Remember Me

Remember Me

Friday, February 10, 2017

February 10th, 1917 Letter #54 "Getting into air raids"

FEB 10th, 1917
Granville Can Host
Ramsgate Kent

Dear Mother
            Just a line to say that I received the parcel and about 20 letters this am and say that pipe is sure a dandy looks funny to see a 20 cent a day soldier sporting a regular pipe and the fellows all kid me about it they all say I must have some wealthy widow in this country.
          We all had a medical board not long ago and the majority of us are all marked fit for service again in France.  Personally I don’t care I have been around the country for over 16 months and other poor devils have had to back long ago so if the order comes for us to go back I guess I can go and not kick either.  Say Mother I an going to write to aunt Rachie today and find out what they are talking about I never heard a word about any money I think they are trying to fool the foolish.  However if by good fortune there is such a thing as any money coming to me I am the very gink that can do with it.  More than surprised to hear of you being in the hotel again but I think it is a great deal more suitable for yourself and Dad than trying to cure horses and cows of the mange by the way did you ever get those animals cured I think the best way to cure them would have been to fix the whole lot like I fixed the dog. 
          All England is just crazy over this new war loan and it sure has been one great success.  Just imagine 3500,000,000 dollars by the people alone without the aid of the banks or anything just simply new money and they think that this loan will be the cause of bringing the war to a successful end.
          This hospital is right on the sea front directly opposite to one of the closest points of France and we are continually getting into air raids, night before last the alarm came and everybody had to stand at his post from two o’clock in the morning till seven, the guns on the battleships in the harbour were blazing away to beat the dickens just reminded me of being back in France again.  It sure is funny to see some people when they really are in danger all excited and running around like fools.  I just sat down and say to myself, well if they hit me it will either be in heaven or the other place that I am transferred to and I am getting pretty used to changes of address.
          I see by your last letter that you still address them to a {...} well I am a full grown soldier again so please forget the {...}
Remember me to Dad and VV and write soon.
Love Chas

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 31st, 1917 Letter #53 'Rumours of being wounded'

January 31, 1917
Granville Can Host

Dear Mother
          Say when are you going to write by Gosh I have not had any word from you for a month of Sundays.  What do you know about me being wounded in the naval raid, my friend in Buxton heard from London that I had been wounded and admitted to Oxford Hospital and was in the surgical ward, they were telephoning all over the country trying to find out what happened to me and all the while I was here with absolutely nothing the matter. 
Had some Murad from Canada today and believe me they are sure going fine.  Say Mother I am back on regular pay once more and take it from me “never again will I take leave without permission” That was a lesson I never again will forget.  Just wait till I tell you of some of the experiences I had financing myself but I managed to get along all right and generally had a shilling or two.  Just eleven months and two weeks on twenty cents a day.  Not much is it?
Gee the weather here is simply grand Mother it would do you good just to live by the sea such glorious weather as this.  Tell that big sister of mine she will have to come again on her French as I lived in France for nearly a year and can read it very fair.
Say mother for goodness sake don’t get mixed up with any of the family affairs of the married nieces of yours let them fight out their quarrels themselves and for Buds Mother well she is not so bad after all.
Well Mother I am going to bed now.  Tell Dad I am going to write him tomorrow without fail.  Remember me to VV and Dad with love

Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 29, 1917 Letter #52 'In the Operating Room'

Postmark Jan 29th 1917

Granville Can Hosp

Dear Mother

I have not received a word from any of you since the latter part of November. I guess there will be all your back mail arrive some of these days as you see I have been on the move constantly since leaving Buxton.

I am in the Operating room here and believe me it sure is some experience. I like it fine. The last few days have not been just as pleasant as possible as I have been getting five teeth filled and you know how nice that is but the way I look at it is that I may just as well have my mouth fixed up at the government expense as to wait till after the war and have forty or fifty dollars to pay for a dentists bill.

Dental office, Granville Canadian Special Hospital, 
Ramsgate Kent (Flicker Photo)

Granville Cdn Hospital  ukoldpostcards
This place around here is simply fine it is a big summer resort and right on the sea front, the Hospital was a big hotel and would accommodate 300 guests so it is no small concern.

I came very nearly going back to France previous to coming here. I got absolutely fed up with that Shorncliff and had made up my mind to get out and just by luck they sent me here you know I am getting to be a regular rambler can’t settle down for any length of time in no one place. Well Mother there is absolutely nothing to say only be sure and put my number on any mail you send as there are other Bailys here remember me to Dad and VV an write soon as I may never get the mail that has not been forwarded.

