Remember Me

Remember Me

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November 3rd, 1916 Letter #49 from Buxton, England

Envelope dated 3rd Nov 1916
Can Red Cross Hospital
Buxton England

Dear Mother
Have not heard from you for some time but I know everything is all right or I would have before now.  Things in general are just about the same as ever here. Nothing doing only roller skating and the rink is only about the size of a shilling so it's not much fun on it.
Had a letter from Hess the other day and just because she had no mail from me for a month or so she thought it was her duty to give me a talking to well I answered that letter a few minutes ago and I don’t think she will write another with the same intentions because she is not popular enough to give me a calling down for one minute.  
I’m smoking a pipe now and holy gee my tongues as big and sore as if I had stepped on it but I am trying to stop the cigarettes as I believe it is them that give me a cough especially when I have no cold.

Well Mother just imagine Ireland a father.  Crazy as he has let himself in for it proper. Darn good job he got that fur coat a couple of years ago.  What do you suppose he would do if by any chance he was to make a slip and lose that job on the road.  Do you know when a fellow gets away from home and mingled in with every clan of people, it makes a person realize that this marrying proposition is a pretty serious question.

I guess Dad is pretty near sick of farm life well I can't blame him but for the love of mike tell him to get that Army notion out of his head because it is the limit and believe me it's not all soldiering like you do in Canada.

Have had no word from Ross* lately so I can't say if he had been hit or not.  The Canadians have sent over a new division and have had some pretty bad mix ups.  Old Hindenburg claims we can't get through in 30 years so when you see me again I will have grey hair if that is the case.
Well Mother remember me to Dad and VV when you write her.

Charley's friend; James Ross is also a family friend. He was employed by Charley's mom and dad when they owned hotels back in Saskatchewan before the war. Jim had also signed up in 1914 and is serving as a Sergeant with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles, Saskatchewan Regiment.  
The Battle of the Somme which would end soon, would be what Charley is calling 'some pretty bad mix ups'. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Charley and his horseshoes. Letter number 48 from France. Aug 8, 1916

France Con
Aug 8 1916

Dear Mother

I have not written you of late on account of not being able to give you an address but everything is all right now and I am back to No2 again. I expected to be sent to the front on field ambulance work from the base but I was fortunate enough to be there when there was a draft for No 2 Stationary and the result was I am back at the old place No 2 Stationary Hospital. I am quite well now and feel none the worse for my little accident. I received the cigarettes when I was in the Hosp and you can imagine how I enjoyed a good smoke.

Well how do you like your new home I suppose the weather is very warm there and it would be rather hot working at anything outside. Here it is hot during the day and cool in the evening. Just resembles BC weather. I have had my first swim in the sea and I can assure you I had the time of my life. It was the first real good swim I have had since we were in Dauphin.

I wrote VV while I was in the Hospital she seemed to be worrying about going back to Brandon I would sincerely like to help her, but from here it is an impossibility.

While I was at the base I met several of the 106th and they were telling me that there are very very few left of the bunch I came over to Valcartier with. Well Mother this is only a note to let you know I have got back to the unit again and am in the best of health and hope you all are the same.

Remember me to VV, Father and Albert and Lavinia and write soon.

As soldiers of the First World War go, Charley had a sack full of horseshoes.  Once again he is sent on strength back to his first post as Dispenser at the Number 2 Stationary Hospital in France narrowly escaping being sent to the front as a Field Ambulance attendant. 
When he first arrived in England in October of 1914 and the troops marched from Devonport to Plymouth; he wrote to his mom about a old woman who threw her arms around him, kissed him and said `God Bless you my little man`.  I often wonder if the blessing from that old woman was Charley`s salvation. 
This, Charley`s 48th letter home will be the last we hear of him for almost 3 months.  I expect there were letters home during this time, but from today (August 8th, 1916) through to November 3rd, 1916 none have survived.  We will pick Charley's story up again in November. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

