Remember Me

Remember Me

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.