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Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy 25th Birthday Charley Bailey

It's the anniversary of my Uncle Charlie Bailey's Birthday. 
He'd have been 25 today 100 years ago. 

Charley was born in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba to Jennie Howie and Charles Bailey Sr. on December 29th, 1892
He was the first and only child born to Jennie and Charles.
The young family has set up house in High Bluff, Manitoba. 


Sadly, before Charley was even a month old, his dad (who was just 30 years old) was killed in an accident while chopping wood in 30 below weather just outside of High Bluff.

A Winnipeg Free Press newspaper article from January 26th 1893 mentions the death of Charley's father. 

It's titled "Portage Paragraphs" with the catchy byline; "Snow-show Tramp and Entertainment, Wedding Bells, Sudden Death" "The unexpected death of Mr Charles Bailey, of High Bluff, on Tuesday is regretted by his many friends here and sorrowing friends have the sympathy of the townspeople."

It might have been a blue day for Charley in 1917 when once again his birthday came and went without celebration or hugs from the people he loved. No doubt they missed him terribly too.

Through the portal of time Charley; Happy Birthday and much love!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Letter #69, Dec 16, 1917

December 16th, 1917
Ristow Barracks
Shorncliff, Kent England

Dear Mother
          I received the money all right Mother and my how glad I was.  I quite realize how scarce money is just now but Mother I needed it so bad.  And this fall I shall be able to pay it back to you.  Thanks very much Mother you don’t know how many ways I tried to get it, before I wrote you as I know you and Dad haven’t got to much just now and it was only at the last minute that I had to ask you.
          I am still in the office here and working fairly hard mostly writing all day long.  Young Billy Faulkner called on me yesterday, gee but he is getting to be a big fellow he was saying that a lot of the Dauphin boys had been put out of action, he had a slight shrapnel wound but is fit again.  Young Sutherland has just gone over and one of the Hamilton boys are here.  Our Mons medal came out the other day and the ribbons to wear are red white and blue, about fifteen Canadian in England are entitled to wear it and just imagine I am one of the few.  Out of all Western Canada there are only about three get it, and I am the only one from Winnipeg.  “In France before Nov 22nd, of 1914” Gee I am proud of that decoration and more so because I am among the very few Canadians that got it.
          How is VV getting on at her teaching.  Say Mother if you haven’t spent any money on me for Christmas I would rather you did not.  I know how tight money is getting to be and I am old enough now to realize all about Santa Claus.  I know Mother both you Dad and VV would like to buy me something for Christmas, just because it is Christmas.  But Mother I would rather you bought something for yourself.  I can get along all O.K.  That explosion at Halifax sure hit some of the boys here that had their parents and wives in it.  Just imagine being over here and not getting any word if your Mother and Dad were safe.  Lord it would drive a fellow crazy.  

After all Mother we are lucky, taking it all around we are alive and that’s a lot these days.
          I would like to go to Buxton this Christmas I know they are counting on me being there, but I can’t afford it.  Sot that’s all there is to it.  Do you remember twenty-five years ago the 29th of this month.  Every time my birthday comes in to my mind I think of the day Annie heard a baby cry and we afterwards discovered VV.  Do you remember.  Gee I can, just as well as if it was yesterday.  Now she is a school teacher and I am a soldier.  Lord but time does fly.
          Well Mother I am going to close.  I know you wonder what I needed that money for.  Well I’ll tell you someday but for now you trust me.  It’s for nothing wrong.  Tell Dad I am feeling fairly fit and may not have to go to France for a little while yet.  Tell the kid I will drop her a line soon but for the last month I have been working night and day in this office.

Bye bye
Love Chas


(The back of the first page ~ likely figuring done by his mom after the letter was delivered and read ~ same for the sums on the back of the envelope)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Letter #68, November 27, 1917 "Your brother is one of the 86 Canadians that is entitled to the Mons Medal."