July 23, 1916 Letter #47

Can Red Cross Hospital

July 23 1916
Dear Mother 
How is the world in general.  I have been very anxious to know if VV got along all right with her exams I sincerely hope she did.  Things here are very much the same I was at one of their English Dances last night and for the first time in my life I got up in a square dance and I created a lot of fun for the onlookers.  Gee it’s the most foolish dance I ever heard tell of hugging and jumping around like a bunch of Jack Rabbits.
There’s a big parade here this afternoon I guess we will be inspected by some General - or General Nuisance, both the same thing.  Some official comes around about once a week and nobody is allowed out of the building till he has gone.
I was very much surprised to hear that Albert was rejected on that Battalion as they don’t have to so very much mostly all fatigue duty and a person don’t exert themselves on those kind of jobs.
          Do you know I would like to be in France for this great move, Gee we are giving them just what the troops have been praying for this last 18 months.  When I was there is was always our fellows that were getting the worst of it and I sure like to see those square heads on the go, I suppose we will have some unsuccessful attacks but the line in general will be greatly changed.
          The wounded that came in to London from this great drive were met at the Station by about 100,000 women or more and literally covered with flowers, I wouldn’t like to write on paper what went through the tommies minds but a fellow who is half dead and hasn’t had a square meal for a couple of months or so, doesn’t feel just inclined to appreciate an instants of that kind.  England is mad over the troops progress and think it is the end of the war but you believe me it is just the turning point, and there will be more slaughter this month and the months following than there has been in six times the length of time in any stage of this war.
          There are thousands upon thousands of wounded coming across every day and Battalion after Battalion going over every day.   If we can hold out in shells there will be some fun.
          Well mother I have got to get all polished up for this parade so remember me to Dad and VV and ans soon
With love

Fighting In Delville Wood, The Somme, 1916
Ed. H.W. Wilson - Official British Military drawing. First published in "The Great War" Ed. H.W. Wilson, 1917 Military Artist drawing of the Battle of Delville Wood, The Somme. July 1916 

Friday, July 15, 2016

July 15, 1916 Letter #46

Can Red Cross Special Hospital
Derbyshire England

July 15th, 1916

Dear Mother

Just a line to say I am all OK etc. Was out to Chapel on the Frith the other day and enjoyed it fine. But to cycle 60 miles in one day is a little too much for a person who hasn’t done any for six or seven years and as a result I am stiff yet.

Chapel-en-le-Frith's Old Town

It is raining again as per usual, darn this country for wet weather it is by far worse than BC. We have to have fires on the wards to keep the patients from freezing to death. I think I told you about the young English kid that used to set up pins in Barclays Bowling Ally being in here and he is in pretty bad shape he is suffering from shell shock and a piece of his head has gone. As a result, he goes a little bit nutty at times but when he gets that way the boys just sit on him and its all over in a few minutes.

I won a watch in a raffle the other day. Its value was about 50 shillings. I went down town with it and when I looked to see what time it was it had gone “Lost” so that is losing time in quick time but being a minister’s son I did not swear but believe me I thought something.

What do you think of me working over here. Well the other night I was called up on the Phone and was asked if I would mind coming down to Young’s Chemist Store. So when I got down there he told me that he would like to take his family to the seaside and see that they got fixed up for a week or two and that he would be gone a couple of days and asked me if I would come down in the evening and do the Dispensing as it was more than the girl he had could handle. I did and believe me their methods of doing business are so far behind the times that they don’t know they are alive.

Is Dad and VV in good health, there is no use asking you about your own because you wouldn’t say anyway. Well dear Mother remember me to Dad and VV and write soon.

Love Chas.

A note on the reverse of page 1 from Mother to VV.  Charley's letters were forwarded from Jennie to Charley's sister who was away at college.
"Vevie I forgot to say I have finished two tight waists that we started for you will I send them or will it do when Pa comes.  I got the gr--p, why didn’t you send your dress.

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11, 1916 Letter # 45 ~ The 4 month battle of the Somme has begun

Can Hospital
July 11 1916
Dear Mother 
          There is absolutely no news to tell you only that I am quite well and as fat as ever.  It has been raining here for at least two weeks off and on every day.  Had a letter from Jim Ross the other day he has been in France for nine months and has never been hit yet.  Of course he may be dead by this time.  The general feeling of the people here is that the war will be over this fall I don’t say anything but people that talk that way are those that have never saw it.  This is sure one great offensive that the Allies are launching but it is small in comparison to the German drive from Mons.  This country is literally covered with Khaki, even the old ladies have their kids dressed up in a juvenile officers outfit.  The girls are having their dresses made in a military cut and the girls that are taking men’s places are using short shirts and leggings.  The girls that are helping on farms wear bloomers and puttees, looks very funny to us fellows but the College girls, Society people all go out on weekends and make hay etc.  They think they are very patriotic but they don’t do enough work to feed themselves, this is sure one funny country.
I asked one farmer what they had all those stone hedges up for “to keep one of those potato patches from running in to one another” He said no they were all fields when I started to laugh he got as sore as he could and told me “that you bleeding Canadians think you know everything” It sure is amusing.
This hospital is sure in full swing now but I can’t say as I am all together in love with it.  It makes on laugh to hear these 99th Contingent ginks talking and flying around when about fifty patients come in I wonder what they would do if they were handling them by the thousands like we were in France.  Most of these fellows here are the men that just came over from Canada last spring.  Well I wonder if VV got through in her exams don’t forget to let me know soon.  Remembrance to Dad and VV and write soon

 This soldier of the Royal Canadian Regiment is wearing the Canadian 1903 service uniform. This is the Canadian version of the British M1902 uniform adopted after experience in the Boer war showed the value of a simple and inconspicuous uniform. This uniform differs from the British in that it has 9 buttons instead of 7 a standing collar, detachable shoulder straps and pointed cuffs. This uniform was used by the First Canadian Contingent for about a year and by new recruits in training for the duration of the war. The cloth wrappings around the lower legs are known as puttees. The detachable shoulder straps were coloured, dark blue for the infantry, green for rifles, red for artillery and yellow for cavalry

 "Gink" is a term referring to a man, especially one regarded as foolish or contemptible.

