Within the postcard collection, the only indication that Jack was overseas for WWI comes in the form of my favourite postcard of them all. A coloured photograph of King's College at the University of Aberdeen, it was sent by Jack from Nairn on January 25, 1919 to his 5-year-old daughter, Gladys, in Vancouver.
Operation Order No. 78 was sent out on July 25, 1917. The final objective was to force "... the enemy to evacuate LENS, (and with this in mind,) the Canadian Corps has been ordered to capture Hill 70." The decision to focus on capturing Hill 70 (and not the city itself) was the first big decision for Arthur Currie who had just been promoted to lieutenant-general (Capturing Hill 70 p.3). The Operation Order, as well as my great-grandfather's experience, tells us that the battle did not exclude the city - rather, targets imperative to communications and troop movements to and from the city (specific trenches and the Lens-Grenay Railroad) were attacked at the same time.
Hill 70 was taken in the battle, but the city of Lens remained in the hands of the Germans at the end of August. Hill 70 and the fighting in Lens ended up with huge losses with Canadians losing 9,000 soldiers and Germans losing and estimated 25,000 between August 15 and 25, 1917 - more than the Second Battle of Ypres.