Dear Home Folks:-
Just a few lines on this my birthday to let you know I came through the big scrap OK. I haven't time to write much but just want to say how glad I am. Louis came through alright too. Dan Holmes was wounded + I think Stewart McNicol was killed. You will know long before you get this anyway. I only hope that I will celebrate my next birthday at home with you all. Bye Bye love to all
My grandfather didn't celebrate his next birthday at home, or the next. But he was out of the field and in England by the time his next birthday had come.
April 12th, 1917 was his 24th birthday, and of course the big scrap he refers to was the Battle of Vimy Ridge, 92 years ago today. Two years ago I was standing near where he went over the top, walked in some of his footsteps, visited graves at the German Cemetery where his visit in 1968 had such a profound impact on him, and stood at Stewart McNicol's grave, thanking him for his sacrifice.
As a side note, April 12th is also my Dad's birthday. When he was four he announced: "I'm four and my dad is forty.". Sunday is a milestone birthday for him. I'll let you do the math.