Nov 27th, 1917 (postmark)
Ristow Barracks
Shorncliff, Kent England

Dear Sister,
          Say old girl this is the third letter and no reply yet.  Think I have nothing to do only write letter s and receive no reply.  You want to buck up or I am going to start answering my own letters. 
          Well I have some fine news for you this time.  Your brother is one of the 86 Canadians that is entitled to the Mons Medal.  All men that were in France before November the twenty second get a big bronze star to war on their left breast of their uniform.  We were the only Canadian unit in France in November therefore the only ones in the Canadian Army that get the decoration and there are only about twenty of us left.  It is the scarcest decoration in the Canadian Army and the majority of people can’t believe that any Canadians are entitled to it but about twenty of us get the decoration.  “Mons Medal of 1914” 

          VV I am prouder of that than any thing I have ever had.  I am the only one from Winnipeg and one of twenty or so out of Canada.  Ha Ha conscripts, talk to an old war veteran like me with the Mons Decoration, I guess not.
          Things are as usual here I am still working in the office.  I am feeling fine and dandy so what more can one expect.  Christmas will be here soon but I am not going anywhere.  The movies will have to satisfy me that day but still I can’t complain.  I think I have had my share of leave this summer.  Do you like chasing kids any better.  I do hope you get a school in the city.  If you are home it will be better for you and far nicer for both Mother and Dad.
          The winter has set in here for ----, it’s raining nearly every day and cold miserable winds, we are billeted in very decent huts so we’re are not so bad.  Two years ago today I was in mid ocean on my way to dear old Canada, but I guess I am here for duration this time.  Unless I go back to France and get a --- one.  But the thing is would I get a --- one You see the square heads are not at all fussy as to how they handle a fellow.  And to say the least they are very, very rude in their actions.
          Well Dear Sister I have no news only about this medal business.  Tell Mother she is the only mother in Winnipeg with a boy entitled to the mons decoration of 1914.  Well VV remember me to Dad and Mother and write me soon.  Just see if you can squeeze one in some time before spring.  Say if you want to spend some of that kid chasing money, just send me along a few smokes.

Love Chas

About the 1914 Star (Mons Medal) from Veterans Affairs Canada 
  • There were 160 awarded to 2nd Canadian Stationary Hospital members who served with the British Expeditionary Force beginning 6 November 1914.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Letter #67 November 24, 1917 "The cold footed sons of Canada"

Postmark November 24th, 1917
Kent England

Dear Mother,
          What do you think of your big daughter now.  Some schoolteacher “Eh What” Well Mother I am sure glad to hear she has got through and was fortunate enough to get a school.  She seemed quite delighted over getting 60 a month I don’t know but I have an idea she was trying to remind me that at last she is getting as much in one month as I am in two.  By Jove that’s the limit but believe me I am sure glad to hear she is a teacher it’s a great deal better than a counter hop or a stenographer and there about the only two other occupations that girls take up these days. 
          So at last the cold footed sons of Canada have to do their bit.  I have heard that all those over twenty-one, married or single will have to join.  Will that get Richmond and Ireland, it will be too bad if they have to come. It’s a pity the war would not end before that “The great big cold footed calves”.  Conscripts from Canada.  Mother, all the old boys are proud of them and a great deal prouder of the parents that would try and keep their men at home and see their neighbours boys going back for the second, third and fourth times.  While they subscribe to the cigarette fund and mighty little of that.  It was at one time one of our boasts over here “that Canada did not have to be driven to fight”   Ah well they will get a good reception from us.  The chicken-hearted sissies.  I tell you straight Mother it’s a good job for you that you have no other son if he was brought away from home on that scheme I would lick him before he ever saw a German.
          Do you know it has been raining here for two days steady so heavy that we have no parades of course the boys are not a bit sorry, still it makes it very uncomfortable in camp life.  How has Dad been keeping you tell him I would like a letter by gosh he owes me one now, tell him that its not necessary to wait as long as I did before he answers it.  I don’t know if I told you in my last letter or not that I expect to go to Buxton for a day or so to see my friends.  They wrote and told me that they had made all preparations for a motor party to Rudyard Lake and all they were waiting on was me to complete the party.  Gee they are fine people I would like VV to meet them they are just the kind that she would like.  Well just imagine they traveled very near across England to see me and in this country that’s a mighty long journey.  Gee they nearly went into hysterics when I told them I was here and may have to go to France.  They got the letter in the morning and that night they were on their way here.  They were always asking for a picture of my big sister so I sent them that snap shot of the kid and the cat.  The old man said she had a very sweet face and that she was a very kind hearted girl.  Regular big hearted Colonial and when I asked for the snap back again they wouldn’t give it to me.  They want one of me but I told them that even my mother didn’t have one so it was very little chance of their ever getting one for awhile anyway.

