Remember Me

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

September 3, 1917 Letter #64 "By Jove You Can't Beat the British"

September 3rd, 1917 (postmark)

Westenhaugen, Kent England

Dear Mother,
          I just finished a letter to VV and told her I was sending you and her a photo.  The proofs came up all right and the pictures will be along as soon as this letter so I have kept my promise at last.  Gee the kid must feel lonesome out there all by herself and you and Dad must be just about lost.  But as I tell her it won't be long till the war is over and she has had enough experience to teach in a city school and then we will all be together again.  Some people seem to think the war has gone about its limit so let us hope it has.
          As yet there is nothing to tell you in regards what I am going to do or where I am going. There are more here than I have ever saw in the Depot before but I think another big offensive and a lot will be cleared out.  One of my old friends from the Buxton staff landed in here a few days ago and the poor devil got four days punishment before he was here a day. Gee mother is it fierce.  He sleeps in the same hut as myself and I don’t give him a minutes rest.
        Don’t criticize the paper, as it is all that is available at present.  
       The weather here the last week or so is absolutely rotten it is raining all the time and when a person is in camp on wet weather it is miserable.  Especially when you are three miles from a village and eight from a town.
          Did I tell you that I saw the last German Air Squadron that came over here, fifteen machines.  They were spotted away down the coast no sooner had they been seen than our fellows up and after them. They then headed down towards Ramsgate but our planes right on their heels firing away as fast as their guns could fire.  By Jove you can't beat the British, it was just like a big bulldog after a cat the way our men up and after them.  I would have given anything for Dad to have seen it.  Best race I ever saw.  Anyway our fellows got five of their latest giant type machines and the navy got another as they were beating it for home.
          Well how is things in general. I met young Rufus Lions from Portage last night.  Do you know Mother his is as big as I am now.  Gee it's fierce how those kids do grow.  Seem to spring up in a night.  By the way Mother you have never said anything to any of those photos I sent home did you.  I sincerely hope you don’t any way.  Because I don’t want anyone to know.
          How is Dad’s health is he looking any better than he did on the farm.  I hope so.  VV was telling me that the fellow on the farm may not be dishonest but he needed someone to watch him is that right.  I suppose men are so hard to get that he can do very near anything he likes and you can’t fire him.  Well Mother there is nothing here to write about that is of any interest.  I am as well as ever I was as you will see by my photo.  Remember me to Dad and VV and write soon.
Love Chas

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Three Letters. August 20th 1917 "Please Teacher"

A fat envelope postmarked 20 AUG 1917  
'Canadian Soldier Letter'
addressed by Charley to his Mother; Mrs M T L Lloyd, 
La Claire Hotel, Garry Street, Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada.
Two of the letters are to his mom and dad, one is written to his sister V.V.

August 20, 1917 (postmark)
3 letters in envelope 
Westenhaugen, Kent England

Dear Mother,
          As you see I have changed my address again and as yet can not say if I am on my way for France or not.  Nor do I care a great deal.  My friends from Buxton left this morning after being here for a week and I sure did enjoy their company if it was only for a week.  Just as soon as they heard I was here and may have to go to France, they sent a telegram saying they were coming on the first train the following morning.  They have lived in England all their lives and this was the longest journey they had ever had so I guess they think something of your only son.
          As yet I have not heard how VV got along with her exams but I have great confidents in her and believe that if such a thing as failing was to happen it would not be her fault. 
Things around here are very quiet with the exception of just a few drafts leaving every week for France.  I have met several fellows here that used to belong to our old unit and a few of them are fortunate to be pending discharge and waiting a convoy back to Canada.
          Folkestone and vicinity is just about the same as it was last winter. Except that it is not raining every day for the last couple of weeks it has been absolutely perfect as far as the weather goes.  I have been drilling again every day and doing guard etc it is just like starting all over again. But even at that it is a change and I can't say if it is for the better or not as a matter of fact I can't say where or what they are going to do with me or send me.
          Say Mother I am going to give you the surprise of your life.  On Saturday I am going into Folkstone and have my photo taken and send you one if it cost a million dollars it has taken some time to work up enough nerve but I eventually decided I would so you can expect one any time now.
          Well Mother this is just a note to let you know where I am and that I am feeling in perfect condition and will write immediately I change my address.  As I expect it will be soon. Remember me to Dad and VV and write soon

