Fri 15 Jan 1915, Tillsonburg, Ontario (Letterhead)

The Canadian Bank of Commerce

Tillsonburg, Ont. 15th January, 1915

Dear Pater;

            There is really nothing in the way of news but thing are going on in the usual manner.

            Of course the snow is very scarce so we cannot get any snowshoing just now, though we had a little for a while. But several times now we have been out on the hills, bobbing. The place here is cut up from end to end with hills and gullies and this naturally makes excellent sleighing. We don’t have quite the same bunch as we had last year but the present one seems better. Younger anyway. As this is Friday, and our half holiday, we are going out again.

            Monday night we had our evening at the A.Y.P.A. where we resurrected the musty old saints. However it was very interesting. Tuesday I retired at about 8 p.m. and got a good night’s rest. Wednesday I was at a hockey match between Tillsonburg and Ingersoll. We never have had a very brilliant team here for some reason or other, but now they seem to be showing up a bit better. We were beaten 8-2, but the score was no indication of the game. The boys played well, and only for some flukes would have held them down even. Last night, or rather yesterday afternoon, I went out into one of the gullies with Mr. Harrison. We took my rifle along and had some target practice. Then I stayed to tea with them, and spent the evening.

            I have not much further in the way of news. It may be another ten days before [next page] I get away. We are now waiting for Col. Bick to get his orders to take over the command of the regiment. Kift is getting the job of Paymaster’s clerk, and I gave offered that of the Col.’s orderly, at which chance I jumped. So that is just how we stand.

            I am feeling fine and all seems to be going along all right.

                        Love to all

                                    Your loving son,

                                                C E Young

Fri 29 Jan 1915, Tillsonburg, Ontario (Postmark)

An envelope containing a typewritten manuscript of a poem as well as 5 newspaper cuttings taken from a newspaper probably local to Tillsonburg, Ontario. Of couple items of particular interest. Firstly, it contains a church notice detailing Car's farewell from St John's Church's Anglican Young Person's Association (AYPA) to the army and, secondly, a cutting of a shortened, published version of Car's Poem 'Our Mother'. There are cuttings of 3 other poems.


Mothers of sons whose life must be,
Dear Britain, a shield ‘twixt fire and thee;
God grant you peace this hour of need.
His will this armed strife decreed.
In Israel’s days His word direct,
Man’s troops did guide. So we expect,
Our cause being just, His guidance now.
Victory’s to us. But where, and how?
Only by faith in God’s right hand,
At knee taught, shall we withstand
Him, whose defiance of Christ and right,
Hath himself condemned. So we must fight.
Over beyond our ken, defiled,
Lies an innocent country, once a child
Of powers. And like a child, asleep.
It lay in its innocence, slumbering deep.
O God, have pity on those whose hand
Hath despoiled forever this blameless land.
‘Tis for us swift vengeance to enact,
But thou, forgive this dastard act.
Dear mothers, whose sons are given free,
Page 1
Page 2
To go as bidden, We pray for thee.
Thy part, to wait, is worse than ours.
God bless thee, in thy vigil hours.
There’s a race of men whose faces show
No whit of their anguish. Tears may flow,
Yet thay may but comfort and bestow
A helpmate in this stress and woe.
Whose head held high. With pride aglow,
To give their sons to strike a blow
For England. All the world may know
These heroes are, who may not go, - -

----Our fathers----

- - -


            The A.Y.P.A. of St. John’s Church on Monday evening listened to a most interesting address by Dr. R. E. Weston on the subject of “First Aid”. The address dealt with broken bones, poisons, resuscitation of the drowning and many diseases and the methods of treatment. The evening was turned into a farewell to Mr. C. E. Young, who has been most active in the Church. He was secretary-treasurer of the Sunday School and Church Warden, and has given freely of his services to the Church in every good work. The Rector expressed the feelings of the members at the loss of Mr. Young, and Mr. Young replied and told of his regret at leaving and his pleasure at having been associated in the work of the Church with the members of the A.Y.P.A. Mr. Max Luke was elected secretary of the school in place of Mr. Young.



