The following letters have been reprinted from the Manitoulin Expositor, with permission from publisher Rick McCutcheon. The articles noted with “**” were reprinted in a supplement entitled The Torch published October 18, 2000. The original publishing date will be noted when more letters from the original issues are transcribed.
ENLISTMENT AND GENERAL INFORMATION LETTERS
JONES ROWLAND ASSIAWE ASSINAWE AUBIENS BEBAMIKAWE BONDY COOPER DESMOULON ENOSSE FOX GABOU GAIASK GANOSSWE GIAIASK KABONI KING KITCHIKEK MANDAMIN MANITOWABI MCDOUGALL MISHIBINIJIMA NADJIWAN ODJIG OJABAKOAM OSAWABINE OSAWAMIK PELTIER PITAWANAKWAT SAGIMA SHAWANA SHAWANDE SHIGWADJA TAGWADJIWAN TEHKUMMAH TRUDEAU WABONOSSE WAKEGIJIG WASEGIJIG WEMIGWANS WILLIAMS
1915-1916 SOLDIERS LETTERS AND NEWS ARTICLES
FERGUSON NELDER PATTERSON WRAGGE
1942-1945 SOLDIERS LETTERS AND NEWS ARTICLES
BEANGE BEAUDIN BOWES EADIE(2) HALCROW HEISE HUBBERT LEHMAN LOCKYER MACMURRAY MARTELL MAY MCCAULEY MCCULLIGH MCKENZIE MEJAKI MULVANEY(ROGERS) PENNIE PITAWANAKWAT TRACY(D) TRACY (H) WAGG WILLIAMSON
ENLISTMENT AND GENERAL MILITARY LETTERS
**Feb. 24, 1916
The following letter has been sent to all the eligible young men in Algoma and Manitoulin urging them to offer their services in defence of the Empire. Think it over and if able DO YOUR DUTY.
You are, I believe, of military age, physically fit and unmarried. As such, I address this letter to you, with the appeal that you will consider it, and will come forward and enlist in the 119th Overseas Battalion.
You are absolutely needed. Every man, married or single, of military age and fitness, in the great countries of France, Russia and Italy, is enrolled and subject to call on a moment’s notice, to fight. In Great Britain, through conscription, every single man qualified to join her fighting forces, is about to be brought into her armies. Canada has just raised the strength of her fighting forces to half a million men.
Is there any doubt now in your mind that you are needed? That, if you do not volunteer; someone else-perhaps a married man whose wife and children need him-must take your place?
Have you considered who should make the sacrifices entailed by enlisting-The single men or the married men? Britain, through conscription, say the single men should. The world over the sentiment is the same; and is not less pronounced in Canada than elsewhere?
Numbers of young men have left their homes in this District to fight for Canada-That means, for you and for your parents, and for yours and their property. You know many of these men. WAS IT-IS IT-THEIR DUTY TO GO, any more than yours? Is it fair they should sacrifice everything, their positions, their earnings for a year or more, all their home comforts, to enable you to hold down your job and to enjoy your ease and comfort?
DO YOU THINK THEY SHOULD FIGHT-FOR YOU?
After the war is over you will be only two or three years older than you are today. The Boys will know that You will be surrounded by those who enlisted, and fought, and returned. They will want to know what you did. What will be your answer? And what, your answer in the long years to come? And to your children, and their children?
Join this Battalion, and to you the road to promotion is open. Show aptitude and military efficiency, and promotion will be given you. Show great efficiency, and higher promotion will be given you. There is nothing in this Battalion you cannot achieve. If you have been examined by the Medical Officer since the 1st of December 1915, and have been refused, write me and I will give you a certificate, which I am authorized to issue, showing you have patriotically volunteered, and unfortunately have been rejected.
If you have not been examined go to the Medical Office nearest your home, who is examining recruits for this Battalion, be examined and then be attested. By so doing you will do your duty, and will have taken a step you will never regret.
I will be glad to hear from you in answer to this appeal.
T.P. Rowland, Lt-Co
Commanding 119th, O.S.Ba. C.E.F.
**July 16, 1916 Recruiting Letter
To the People of Manitoulin
As you are aware, the 227th Battalion “Men o’ the North” are endeavoring to recruit a full company on the Manitoulin. This battalion is a Manitoulin battalion, and has the name “Manitoulin” on its badges. It is the first time in your history that this has occurred. If we do not get from the Manitoulin the number we expect, it will be impossible to recruit this Manitoulin Battalion, and what will happen will simply be that we will mobilize under strength and merge into other battalions. The identity of the 227th Battalion will thus be lost, we will take off our badges, and be known under some other number and some other name.
To prevent this we must have 150 men more from the Manitoulin, and the question which today concerns the Manitoulin people-are they going to be found wanting? I believe you are all thoroughly convinced of the necessity for men. The story has been told and retold to you. Would you not rather have your men folk fighting to hold off and fight with some other battalion form a different part of the country? This is the Manitoulin men’s opportunity to fight under their own banner and with men from their own district. If you let it go by you lose forever the opportunity for the name “Manitoulin” to be known in this war.
Rally to the Colours, then, Men of the Manitoulin, fill up the Island Company and preserve for all time the fighting record of the Manitoulin Company in the Manitoulin Battalion.
C.H.L. Jones, Lt.-Col.
O.C. 227th O.S.Bn, C.E.F.
