Remember Me

Remember Me

Monday, October 9, 2017

Letter #66 October 9, 1917 Lots of Portage boys killed or wounded just recently..

October 9th, 1917
Folkstone
CAMC Camp
Westenhaugen, Kent England

Dear Mother,
By Jove here it is two weeks and not one letter from you.  You know Mother there is something wrong with the mail delivery somewhere. Some of the boys have not heard from Canada for a couple of months.  Well, have you received my photos and say, are they not the limit.  I look like Von Hindenburg. Oh well I promised you one for a long while so now you have it.  The first time I said I would send you one well I had them taken but really they were worse than the last ones so you can hardly blame me for not sending the.  Now can you. I think I inherit the dislike for having my photo taken from you Mother. Because one time, I remember you having your picture taken in Dauphin and you would not even let Dad or I see them for a long while and then you eventually destroyed them.  Do you remember?
          Things in general are just as usual here.  I have a very good job and by all accounts I may be here for some time yet.  Drafts coming in and going out every day but I am regimentally employed and I may say that I like it as good as any job I have had yet and am getting on just fine.  Do you know Mother; I am considerably heavier now than I ever was in all my life so you see this place is agreeing with me.
          I was up to the flying corps the other night and one of the imperials was good enough to show me all around it.  He described all the different class of machines and the different purposes they were used for and all about them.  It sure was interesting.  I was wishing that Dad had of been there he would of enjoyed it.  Gee this place is slow but there is one good thing about it we cant get into to town only about once a week and we cant spend any money here so it enables us to live on army pay or at least try to.
          I suppose by this time VV has settled down and is a full-grown schoolteacher.  I sent her one or two letters but I can’t say if the address was correct or not.  However when I hear from her I will make it a point to write often it will tend to cheer her anyway.  Saw a bunch of the Portage boys the other night and by what they told me a lot of them have been killed and wounded just recently.
          My friends from Dauphin may be down here in a day or so for the weekend and if I can get a day or so pass I will have a fairly good time for a few days.  Gee Mother but they have been good to me you would think I was one of the family and when I was up there on pass they could not do enough for me.  The only thing I don’t like is that they call us Canadians “Gee Whizzers” Just imagine chippers calling us fellows “gee whizzers”
          How is Dad keeping I guess he is feeling his usual self or you would have mentioned it in your letter.  Well Mother I am going to get this off in the Post.  I will have to stop.  Tell Dad and VV I am still well and write often.  Be sure and tell me what you thought of your big son’s picture in the uniform.

Love Chas




(Unfortunately, very few photographs of Charley have survived and this particular portrait that has been a topic of conversation in many of his letters, has not surfaced. However, since Charley likens his mug to that of Paul von Hindenburg, here's a pic of Paul. I think Charley's being hard on himself.)








"Saw a bunch of the Portage boys the other night and by what they told me a lot of them have been killed and wounded just recently."  

Below are the names of 44 mostly very young men from Portage la Prairie who died in 1917. The dead and wounded Charley was hearing news of would have been friends and acquaintances.  In the summer of 1914 when Charley answered the call, he was renting a flat in Winnipeg, he played hockey and worked in a pharmacy. He was just beginning to find his way in the world, beyond home, beyond Portage. It must have been so for most of his contemporaries.  These 44 young men were Charley's age, in their 20's. Dead. Some were students, one was a student at law. They were clerks, labourers, farmers, millers, barbers, plumbers, teachers, tinsmiths and accountants.   These are just the losses from 1917, just the losses from one community in Manitoba.  

Their names. My hope for each of these young men is that someone who knows even a tidbit of their story remembers them and sometimes speaks their names.