Mothers of sons whose life must be,
Dear Britain, a shield ‘twixt fire and
God grant you peace this hour of need;
His will this armed strife decreed.

In Israel’s days His word direct
Man’s troops did guide; so we expect,
Our cause being just, His guidance now.
Victory’s to us, but where, and how?

Only by faith in God’s right hand,
At your knees taught, shall we withstand
Him, whose defiance of Christ and right
Himself condemns; So we must fight.

Dear mothers, whose sons are given free,
To go as bidden, we pray for ye.
Your part - to wait - is worse than ours.
God bless you in your vigil hours.
                        - Private C. E. Young.

- - -


Sun 28 Feb 1915, Guelph, Ontario (Letterhead)

Guelph. 28/2/15
C.Co. 34th Bat

Dear P.

This is the first chance I have had to write anything in detail.

I am in C Company and as yet without my uniform. They will probably come along this week. The first day I had very little to do. But in the afternoon I went out with the parade.

We arise at 6.30 and all go down to the wash rooms. These are fine. There are shower baths and hot and cold water. [next page] I expect many of the fellows here have not been accustomed to as good times as we get here. Our cots are arranged in long rowns by companies. They have strips of loose metal across them. Then we have straw ticks, and pillows with three big grey blankets.

At seven we all go for a parade for a couple of miles and breakfast at seven. This consists of porridge which is very stiff, but good, bacon, bread and butter, and coffee. All the meals are good, clean, and no [next page] scraps. At nine o’clock we have parade out to the O.A.C. [Ontario Agriculture College] grounds in a big open field of about forty acres. It is cold but fine. The field is about two miles out and the winter fair buildings are in the centre of town just next the station.

We come back about twelve and have dinner at 12.30. This consists of a plate piled well with meat, potatoes, and two or three kinds of vegetables, bread and butter and tea. [next page] We can get all we want of anything.

At two o’clock we parade again to O.A.C. till about four. At four thirty we are free for the rest of the day. Tea at 5.30 of Bread + butter cheese and jam, and tea. All these are varied a little each day. Friday night there was a big boxing match in the arena and last night there was a big concert in the Y.M.C.A. canteen. Saturday afternoon we have off. Bluethner and Sergeant Fuller [Note 1] [next page] and I went out to the Y.M.C.A. for a swim and a shower bath. My cold has almost disappeared and though I caught a small new one, it is about gone too.

The fellows are all a very decent bunch, and very easy to get on with. I think most of them are Old Countrymen but there are a great many Canadians. There are a thousand men here and we are nearly complete in complement. We are divided into platoons. [next page] Formerly there were eight sections in a company of two half companies, but now there are four sections to a platoon and four platoons to a company. Four companies in the battalion.

I was not out to Church Parade this a.m. owing to lack of uniform but I shall go this evening. In fact all goes well and I feel O.K.

            Your loving son


            Love to all

Note 1: This is Quartermaster Sergeant Ernest Denny Fuller, Regimental number 602171. He was born in England on 8 Jan 1878, gave his occupation on his attestation papers as a clerk and had previously served with the Norfolk Regiment (Territorial Army reserve). His next of kin was listed as his mother, Mrs Anna Maria Fuller, of Lyndhurst, North Walsham, Norfolk, England. Reference: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 3331 - 46.


Sun 7 Mar 1915, Guelph, Ontario (Letterhead)
Guelph 7/3/15

Dear Pater;

            Well I have put in a pretty good week and all goes well. I have just returned from church parade. Each Sunday the whole battalion goes to one church at 9.45 selected by someone that is, except the mics [?]. We are through in time to go to any church [we] wish at eleven and free for the rest of the day. This morning we went to the Congregational church. We were preceded by the Salvation Army band, “A” Company is away at Galt at the [over] funeral of one of the fellows who was killed the other day, but as it was we filled the church. It was a very simple service, founded on ours and there was an excellent sermon.