Love Chas


Postscript from Nicola; Charley's biographer.  While Charley is working in a WW1 operating room in 1917, I had an operation early in 2017 at our excellent local hospital here in Williams Lake, BC Canada. Hence my delay with posting Charley's latest letters.  I am happy to report that my surgery was a success however the recovery has slowed me down a little.  Thanks for your patience with these latest posts.  I just know Charley would understand.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

December 18, 1916 Letter #51 "The Joke's on Me"

C.A.M.C Training School
Dibgate Camp
Shorncliff England

Envelope Dec 18th, 1916

Dear Mother

I am just awaiting orders to transfer to a medical depot to dispense and expect to leave here in the course of the next day or so it will be a decent climate but I cant say if it will be as good a job as I left but a fellow can always transfer back here if he does not like it. If I keep on transferring from one place to another I will get a name of being a kind of a wandering Jew but by gosh I am going to keep on moving till I get a place that I like and then I will stay there till duration of the war.

Things in general are just as usual; drafts are coming in and going out every day some to France and others to various Hospitals etc. in England. Some of the fellows that are just coming over from Canada are not getting any leave here at all but are rushed right over to France so I guess by Spring there will be one awful host of men across the channel and the big event is expected.

Now that Lloyd George has the prime ministers job the English people expect something great to take place in the Spring or as soon as the weather over there is permissible.

You remember that last letter I wrote you about having one more week to put in on twenty cents a day. Well I loused it that very afternoon I was doing (piquet) duty on a hut that was Quarantined for measles. Some of the boys I knew very well and of course when they asked me if they could run up to the corner and get some eatables I said “Yes”. They were seen by one of our Officers and I got five days confined to Barracks the result being “Bang went my twenty cents a day for another 6 months.

Gee the fellows are sticking there heads in the door about every three or four minutes laughing and kidding me about it. It sure is some joke but sorry to say the joke is on me that’s what I don’t like about it. It simply means that I wont be able to afford a day or so pass for six months however it sure is a great way to save money but most inconvenient.

A couple of the boys that I chum around with here are going out to a hospital as orderlies. They were just told they had to go a few minutes ago Gee they are running around here swearing like the devil, mad as wet hens, you see if you are not an x-ray man, a dispenser or something like that they shift you out of here to any old place but if you are connected with either of those lines they try to place you as such as there is such a big demand for us fellows.
Well Mother remember me to Dad and V-V and write to the above address.
Love Chas
PS: I will let you know my new address the very first day I get there. Chas.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

December 11, 1916 Letter #50 from Shorncliff, England

C.A.M.C Training School
Dibgate Camp
Shorncliff England

Dec 11th 1916

Dear Mother
Just received your letter this a.m. and needless to say I was delighted to hear from you.  You were asking me about this money too, well I have had several letters from different people in Winnipeg all congratulating me on my good fortune but funny to say I have heard nothing about it from anybody who seems to know where it is coming from and when I get it.  Personally I think they are trying to kid me.
          As you see by the above address I at last made the move and am certainly glad to get away from there.  I think if I had the choice between there and the pole I would take the North Pole.  As yet you have not sent me V-V’s address and I can’t write her till I know where she lives.
This camp is situated not far from where I was stationed when I came back from Canada.  It is a great deal nicer climate and it certainly is not so cold and wet.  They tell me that Jim Ross was killed the other day, just imagine the last letter he wrote me he was trying to arrange to meet me in London when he came over on leave. 
          You said dad was figuring on joining the army when he gets here they won’t let him to France as forty three is the age limit and they are returning a bunch from here that are older than that.  As yet I cannot say where or when I am leaving here but I guess it will be in the near future.
So Richmond’s wife only stopped a few days, maybe if it was just in time to get married you know there is something strange between those two and long long while ago I formed my own conclusions on very good authority but it's none of our business and we should worry and they tell me that Ireland is the Candi Kid now.  Well if words could kill a man Ireland would have been dead long ago.  What do you think.
Did I tell you that I got mad one day and took the afternoon off so they put me on twenty cents a day for three months and it is up in about one week.  Gee just imagine me living on twenty cents a day never the less I did and made out all right.  You see after three months good conduct they release you.  So just one more week.  Mother this sure has been one great old experience and one that will be remembered to the end of my days.
Well Mother remember me to V-V and Dad and write when you can.

Charley's friend, Jim ( James Ross ) is the family friend Charley's been looking forward to visiting with. Jim had been employed by Charley's mom and dad when they owned hotels back in Saskatchewan before the war. Like Charley, Jim signed up in 1914 and was serving as a Sergeant with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles, Saskatchewan Regiment.

I'm sorry we don't know more about Jim Ross. I have no photograph of him. It would be wonderful to connect with any of his descendants. Jim was killed in action at Thiepval Ridge on September 28th 1916 and is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.

Bill Barry and the Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial Project Inc share an online tribute "In memory of Sergeant James Ross " 

The Vimy Memorial in France remembers those Canadians who lost their lives and have no known graves. Inscription – Jim's name as it is inscribed on the Vimy Memorial. Over 11,000 fallen Canadians having no known place of burial in France, are honoured on this Memorial. May they never be forgotten.

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.