Andrew Bremner / Labourer
George William Cochrane / Teacher
George Arthur Cockhead / Fireman
Percy Robert Cook / Farmer
James Alfred Corfield / Farmer
Walter Evan Cox-Smith / Farmer
Gordon Richardon Thomas Cumming / Carpenter
Francis Cuthbert Malcolm Cummings / Farmer 
Elmer Cecil Dalzell  /  Hardware Clerk
William Daum / Hardware Clerk
Alfred Dent / Farm Labourer
Thomas Birtwistle Douglas / Clerk
Charles Samuel Dyer / Barber
H. C. “Jack” Favel / Farmer
Allan Francis / Clerk
John Henry Froats  / Plumber
Arthur Taylor Fulford  / Telephone Lineman
Lorne Talmage Graham  / Farmer
James Frederick Harrison DCM  / Farmer
Edmund Huddlestone  / Farmer
Thomas Kaines  / Labourer
Russell George Kemp  / Farmer
John Frank Little  / Farmer
Alexander Mackie  /  Farmer
Colin Archibald MacLennan  / Farmer
Claude Elliott Matthews  / Farmer
William Lee Mawhinney  /  Barrister 
Albert Milton McCaig  /  Clerk
William Harvey McDonald / Labourer
Frederick Conroy Mills  /  Miller
James Moffat  /  Farmer
John Nicholson  / Farmer
Ira Stanley Nixon  / Tinsmith
Bruce Hutton Parkinson / Bank Clerk
David Peden  / Trackman
Aylwin Murray Pratt  /  Student at Law
Ernest Prout  /  Tinsmith
Henry Alexander Robertson / Broker
John Henry Sanders / Accountant
Charles Samuel Saunders  /  Farmer
Alfred Saxton  / Farmhand
Thomas Alfred Singer / Farmhand
Norman James Thomas MM  / Student
James Harrison Thompson  / Farmer

The names and occupations of these 44 young men comes from the excellent Manitoba Historical Society website Portage la Prairie War Memorial

And my response: "Down by the Riverside"  Sweet Honey and the Rock  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Letter #65 September 25, 1917 "I am sure a lucky cuss."

September 25th, 1917 (postmark)
Folkstone
CAMC Camp
Westenhaugen, Kent England

Dear Mother,
Have not heard a word from you for at least two weeks I can't make out just what is the matter.  I hope nothing is wrong at home.  I guess not or you would have told me.  Things here are as usual.  Yesterday I went down to the Docks to see a bunch of the boys off.  There were sure a happy bunch all going over for the first time and glad to go, glad to have the chance at the square heads.  It was good to see the spirit they went away in.  The boys were singing, bands were playing, the returned boys were shouting and women crying. Say, it was some mixture.  They will be over there by now and by this time next week they will realize what war means.
          I have the same old job here and by all accounts I will keep it for some time to come although a person can never tell five minutes beforehand what they are going to do with him.  
         My friends from Buxton are down here for a week or so and on Thursday I motored to Canterbury with them.  Went all through the cathedral and all through the hospital that I was put in on my return from France.  It's quite an ancient town and was very interesting.  We visited two of the places that Dickens mentioned in his books probably Dad will recognize the names “The ?? Inn and Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe”  That’s the way they are spelt or were spelt in the days of Dickens. 
          A lot of our boys were turned into infantry the other day and some of them transferred into the kilter’s.  Gee it is a scream to see some of them in Kilts.  I don’t think they are all overjoyed with their lots.  
       Well how is Winnipeg and all the people.  Irelands, Laws and the rest.  You never told me if they will have to join up if conscription comes into effect.  I hope to the Lord they do and then they won't be so darn quick to criticize.  They get a smash of it and then we will be able to see who’s got cold feet and have to hide behind their women folk.  I got no use for slackers and especially when they are from Canada.
          The weather here is surely ideal.  It's as warm as the middle of summer.  How does VV like her job I have never heard from her since she went to Westbourne I hope she likes it alright. I know it will be lonely for her but if she likes the work it will help a lot.  Oh say Mother did I tell you that the hospital I was in in Ramsgate is going to move.  Yes in one of the Air raids a bomb was dropped through the roof into the recreation room doing considerable damage, by Jove I think I got out of there just in time.  You know Mother I am sure a lucky cuss. It seems I have a lucky star that tells me where and when not to move.  Well I have got to get to work.  Tell Dad I hope he is well and that I will ans his letter shortly.  Remember me to VV when you write and tell her I am well.  I will now go back to work or they will be over after me.
With love

Chas 





The " ?? " Inn and the Olde Curiosity Shoppe" Any ideas?  I've darkened the letter and the text below and welcome your input. This particular letter is very faded and I'm finding it really difficult to make out the name of the Inn.  He may have visited "The Little Inn'  in the Sun Hotel. Dickens set a scene in his novel "David Copperfield" at this inn.