St George's 1908
Nearly every night at the Y.M.C.A. canteen, where there is a stage, we have an entertainment of some kind. This week we had a lantern lecture on London by Canon Davidson, of St George’s. Then we had a local choir, and a local orchestra give concerts. Thursday night was boxing night, and we had contests in the big arena. They were hardly as good as last weeks but fun for all that. [over]

This evening, Bluethner and I are going to St George’s. Last Sunday evening I was there with Quarter-master sergeant Fuller, who had his bed near mine. The Bishop of Fredericton was there and the place was packed. I was disappointed with his sermon but it was all right.

St George's Today
We are still drilling without rifles, and while it is a bit slow it is very healthy work. I can’t quite get rid of a small cold, but everyone has it. I think it is a small lack of ventilation in the lines at night. Yesterday afternoon we had a swim at the Y.M.C.A. which was very fine. [over]

My stripe gives me some responsibility and lets me out of all fatigue work. I have had charge of a section several times during the week. There is nothing new particularly. I shall write you again soon. It is rather hard to write now. There is an extremely heated argument just at my right, by half a dozen fellows. Further along there is a fiddle and a mandolin playing jigs and about four mouth organs in different keys hissing [?] it up hard.

I am enclosing Phil’s letter which I was very glad to see. Mr Howard has asked me for copies of [over] a play called “Her Gloves.” I believe there are some in the top right hand compartment of my big trunk. If mater can find time I wish she would take a look and any she can find send to Rev. J.B. Howard, Tillsonburg. If she isn’t too busy.

            Best love to all
            your loving Son


Mon 15 Mar 1915, Guelph, Ontario (Letterhead)

Guelph 15/3/15

Dear Pater;

It is noon hour and I have just had dinner, so I have about half an hour to write this. I wrote you a card this morning which I suppose you got all right.

Some of the fellows have been served with poor footwear (mine is pretty good) so we have kept away from the O.A.C. heights where we usually drill, today. We began with a march of about six or seven miles, and then we [over] divided into companies and went to different parts of the city where we occupied squares.

I feel better today than I have yet. My cold is looser. When the weather gets a bit warmer we will all get rid of them. The ventilation at night in the lines is rather poor. They put in windows to work just over the beds, but the men won’t open them. When we get some warmer nights, they will all open up.

Saturday night I was out at the Cleghorns’ with Q. Master Sergeant Fuller. They are [over] very kind people though rather “seconds.” He is a fellow from Stratford who had his bed next to Bluethner’s and across from mine.

We played five hundred and had a small feed. It made enough a nice change.
When Mater asked me if she could send me anything I though then she only meant clothes etc. but at any time I could manage some eatables. Perhaps a small pot of preserve or jam or jelly. [over]

Every time the fellows go home from here, they bring back stuff. Even cake or a whole meal would be nice. At the table, nearly all of the fellows bring in some jam or something of their own that they have bought.

I am putting in for a pass for this weekend, but I can’t be sure of getting it, as for one thing some of the companies are to be inoculated next week, in which case no leave will be allowed. [over] My vaccination hasn’t bothered me at all.

Well this is rather short but I must stop. I shall look for a parcel one of these days.
            Best love to all.
            Your loving Son


Sun 28 Mar 1915, Guelph, Ontario (Letterhead)

Guelph 28/3/15

Dear Pater;

As I said on my card, I received your letter all right, also the parcel of handkerchiefs. I have just a touch of grippe again and am taking a bit of a rest. Please don’t get alarmed. It’s nothing at all serious. I hardly had any temperature. I merely felt a bit too tough to go on parade, and under those circumstances, they have to send you somewhere. Nobody must loaf, so I am sleeping my head off in the hospital in the barracks. They gave me some salts, and [over] some of those tablets that the doctor gave me at home. I expect to be up again tomorrow.