**July 6, 1916
“Men O’ The North” Manitoulin Battalion Manitoulin Company
Great Recruiting Trek
The Manitoulin Company will commence a trek throughout the entire Island for the purpose of securing recruits for this battalion.
The story of the necessity for men has been told in our meetings. We will now give the men of the Island an opportunity to see soldiers on the march and in camp. Games and dances will be held at each place, and a good time is offered for all.
Uniforms and equipment for new recruits will be carried along and all men joining can be outfitted the same day and if desired, continue with the trek, pay starting immediately.
A good orchestra and bugle band will be with the Company. A good time is promised at the dances, to which everybody is invited.
The following is the route to be taken by the trek and the points at which camp will be made each day.
July 13 Little Current Trek starts
Sheguiandah Camp and Dance
Green Bay Camp and Dance
Bidwell Camp and Dance
Manitowaning Camp and Dance
Hilly Grove Camp and Dance
Sandfield Camp and Dance
Big Lake Camp and Dance
Mindemoya Camp and Dance
Grimesthorpe Camp and Dance
Long Bay Camp
Gordon No. 1 School Camp
Gore Bay Camp and Dance
Ice Lake Camp
Kagawong Camp and Dance
Bowser Corners Camp
West Bay Camp and Dance
Honora Camp and Dance
Sucker Creek Camp
Little Current Camp and Dance
The 227th Battalion is your own Battalion. We must get a full company from the Manitoulin. It is up to you boys to come. We must win the war, the Empire needs men and it needs Manitoulin men. Do not hesitate any longer. Take the plunge-be a man, and join up. If you are not joining us talk it over with us anyway.
GOD SAVE THE KING AND CANADA
**March 19, 1942
Wikwemikong Honour Roll
The list below shows the men who have entered the services from Wikwemikong and surrounding district. This list is as complete as it was possible to make it at present.
Pte. Angus Trudeau, Pte. Stanley Odjig, Pte. John Wakegijig, Pte. Clarence Wakegijig,
Corp. Henry Fox, Pte. Michael Desmoulon, Pte. Joe Trudeau, Pte. George Mandamin,
Pte. John F. Assinawe, Pte. John Manitowabi, Pte. Jacob Shawande, Pte. Wilfred Shawande, Pte. George Fox, Pte. Ignatius Gabou, Pte. Boniface Wassegijig, Pte. Adolphus Wemigwans, Pte. Gabriel Mishibinijima, Pte. Onesime Bebamikawe, Pte. Wilfred Williams
Pte. John Osawamik, Pte. Albert Shigwadja, Pte. Fred Enosse, Pte. Henry Mandamin,
Pte. Dan Gaiask, Pte. Isaac Rogers Shawande, Pte. Joe Osawabine
Pte. Felix Wemigwans, Pte. Ambrose Kitchikek, Pte. Norman Shigwadja,
Pte. George Shawande
Pte. David Peltier, Pte. Leo Peltier, Pte. Jacob Assiawe, Pte. Valentine Pitawanakwat,
Pte. Tommy Pitawanakwat
L. Corp. Anthony Gabou, Pte. Jacob Bondy, Pte. Eli McDougall, Pte. Paddy Nadjiwan,
Pte. Philip Pitawanakwat, Pte. Blaze King, Buzwah; Pte. Eugene Sagima, Kaboni; Pte. Eugene Peltier, Ten Mile Point; Pte. Eugene Peltier Sr., Wikwemikong; Sgt. Tom Peltier, Ten Mile Point; Pte. Casimir Trudeau, Buzwah
Pte. Ignatius Trudeau, Pte. John Tagwadjiwan, Pte. Raymond King, Pte. Fred Tehkummah, Pte. Harry Wabonosse, Pte. Andrew Manitowabi, Pte. Alphonse Gaiask, Pte. Frank Cooper, Pte. Frank Ojabakoam, Pte. Earl Shawana
David Osawamik, Kaboni; Adam Osawamik, Kaboni; Dominic Pitawanakwat, Kaboni;
Isadore Kaboni, Kaboni; Wilfred Fox, Kaboni; Henry Ganosswe; Gabriel Aubiens, South Bay.
1915-1916 SOLDIERS LETTERS AND NEWS ARTICLES
**June 22, 1916
My Dear Mae:-
Just as I started this I heard a funny roaring sound and had to beat it for safety. An aeroplane has just dropped two bombs within a short distance of us but did no damage. Our guns are shooting him up but missed him.
I have sad news to report regarding Fred Dobie. He was killed on May 7th but possibly you have already heard that. He and an officer were killed by a rifle grenade the same night. Fred was a good soldier and very well thought of by everyone in the battalion who had ever met him. I was in the same trench with him more than once and thought a great deal of him. He was a brave soldier and a cheerful one; always ready with a cheery word and helping hand for anyone who needed it.
Your loving cousin,
**January 20, 1916
Bramshott Camp, Hants, Eng.,
My Dear Mother:
Received your most welcome letter of Dec. 4th and am certainly glad mother, you are writing often, although I’ve done pretty well for mail. Since I’ve been here I have gotten five or six letters I got one from a lady in Trouro, a city in N.B. I was sent over to a drug store by Capt. Magladery for some papers and when I got back to the train and was standing on the platform a bunch of ladies were talking to me and they asked me for my address. They said that some time when I was feeling lonesome they would drop me a letter to cheer me up and I guess this one thought it was time to write, and I would be lonesome soon as I got here because there was a letter waiting for me when I came back from London. You see, mother, there are some funny little things happen in this world.
