Remember Me

Remember Me

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

1915, July 21st. Charley's 27th letter home from France. WW1

July 21st, 1915

Dear Mother,
Well Mother I am out of the Hospital at last and no worse for my little accident.  I am now at the Canadian Base and by the time you get this I will be back to duty with our own outfit.  Had a letter from V.V. and answered it from the Hospital the last day I was there. 
          Well how do you like farming.  Gee it seems funny to think of Dad on a farm.  I can imagine him working with horses and machinery.  How are Albert and Lavinia.  She wrote me a letter when they were on Edmonton Street. I answered it but never got a reply to my answer so tell her to drop a fellow a line occasionally.  

This is a fine location for a camp and one of the nicest places I have been since I came to France.  It resembles Victoria very much in regards to scenery flowers etc.  Yesterday I happened to go down to the docks and my goodness the machinery they have for moving heavy and bulky material is wonderful. A person could walk around those docks for days and never see all the things that are so strange to one who has lived inland all his life.
They tell me that at last they have finally got Ina to go to Montreal.  If the girl had a little more peace she would act a lot different to wards her people but you know how strange Aunt Rach is.  She has not written to me three months so I guess she is sore because I took Ireland around there.  However if her own boy didn’t do anything worse than Karl he will be alright and she is not hurting me very much by not writing.  Well Mother I have absolutely nothing to say of any importance only that I am all OK again and expect to rejoin my own unit in a few days So I will draw to a close.  Remember me to Dad, V-V, and Lavinia and Albert and write to my old address.  No2

FAMILY NOTES   'Albert and Lavina' who are mentioned in this letter are Marmaduke's younger brother and sister (Charley's Aunt and Uncle).  Aunt Rach is Jennie's sister (Charley's Aunt on his mom's side) and Ina is the youngest of Rachel's children. From what Charley says, it sounds as though he introduced his cousin Ina to Karl Duncan Ireland whom Ina married late in 1914. Karl and Ina have just moved to Montreal. 

Excerpts from Charley's Official service records ~ Medical notes

On July 10th (1915) Charley was docked 7 days pay for disobeying hospital orders and talking in the marquee after lights out. He was still recovering in hospital and likely feeling pretty good by now.    

Charley works in a hospital at the front, so his familiarity with the setting and his understanding of what his fellow patients had gone through to land them in a bed, may well have set him up to feel quite comfortable chatting with the lads at any time of day.

Losing seven days pay would have been a stiff penalty. In January 1914, The Ford Motor Company was offering an eight hour work day and a daily wage of $5.  As a Private in the CAMC, Charley was making a dollar a day with an additional field allowance of 10 cents a day.

On July 19th Charley was discharged to No 11 camp
He was taken on strength of No 3 General Base Depot Rouelles on the 20th.

Charley's family back home had turned their efforts to farming.  There were mixed messages in Canada during these war years.  Producing food was a #1 priority, but so was recruiting fodder for the front lines.  Rural Canadians in particular were encouraged to farm while men who lived in urban areas were expected to sign up.  There was a serious urban rural divide due to misunderstandings and mixed messages from Government. City folk often looked on rural farmers as shirkers profiting from the war. Charley's dad would have been 58 years old.  He had owned and managed hotels, and would have seen a dramatic decrease in business in the first year of the war. To old or infirm to enlist, and wanting to do his bit, Marmaduke may have accepted Government incentives to grow food.  Two of his unmarried siblings joined Jennie and Marmaduke in this patriotic endeavour.  V.V. was attending college.

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