This is a place with about twenty beds at the end of the building. It is well heated, lighted and ventilated, and there are quite a lot of flowers, given by the officers. No one here is really seriously sick, all those are sent to the general hospital. Bluethner brought me in some oranges and magazines, and has been in half a dozen times. I have a good appetite and my tongue isn’t bad. All I have now is a bit of a head ache. [over]

I didn’t miss much by not going to church this morning. They actually took the whole bunch to the Salvation Army. Of course in a way they were under an obligation, as the S.A. band has taken us to church every Sunday.

Things move along in about the same way. Though Tuesday night I was out to a card party at the Cleghornes’.

I fully expect to get home next Sunday as they talk of granting passes to 75%, for Easter. I shall let you know more later. [over] I certainly appreciate the marmalade and plums now. I have them with me in my kitbag.

Now don’t be at all worried about me I am just feeling a bit tough, that’s all, and I expect to be home next week.

            Best love
            Your loving Son


 Sat 15 May 1915, Guelph, Ontario (Postmark)

Guelph Thurs.

Dear Pater;

Just time for a few lines at the noon hour.
We are having very interesting work with the scouts, something different each day.
This morning we went out to a park and practised some signalling for a while, and then we did some cover work. i.e. finding men in cover, for eye training, and then advancing to a point and taking advantage of the cover given.
I don’t know what we will do this p.m.
Tonight I expect to go out to a party of some kind at the Cleghornes’.
[next page] Sunday afternoon I was out to tea at the Hamiltons’. I met Miss Hamilton last summer when I was here with the Brampton Tennis players. I had quite a nice time, and went to the Presbyterian church with them.
No further word of leaving.
Well I must go down and shave before parade.
Best love to all

Your loving son

- - -

Since writing the other part, I have been very busy and didn’t get time to post it.
Yesterday afternoon we were off parade and [retired] for night manoeuvres. At eight o’clock we scouts (only) went out to the drill ground and scouted till 11.30 and then came home. This morning we had our usual physical drill before breakfast and then we left at nine o’clock in companies (scouts only) to make route maps and sketches. There were five in our bunch, and we left from a place about two and a half miles out, and took a line S.W. for 2 ½ miles across country. It was slow going, as the country was heavy. I was sketching and the others paced and took [next page] notes. At 12 h we were about 1 ¾ miles on our way, so we stopped at a farm house and had dinner.
The people were very nice and we had home made sausage, bread, butter, milk, tea, and deep rhubarb pie. We gave her 25 cents each. We finished and got back to barracks at about three and immediately went out again for scouting signalling till five. It is now 6.30 + I am due at a meeting of N.C.O.’s.
Very interesting work and I like it very much.
Well I must close now.

Best love



 Fri 21 May 1915, London, Ontario (Letterhead)

London 21/5/15

Dear Pater;
We have moved to London into camp. This is written in the tent while we have been driven from parade by the rain. Wednesday night we were ordered to pack, and there surely was a wild time.

The whole battalion was marched to the baseball grounds to hear farewell addresses (which by the way we didn’t hear) and then we were free from about three o’clock. I watched the baseball game for a while, and then paid a couple of calls. At the second, the Cleghorns’, I stayed for tea with Bluethner and Fuller. Half the battalion got drunk, and enjoyed themselves mightily. There was no mischief done, but we had to send out a picket out to herd them in. We were up at 5.30 Thursday, and had breakfast at seven. There were big crowds to see us off and they lined the streets all along. We left in two special trains by C.P.R. at about eleven. We stopped at Galt and marched to the park, where we [over] were fed from baskets. The fellows had a great time with the girls.

We left there about 4.30 and got here about 6.30. There was a big time getting blankets etc served out. We finally got squared away though, and got some tents and something to eat. I am in charge in the tent, and I have eight fellows with me. Four are rather disagreeable but the others will be all right. We were a bit late getting to sleep, but the fellows finally got settled down [Note].

We were out at five thirty, and at physical drill, we then had breakfast at seven. We lined up with our plates etc, and were served at the cook house. Then I sat on a wood pile and ate it. We are on Carlings’ Heights with the 33rd + 7th C.M.R. It is north of the city, and takes in a golf course.