Well, mother dear, Christmas is over. We tried to make it as much like Christmas as we could. We decorated our mess room with holly and mistletoe and also our sleep shacks and we had roast turkey with dressing trimmed with cranberries, mashed potatoes with vegetables, plum pudding, oranges, apples, grapes, and nuts of all kinds. We tried to make it as cheerful as we could but it soon died out. I guess they were all like myself, their thoughts were a long ways from Bramshott Camp and all you could hear was, “What were you doing this time last year?” and, “I wonder what they are doing at home now,” and “I wonder where we will be this time next year,” and all sorts of questions like that.
On Christmas Eve we turned out the lights in our hut and we bought some candles and lit them and set them in two rows along the floor and we sat up on the benches outside of the candles and sang till we were tired. Then five or six of us went into the next hut and caught the rubber sheets with which the bottom of every man’s bed is supplied and pulled them out in the centre of the floor, explaining to them that sleeping was strictly forbidden on Christmas Eve. Some of them talked strong but it is no use talking like that here because you always lose by it.
After I got tired roving around and we had put all the candles out, there was a bunch crept in from another hut and got a hold of some of our sheets. I know I was one of the unlucky ones. I took a sudden slide across the room. Some of my blankets went with me, other stayed where they were. When we got to our feet all we saw was a few shirttails fluttering out of the door at about 60 miles per hour, but that was all that happened to us so you see how we spent our Xmas Eve.
Say it’s kind of funny that Coy and Johnnie can’t shoot any deer this fall. I guess they will have to wait till I get home with my twenty-pounder, or at least it feels that heavy sometimes after you march about 15 or 20 miles and carry it.
I was talking to a guy going home from the front last night. I bought a lunch for him at the YMCA He was on his way home for seven days. He had nothing to eat all day and said he was in such a hurry he hadn’t time but I filled him up properly last night. He was carrying home a load of relics that would break a horse’s back. He said the fighting at the front wasn’t very severe. It was principally starving them. Well, mother, guess I will close, hoping to hear from you soon again.
With love to all from
Oh! Mother, I nearly forgot the postcards I sent you: one of the Lapland, the steamer we came across in, and the other is a picture of Thos. Colburn. He was the big lumber jack who enlisted at Little Current the same time I did. I think I pointed him out to you the night we left. He is a French Canadian and cannot write at all and reads very little and I do all his writing for him, so he gave me his picture on Sunday after church.
By-by this time. Joe
**March 16, 1915
Pte. L. Wragge, No. 6007
care of British Red Cross Society
Wanstead Hospital, Norgate, England
Mr. J. McEachern, Little Current
I am just writing these few lines to let you see I have not quite forgotten you although I have been such a long time in writing. I hope you are all in the best of health. You will see I am in the hospital at the time of writing this and I hardly expect being out for quite a long yet for I am in bed with both my legs pretty well smashed up and awaiting an operation on both. I went out along with the captain of my Battalion on the night of Nov. 5th and I suppose some of old Kaiser Bill’s bunch spotted us as it was only about 5 o’clock at night, anyhow they put about 100 shells over the place and the Captain ran to an old trench close by whilst I ran into an old dugout, I had barely reached it and got inside when a large shell landed right on top and knocked the roof down fastening me in pretty tight. The captain thought it was all over with me but at 7:30 next morning he said to one or two of the boys I would like to see about getting poor old Dick out of that old dugout near Irish Farm and 5 or 6 of them volunteered to dig me out dead or alive well they dug me out but thought I was dead as I was almost suffocated and no use at all in my limbs but Capt. Sinclair forced brandy into me and saw I still breathed but for 4 days there was no blood going through my legs.
I was sent to hospital at Boulogne and kept there until Dec.20th When I was sent here but I can tell you it’s awful being fast in bed for months, but don’t worry for I get the best attention I could possibly have, this is the third time I have managed to get knocked out but I am still alive thank God.
P.S. I was gassed at Ypres, wounded at Festeubert and at Mestines, not too bad a record, eh Jack? Well better luck next time.
**March 16, 1916
Pte. W. R. Ferguson
East Sandling, Kent, England
Just a few lines in answer to your most welcome letter which I received Saturday I came over here to answer it last night but I was too sleepy and I went back and went to bed for we were down at the butts about six miles yesterday and I felt kind of tired.
Well this will have to be short and sweet for there is no news around here at all, just the same all the time, for it has blowed all day and when we were down at the rifle ranges it rained so hard that we had to come back, for all the targets were falling down. I am certainly a poor shot over here, out of 55 points I only got one yesterday and out of 202 only four today so there is not much chance of me getting to be a sniper unless they put elephants up in front of me to shoot at.
Well how is everything up there? I heard one of the boys say that he thought the rink was going to close I guess it will be kind of dull if it does.
I am going to write you a little piece of poetry down about the mud over here just think of us in the mud hole.
On this thick and chalky loam
Where ere the eye may roam
The brutal truth come home of mud
It is said the great god Buddha
Is an idol made of mud
You could make a million gods
Of what once was grassy sods, but is mud
The ancient home Britons were of mud
And one need not of reflections chew the cud
To quickly understand
They took what was next at hand
As they dotted all the lands with homes of mud
In the morn when we arise
There are but the rainy skies and the mud
Nine inches deep it lies
We are mud up to our eyes
In our cakes and in our pies, there is mud
We soldiers like to stroll in the mud
and the horses like to roll in the mud
Our good Canadian shoe
It goes quickly through and through
Peels the sole and melts the glue, in the mud.
