In the late summer of 2006, I was in Canada helping my mother comb through a number of items that belonged to my Nana. In one box, I stumbled across a non-descript white poly bag that contained a sizeable quantity of old correspondence. On closer inspection, it contained several hundred letters as well as postcards, photographs and some keepsakes (orders of service, train tickets, ship’s berth cards, etc) that were primarily addressed to Mr W C Young, Brampton, Ontario (my Great-great Grandfather). I had discovered the correspondence from my Uncle 'Car' to his family during his service with the Canadian Army from 1914 to 1919. Since 2006, although I have browsed the correspondence, I have not (until now) methodically reviewed it.
Uncle Car participated in some of the most intense actions of the war including Sanctuary Wood, The Somme and Vimy Ridge. Although his correspondence often refers to these battles, I have not read any 'history book' style prose nor has he offered much strategic overview of the conflict. Rather, his letters contain much of the minutiae of service life on the Western Front in 1916 and 1917 and, in this respect, he offers a glimpse of an individual soldier's existence beyond the pages of our history books.
Over the coming months and years I shall transcribe and publish Uncle Car's correspondence whilst concurrently grappling with the technology of web publishing. I shall also attempt to add some further background and context to his service with the aid of other resources employing, for example, the published War Diaries of 5 CMR. Please enjoy the Blog.
J A Hart
3 December 2011