We have rubber sheets and blankets to sleep on. I was very comfortable last night. If I can get a pass I may go to Cayuga for the 24th.

Just now there is the bugle band a few tents behind us practicing, the band a few away, practicing. Then there is a very good cornet close, and a good guitar and banjo. Very [over] musical indeed, but luckily all good.

            I must close now
            Your loving son

Note: These 2 photographs were published in the Waterloo Record in 2015 and show the 34th Bn marching through Galt to Dickson Park on Thurs 20 May 1915, as mentioned in Car's correspondence.

Courtesy The Waterloo Record (link)


Weds 9 Jun 1915, London, Ontario (Letterhead)

London Ont. 9/6/15

Dear Pater;
I received your letter this morning, and your two parcels. Very many thanks, I suppose Mater put them up. They were especially acceptable. It certainly takes the raw edge off things to get them.

I have been working pretty hard lately. All this week I have been on the books of the Officers’ Mess. We had an accountant here some time ago to install a system and he rather balled things up. We have had to discard his system.

I had a big disappointment for the weekend. I applied for a pass for over Sunday and up till 1.30 on Saturday it was not forthcoming. I enquired and they said it had not been granted. So I went down town. However just after that, Bluethner [over] managed to get one for me, without my knowing it, and as I was out it couldn’t reach me. So I didn’t get it till about 10 o’clock Saturday night. By then there was no train home, so as I had to use my pass some way I went down to Toronto and stayed with the Jenning’s. I passed through Brampton on the 7.47 Monday morning and it was certainly hard not to get off. I am afraid it will be a couple of weeks more now before I can get home. Too bad, isn’t it?

I am feeling fine and everything goes along well. I expect Archie is in about the safest place he could be.

            Best love to all
                        Your loving Son


Thurs 17 Jun 1915, London, Ontario (Letterhead)

Carling Heights, London, Canada

A 2649
C. Co.
17/6/15.           34th Battn.

Dear Pater;

            I received your letter today, also the one from Norm. He says he has just got over an operation for appendicitis. It has taken a long time, but he’s nearly all right again. He sent me some snaps which I am enclosing for you to put in my album. I would hardly recognize some of them, especially Dan.

I missed the big review and presentation of the Colors at the Park [see picture below] the other day, because my job of Company Orderly Corporal keeps me in camp till after church next Sunday. For that reason I can’t get home for another week. It is not a bad job but it keeps me pretty busy. I am never finished. I have a few hours off, but I am at till 10 pm. [over]
At 5.45 a.m. I get to mess orderlies to the cook house, at 6 I parade the company sick. 6.15 breakfast for myself + mess orderlies, (11 men) 7 breakfast for men. I superintend the breakfast + mess orderlies and see to clean up. (Chief Bubler) Must be spotless. 9 a.m. go for mail + give it out. 10.30 draw rations. 11.45 dinner for us. 12.30 dinner. 3.30 p.m. rations, 4.45 tea, 5.00 parade sick, get mail, 5.30 tea. Off from 6.30 till 9.30, call roll. 10 p.m. attend parade of Orderly Corporals + Sergeants.

It is all right when my mess orderlies are good, but, for instance, I was a regular slave driver yesterday, whereas today it was easy.

Talking of the synod, Mr. + Mrs. Howard from Tillsonburg were up here the day before yesterday for a little while. I was very glad to see them. I won’t be able to get down to the services though. Yesterday the detached company of the 33rd left for England and tomorrow ours leaves. [over] Needless to say, I am not with them.

Nothing very new except extremely hot just now. I shall try and write again in a day or so.

            Best love to all
                        Your loving son
Norm’s address is
            141 College Ave
Please send him a picture of me. Front view.
We all have new suits though they aren’t any lighter.