Well I guess I will close for this time, love to all I remain your soldier boy.
1942-1945 SOLDIERS LETTERS AND NEWS ARTICLES
**April 16, 1942
Mrs. J. E. Lewis, Sec.
I am writing to thank you for the lovely quilt I received from the W.V.S. It is wonderful work you are doing for the people who have been bombed and my husband and I wish to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for enabling us to spend his few days leave in comfort. He is a sailor on a destroyer and was in the Battle of the Atlantic and was away at sea when we were buried in an Anderson shelter the first day of bombing in London.
I have a daughter 3 years old who was away for a year in the country but has returned once more to the place that was once home. We still laugh in spite of what is happening all over the world and I wish to thank you for the quilt. My people are still living in London, although some have lost everything in the terrible night bombing we had here.
I have a grandmother and grandfather nearing 90 who have sat night after night in their own home through the whole of the bombings and a Mother and Father who lost nearly everything. We are only poor people but it is a home to us and we are living in scattered dwellings and blacked out windows, still we never grumble. We all hope the day will soon come when our lights of London will shine again. Until then, we must all be brave and cheer each other.
My husband went back this morning so I thought I would write to thank you for your kindness in helping to make things comfortable.
I will close now wishing everyone at the Women’s Institute the best of luck from someone who is very grateful.
Yours very truly,
Mrs. G. Stevens
35 Mill Road
Lewisham S.E. 13, London
**February 2, 1942
Dear Ms. Parsons:
I received your most welcome cigarettes a few days ago. Cigarettes are a real problem over here at times. We really appreciate getting them from you people back home in Canada. We have very little snow over here and it just comes and goes over night. The weather over here is so different to what we were used to in Ontario and we had a few weeks that we didn’t think much of this country. But they say it’s real nice in the summer months. Well, we’ve got a job to do over here and when it’s finished I hope to see you people of Little Current again. Thanks once more for the cigarettes.
I remain as ever,
Canadian Army Overseas
**January 6, 1942
We seem to get some sort of a surprise every once in a while but one of the most pleasant surprises that the boys on Gibraltar have had yet was to receive some Christmas parcels in time for Christmas. I received a most welcome parcel from the Overseas Comforts Committee, Little Current and found everything in ship shape for we sure hate to see anything damaged in shipping as each article is a treasure in itself to us here on this rock.
Everybody spent a very good Christmas, with plenty to eat and a few with too much to drink. I spent Christmas Day and the day after in bed with bronchitis, but I am feeling much better now.
This morning was the first morning here that we could feel frost in the air, just like an early September morning in Canada. We also can see snow on the mountains in Spain and North Africa from the rock for the first time but they never get snow here, so I guess this will be the first winter in my life without snow on the ground. Yes, I’ll still take Canada and her snow drifts ahead of all their sunny countries around this part.
Wishing everybody a Happy New Year and many thanks again.
I remain as ever,
L.-Cpl. Geo. J. Bowes
No. 2 Tunneling Cont.
Canadian Army Overseas
**Somewhere in England
July 11th, 1942
It was with great appreciation that I received the wonderful parcel sent by the Overseas Comfort Committee. Thanks a million and please convey my thanks to the other members of the Committee.
I also received a parcel some time ago and acknowledge, but apparently my letter hasn’t arrived yet. It is beyond me how we boys can repay the kindness given us by the Committee.
England’s weather can be very nasty at times and yet when a few good days do dawn it seems like Paradise. The English country side is most picturesque and beautiful. The incessant showers kept the fields and hedges spring green all summer long, but I am afraid a Canadian could never adapt himself to the English climate, nor their customs either.
Sometimes I think I am dreaming there is such a wonderful place as Canada and Island as grand as Manitoulin.
I hope you get the other letter I sent in acknowledgement of the parcel before.
I’ll say cheerio for now and thanks again.
Yours as ever
N.B.-I hope your mother and father are enjoying good health.
**England, August 15, 1942
Dear Brother and Family:
Arrived back in England from Ireland yesterday p.m. Had a fine leave in Ireland, lived in luxury for a time with servants to awake me, bring up my breakfast and draw my bath. Were middle aged couple, an M.P. with a large home, lawns, gardens, etc., quite nice people too. I enjoyed it for awhile then had an arrangement made to go to a dairy farm where I spent over a week and a half. I had a grand time there, gained weight, grew a beard, went hunting and fishing, hiking, and also helped with the hay when it was in shape to touch, only one day. The people were ever so nice and served grand meals, four of them a day, no matter how busy they were. I told them at home so if you get out you can read it.
Mother says they can’t get a girl to help in the house and tells me of several women and girls working in the hay fields like over here. There is a huge labour shortage in Canada and U.S. fruit and farm districts and tons of fruit will have to rot on the trees as well as hay and grain in the fields.
Gasoline sales no doubt will be somewhat lower this summer but will be more red tape and book work in connection with it so you no doubt be busy.
Mother said that hay, cherries, berries and hoeing were all on there at the same time. The farm I was on they had six full grown men working but had no haying weather and what tedious, slow, disgusting methods they have of curing and drawing it in. The draw in one coil at a time on a one horse cart. Pull the coil on with the winch built on the cart in one lump, wind the thing till they are blue in the face, then drive to the hay shed with one measly coil, slide it off and pitch it by the forkful from man to man to the mow.
Well, I hope the family and you are enjoying the finest of health.
