1918 03 26

John Gault (Jack) Stevenson's Letters

[He arrived in Bordeau on the ship US Henry R. Mallory]

March 26th, 1918


After [ censored ] more or less pleasant days we have at last sighted France.

& she is indeed beautiful – never before have I realized how much I love good old Terra Firma & I can scarcely wait to set foot on something that will stay “just.”

Before I go on I must explain that my letter will be censored – hence it will not have the naturalness that it would have if it were not necessary for me to sift everything before writing.

Our ship was very comfortable – but she rolled horribly & may on board were sick – strange to say I didn’t miss a meal – in fact could have an extra one or two a day – so the fat must be gathering – anyway my clothes are tight.

We have nice crowd of fellows on board – but we love each other now- two weeks on ship board shows up the bad spots & we all have em – of course we had plenty of work to do & we all turned in early. Every day we would gather in the music room and sing & sometimes at night have a movie show – good ones too.

This is the hardest job of letter writing that I ever tackled – I am chock full of news & interesting things but will have to save them till we lick the Kaiser – am keeping a sort of memo book that will help me remember things when I get back – meantime must stick to interesting things.

From the ship we can see tiny farms – wonderfully cultivated – everything is green & the trees are all in leaf – it made me awfully homesick for you & Hinsdale when I saw the little red roofed houses, set in their tiny gardens – through the glasses we could see a woman ploughing in the field using a cow instead of a horse: It looks like late May here & is quite warm.

Am anxious to get in touch with Paul [Henderson] – but haven’t the slightest idea where he is or how to locate him – when we get ashore will find out.

Several days later –

Here we are in camp & before I forget it – I wanted to tell you that I am as fat as a pig & feeling fine & nearly out of socks – How are you doing with the socks?

Everyone is vastly interesting & my French is quite wonderful – Went to town yesterday to get your cable off I was amazed to hear myself ordering meals & buying stuff in French - & understanding enough of it to get around in good shape.

This country is wonderful & the people charming – the city which I visited was very quaint- & the buildings although a century old are solid, clean & very attractive – the poorest houses are build of stone or concrete and have tile roofs, but the front doors make a hit with me – everyone is scrubbed to a polish & the brass knockers & knobs shine like gold.

The country is lovely – flowers in bloom cherry blossoms out & the grass and leaves fully developed & a wonderful green – Although France is in the same

latitude as Labrador – it is as warm as Summer here thanks to the Gulf Stream.

Located Paul yesterday but could not get in touch with him on the phone – however. I left a message for him - & tomorrow will send a note by a man who is going there.

Am anxious to learn when you get the first $50rc allotment & the Ins policies – don’t fail to let me know.

Haven’t learned much about mail service but am awfully anxious to hear from you. Don’t worry if you do not hear from me regularly – one of the officers who has been here some time just told me that there were frequent delays in the mails – so let me know what date you receive this letter. My duties are many & not he least of them is censoring mail – I have been at it three hours today & more coming all the time – Censored several going to Aurora.

There are al lot of German prisoners here – working around the camp doing all kinds of things – they are a husky looking lot but I would much prefer to see one on the end of a bayonette than to see him stick his head over my partition as he did this a.m. – he was a wild looking mut doing plumbing and when I awoke & saw him starring at me I thought I had em. He wanted to apologise for the noise he had been making – but he nearly lost his eye instead. Don’t worry if you don’t hear regularly – I will write at every opportunity.

Your mail will not be censored I hear & you can send baby’s pictures and yours as often as you like & Lord I will be glad to see them.

There is much noise and confusion around me so I will stop for now. I miss you all so much & have to keep pretty busy so as not to be too much thinking. My big watch is set for Aurora time & it tells me at a glance what you are doing. – right not it is 12 minutes after 10 am in Aurora and 5:15 p.m. here – doesn’t it seem queer?

Bye bye dearest – I love you & miss you & baby so much. I do Jack

John G. Stevenson

1st Lient. Ord R. C.

Co B. 1st Prov. Ord Depot B’n

A.E.F. via New York.