August 20, 1917 (postmark)
Westenhaugen, Kent England

Dear Mother,
          I must tell you the good news I had my photo taken.  Talk about fussing around a fellow but I never had anything like it in all my life.  Pulling and twisting at my head for at least one half hour trying to make me look pretty.  It is just head and shoulders and are of a very good size.  He asked me how many I wanted I says I want one for my Mother and that’s all but 3 was the smallest quantity he would make up.  So there is one for you one for V-V and one for this country.  Now don’t ever ask me for another for at least ten years I simply detest having those people fussing around me.  I have promised you one for a long while so here it is or will be there by this mail.
          The weather has set in and every thing is fine.  The drafts from Canada still keep pouring in.  Where they get them beats me.  A lot of the civilian population around here seem to think the war will end this coming spring after US gets a few hundred thousand men in the field.  Lord let it be soon.  If it doesn’t end soon I think I will go in for an old age pension out of them.
          Well how does VV like her new job.  I kind of think she will make out allright at teaching and it wont be so bad when she gets a little experience and is able to get a school in town.  There she will be able to live at home that will give you company as well.  Just had a box of cigars sent to me and all the boys in the hut are going around with a cigar in their mouth.  Army is getting very prosperous ‘ Eh What’ You see when any one gets a parcel they always treat all in the hut but by Jove it makes a big whole in the box of smokes.  However I don’t mind they are all good fellows and I am one of the first to share anything they get.  I am the only first contingent man in this hut so they look upon me as a kind of a legal advisor. 
          One of my old unit is here and wants in fact begs me to go to London and act as best man for him.  He says ‘Come on Bill it won’t cost you a cent and I want one of the old boys to stand up with me’ Gee I hate to turn him down but I hate to act in that capacity but I guess I will just because he is one of the old original fellows and a very good fellow too.
          We are having a concert here tonight and by all accounts it will be quite a success.  The Col and several others are invited so it should come off all OK.  The Aeroplanes have been flying all over us this morning, I guess that are taking advantage of the good weather for a few maneuvers.
Mother this is just to say that at last I fulfilled my promise and I hope you like them.  Remember me to Dad an VV and tell VV I will enclose hers along with one for you.  Bye bye for the present I will write later on in the week.

Aug 20, 1917
From CAMC Camp
Westenhaugen, Kent England

Dear Sister,
          Or rather I should say “Please Teacher’.  Well sister how do you like chasing kids for a living by Jove it’s a better paying job than the Army.  I guess you find it rather lonesome don’t you V-V.  Never mind it’s a respectable living and an independent one and after you get a little experience you will be able to qualify for a town job and then it’s a pretty good position.  I have at last had my photo taken and as soon as they are finished you shall have.  Gee it was some job.  They twisted my head around for about half an hour trying to get me looking pretty and then failed to even make me look presentable.  However I have promised Mother one for four or five years so you both shall have one within a week.
          Well V-V I don’t know as yet if I am gong back to France again or not.  They say that all First Contingent men don’t have to go back before the fellows who have never been there have a smash at it.  If that is so then they may shift me around England somewhere.
          Say what are you talking about, I have no lady friend in this country so don’t be foolish.  You should know by this time that I am not a ladies man.  Church parade is just going out to the field to have service, bugles going and band playing reminds me of old Valcartier.  A person has to be in a camp like this before he really realizes he is in the Army.  Everything is so different from hospital work in a hospital it is not near so military, and everything here is discipline.  Inspection after inspection.
          Well VV I guess Dad and Mother miss you allot.  Is sure must be lonesome for them.  Ah well if I get through this allright it won’t be long till we are both with them and then we will be all happy.  The Canadians as you know by now had another bad cutting up and it’s about time some of those cold-footed yafs that are still in Canada came out and did their bit.  By Jove VV the conscripts won’t get a very good reception from many of the old boys.  Do you blame us.  Just imagine I am going on my fourth year of military life.  Long while isn’t it to be a soldier.  Ah well VV your brother was not chased out of Canada by the girls anyway.  But did his bit before most of those people realized there was a war on.
          Raining here very near every day for the past two weeks miserable weather for camp life.  Say VV what kind of a place is Westbourne if it is near Gladstone then I know it and it’s not a bad little place.
          Say VV I have got another mustache and it's whiter than Dad’s what do you know about that, Gee you would laugh if you saw it.  The fellows from Winnipeg that see it just howl they think it’s the limit and I guess they are about right.  There is nothing of any importance to tell you only I am as well as can be, as you will see by the photograph.  If you get this write me and I will and often.  It may help you from getting lonesome.  Remember me to Dad and Mother and tell them I am writing them today.
Love Chas           

 ( V.V.'s note on the back of her letter) "This was sent to Westbourne. 
Why did he write so much to me!  Something wrong, eh?"