The Sun Hotel was built in 1503 and, although the name has changed, the building still stands today. The history of this famous stopping-in place is preserved with a small historic marker in the first floor, as follows
THE SUN HOTEL 
Formerly known as The Little Inn 
Made famous by Charles Dickens 
In his travels thro’ Kent 
Built 1503

The Old Curiosity Shop still stands ...
Charley mentions the air raid attack on the Canadian Hospital in Ramsgate where he had recently worked.  This is a link to an excellent account of that day written by another young Cdn soldier from Winnipeg. William Markle (Mark) Pecover  Company D, 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion.



Sunday, September 3, 2017

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

September 3rd, 1917 (postmark)

CAMC Camp
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 
CAMC Camp
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
Love
Chas



August 20, 1917 (postmark)
CAMC Camp
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.
Love
Chas



  
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
England


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
PS
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
England

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 / begbiecontestsociety.org

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
Love
Chas




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
England

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."

http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/sites/windsorhotel.shtml  
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
England

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






Saturday, March 18, 2017

Vimy Oak Rings and Pins

This year, April 9th, 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

My post today is a different sort of post, however it comes directly from my passion for my Charley Bailey project.

Charley Bailey lost at least one close friend (Jim Ross) at the battle of Vimy Ridge.

Vimy is considered a defining moment in Canadian history. 
My research of these war years and Charley's life, led me to discover a Canadian project connected with the 100th anniversary of Vimy that fell perfectly in line with the work we do for a living. 


My husband David and I have been offering meticulously hand crafted, bespoke wooden rings for almost 15 years. David is the pioneer of the steam bent wood ring. Touch Wood Rings is our primary website.
In the course of my WW1 research I came across the story of the Vimy Oaks repatriation project.  


David has made hundreds of beautiful Oak wood rings over the years for our Touch Wood Ring clients. We felt it would be an honour and a privilege to offer folks a ring made of this precious Vimy Oak wood. I contacted Jeremy Diamond at the Vimy Foundation who put me in touch with Monty McDonald and the rest, as they say, is history. Learn more about the Vimy Oaks Repatriation Project here.

Vimy Oak, thanks to Monty McDonald and the late Lt. Leslie Miller, is being offered as a Limited Edition Touch Wood Ring commemorating the centenary of Vimy Ridge and the repatriation of Canada's Vimy Oak trees in France.  VIMY OAK RINGS

This is the tie clip and cuff link set David created for Monty McDonald as a thank you for providing us with branches from the Vimy Oak trees in Ontario.





 The first Vimy Oak Ring created for Monty McDonald's daughter; Heather.
It is a tapered Vimy Oak ring with a featured knot, lined with Canadian Maple.






Our Vimy Oak Branches




If you are interested in commissioning a Vimy Oak Ring or Pin, please drop us an email and visit Vimy Oak Rings

Some background on the Battle of Vimy Ridge 
BY PAUL REED Military Historian & author who works in Television: visiting & interpreting battlefields all over the world. www.greatwarphotos.com  ww1centenary.net
"The Battle of Vimy Ridge, part of the northern operations of the Battle of Arras, which took place 95 years ago today, was one of the defining moments for Canada in the Great War. Up against formidable objective, all four Canadian Divisions – men from every part of Canada – took the ridge in five days at the cost of just over 10,000 Canadian casualties. Together with success in the British sectors at Arras, the sort of advance experienced on 9th April 1917 had hitherto only rarely been experienced and reflected the change in approach to battle not only in the Canadian Corps but in the British Army on the Western Front as a whole.

For a post-war Canada coming to terms with the lost of more than 66,000 Canadian soldiers in the Great War the fighting at Vimy took on a symbolism hard for others to understand; many felt that it was almost as if Canada as a Nation had come together on the slopes of Vimy Ridge. The French government gave the battlefield to Canada who turned it into a memorial park which today is one of the most visited sites on the Western Front battlefields, and one of the largest areas of preserved WW1 battlefield.

Today’s photograph is an official photograph but taken from a special album of photographs published during the war as part of an exhibition of Canadian war photographs. The photographs were printed in landscape format in quite large scale direct from glass negatives, so the quality is very high. This dramatic image shows Canadian troops going into action 99 years ago on 9th April 1917 – they are men from the 29th Battalion Canadian Infantry who were operating on the southern end of the Vimy front."  PAUL REED