Presentation of Colours to 34th Battalion CEF, London, 16 Jun 1915
(Courtesy Wellington County Museum & Archives, ph23430)

NO DATE - Nominally  1 Jul 1915 - Probably London, Ontario 

Dear Pater;

I have just received your letter and I have time to at last begin an answer. I am glad you had a nice time and am sure they were all glad to see you.
The night before last, Thursday our whole force had a sham fight. There were the special companies from the 33rd and 34th and half the C.M.R. defending the ordnance stores at the Barracks and we were supposed to be the advance guard of a force landed at Goderich and marching through with orders to take these stores. We left here about 2.30 Thursday pm and marched out about six miles and bivouacked in a bush for the night. We carried full equipment and two meals rations. [over]
The cook ... with us and we had [hot tea] to supplement our rations. The transports carried out blankets and rubber sheets. We were very comfortable. The ground was pretty soft and we had good protection.
Bluethner wasn’t with us as he is taking a three weeks course at the barracks. I think all N.C.O.’s take it.
I looked up a friend of mine from Tillsonburg (Walter Barnard) [Barnard, Joseph Walter, 7036] in the C.M.R. and we had a chat and I turned in about 8 p.m. We were up at 3 am and had breakfast and were served with ten rounds of blank ammunition and away by 4.30.
The marching is easy, we march half an hour and then rest for five minutes, all along. Just by the way not one man fell out.
Our Company was to make a feint attack on the enemy’s left. We marched about four miles and came up to the enemy at a river at a big bridge. [over]

We spread out into open order and attacked across the fields. Our fire was easily superior to the enemy and we got the best of them. Then another Company worked around to the right and outflanked the force and we captured them.
We got back to the camp about 9.45 a.m. On a whole, we won out.
Last night I fell in at 6.30 for guard. I am Corporal of the quarter guard. There are four posts on this guard and I change sentries every two hours. I was on duty till 12.30 and slept from then till 4.30, while the sergeant took charge. We also have half a dozen fellows in a detention tent for different crimes. [over]
Our meals are brought to us and we fare very well. I shall be on duty till 6.30 tonight. I have snatched lots of sleep in between, and feel pretty fit.


Thurs 15 Jul 1915, London, Ontario (Letterhead)

London 15/7/15
Dear Pater;

I have rather an easy time today so I’ll try and get something written.
I had no ill effects from the march other than a few blisters and they are all healed now. We left here at 3.30 a.m. Friday morning. (We were up at two), and marched by way of Wellington St to Glanworth and then to St. Thomas.

Part of the way was pretty hot but mostly all right. We had some sandwiches and coffee before we went, and had five minutes rest every hour, and breakfast at Glanworth at seven, and about an hours rest. We made a great show on the city. We had our brass band, bugle band, and pipers and about eleven hundred men, and our travelling kitchens and transports in the rear. We marched very well and there was a great crowd to cheer us. We were quartered at Pinafore Park, about [over] 2 ½ miles from where we entered the city [St Thomas, Ontario].

Band of 34th Battalion, CEF near St. Marys, Ontario, c1915
The daughters of the Empire gave us a good dinner with sandwiches and good cold orangeade. At half past four we had a lot drill in front of the grandstand and then I had tea with Bluethner, Mrs Bluethner and Mr Martin (her brother) who had come down to see us, at the Grand Central Hotel.
At Eight o’clock we continued our programme. I was in the physical drill without arms. I was out in front of the squad of fifty as leader. Every branch of the service was shown there at drill. I got to bed after eleven and just rolled up in my great coat and sleeping cap and lay down beside the rifles. We were up at two and away, after a bite to eat at three thirty. We made good time coming back, and had breakfast again at Glanworth. The last few miles were a long pull, but we stuck it all right and got back to the camp about eleven. I got lots of sleep and soon felt fine.

Yesterday though, I was a bit bilious and stayed off parade, and slept all day. Today I was taking fees from the officers for their mess. I do a bit of work for them occasionally and in return, I have a late pass (permanent). [over]

I applied for a week-end pass this week but I couldn’t get it. I would like to be home, but I can’t manage it yet. I don’t think we will get away for some time yet, as they say that the two new battalions will be formed before we can leave and they haven’t been started yet.