Vida Valerie has just begun her first job as a teacher; born in 1899, she would have been just 18 years old.   

OLD HIGH BLUFF S. D. # 13 (formerly HIGH BLUFF S. D.) In 1859 the first school was built under the guidance of Archdeacon Cochrane. It was built west of the Anglican Church and graveyard and south on the main trail toward Dilworth Lake now known as Black's Lake. The teacher from 1862 to 1870 was John Norquay, later the Premier of Manitoba. Mr. Gerrond was then the teacher for many years. In 1876 the school was destroyed by fire, and the sixty-five students attended school at the Drummond house,just west of the graveyard, where the Bullock buildings are located. Mr. Drummond kept a store and Mrs. Drummond helped with the teaching. That same year 1876 , Cochrane school opened to accommodate the growing population as homesteaders moved into the district. In 1877 with seventy-seven pupils attending school, plans were being made to open schools at Nairn and North High Bluff. A new school 34' X38' was built directly north of the Bullock buildings on the corner of Highway #26 and the High Bluff road. The land was purchased from Colin Setter and in 1879 the bell rang for the first classes in the new school. The last Old High Bluff school was built in 1893 at this same location In 1893 the school district became known as Old High Bluff School District # 13 when the High Bluff Village School District # 771 was formed with a school opening in the New High Bluff Village two miles north. Teachers from 1900 to 1963 were: Mary Bell, K. Hammond, Annie M. Cole, Winnie E. Jeffery, Millie Tweddle, Violet Y. Wilton, Lens J. Grant, A. G. Huskins, Kennina M. McKay, May Tidsbury, Ethel Rowley, Vida Lloyd, Ellen Cook, Miss Limbrick, I. Steen, R. G. Joseph, Sylvia G. Olson, Phyllis McKay, Colena Muir, Bernice Nixon, Annie Cruickshank, Marion P. Wilkes, Kathleen Trimble, Sally Williamson ( Sally Hicks), E. Martins, Miss Clark, Gwendalyn Lewis, Shoemaker, John Jackson, Mrs. Duchny, Vera Arrell, Mrs. V. M. 97 Prestash, Mrs. M. Rutledge, Franz Solmundson, Mrs. Mary Rutledge, Mrs. Ethel M. Mathews, Mrs. Ethel Tidsbury. Old High Bluff school closed in 1963, joining Cochrane, North High Bluff, Flee Island, Portage Creek and High Bluff Village schools to become the Consolidated School District of High Bluff # 2418. The building was sold and is now used as a family residence."

This Google Map capture shows the distance between the La Claire Hotel in Winnipeg at 187 Garry Street to High Bluff and to Westbourne.  It's calculated at about a 6 hour trip by bicycle today.  

Saturday, July 29, 2017

July 25, 1917 Letter #60 "The price of things..."

July 25th, 1917 postmark

CMAC Depot
Kent England

Dear Mother
          Recd your letter a day or two ago and I am under the impression that there is a lot of my mail gone astray as that was the first since I received VV’s letter.  Things in general are just the same as usual I don’t know just what they are going to do with me but expect to have a few days leave shortly and that will help some.
          You say Ireland got very mad at Ina when you were over there well for the Lords sake Mother don’t you get mixed up in any of their troubles, let them fight it out amongst themselves.  Apparently he must have changed a great deal because when I knew him it was very hard to get him mad, might have been because he knew it wouldn’t do hem a great deal of good if he did get sore.  Had a letter from Hess the other day but she didn’t say if they are getting on well or not.  You know Mother she is another on that’s darn queer at times however it don’t make any difference to me so I should worry.
          Ther has been a lot of men come in from various hospitals all fit and ready for France at a minutes notice.  This last draft just over from Canada seem to be fine big men very funny thing they were not in the army three years ago.  It makes them feel as if they wish they had of joined a year or so earlier when they get among some of the old timers.  Oh well they are better late than never.
          I am very anxious to hear how VV made out in her exams.  Gee I hope she got along OK.  I know Dad wouldn’t want her to go out teaching but I think the sooner she gets a smash at some of these country schools the sooner she will have a decent place in town.  So if she can get an appointment this fall why not let her have it I believe that in Canada in a few years teachers are going to draw a fair salary.
          You were saying the price of things have gone up terrible well Mother you should see the prices here and compare them with the peacetime prices, by Jove it's fierce.  How some of the poorer classes make a living I don’t know.
          Well Mother this is just to say I am OK and still in the land of the living.  Remember me to Dad and VV and write soon.
Love Chas

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Early June 1917, Letter #59 Folkestone bombing

Written between June 10th and June 18 1917

Granville Can Host
Ramsgate, Kent

Dear Mother
Just got back off a few days leave and I sure enjoyed myself it is like starting all over again to come back to military life after being like a civilian for a few days.  I suppose you have heard of the air raid on Folkstone and seventy-six killed* mostly women and children. Seems to me that the Huns are getting desperate now and are doing anything possible in order to gain their ends.
    Les Newman left today for a medical board he does not know what he will get but expects to have a week or so sick leave.  He is the only Portage boy that I have saw for a long while.

