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Letters from the front 1914 – 1918

Discussion in 'World war one' started by Bigbird, May 15, 2015.


  1. Bigbird United Kingdom

    Bigbird The Bird Thats Big MI.Net Member Mi.Net Supporter

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    Sorry Bombardier I saw the attached thread and couldnt help myself but pick up on your idea of transcribing some of the letters.
    hope thats ok?
    I have included the following link to the thread that prompted me.

    http://www.militaryimages.net/threads/the-fall-of-vimy-ridge.5528/

    The letters are sourced from the Dunnville Chronicle + Gazette, Book 1. Letters from the front 1914 – 1918
    http://images.ourontario.ca/haldimandmuseums/70870/page/3?n=

    Letters from the boys at the front
    Letter from David Fox to his father dated July 12[SUP]th[/SUP] 1915
    I have tried to leave all spelling and grammar as it is in the letter


    Dear Father: I will try and write you these few lines to let you know I am still in the land of the living, although for the last 2 months I thought my time was drawing close to the end. I was taken from France to South Wales in England to a hospital with two nasty wounds in my left hand and for two or three weeks the doctors thought the hand would have to be amputated at the wrist, but it came around all right after a time, but while I was in the hospital, I was taken bad with a nervous breakdown and was in bed about twelve days, when typhoid fever set in and I had two doctors and a nurse over me all the time, and only for the good work of the doctor and the nurse I guess I would have been as good as dead.
    Between them they pulled me through alright, and I am now back in camp and I am feeling quite well, but a bit week yet. I suppose you will all think hard of me for not writing before, but I was in the hospital and without a cent for postage money or writing material and no means of getting word to my company paymaster, it was pretty hard lines. And it nearly killed me to think I had no means of letting you know.
    So I had to stick it out the best I could and you can all be write thankful, as I am myself, that I am around about again and able to write to you once more I think even if I could have written to you I would not have told you about me being as bad as I was, as I know it would worry you all because you could not get to see me.
    How are all the people, give them all my love and tell them to write to me often. I had a letter from Eva while I was in the hospital saying that you had sent me some writing paper and parcel of candy and that she also sent me some, and also some Dunnville papers. Well I have not received any of them, not even the Dunnville papers, but I think they went to France and Blake has got them and opened them. And if he did, I am very glad as Blake has had a hard time of it, I think he would need them over there more than I would.
    Blake has not been wounded yet as I know of, and I hope he will not be and that he comes through this all right. You will all no doubt be pleased that I do not have to go back to France again, as I have been turned down as medically unfit by the doctors here, I have been given light duty here in England for the duration of the war if nothing else turns up.
    I will be all right, so do not worry, and although it may be a long time yet, I think we will be able to see one another when this war comes to an end.
    Well Pa, it has been so long since I have heard from home that I would be tempted to jump sky high when I do hear from there again.
    I had a letter from Blake and hi is all right yet but he has had a pretty hard time of it. Oh you asked me if I knew anything of young King – the lad who was killed, well I guess I would know a bit more about him when I helped carry him for about 2 miles under fire, but he died before we could get him to the hospital.
    There are not many of the 37[SUP]th[/SUP] lads left now who left with the first contingent. I suppose you have heard about Major Kelly and Lieut Brant, the Indian officer of the 37[SUP]th[/SUP] Regiment being killed. The lads I know that I think are killed are Wm **net, Walter Frallack, Charley Ba**, Tom secord, Major Kelly and Lieut Brant.
    Well Pa I will have to say goodbye for this time, as I can not think of any more to tell you, but write soon and often. Love and best regards to all

    Your loving son David.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2016
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  2. Bigbird United Kingdom

    Bigbird The Bird Thats Big MI.Net Member Mi.Net Supporter

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    Just found this image on the same site as the letters. It refers to the 37th Battalion Haldimand Rifles, the 37th is mentioned in the above letter, I wonder if David (author of letter) is in this picture.

    haldimand rifles 37th.jpg
    The website has declared this image as Public Domain
    Heres a link back to the copyright/licence details http://images.ourontario.ca/haldimandmuseums/72014/data?n=3
     
  3. Bigbird United Kingdom

    Bigbird The Bird Thats Big MI.Net Member Mi.Net Supporter

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    David refers to an indian Officer?
    This picture, again from the same website is titled Officers of the 37th
    Could the officer to the far right be the Indian officer lietenant Brant?


    Officers of the 37th Battalion haldimand rifles ww1.jpg
    The website has declared this image as Public Domain
    Heres a link back to the copyright/licence details http://images.ourontario.ca/haldimandmuseums/72836/data?n=10
     
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  4. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

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    Sorry I couldnt help but wonder how the Welsh would feel about this :), he wasnt to know (Canadian)

    In your first photo I can say for sure that the picture is not of the Battalion, more like a platoon or section. A Battalion would be in the hundreds. It is still possible though that 'David' is on the pic.

    Your second photo is more positive, The officer on the right does look like a native indian (I assumed as it was Canada that he meant that kind of Indian) and as he is the only one, very possible.

    great finds BB and thanks for posting the links to the pages, it is polite regardless of the 'Public Domain status.
     
  5. Razzle United Kingdom

    Razzle Mi Lance corporal MI.Net Member

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    Love reading World war 1 letters like this, they always amaze me and leave me with a lump in my throat.