I'm travelling right now and seem to be missing a page of the original letter here ~ will re-scan it in once we are back home.  The transcription above is complete.



Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 30th 1916, Letter # 44 Raining in Derbyshire

Can Red Cross Special Hospital
Derbyshire England
June 30, 1916

Dear Mother
            Still raining. This darn country is worse than BC in winter time, when it is not raining it is trying to.  A person has to be half duck to like this climate.  I am sending you a picture in a day or so.  I had one all ready the other day then all at once I changed my mind and destroyed it.  But some of these days when I think I can stand you laughing at it, I will send one.
          I had paid my perfectly good cash in advance or else he could of kept them.  They are absolutely rotten and when I look at myself I have to laugh.  However it is me in a government issue.

Charley Bailey's step father and the only dad he ever knew.  My dad; Thomas Kenneth Perrin was very fond of his Grandfather Marmaduke.          
I suppose you are busy as can be.  This job of mine is sure all right for experience but it is one awful tour.  I have the dispensary all fixed up now and things are runny pretty smooth.  It will soon be time for the results of the Exams. I sincerely hope the kid gets through but even if she did fail it would not be her fault as she has not had teachers etc.
Tell Dad that I was talking to an English soldier the other day who had been in Dauphin. I told him I had been once or twice and he wanted to know if I knew the big white curly headed man that used to run a hotel, I said that I knew him slightly.   I afterwards learned that he used to work for Bol Cruise. 
Remember me to Dad and VV
Love Chas

There is no photo of Charley in his Government issue but we do have this picture of "the big white curly haired man" Charley's stepdad; Marmaduke.


Photo:  "Canadians at the Somme in 1916, with troops leaving front-line trenches while relief units moved in to take over."  Follow the link to read about 'Canadians on the Somme' while Charley works at the Red Cross Hospital in Derbyshire.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

June 12, 1916 Letter #43 Charley and the 'Poultice Wallopers'

Can Red Cross Special Hospital
Derbyshire England

June 12th, 1916

Dear Mother
There has been absolutely nothing new around here for the last week or so only three of the boys are leaving here for the Training School and from there to France.  They start his morning.  The weather here is absolutely rotten it has been raining for one week without a stop and for the life of me I can’t see where it is going to be beneficial to Rheumatic cases. 
I have the Dispensing just about finished; I mean just about all my stock is in.  But these infernal Sisters get on my nerves, one came down this morning and was quite put out because she had to come down again as I was in town buying some goods for the Colonel.  She said she thought it was just about time I was getting some sort of hours and I told her she could always find out if was open or not.  She wanted to know how so I told her “by trying the door.”  Gee Whiz she turned around and beat it like a shot.  It’s hard enough to take a calling down from one of the Officers, but I am sure none those poultice wallopers are going to tell me about my own business.
Gee it is so dark in here that I have to turn on the lights and it just 9:30 AM.  We are just a few miles from the famous city of Manchester and if I ever get a chance I am going to see it.  Do you know when I look back to the time when I first joined the Army, and think of the different places I have been to it makes one think that he has saw some of this world.
Tell VV I received her last letter OK and she is pretty strong on her Latin phrases.  Well Mother remembrance to Dad and V-V and answer soon.
Love Chas

The Nursing Sister from the third floor was just in, she is a little more civil.

"The term "poultice walloper" originated in British Naval slang for medical staff. "  pg 179 

We're only "Poultice Wallopers" a-bringing up the rear;
But with fractured bones or blistered heels you're pleased to have us near;
You'll want our splint and bandages before another year,
As we go marching on.

We're only "Poultice Wallopers" a-bringing up the rear;
We can't enjoy the martial strains that cheer the Pioneer;
But we'll be there in step, my boys, without a doubt or fear,
When we get to Berlin

No! we are not downhearted,
No! we are not downhearted,
No! we are not downhearted,
As we go marching on.

Written by Cdn James Robertson, The Western Scot, Dec 4, 1915

Unrelated to Charley Bailey, but a group photograph of Canadian Nursing Sisters in uniform (WW1)