    Say Mother I have never heard anything yet about that money that is suppose to be coming to me do you really think there is anything in it or is it all a false rumour.  I am going to write to Mrs. Richmond again and ask her if she has found out anything more about it. Seems very funny to me if there is really any coming that the solicitors have not informed me before this.
    Everything is in full swing here and the weather is ideal and people are coing in form all parts for there holidays.  The beach and promenades are crowded every afternoon and evening and everything is quite lively.
    There are a few Canadian marines here a few days ago and they sure uphold the Canadians name of being free and easy the majority of them were fellows from Nova Scotia and the eastern provinces fine big men but they sure believe in having a high old time.

    You never say anything about how the business is getting on and if it is as good a paying proposition as you expected.  Tell me just where is Dewalts new drug store and if the Clarendon has been remodeled since the new man has taken it over.

    Well Mother this is pay day and the parade falls in in a few minutes and of course this is one time in the month that CRB is on time So remember me to Dad and VV and answer soon.
Love Chas
Did I tell you last letter I am back on regular pay again.  Feels kind of funny to go down and draw a soldiers pay.

* Charley addresses the Folkstone raid of May 25th 1917 while the June 13th London bombing would just have happened as well.

"June 13 is the anniversary of the first daylight bombing of London in 1917, by German Gothas. Fourteen of the huge planes took off from their base in Belgium and dropped bombs on Britain’s capital city.They killed 162 people and injured 432 others. Among the dead were 16 little children killed by a bomb falling on a primary school. Most of the children were under 5 years old."  Read more at World War 1 Historical Association 

"The 100th anniversary of Britain's first air raid in the First World War, which killed 97 people in Kent, was commemorated at a special memorial service May 25, 2017.
German bomber aircraft attacked the south east on May 25, 1917, claiming the lives of 94 people in Folkestone, while two died in Hythe and there was one fatality in Ashford.At 6.22pm, a single 55lb bomb fell on a queue outside Stokes Brothers greengrocers in Tontine Street, destroying the shop and wiping out several families.That single strike alone killed 61 people and many of the casualties were women and children – the raid is regarded as the greatest civilian loss of life outside London during WWI."
Read more ​about Britain's first air raid in WWI – remembering the 97 people killed in Kent.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

May 13, 1917 Letter #58 To his sister; Vida Valerie

May 13, 1917
Granville Can Host
Ramsgate, Kent

Dear Sister,
Apparently you have taken a great interest in agricultural work. Well you had better learn enough for the two of us because I can’t tell a pig from an onion when it comes to farming.

The Summer of 1917 CALGARY, ALBERTA Canada
"1917 07 29 homesteading /

I just came back off leave and believe me I sure had a dandy time I went to visit my friends in Buxton by the way they are in the Hotel business and it was simply a heaven to be free for a few days. It's fine to lie in bed and have your coffee brought to you etc quite different from military life and they sure treated me fine. We went motoring a couple of times away out to Rudyard Lake there was a party of six of us and I enjoyed myself a great deal better than I have ever done since I joined the army. You see I was a kind of an honored guest the reasons I may tell you some time later.

Say V-V you don’t need to give all those people my address. I don’t want them looking me up when they first come over here. They kind of look for people to show them around, well let them learn for themselves. I had to, and more over all the friends I have in Winnipeg had either cold feet or something before they enlisted in the ninety ninth contingent so let them get their own experiences and not ours.

Tell Mother I heard she was all swelled out in a new gray suit and has become quite a sport in her old age. Never mind, I am glad she has a last been convinced she is well enough off to afford a new dress. I tell you her son does not look on things the way his mother does. I get the swell rags and let the others do the worrying as to where the cash is to come from.

Well V-V you will soon be writing your final. I sincerely hope you luck but if by misfortune you do fail for goodness sake go back at it again don’t let them convince you to go into a store or anything like that. I know Dad will do anything in the world to help you in an educational line so finish at all costs.