          I would like to have Dad here to see the Aeroplanes ----- -----(censored) and some of the stunts they go through. Gee they are as thick as birds and they sure can handle them down to perfection.  If you could only see them you would sure say that England was as supreme in the air as she is on the sea.  Well Mother one of the boys is going over to the Post office so I am going to give him this.  Remember me to Dad and tell VV that she has been congratulated by her big brother long before this ever will reach her.  Love Chas

Monday, October 9, 2017

Letter #66 October 9, 1917 Lots of Portage boys killed or wounded just recently..

October 9th, 1917
Westenhaugen, Kent England

Dear Mother,
By Jove here it is two weeks and not one letter from you.  You know Mother there is something wrong with the mail delivery somewhere. Some of the boys have not heard from Canada for a couple of months.  Well, have you received my photos and say, are they not the limit.  I look like Von Hindenburg. Oh well I promised you one for a long while so now you have it.  The first time I said I would send you one well I had them taken but really they were worse than the last ones so you can hardly blame me for not sending the.  Now can you. I think I inherit the dislike for having my photo taken from you Mother. Because one time, I remember you having your picture taken in Dauphin and you would not even let Dad or I see them for a long while and then you eventually destroyed them.  Do you remember?
          Things in general are just as usual here.  I have a very good job and by all accounts I may be here for some time yet.  Drafts coming in and going out every day but I am regimentally employed and I may say that I like it as good as any job I have had yet and am getting on just fine.  Do you know Mother; I am considerably heavier now than I ever was in all my life so you see this place is agreeing with me.
          I was up to the flying corps the other night and one of the imperials was good enough to show me all around it.  He described all the different class of machines and the different purposes they were used for and all about them.  It sure was interesting.  I was wishing that Dad had of been there he would of enjoyed it.  Gee this place is slow but there is one good thing about it we cant get into to town only about once a week and we cant spend any money here so it enables us to live on army pay or at least try to.
          I suppose by this time VV has settled down and is a full-grown schoolteacher.  I sent her one or two letters but I can’t say if the address was correct or not.  However when I hear from her I will make it a point to write often it will tend to cheer her anyway.  Saw a bunch of the Portage boys the other night and by what they told me a lot of them have been killed and wounded just recently.
          My friends from Dauphin may be down here in a day or so for the weekend and if I can get a day or so pass I will have a fairly good time for a few days.  Gee Mother but they have been good to me you would think I was one of the family and when I was up there on pass they could not do enough for me.  The only thing I don’t like is that they call us Canadians “Gee Whizzers” Just imagine chippers calling us fellows “gee whizzers”
          How is Dad keeping I guess he is feeling his usual self or you would have mentioned it in your letter.  Well Mother I am going to get this off in the Post.  I will have to stop.  Tell Dad and VV I am still well and write often.  Be sure and tell me what you thought of your big son’s picture in the uniform.

Love Chas

(Unfortunately, very few photographs of Charley have survived and this particular portrait that has been a topic of conversation in many of his letters, has not surfaced. However, since Charley likens his mug to that of Paul von Hindenburg, here's a pic of Paul. I think Charley's being hard on himself.)

"Saw a bunch of the Portage boys the other night and by what they told me a lot of them have been killed and wounded just recently."  