Best of Luck,
**August 22, 1942
Headquarters is nestled snugly in the pines on a hilltop, slightly apart from the rest of the camp. When I look out I am reminded of northern Ontario, except that everything is more neat and tidy here. You would imagine that every tree had received individual attention. The surrounding countryside is hilly and beautifully blanketed with pink-blossomed heather. The boys say that to find white heather, is like finding a four-leafed clover, it brings good luck. Incidentally, black cats over here mean good luck. I haven’t seen any Manx or Cheshire cats yet.
I believe I told you about the lovely family I met in Epsom-thanks to Joan Corrigan. Mr. Pitman and Ruth took me up on the downs to see the track where the famous derbys are run. Jerry has dropped a bomb in the grand stand, but it did not do much damage. The downs themselves, have been dug up so that enemy planes won’t be tempted to land. It’s quite thrilling to visit a place where the finest and fastest horses have raced. Our kings have raced their horses at Epsom for many years. I haven’t been to Scotland yet-well, I was through it on our trip down from Glasgow, but the train travels so fast that one hasn’t time to take in all the sights. The boys report some grand times in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Ireland is “out of bounds” to a soldier who is not on military duty. Of course if you have a wife living in Dublin, and can satisfy the
commanding officer that you have, you may be granted permission to visit the Emerald Isle. Now that the Second Front has started we office workers cannot expect much liberty, but must buckle down and help win the war as quickly as possible. This headquarters is a very busy place. Don’t let anyone tell you that there’s no action yet. You’d think there was plenty of action if you were in this office for a day! Things seem to have reached the climax and I pray and believe that the war will be over soon.
Don’t be afraid Mom, have faith in God and He will answer your prayers.
Your son George Hubbert
**Somewhere in England
June 22, 1943
The L.C. Overseas Comforts Committee
I now take the pleasure to write you a few lines to thank your grand committee for the wonderful way in which you have taken care of us L.C. boys with parcels and cigarettes. Last night I received 300 cigarettes from your Comforts Committee and I sure was pleased to get them, and thanks a Million.
I am now at a six-pounder anti-tank school, taking up about the six-pounder, and I like it fine, although we work long hours and we are situated out in the bush, miles from any town. We are sleeping under canvas and it is a very healthful life.
The weather is grand over here and everything is going fine.
So long for now and I wish to thank you all again for the cigarettes.
**England, June 27th, 1943
To Mrs. Parsons and other members of the Overseas Comfort Committee:
Received parcel of cigarettes yesterday, which was forwarded to me from R.C. S.U., and many thanks. I have been smoking American cigarettes, ‘Twenty Grand’, which are not as good as our own Canadian brands of cigarettes, but the price suits a soldier’s pocket book. As yet, I have not met many of the boys from the Island, except Murray McLean, Percy Collins from Sheguiandah, Dan Taylor from Mindemoya, Charles White from Gore Bay and John Sigima from Killarney.
I hope the majority of the people in Little Current enjoy the good health that I do.
I remain yours sincerely,
Sgmn. N. Patterson
**August 12, 1943
Island Boy Killed in Action on Sicily
The sad news, that his son, Corporal John Eadie, had been killed in action on July 23, was received by his father, Robert Eadie of Green Bush.
John Eadie, 26 years of age, was born in Green Bush, but was well known in Little Current, where he attended school and later worked as a driver for B.J. Becks.
He was one of the first to enlist from here in 1939, and has been in England for some time before the invasion of Italy.
17th November, 1943
Dear Mrs. Lehman:
Before you receive this letter you will have been informed by the Air Ministry Records Office of the very sad loss of your son, Sgt. Leonard Wilfred Lehman.
Sgt. Lehman, as Air Gunner, was engaged on a flying exercise with his pilot, Pilot Officer Davis and crew, on Saturday 6th November, 1943, when the aircraft crashed into the ground. There were no survivors.
Your son’s funeral took place at Harrogate on Monday 8th November 1943.
P/O Davis and two other Canadian members of the crew were interred there also. The Service was conducted by the R.A.F. Chaplain in the Cemetery Chapel, after which his body was interred in Stonefall Cemetery. Full Service Honours were accorded, the coffin being carried by men of his own Unit, which also provided a Firing Party and the coffin was covered with the Union Jack. The Last Post was sounded at the end.
May I now express the great sympathy which all of us feel for you in the sad loss you have sustained.
Leonard was an outstanding member of an excellent crew and we feel the loss of him and his comrades, keenly.
I am, yours in sympathy,
A.F. Grant, S/C
**B53875, L/Cpl. McCauley, R.,
H.Q. 1ciB, Sig. Sec.,
Canadian Army Overseas
Central med. Forces <
June 8th, 1944
Dear Mother and Dad:
A few more lines tonight as I am taking a shift in the Sig’s office to help out as I have not been driving at all for about four days. I have about 150 miles to do tomorrow night so I’ll sleep tomorrow.
Well, I had three letters from you yesterday, one from Vera and Norm and one from Judy. Glad to get them and to know you are O.K. They were dated 25th, 26th, 28th of May, pretty quick eh? Did Perry Stringer ever come? I wonder what happened to Joe or if he is still in the R.C.M.P.