Well kid it is getting late so remember me to Dad and mother and drop me another line shortly

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 25th, 1917 Letter #57 "Lots of Dauphin boys out of action in last six months"

April 25th, 1917 postmark

Granville Can Host
Ramsgate, Kent

Dear Mother

Have a few moments to spare so am taking the chance to drop a few lines. As yet I have heard nothing more about going back to France and they are opening up another hospital here so goodness only knows if I will have to go or not and if it comes to the point I don’t think I care very much. I am very nearly fed up with this country.

The officer that was my OC in Southampton just died in this hospital a few days ago and all his family are here. I was out yesterday afternoon with the son and poor fellow, he is taking it pretty bad. This new hospital that is to be opened here is for officers only and is going to accommodate about 400 so it sure will be some fine place when finished. 

You never told me if you had heard anything more about the Bailey money how much or who left it or what happened or anything about it.  Personally I think they were trying to kid the troops.

Things here are starting to show some signs of life now that the weather is opening up a little it sure has been one awful winter cold and miserable and a damp atmosphere that very nearly goes through you. I sincerely believe that an English man can stand any climate on this earth.

I was up to the Roller Rink the other day and needless to say I am still as stiff as a board. But I sure had some fun.

Say what kind of a joint is that Le Claire anyway what kind of furniture etc and has anyone stung you for any more money. I suppose VV will be soon writing off her exams for a teacher. Do you know it just seems like about a year ago that she started to Dauphin school. There is sure a lot of the Dauphin fellows put out of action the last six months over here.

So Dad has put on 20 lbs since going to Wpg, well that’s worth a lot even if you were only clearing expenses. Looks like we are going to be a darn porky family in a year or so, I am getting stouter every day.  The tunic I wore down here will not even button around my waist. And my weight on Saturday was one hundred and sixty-six lbs that is just eleven lbs more than I ever weighed in all my life. Well Mother remember me to Dad and VV and write soon

Love Chas 34260

The LaClaire Hotel ~ A little history from the Winnipeg Free Press

"Arguably the 44-room hotel's most famous guest was Charlie Chaplin, who stayed there as many as five times between 1911 and 1913. In those days it was called the La Claire after having been opened as a boarding house in 1903.

In 1913 Chaplin, then a vaudeville performer, used La Claire stationery to write a letter to his brother saying he was about to sign his first movie contract."

"The Windsor Hotel originally opened as a boarding house. Charles H. Forrester took out a building permit for what is now The Windsor in September 1903, says Penner. It became LeClaire Hall in 1910. Ownership changed over the years.

The building remains much the same as it was in its early days, with 44 rooms occupied by temporary and more permanent residents. Some have lived there for many years, says Penner. There is also a restaurant and beverage room. Although some renovations have been done over the years, the largest in most recent history was the expansion of the beverage room to a capacity of 192 (up from 100). That was done to accommodate a growing audience for blues performers.

At the time of Chaplin's stay, the beverage room was a prestigious gentlemen's club with high-back wicker chairs and large oak tables. It was advertised as a "five-minute walk from anywhere (in the city) you wanted to go."  
Windsor Hotel (September 2015) Originally the LaClaire
Source: Gordon Goldsborough 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 20th, 1917 Letter #56 ~ arrival of The Stars and Stripes

April 20th 1917 postmark

Granville Can Hospital
Ramsgate, Kent

Dear Mother

Well I have heard some funny ones but Mother you take the cake gee I laughed when I read your letter about accusing me of not knowing how to spell my own name. Baily is only written in a hurry and there is supposed to be an e in it. However don’t worry if there is any money in sight I will put one hundred and four E’s in it, if it will get me anything.

Yes I had some money put through to the Bank of Montreal last fall but it is nothing to speak of. I am watching things pretty close and if anything is coming my way you can rely upon Charles R getting all he can out of it.

It is still cold over here yet and at Buxton they have big drifts of snow yet just imagine such a thing in this country in the middle of April. By the way a few years ago this 29th of April Annie heard a kid crying and on closer examination found it to be Vida Valeria, by Jove, I can't spell her name is that right or wrong. However tell her that her big brother wishes her the very best of Birthday greetings etc.

Well what do you think of the panhandlers coming into the war, London has gone mad over it and the Stars and Stripes are to be seen almost everywhere. If they come over here they had better keep them away from the Canuks. It was fighting every night when the Australians were near us, but good heavens what will it be if the yanks get alongside of us.

Well Mother it is getting late so I had better come to an end. I tell you mother if ever you are up town and you feel like spending a couple of shillings you can send me a few Murads. Remember me to Dad and VV

Love Chas