Below are the names of 44 mostly very young men from Portage la Prairie who died in 1917. The dead and wounded Charley was hearing news of would have been friends and acquaintances.  In the summer of 1914 when Charley answered the call, he was renting a flat in Winnipeg, he played hockey and worked in a pharmacy. He was just beginning to find his way in the world, beyond home, beyond Portage. It must have been so for most of his contemporaries.  These 44 young men were Charley's age, in their 20's. Dead. Some were students, one was a student at law. They were clerks, labourers, farmers, millers, barbers, plumbers, teachers, tinsmiths and accountants.   These are just the losses from 1917, just the losses from one community in Manitoba.  

Their names. My hope for each of these young men is that someone who knows even a tidbit of their story remembers them and sometimes speaks their names.

Andrew Bremner / Labourer
George William Cochrane / Teacher
George Arthur Cockhead / Fireman
Percy Robert Cook / Farmer
James Alfred Corfield / Farmer
Walter Evan Cox-Smith / Farmer
Gordon Richardon Thomas Cumming / Carpenter
Francis Cuthbert Malcolm Cummings / Farmer 
Elmer Cecil Dalzell  /  Hardware Clerk
William Daum / Hardware Clerk
Alfred Dent / Farm Labourer
Thomas Birtwistle Douglas / Clerk
Charles Samuel Dyer / Barber
H. C. “Jack” Favel / Farmer
Allan Francis / Clerk
John Henry Froats  / Plumber
Arthur Taylor Fulford  / Telephone Lineman
Lorne Talmage Graham  / Farmer
James Frederick Harrison DCM  / Farmer
Edmund Huddlestone  / Farmer
Thomas Kaines  / Labourer
Russell George Kemp  / Farmer
John Frank Little  / Farmer
Alexander Mackie  /  Farmer
Colin Archibald MacLennan  / Farmer
Claude Elliott Matthews  / Farmer
William Lee Mawhinney  /  Barrister 
Albert Milton McCaig  /  Clerk
William Harvey McDonald / Labourer
Frederick Conroy Mills  /  Miller
James Moffat  /  Farmer
John Nicholson  / Farmer
Ira Stanley Nixon  / Tinsmith
Bruce Hutton Parkinson / Bank Clerk
David Peden  / Trackman
Aylwin Murray Pratt  /  Student at Law
Ernest Prout  /  Tinsmith
Henry Alexander Robertson / Broker
John Henry Sanders / Accountant
Charles Samuel Saunders  /  Farmer
Alfred Saxton  / Farmhand
Thomas Alfred Singer / Farmhand
Norman James Thomas MM  / Student
James Harrison Thompson  / Farmer

The names and occupations of these 44 young men comes from the excellent Manitoba Historical Society website Portage la Prairie War Memorial

And my response: "Down by the Riverside"  Sweet Honey and the Rock  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Letter #65 September 25, 1917 "I am sure a lucky cuss."