I am enclosing some snaps and a copy of the memorial service form used here last Sunday.

As usual, I spent most of Sunday at the Bluethner’s.

Some of the snaps aren’t much good, but I am taking duplicates.

            Best love, and I shall be home as soon as I can.
                        Your loving son,


Service at London Camp, Sunday 11 July 1915

Weds 11 Aug 1915, London, Ontario (Letterhead)

34th Battalion

Canadian Expeditionary Force

Stationed at London Ontario

11/Aug/15 Thurs.

Dear Pater;

Just time for a line before parade. I received Mater’s parcel and it was exceedingly nice, many thanks.

The ink on this looks rather a peculiar color but I am trying something new. Swan Ink Tablets, just fill the pen with water and drop in a tablet and use it. They are very handy and easy to carry.

Nothing very much doing just now. The class goes on for another week or so and then a couple of days for [over] exams.

Yesterday I got a card saying Arthur McBride was in Port Stanley so I left here at 6.20 and went down for the evening. We had a very nice time. He is staying at his wife’s father’s house.

It rather seems as if I will be on duty this Saturday. I was last Sunday, on piquet.

I had a very fine time in Cayuga. They are surely nice to me there.

I was very much surprised to hear that Bullen went down on the Lusitania. His wife had been killed in an accident, and he was going home to recuperate, and went down. I was very sorry to hear it. [Note]

I may go to Port again this afternoon. More again. Feeling fine.

            Best love

                        Your loving Son


Note: I am unsure of Car's relationship with Bullen. It is likely this refers to a Henry Garnet Bullen, a British citizen who lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It may be because Henry Bullen knew Car as they both worked for the Canadian Bank of Commerce. Or, they may have been to school together.
The R.M.S. Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-Boat on 7 May 1915, south-west of Ireland and caused severe outrage in Britain and America. Only 764 of the 1,959 passengers and crew were rescued. 

 Sun 29 Aug 1915, London, Ontario (Letterhead)

London, Ont. 29th August, 1915.
Dear Pater:

            It seems rather familiar to get down to work on one of these articles again. I have the lovely job of Company Orderly sergeant this week, and I have quite a bit of writing to do on it, so this will kill two birds. The job is very much like that of Orderly Corporal, except that as O.C. I was the assistant of the O.S.  At 5.30, A.M. I call the roll of the company at the tents and then go down to the main gate to get the absentee reports of the day before. Then when there are any men to come up before the Company beak, viz; the Captain, or a man’s platoon commander, I must parade them to the orderly room under escort. Next if we supply main guard I parade the guards, inspect them and hand them over to the Batt. Serg.-Major. Then my biggest job is to get the daily parade state ready. It must give account of every man in the company and must balance to the ‘cent.’ The Battalion orders come out in the afternoon with generally about three pages of closely typewritten sheets of foolscap. This I must copy in writing into my order book.

            I have two or three other little jobs which keep me busy till ten fifteen at night, and then I am through. The job lasts for a week. I took it over after church parade today and I shall give it up again after church next Sunday. It confines me to the camp for a week, but otherwise it is not so bad. For one reason I am rather sorry to get it just now. I am in charge of No. 9 platoon, composed [over] mostly of recruits. The officer that we have has just come from his training class except for a couple of weeks of doing nothing, in which he has forgotten most that he learnt, so I have had the training all on my hands. I like it very much, and was getting things working very well, and taking quite a pride in them. The regular senior sergeant of No. 9 is away on the farm and comes back this week, and after that I rather think I shall be put into No. 10, which is Squeak Deacon’s [Note]. I won’t mind, though. He and I can get along very well, and our senior sergeant is a very good man. He is an Englishman, Plume, alias “Fadger” and I can get along well with him. [Note]

On Thursday we have a very big day here. The Duc de Connaught is coming to have a grand inspection. I expect we will have to put on all kinds of stunts. Then on Friday we begin our march to Stratford. Friday night we bivouac in Thorndale, a place about 13 miles out. Next night we shall be at St. Mary’s, and next at Stratford. We are only going to do about twelve to fifteen miles a day so we ought to be able to get there all right. I will have a nice time calling the roll in the bivouac. However I am glad to be on a job that I know will allow me to get there, and not be eligible for a guard that would keep me behind.