Well the second front has finally opened eh? We have been listening to all the news and they seem to be having quite a bit of tough fighting but I expect they will make it O.K. and I hope so as it will shorten this thing up. I’m really anxious to get home again. We’ve had a few days rest here and today my chum and I thought we’d go to Rome so we got a motorbike and went in. We aren’t supposed to but I was darn sure I was not going to be in Italy and not see Rome. Had about four hours in it. It is a grand city and the people are very friendly (if you give them cigarettes and candy). We had a good time but I had to keep thinking of getting back on Duty. I’d like to take some money and have a couple of days there to buy some souvenirs. The stores are full. I’d like to send you another parcel, but all I have yet is a big new Italian flag, it’s a
beauty, so I’ll send it when I get something else to put in. It’s a good souvenir.
Well I guess I have nothing more to tell you now. I am O.K. here and glad you are getting my letters so quickly.
Bye Bye for now. Lots of love to you both.
**August 10, 1944
The following letter was received by Mrs. L. McKenzie, Tehkummah, after a report that her son was wounded overseas.
July 17th, 1944
Dear Mrs. McKenzie:
I think I had better introduce myself before I go on with this letter, my name is Jerry Noble and I come from Sudbury. Mac [McKenzie], your son, and I have been working together for the last couple of months until the night of the accident. I have been going in to see him about every second or third night and he is doing quite nicely. I was in to see him again last night and he asked me to write you for him. He said there is nothing to worry about and he shall be out soon.
He has been receiving his parcels and mail quite regular. The canned goods in the parcels are just the thing for him because they are almost impossible to get over here. His wounds are healing very good and he is quite happy. He looks a real picture of health. He also has a few burns but they are healed up. I shall write to you for him as often as I can. I do not know of anything else I can say right now, so must close. Oh yes, there are cigarettes for him from the Tehkummah Women’s Auxiliary, so if you could thank them (the ladies), I think Mac would be very please until the time that he can write to them.
I must close now and will write you again soon.
L.A.C. G.H. Noble, R117491
**July 20, 1944
Norman Lockyer Killed in Action
Words were received by Mrs. M. Lockyer, Thursday, that Gunner Norman Lockyer was killed in Action on July 13th. The telegram didn’t mention any place and nobody at his home knew where he was stationed. Gnr. Lockyer was 22 years of age and has been in the service for the past three years. His mother and two brothers, Cliff Lockyer and Gordon Lockyer reside here.
**B132384 Sgmn. Tracy, D.A.
11th Field Coy. R.C.E.
Canadian Army Overseas
Somewhere in France
July 15th, 1944
Dear Mrs. Vincent:
I begin this letter with an apology, a very sincere apology, for not having written sooner to acknowledge and thank you for the last two parcels from the Overseas Committee. Your parcels are welcomed and appreciated not only by myself but also by many others.
We are having now what is officially known as summer weather but it is more like our spring weather. I would appreciate a little of our own brand of summer, even though it is unbearably hot at times. I suppose the farmers and small potatoes appreciate the weather, but certainly not us who have to sleep outside. You will notice by my address that I am now across the Channel, and as yet I have no hardships to complain about. Of course, we can’t walk down town every night to see a show but I guess we can’t expect that at this stage of the game.
There are some beehives near here and the other day I ventured near them to try to get some honey. I was successful but I didn’t get away Scot-free. The next morning I could hardly open one eye because of the swelling but it went down enough by noon that I was able to see out of it.
We have nearly 5 lbs. Of honey though. There were also some gardens around and I had quite a few carrots and green peas, and I brought back some onions. There aren’t any of the inhabitants of the village left, they have all gone, so I didn’t feel guilty taking them.
I saw Boyne Heise for a few minutes after we landed but I didn’t have much chance to talk to him as we were ready to leave. I hope Elmer hasn’t too many sore spots as a result of this winter’s skiing. Tell him I’ll be back this winter and show him how to make bigger and better sitz-marks.
Give my regards to Waiebijewong-gites.
Cheerio Don Tracy
**T29390 F.O. A.H. May
R.C.A.F. Canadian Army Overseas
July 7th 1944
Overseas Comforts Committee
It has been quite sometime since I have last written to you. I wish to thank you ever so much for the cigarettes and food parcels which have been coming through marvelously.
By the general trend of events it may not be so very long until I may have the privilege of thanking you all personally.
Yours is a very fine organization, one that any town could be truly proud of. The English country side is very beautiful now but we miss the sunshine, swimming and summer sports. This is the first all Canadian station I have been in since coming over here. The whole crew of us think it is great. Thanks again for your thoughtfulness and generosity.
Alex H. May
**August 24, 1944
Island Soldier wounded in France
Word has been received by Mr. and Mrs. W. McCulligh, Manitowaning, that their son, Pte. Grenville McCulligh, has been wounded in action in France. The 22-year-old soldier enlisted in September, 1941 with the Sault-Sudbury Regiment 1st Battalion and later transferred to the Essex Scottish Regiment. He was posted overseas in June, 1942. Pte. McCulligh has been fighting in France since D-Day.
Further word has been received by Mr. and Mrs. Wm. McCulligh, of Manitowaning, Manitoulin Island, that their son, Pte. Grenville McCulligh, who was wounded in action in France is progressing favourably.
In a letter received from the 22-year-old soldier this week, he stated that his wounds were not of too serious a nature, and that he hoped to make a speedy recovery.
**September 10, 1944
Somewhere in Belgium
Well at last I have decided it was time I wrote to you. This time I hope to get the letter finished before I stop. I have started so many times and it seems that I am always interrupted for something or other.
Well Mother you will note that I am now in Belgium after crossing France. I was at Rouen, Dieppe and then to Belgium, and suppose before too long I will be in Berlin.