September 25th, 1917 (postmark)
Westenhaugen, Kent England

Dear Mother,
Have not heard a word from you for at least two weeks I can't make out just what is the matter.  I hope nothing is wrong at home.  I guess not or you would have told me.  Things here are as usual.  Yesterday I went down to the Docks to see a bunch of the boys off.  There were sure a happy bunch all going over for the first time and glad to go, glad to have the chance at the square heads.  It was good to see the spirit they went away in.  The boys were singing, bands were playing, the returned boys were shouting and women crying. Say, it was some mixture.  They will be over there by now and by this time next week they will realize what war means.
          I have the same old job here and by all accounts I will keep it for some time to come although a person can never tell five minutes beforehand what they are going to do with him.  
         My friends from Buxton are down here for a week or so and on Thursday I motored to Canterbury with them.  Went all through the cathedral and all through the hospital that I was put in on my return from France.  It's quite an ancient town and was very interesting.  We visited two of the places that Dickens mentioned in his books probably Dad will recognize the names “The ?? Inn and Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe”  That’s the way they are spelt or were spelt in the days of Dickens. 
          A lot of our boys were turned into infantry the other day and some of them transferred into the kilter’s.  Gee it is a scream to see some of them in Kilts.  I don’t think they are all overjoyed with their lots.  
       Well how is Winnipeg and all the people.  Irelands, Laws and the rest.  You never told me if they will have to join up if conscription comes into effect.  I hope to the Lord they do and then they won't be so darn quick to criticize.  They get a smash of it and then we will be able to see who’s got cold feet and have to hide behind their women folk.  I got no use for slackers and especially when they are from Canada.
          The weather here is surely ideal.  It's as warm as the middle of summer.  How does VV like her job I have never heard from her since she went to Westbourne I hope she likes it alright. I know it will be lonely for her but if she likes the work it will help a lot.  Oh say Mother did I tell you that the hospital I was in in Ramsgate is going to move.  Yes in one of the Air raids a bomb was dropped through the roof into the recreation room doing considerable damage, by Jove I think I got out of there just in time.  You know Mother I am sure a lucky cuss. It seems I have a lucky star that tells me where and when not to move.  Well I have got to get to work.  Tell Dad I hope he is well and that I will ans his letter shortly.  Remember me to VV when you write and tell her I am well.  I will now go back to work or they will be over after me.
With love


The " ?? " Inn and the Olde Curiosity Shoppe" Any ideas?  I've darkened the letter and the text below and welcome your input. This particular letter is very faded and I'm finding it really difficult to make out the name of the Inn.  He may have visited "The Little Inn'  in the Sun Hotel. Dickens set a scene in his novel "David Copperfield" at this inn.

The Sun Hotel was built in 1503 and, although the name has changed, the building still stands today. The history of this famous stopping-in place is preserved with a small historic marker in the first floor, as follows
Formerly known as The Little Inn 
Made famous by Charles Dickens 
In his travels thro’ Kent 
Built 1503

The Old Curiosity Shop still stands ...
Charley mentions the air raid attack on the Canadian Hospital in Ramsgate where he had recently worked.  This is a link to an excellent account of that day written by another young Cdn soldier from Winnipeg. William Markle (Mark) Pecover  Company D, 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

September 3, 1917 Letter #64 "By Jove You Can't Beat the British"

September 3rd, 1917 (postmark)

Westenhaugen, Kent England

Dear Mother,
          I just finished a letter to VV and told her I was sending you and her a photo.  The proofs came up all right and the pictures will be along as soon as this letter so I have kept my promise at last.  Gee the kid must feel lonesome out there all by herself and you and Dad must be just about lost.  But as I tell her it won't be long till the war is over and she has had enough experience to teach in a city school and then we will all be together again.  Some people seem to think the war has gone about its limit so let us hope it has.
          As yet there is nothing to tell you in regards what I am going to do or where I am going. There are more here than I have ever saw in the Depot before but I think another big offensive and a lot will be cleared out.  One of my old friends from the Buxton staff landed in here a few days ago and the poor devil got four days punishment before he was here a day. Gee mother is it fierce.  He sleeps in the same hut as myself and I don’t give him a minutes rest.
        Don’t criticize the paper, as it is all that is available at present.  
       The weather here the last week or so is absolutely rotten it is raining all the time and when a person is in camp on wet weather it is miserable.  Especially when you are three miles from a village and eight from a town.
          Did I tell you that I saw the last German Air Squadron that came over here, fifteen machines.  They were spotted away down the coast no sooner had they been seen than our fellows up and after them. They then headed down towards Ramsgate but our planes right on their heels firing away as fast as their guns could fire.  By Jove you can't beat the British, it was just like a big bulldog after a cat the way our men up and after them.  I would have given anything for Dad to have seen it.  Best race I ever saw.  Anyway our fellows got five of their latest giant type machines and the navy got another as they were beating it for home.
          Well how is things in general. I met young Rufus Lions from Portage last night.  Do you know Mother his is as big as I am now.  Gee it's fierce how those kids do grow.  Seem to spring up in a night.  By the way Mother you have never said anything to any of those photos I sent home did you.  I sincerely hope you don’t any way.  Because I don’t want anyone to know.
          How is Dad’s health is he looking any better than he did on the farm.  I hope so.  VV was telling me that the fellow on the farm may not be dishonest but he needed someone to watch him is that right.  I suppose men are so hard to get that he can do very near anything he likes and you can’t fire him.  Well Mother there is nothing here to write about that is of any interest.  I am as well as ever I was as you will see by my photo.  Remember me to Dad and VV and write soon.
Love Chas

