100 YEARS AGO TODAY: The March to the Rhine - Day 5.
The march is still halted by supply line problems while police headquarters in Berlin is attacked by revolutionary masses, Friday, 22nd November 1918.
13th Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada)
14th Battalion (The Royal Montreal Regiment)
15th Battlion (48th Highlanders of Canada), 3rd Inf. Bde, C.E.F.
16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish), 3rd Inf. Bde, C.E.F.
5th Canadan Divisional Artillery, C.E.F.
61st Field Battery, C.F.A., 5th C.D.A., C.E.F.
Lt Virtue 61st Field Battery
Harold Simpson 92877 2nd Siege Battery, 2nd Brigade, Canadian Garrison Artillery
Nov. 22, 1918
Sent you a letter on the 17th and am going to write again tonight. As you will see we have moved again and are in Jemappes, a town just outside of Mons. It is quite a considerable size and I have a splendid billet. We moved in on the 20th from Thulin and a bunch of us got a billet just off the square in a private house but without beds so yesterday afternoon a chum and I started out to hunt for a better place. Our method of finding a billet is rather amusing but also quite successful. In all towns which have been occupied by the Boche the windows of each house have a card with the name and nationality of the occupants, their occupation and age. This came in very useful to us in our search for besides wanting one to ourselves with a bed we wanted to find a quiet place with a small family. And this was not all that we wanted. You will think that we were rather fussy and I admit we were. But we want to increase our knowledge of French as much as possible and at the same time hear the stories which they had to tell and so were on the lookout for a place with young people.
The older French and Belgian peasants are difficult to understand while younger people between the ages of twelve and twenty-five speak more distinctly and with a little knowledge of French are easily followed. So as we went up the street we jotted down a few promising numbers for future reference. We called at a couple of these places and they were all right in all but one particular. They had no spare bed. Then we came to our present billet which we had marked for a try and found a nice looking young lady of twenty-two standing in the doorway. I promptly asked for if she had a billet for two with a bed to which she replied in the affirmative. It was a large house just opposite the chateau and the room was a nicely furnished one facing west so we were quite satisfied. Of course according to the time honored French and Belgian custom coffee was the first thing. They are very strong on the coffee. Since coming here yesterday afternoon we have had no less than eleven cups.
There are three of the family, the young lady I mentioned and her father and mother and they certainly do all in their power to make us comfortable. Last evening they asked us out to the living room as soon as we came in after supper and passed around coffee. We wrote a couple of letters. Each then started talking. They told us much of what had happened during the past four years and asked a lot of questions about Canada. Showed them some snaps and passed a very pleasant evening. About eight o'clock they made a big dish of cocoa and were not satisfied until we had done away with a generous helping of pie and two large cups of cocoa. They are too hospitable for we know that they have no more than they themselves need and yet they are insulted if we do not share it with them. Today when we came in at dinner-time after morning parade they had a big plate of soup waiting for us too. And so it goes. They cannot do enough for us.
Now Mother I think this is long enough so I will say goodbye.
Love to all, Harold