There is not a great deal that I can tell you, but don’t worry I am ok, and hope to remain so I suppose most of the young fellows have been picked up for the army by this time. I have seen some wonderful sights over here. Only the other day coming through the streets of a Belgium town which had just been liberated, the people swarmed about us with cries of “Vive le Canadiens” or “Vive la Begisue” and some even would cry out in broken English, “It won’t be long now.”
At the present moment I am sitting in a lady’s home writing this. She invited us to have coffee and then I decided it was a grand time to write. She also wishes us to stay for dinner. I don’t know whether I will do this or not but I may. They are very nice and would give you anything you could or would want.
Well Mother, I believe I have said practically all for this time. Be sure and write real soon.
Love as always,
Your ever loving son
P.S. As you will note I am now not a Liepl. But a Sgt. Going up in the world, eh? Bob.
**November 16, 1944
Prayer Book Saves Life of Soldier
The prayer book and photos carried in his breast pocket of his tunic saved the life of Rfm. J. Osborne Martell when he was wounded recently, during action in Holland.
On November 1st, Mr. and Mrs. A. Martell received words that their son, Rfm. J.O. Martell was severely wounded and that further news would be forthcoming. On Tuesday, two letters arrived from the patient himself stating that he was feeling quite well considering his wounds and that he would be a patient in the hospital for some time.
The letter revealed that Rfm. Martell was in action in Holland when a German sniper got him in his sight, the bullet striking him in the left side of the chest. He was flown from the battle field in Holland to the Canadian hospital in England. The doctors showed Martell the prayer book which was shattered and torn while revealing the fact that it had saved his life. Rfm. Martell had only been in the army seven months when he went into battle after training in Canada about five months. Martell states that he lost all his possessions as they were left in Holland.
As a patient, time will be long for Rfm. Martell and we publish his address so his friends and acquaintances might help him to shorten the time by letters.
B.15389-Rfm. Martell, J.O.
13 Can. Gen. Hospital, C.A.O.
**November 9, 1944
Official report was received by Mr. and Mrs. Peter Williamson, Mindemoya, that their son Pte. Floyd Williamson was wounded on October 24th, Tuesday. This message was followed by another stating that he had succumbed to his wounds on October 25th.
Floyd Williamson answered his call in the fall of 1942, and the following spring joined active with the artillery, with which he excelled, winning two silver spoons and a medal for marksmanship both as an individual scorer and in team competition. With the reshuffle of troops at the beginning of this year he was transferred to the infantry and in February was sent to Simcoe for Basic Training, and later to Ipperwash, near Forest, for advanced training. In July he was sent overseas, fought with the Canadians along the northern coast of France and arrived in Holland, the scene of his wounding.
**October 23, 1944
You no doubt, will be very surprised to hear from me, but I do hope it will be a pleasant one. I really don’t know how to begin, so will begin with a big Hello to everyone, hoping this finds you all in the best of health. Now, much has happened to me Pauline since I last saw you, and since I left the Current, some few years ago. It was OK when the family were there; I used to get all the news of what was going on; since they moved away, I never heard a thing about it, or about anyone. So, I’ve decided to write you and get a little news. Though I never did drop you a line before, I can well imagine your surprise. I did write to Dolly, only from Canada. I don’t believe I wrote her since I came overseas. Then I heard her and Barbara took a notion to get married. I’m still single; close calls sometimes, ha ha. Imagine me getting married, ha ha ha, I can’t. Anyhow, I hope you receive this note and tell me all the news of late or even years back. It will be all news. I use hear from Craig, but he also quit writing a year or so ago, and a few others quit from around there, gosh it seems everyone forgets you when you come away.
I’m writing from what I’d describe as a ghastly little town in Holland, not hardly a building left standing, or any signs of living. It has taken a pounding from both sides. Yes Pauline, I am now in action against the common enemy, the blasted Germans. I have been all summer now. I came in the first day of the invasion, 6th day of June ,1944, long to be remembered. It was first I saw action and believe me, I saw plenty that day, and many days since. I’ve been in a few real ‘hot spots’ but Walter is still alive. Thank the good Lord I’m safe and am praying I get through OK to get back and see the old Current I left so long ago, it seems. How I can well remember it though. I think of more these hard days on the battle field, though I never did forget it. How are all the boys here from home doing? I saw Bud Hilson and Orton Michey once in England, but no other. Gosh Bud surprised me. I nearly fell over, why, I didn’t even know he was in the army, honest I didn’t.
Especially, how have you all, at home, been getting on? Where did Dolly and Barbara settle down. Also where is Em, give them all my best, when you see or write them, also my personal regards to your mum, also remember me to everyone I know. How is Eddy getting along? Say, is Elgin Aelicks still around? If so, say Hello to him and tell him I was asking about him. Tell him to have his car running, in good condition. I’ll want him to come to Halifax and meet me, when we finish off these Jerries here. Yes, I’ve seen a lot, I cannot take time to tell you everything, but if you keep writing I will tell you bit by bit, you will get the general idea of how I have been spending the last couple of years. It’s been most exciting this summer, of all days. Plenty hot sometimes, especially when shells and bullets flying all over; bombs, now and again. I don’t like to speak of war when I am writing; I want to forget about it. I’m seeing enough, seeing enough now as it is, it’s not the nicest place in the world to be, but then, it’s a soldier’s life and duty. This is what I joined up to do, and trained so hard for; I’m making the best use of everything and must say getting on nicely. I had a Wireless Operator’s course in England, that is now my job, I get on nice with it. It does get monotonous at times, especially if communications are poor.