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Three Letters. August 20th 1917 "Please Teacher"

A fat envelope postmarked 20 AUG 1917  
'Canadian Soldier Letter'
addressed by Charley to his Mother; Mrs M T L Lloyd, 
La Claire Hotel, Garry Street, Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada.
Two of the letters are to his mom and dad, one is written to his sister V.V.

August 20, 1917 (postmark)
3 letters in envelope 
Westenhaugen, Kent England

Dear Mother,
          As you see I have changed my address again and as yet can not say if I am on my way for France or not.  Nor do I care a great deal.  My friends from Buxton left this morning after being here for a week and I sure did enjoy their company if it was only for a week.  Just as soon as they heard I was here and may have to go to France, they sent a telegram saying they were coming on the first train the following morning.  They have lived in England all their lives and this was the longest journey they had ever had so I guess they think something of your only son.
          As yet I have not heard how VV got along with her exams but I have great confidents in her and believe that if such a thing as failing was to happen it would not be her fault. 
Things around here are very quiet with the exception of just a few drafts leaving every week for France.  I have met several fellows here that used to belong to our old unit and a few of them are fortunate to be pending discharge and waiting a convoy back to Canada.
          Folkestone and vicinity is just about the same as it was last winter. Except that it is not raining every day for the last couple of weeks it has been absolutely perfect as far as the weather goes.  I have been drilling again every day and doing guard etc it is just like starting all over again. But even at that it is a change and I can't say if it is for the better or not as a matter of fact I can't say where or what they are going to do with me or send me.
          Say Mother I am going to give you the surprise of your life.  On Saturday I am going into Folkstone and have my photo taken and send you one if it cost a million dollars it has taken some time to work up enough nerve but I eventually decided I would so you can expect one any time now.
          Well Mother this is just a note to let you know where I am and that I am feeling in perfect condition and will write immediately I change my address.  As I expect it will be soon. Remember me to Dad and VV and write soon

August 20, 1917 (postmark)
Westenhaugen, Kent England

Dear Mother,
          I must tell you the good news I had my photo taken.  Talk about fussing around a fellow but I never had anything like it in all my life.  Pulling and twisting at my head for at least one half hour trying to make me look pretty.  It is just head and shoulders and are of a very good size.  He asked me how many I wanted I says I want one for my Mother and that’s all but 3 was the smallest quantity he would make up.  So there is one for you one for V-V and one for this country.  Now don’t ever ask me for another for at least ten years I simply detest having those people fussing around me.  I have promised you one for a long while so here it is or will be there by this mail.
          The weather has set in and every thing is fine.  The drafts from Canada still keep pouring in.  Where they get them beats me.  A lot of the civilian population around here seem to think the war will end this coming spring after US gets a few hundred thousand men in the field.  Lord let it be soon.  If it doesn’t end soon I think I will go in for an old age pension out of them.
          Well how does VV like her new job.  I kind of think she will make out allright at teaching and it wont be so bad when she gets a little experience and is able to get a school in town.  There she will be able to live at home that will give you company as well.  Just had a box of cigars sent to me and all the boys in the hut are going around with a cigar in their mouth.  Army is getting very prosperous ‘ Eh What’ You see when any one gets a parcel they always treat all in the hut but by Jove it makes a big whole in the box of smokes.  However I don’t mind they are all good fellows and I am one of the first to share anything they get.  I am the only first contingent man in this hut so they look upon me as a kind of a legal advisor. 
          One of my old unit is here and wants in fact begs me to go to London and act as best man for him.  He says ‘Come on Bill it won’t cost you a cent and I want one of the old boys to stand up with me’ Gee I hate to turn him down but I hate to act in that capacity but I guess I will just because he is one of the old original fellows and a very good fellow too.
          We are having a concert here tonight and by all accounts it will be quite a success.  The Col and several others are invited so it should come off all OK.  The Aeroplanes have been flying all over us this morning, I guess that are taking advantage of the good weather for a few maneuvers.
Mother this is just to say that at last I fulfilled my promise and I hope you like them.  Remember me to Dad an VV and tell VV I will enclose hers along with one for you.  Bye bye for the present I will write later on in the week.

