t you realize Sweet, that its to you I look up to for that guiding hand, that I have set up as an idol with the prayer that it will never be broken down or taken away from me, that its at your feet that I worship & pray that I will have the strength & power to live up to all the expectations that my wife & daughter expect me too, that I will be able to do all the things that they would have me do, to come back to them the same as I left & to start life anew & be able to give them the things that are due them & a few more things extra that go to make life worth while fighting for. Love, peace & happiness & a nice home, what more can one hope for?
Started the first day of our scheme with low hanging clouds & the next 12 days in rain & marching around the country in soaking wet clothes & boots, sleeping in the woods etc, isn’t exactly much fun but these last few days have been real fun with the sun shining, our blankets dry & one good full days rest. So add to all the discomfortures, planes are continually diving out of the sky, clouds or over trees & hills at us, which means diving into ditches or holes of any size, anything to get under cover. Sounds a lot of fun but it gets damn tiresome having to be always on the alert, always on the jump & although I have a dandy bunch of NCOs including Harry Bishop of Summerside as Platoon sgt. & the best in the battalion, still there’s always that uncertainty that something will go wrong, as it often does, & a person has to be on his toes at all times to keep up with them. As long as everything is done right, & thats saying something, its O.K., but let the least thing go wrong & Yours Truly gets it in the neck immediately.
Having your own troubles aren’t you Darling? I hear there’s a lot of rationing going on lately? Just as long as you eat as well as we do over here you certainly won’t starve. White bread is the one thing that we miss, but then we want to be thankful that we get bread at all & this whole wheat isn’t half bad. A good juicy steak would be heaven, but then, lets not romance. Well Sweetheart, I draw to a close just as the day does. All My Love, to my beloved & cherished ones, from the one who thinks of you & lives for you only,