WWII Letter From Soldier in Canada 1942

This letter was written on November 24, 1942, by an American soldier, enroute to Alaska, with the 843rd Signal Service Battalion, Alaska Communication System. The letter is written on Royal Canadian Air Force letterhead, and the envelope has Canadian postage stamps. From the letter……

   This is truly the eve of a great adventure. I hope I can only prove worthy of the job that is mine to do. I’m really “in it” now. I hope I can be of better service to Uncle Sam, than as a digger of Jersey mud flats. It’s going to be hard and lonely too, going on without being able to look forward to leaves, and furloughs, your visits to camp, and our weekly telephone conversations, for they did mean so very much to me. As compensation the situation offers the knowledge that at last I can be more than merely an onlooker, in the Army’s scope of things, at last I shall have my part, small though it be, to perform.
   Your letters are now the sole physical channel of communication to me, and they shall mean more to me now than ever before. I know you will write, as often as you can.
   Much has happened these past few days, since I left Monmouth. I’ll tell you all that I may. The four day trip we took enroute was surprisingly not a bit monotonous. We passed the time reading playing cards, singing and imbibing at the club car bars. The course of our itinerary took us through beautiful country and the route took us through scenic sights galore. Our third day of travel provided a pleasant break in the travel routine. We transferred trains that morning, for a train that was to take us cross the border into Canada. It didn’t take our boys long to discover the two cars ahead of us to be occupied by a group of girls from the women’s division of the R.C.A.F. Their officers allowed us to visit with them and for almost the entire afternoon and evening our own car had but few occupants. We had a very pleasant time talking to them, playing cards, eating their cookies etc. They were very friendly, and adept, as well, at adhering to our President’s good neighbor policy. Our fourth and final day brought us to Edmonton, Alberta, a surprisingly modern city for a community this far north. Through the good graces of the R.C.A.F. we are being quartered for the time being right in with their air cadets at the University of Alberta. Our quarters are excellent, two men to a room. This layover here at the University has been an excellent opportunity for us to really get acquainted with the Canadian ways and means of doing things. The R.C.A.F. boys are a great bunch, for hosts we could ask no better. As they themselves say, they feel closer to u, than to the British. They’re in and out of our room all day long, stopping gin to chat, compare our equipment with theirs, give us helpful hints on how to get along the Canadian way, compare the makeup of our Army system to theirs etc. They’ve been teaching us the rudiments of their manual of drill, totally different from ours, and we’ve been teaching them ours. We’ve gotten quite chummy with them, we like them, and I’m pretty sure they like us.  Already they call the Southerners we have in our bunch “Rebels.”
   The weather here so far, has been comparatively mild, the temperature hovers a little below zero. However, the boys here tell us that the temperature does drop to forty and fifty below zero, on frequent occasions. Honey if I don’t learn to shiver now, I never will. Tomorrow, we’re being issued heavy parkas, mackinaws, heavy mittens and I believe also sleeping bags. It’ll take us at least half an hour to dress every morning, with all  the clothing we’ll be wearing. One factor is definite, at any rate, it’s going to be a white Christmas.
   Very shortly, as soon as things get organized, we’ll be shoving up north. Back at Monmouth, I was want to complain that a few hundred miles separated us, what is there to say now, when there are a few thousand between us? The physical distances that now separate us, are though of but slight importance in actuality, for you shall be with me always, in my mind and thought. When this is all over I shall return to you, and we shall then together, make up for all the time we must now be apart. I’m so very thankful, that we were able to have that last goodbye before I left the States. Please give my love to all the folks at home.

Your, Max

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