Aug 20, 1917
From CAMC Camp
Westenhaugen, Kent England

Dear Sister,
          Or rather I should say “Please Teacher’.  Well sister how do you like chasing kids for a living by Jove it’s a better paying job than the Army.  I guess you find it rather lonesome don’t you V-V.  Never mind it’s a respectable living and an independent one and after you get a little experience you will be able to qualify for a town job and then it’s a pretty good position.  I have at last had my photo taken and as soon as they are finished you shall have.  Gee it was some job.  They twisted my head around for about half an hour trying to get me looking pretty and then failed to even make me look presentable.  However I have promised Mother one for four or five years so you both shall have one within a week.
          Well V-V I don’t know as yet if I am gong back to France again or not.  They say that all First Contingent men don’t have to go back before the fellows who have never been there have a smash at it.  If that is so then they may shift me around England somewhere.
          Say what are you talking about, I have no lady friend in this country so don’t be foolish.  You should know by this time that I am not a ladies man.  Church parade is just going out to the field to have service, bugles going and band playing reminds me of old Valcartier.  A person has to be in a camp like this before he really realizes he is in the Army.  Everything is so different from hospital work in a hospital it is not near so military, and everything here is discipline.  Inspection after inspection.
          Well VV I guess Dad and Mother miss you allot.  Is sure must be lonesome for them.  Ah well if I get through this allright it won’t be long till we are both with them and then we will be all happy.  The Canadians as you know by now had another bad cutting up and it’s about time some of those cold-footed yafs that are still in Canada came out and did their bit.  By Jove VV the conscripts won’t get a very good reception from many of the old boys.  Do you blame us.  Just imagine I am going on my fourth year of military life.  Long while isn’t it to be a soldier.  Ah well VV your brother was not chased out of Canada by the girls anyway.  But did his bit before most of those people realized there was a war on.
          Raining here very near every day for the past two weeks miserable weather for camp life.  Say VV what kind of a place is Westbourne if it is near Gladstone then I know it and it’s not a bad little place.
          Say VV I have got another mustache and it's whiter than Dad’s what do you know about that, Gee you would laugh if you saw it.  The fellows from Winnipeg that see it just howl they think it’s the limit and I guess they are about right.  There is nothing of any importance to tell you only I am as well as can be, as you will see by the photograph.  If you get this write me and I will and often.  It may help you from getting lonesome.  Remember me to Dad and Mother and tell them I am writing them today.
Love Chas           

 ( V.V.'s note on the back of her letter) "This was sent to Westbourne. 
Why did he write so much to me!  Something wrong, eh?"

Vida Valerie has just begun her first job as a teacher; born in 1899, she would have been just 18 years old.   