    I can understand the way he was feeling here.

    Think I will have a go at transcribing one today.
     
  6. Razzle United Kingdom

    Razzle Mi Lance corporal MI.Net Member

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    As promised

    Letter from Jack Pepino
    Received by Mrs A. Threader of Canboro from private J.Pepino, who left here with B Company of the 114th: France June 18th 1917


    Dear mother and Dad


    I received two letters from you today, and was very pleased to hear that all was well at home. I also received the papers safely, and always look forward to the day when the Dunnville paper comes.It sure gives me some news.
    I see where quite a lot of the 114th boys have gone under and believe me its hard luck. I feel sorry for their friends. If we have to join our own battlion in England after the war, I guess it will be a sorry few will march up the streets of Dunville, the remains of the gay healthy bunch of men who left.
    It makes my blood boil to think of all the young men, if they cn be called men hanging about the girls and having a good time when they are needed here so badly, and while their chums went to do their "bit".
    I was just reading a piece in Jack Canuck about a returned soldier back from the field of battle wounded. A man who had done his bit for King and Country went to a munition factory in toronto and applied for work, and was told, and by a foreigner too, to get the hell out of here. Is this what a fellow has to look forward to when he returns, a man who has risked his life to fight for freedom.


    I am not speaking for myself alone, but for the hundreds of men who have left a wife and family in Canada. They are the ones who ought to have stayed home, but were men enough to leave all they loved most dear to fight for freedom, and then the foreigner is going to get first show. It makes us fellows out here feel mad, who are putting up with so much for freedoms cause.
    I think our own countrymen should stand first after doing our bit.


    Well Mother, excuse me writing the way I have, but I cant help it. I am sending you a silk card from France for a souvenir with this letter. Hope you receive it ok.
    Hope you are receiving my letters.I write as often as I can, but you know letter writing is one of my poor subjects. I am writing this letter in my dugout, and my chum is writing home too, so we have not much room to spare.
    I guess I have said enough this time, so must close now


    Love to all, I remain yours, Jack
    PS Get the Turkey fat, I will be home for Christmas, maybe
    http://images.ourontario.ca/haldimandmuseums/70870/page/20?w=900&h=700
     
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  7. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

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    Great work Razzle

    Found this article and letter
    Touching last letter by WW1 soldier kept by his grieving widow for rest of her life

    Untitled-3-494102.jpg

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/world...War-Touching-last-letter-from-soldier-to-wife

    "My foot is progressing very slowly but lately I have been very bad in health for the conditions I have had to go through out here is gradually telling upon my constitution for I reckon I have stood it well up till now but I feel as I am getting beaten.


    "How I wish that this terrible anxiety and suspense was over for I do long to be with you and our dear little ones who are continually in my mind.


    "I have done over my bit as you know but it seems no matter how long or what you have been through out here they are never done with you.


    "Let us...hope for a peaceable time for us both and all for if I am lucky enough to get through it alright I hope to have a happy and loving life with you and our dear little ones for you know I love you and I always will and I know you do me.


    "I am your ever loving husband Fred Swannell.


    "Kisses for you love and my little ones."
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  8. Jack-Sparrow United Kingdom

    Jack-Sparrow Mi Corporal MI.Net Member

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    Commonplace throughout the wars unfortunately.
    You can just imagine how he is feeling, the hurt and the anger....

    Enjoyed reading these is this an on going project?
     
  9. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

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    Well seems people like to read them (I do) so I suppose so mate :)
    Give it a go
     
  10. Cobra United Kingdom

    Cobra Mi Corporal MI.Net Member

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    I found this one on a great website called 'War Letters'
    http://warletters.net/

    My Dear Mother,

    Yesterday, after Church Parade, I spent all day at the prisoner’s camp about five miles from here. There are almost 2, 200 German soldiers and many civilian prisoners. On Saturday I was up there and saluted an officer who came up and spoke to me so I asked him if I could go in. He happened to be the Adjutant so he said it might be possible if I came up on Sunday. So all yesterday, bar meal times, I spent in amongst them – an awfully nice lot of fellows – and I was awfully popular having simply crowds around me listening to my excellent German pronunciation.

    I had long talks with all and promised to go over to Berlin after the war to drink a bottle of lager with them. They said they wished I would come over there. They, of course, were rather dirty after fighting and travelling, and there were one or two ruffian looking people, but they were a really gentlemanly lot on the whole. I bought an infantry helmet for a souvenir and also had one or two things given me as well.

    Every morning here we get up at 6, get some hot coffee in the mess room and bread and butter, then parade at 6.55 till 8. Breakfast, then rifle inspection 8. 45. Entrenching today from 9–12.45. Digging like ordinary navvies and getting to know how to make head cover in the trenches. Then parade at 2 till 3, sometimes Physical Training, sometimes Musketry. Then Range from 4.30–5, Law and Administration to day at 5.15–6.30. Then dress for mess at 8. Rooms for 9–10. I have given you now a fair idea of the day’s programme. Of course it varies in work and time. We often go out all morning as field day. Then we usually have night operations 1 or 2 times per week. In fact the life here is very healthy and extraordinarily interesting.

    I will stop now as I must get to know a little about military account keeping for Law and Administration.

    Love to all. Kiss also to Baby.

    Your affectionate son,

    Wilbert

    France
    28th December 1914
     
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