Well Pauline, I’ll finish off with just a few lines about the countries I’ve seen, well to begin with, I saw England over Dover, was to Scotland four or five times, London was my hangout, nice place to have fun.
Now for this continent-I’ve come all the way across France from West to East, didn’t pass by Paris though. It sounds nice to say, but it wasn’t too nice to do. We had a lot of hard fighting, some of the bitterest of the fighting took place in France. I then came to Belgium, wasn’t many hard days there compared to France. Well then I came on to Holland. Of all countries, I think only in my opinion, Belgium is a really nice country. Heavily populated, but so clean and nice in spite of a few ruins caused by war. It’s quite nice. It didn’t suffer as much as other places and the people are most friendly and highly educated. I wish I could speak the language. Some pretty females about, but then, I have no time for women these days. I’ll make up for it when I get back somewhere I can understand the lingo. As one guy said, “Long time no she,” ha ha ha. You don’t find many people here who speak English. The Germans were sure strict on anyone speaking English, they immediately interned them, I hear. The speak Belgium and German, most, if not at all. Well one, I guess, could learn a language in four years.
Well, I’m afraid this is me. Please write and give me all the news of the old home town. I’ll be happy on hearing from you. I always look forward to mail days, all one lives for out here. Regards to all, good night and God Bless You. Write soon.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all, if I don’t get a chance to send a card.
**September 27, 1945
Prisoner at Shanghai Reported Released
Mrs. Morris Soucie received the good news Tuesday, from the Department of External Affairs, that her sister, Mrs. D.P. Mulvaney, nee Ethel Rogers of Honora Bay, had been liberated from Japanese internment in Malay. Mrs. Mulvaney and her husband, Dr. D.P. Mulvaney, have been residing in Singapore for several years prior to the Japanese invasion. No words were received about Dr. Mulvaney.
**March 22, 1945
Pte. Jack Halcrow
Words were recently received by Mr. and Mrs. George Halcrow, Ten Mile Point, that their son Pte. Jack Halcrow (22), had been killed in action on March 8th.
A Memorial Service will be held in United Church, Sheguiandah on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.
**April 5, 1945
Pte. Keith Beange
Pte. Keith Beange, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Beange, Gore Bay, was reported killed in action during the latter part of March.
**April 5, 1945
Rfmn. Alfred Pitwanakwat, Central Ontario Regiment; Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island, killed in action. Mrs. Agatha Pitwanakwat (mother).
**July 19, 1945
Cpl. Douglas Wagg Loses Life in Holland
The residents of the Manitoulin were shocked last Saturday, when the news was received the Cpl. Douglas Wagg had met his death in a mine accident in Holland.
Corporal ‘Doug’ Wagg is the only son of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Wagg, Mindemoya and was married to Miss E. Hunter shortly before going overseas.The many friends of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Wagg and Mrs. Douglas Wagg extend their sincere sympathy to the bereaved.
**March 22, 1945
Exciting Moments Mark Invasion for Local Sailor
A.B. George McKenzie, R.C.N., is visiting his parents Mr. and Mrs. Don McKenzie, for the first time aft 20 months service on a Minesweeper. During these 20 months, George has seen a great deal of excitement and on more than one occasion has had his heart getting into his mouth.
On D-Day the Minesweeper was ordered to clear the waters for American units and in doing this came within half a mile of the shore, under the very muzzles of enemy guns. Either their aims were bad or Providence took a hand but they were not hit, although a steady rain of shell fragments and bullets pattered the deck. At one moment, everyone thought they sure would ‘get it’ because their perivane caught in a buoy and it took some time to get loose again.
During all this George was, of all places, in the magazine ‘passing the ammunition.’
The shore batteries were finally silenced by the big guns from the large battleships and their aim was perfect. At one time three enemy tanks were rolling down over a hill, but after a short 16″ shell, the second landed between the tanks and when the smoke cleared, not a trace remained of the three tanks just a hole in the ground.
Another thing that impressed George was the many planes and gliders, and that kept up all day.
Since D-Day the minesweeper has done several duties and has been credited with bringing down two Buzz-bombs, as probable, on U-boat and shooting at several planes.
Among several prominent visitors is the Hon. Angus McDonald.
As other of our boys seeing action, George wouldn’t have missed any of the service and thinks the Navy is OK.
**May 14, 1945
Dear Mother and Dad:
You will be wondering why you haven’t heard form me for some time now, I have been on leave and just came back yesterday. I spent my leave in Paris, seven days, and what a leave it was. I was there for V.E. Day and it was just another day for us. Most of the boys just said, “well it’s over, now comes Burma.”
I received about a dozen letters while I was away, and it’s going to be a few days before I get caught up with them all. I received the card and snaps. Hon sure is a pretty little girl; Belle is all legs. I really don’t see much change in you or Dad.
I had some pictures taken in Paris but it will be awhile before I can send them. I saw the proofs and I think you will see a big change.
I met Lyman Pearson in Paris, he was on his way to England, he was set free by the Yanks. I also met Jim Becks from Mindemoya, and was he surprised to see me. I have an awful lot to say, but thought this would suffice for the time being.
Things will be a little topsy turvy for sometime over here. Don’t hold your hopes too high of seeing me soon. I will write again in a few days.
Love to all.
Your loving son