OLD HIGH BLUFF S. D. # 13 (formerly HIGH BLUFF S. D.) In 1859 the first school was built under the guidance of Archdeacon Cochrane. It was built west of the Anglican Church and graveyard and south on the main trail toward Dilworth Lake now known as Black's Lake. The teacher from 1862 to 1870 was John Norquay, later the Premier of Manitoba. Mr. Gerrond was then the teacher for many years. In 1876 the school was destroyed by fire, and the sixty-five students attended school at the Drummond house,just west of the graveyard, where the Bullock buildings are located. Mr. Drummond kept a store and Mrs. Drummond helped with the teaching. That same year 1876 , Cochrane school opened to accommodate the growing population as homesteaders moved into the district. In 1877 with seventy-seven pupils attending school, plans were being made to open schools at Nairn and North High Bluff. A new school 34' X38' was built directly north of the Bullock buildings on the corner of Highway #26 and the High Bluff road. The land was purchased from Colin Setter and in 1879 the bell rang for the first classes in the new school. The last Old High Bluff school was built in 1893 at this same location In 1893 the school district became known as Old High Bluff School District # 13 when the High Bluff Village School District # 771 was formed with a school opening in the New High Bluff Village two miles north. Teachers from 1900 to 1963 were: Mary Bell, K. Hammond, Annie M. Cole, Winnie E. Jeffery, Millie Tweddle, Violet Y. Wilton, Lens J. Grant, A. G. Huskins, Kennina M. McKay, May Tidsbury, Ethel Rowley, Vida Lloyd, Ellen Cook, Miss Limbrick, I. Steen, R. G. Joseph, Sylvia G. Olson, Phyllis McKay, Colena Muir, Bernice Nixon, Annie Cruickshank, Marion P. Wilkes, Kathleen Trimble, Sally Williamson ( Sally Hicks), E. Martins, Miss Clark, Gwendalyn Lewis, Shoemaker, John Jackson, Mrs. Duchny, Vera Arrell, Mrs. V. M. 97 Prestash, Mrs. M. Rutledge, Franz Solmundson, Mrs. Mary Rutledge, Mrs. Ethel M. Mathews, Mrs. Ethel Tidsbury. Old High Bluff school closed in 1963, joining Cochrane, North High Bluff, Flee Island, Portage Creek and High Bluff Village schools to become the Consolidated School District of High Bluff # 2418. The building was sold and is now used as a family residence."

This Google Map capture shows the distance between the La Claire Hotel in Winnipeg at 187 Garry Street to High Bluff and to Westbourne.  It's calculated at about a 6 hour trip by bicycle today.  

Saturday, July 29, 2017

July 25, 1917 Letter #60 "The price of things..."

July 25th, 1917 postmark

CMAC Depot
Kent England

Dear Mother
          Recd your letter a day or two ago and I am under the impression that there is a lot of my mail gone astray as that was the first since I received VV’s letter.  Things in general are just the same as usual I don’t know just what they are going to do with me but expect to have a few days leave shortly and that will help some.
          You say Ireland got very mad at Ina when you were over there well for the Lords sake Mother don’t you get mixed up in any of their troubles, let them fight it out amongst themselves.  Apparently he must have changed a great deal because when I knew him it was very hard to get him mad, might have been because he knew it wouldn’t do hem a great deal of good if he did get sore.  Had a letter from Hess the other day but she didn’t say if they are getting on well or not.  You know Mother she is another on that’s darn queer at times however it don’t make any difference to me so I should worry.
          Ther has been a lot of men come in from various hospitals all fit and ready for France at a minutes notice.  This last draft just over from Canada seem to be fine big men very funny thing they were not in the army three years ago.  It makes them feel as if they wish they had of joined a year or so earlier when they get among some of the old timers.  Oh well they are better late than never.
          I am very anxious to hear how VV made out in her exams.  Gee I hope she got along OK.  I know Dad wouldn’t want her to go out teaching but I think the sooner she gets a smash at some of these country schools the sooner she will have a decent place in town.  So if she can get an appointment this fall why not let her have it I believe that in Canada in a few years teachers are going to draw a fair salary.
          You were saying the price of things have gone up terrible well Mother you should see the prices here and compare them with the peacetime prices, by Jove it's fierce.  How some of the poorer classes make a living I don’t know.
          Well Mother this is just to say I am OK and still in the land of the living.  Remember me to Dad and VV and write soon.
Love Chas