We have just received word that when we leave here for England we will go altogether as a unit, and not be sent in detached companies as they have been doing lately. The news has caused great rejoicing in camp because the detachments have made a great deal of jealousy and greatly disorganized the battalion. I fully expect that this means a winter in England. [over]

Port Stanley Casino and Beach c1910
Yesterday, Bluethner and I went down to Port Stanley and had a very nice swim. The Water and the wind were a bit cold, but we had a fine swim. We met a couple of girls down there who are friends of Martin’s, and it made the time go rather nicely. We had to leave rather early, as he was on duty here at 10 o’clock. The girls were sisters, Nell and Rose Smith, who have a cottage at [the] Port.

Port Stanley beach present day
Today we made another attempt to start a soldier’s choir. The pusher is a man from one of the churches in town, and seems to know his business pretty well. Of course the first attempt was rather weak but I think that there is plenty of good material in camp and lots of enthusiasm. He is rectifying the mistake that was made in Guelph by the choirmaster. He just asked those who could sing to come in and take a place in the choir. The result as you probably know, was that most of those who could sing didn’t come, and all that thought they could, did. And their most highly developed talent was enthusiasm. This man tests the voices.

We have had some rather cold nights lately, but they haven’t bothered me at all. I don’t seem to feel the cold now at all. A couple of weeks ago when I was down at Port Stanley with Arthur McBride we were in swimming and he shivered to beat the hand, whereas I was quite warm.

The have begun to recruit for the 70th Battalion here, now and I think that it won’t take very long to get them. A couple of out sergeants got authority and went to the market place last night and recruited thirty five in quite a short time.

Our battalion is about seventy over strength. We have been going at the rate of about thirty recruits a day for several weeks. Most of the fellows coming in now are Canadians, and I must say I am glad to see it. I have a fierce time trying to stick up for the Canadians against so many Englishmen when I am rather ashamed of the way that they are acting, myself. In A Company there are four fellows who came together from the Imperial Bank, Galt, and one from another bank. There were six from the one office who wanted to come but two were under age.

I wish that the two of you could come up to Stratford while we are there and see us. Or perhaps Hester could come. Some of you anyway. [over] By all account there will be big doings, and I would like you to see the Battalion at work. There is a big programme of sports to go on too. Some kinds that you read about the English regiments putting on, but very seldom see in this country.

I would like you to hear our band too. It is very fine, I think. We had our usual church parade this morning with a march past. That is another thing that I would like you to see and hear. For an organ we have the bands of the two regiments, and a choir of about three thousand male voices.

Well I don’t suppose that there will be very much that is exciting to chronicle this week until I start on the way to Stratford. My week will be pretty quiet.

I think that I had better close this now. Lots of love to every one,

            Your loving son,


Feeling fine, and grub, good.

Note: Research on the internet has provided the following information (true to the best of my knowledge):

Lieutenant Arthur Wemyss Deacon was born in Bothwell, Ontario on 2 Sep 1879. He was attested on strength 34th Bn on 15 Jun 1915 in London, Ontario, gave his occupation as an Agent and saw previous service in the 28th Perth Regiment. He was gazetted with the Military Cross on 21 Jan 1918 whilst serving with the 4th Bn The Canadian Mounted Rifles. Subsequent to the Great War, Arthur Deacon served as the Secretary-Manager to the Stratford Chamber of Commerce. The Vernon's City of Stratford of 1924 directory refers to a Lt Col A W Deacon MC, and gives his address as 157 Church St. Arthur Deacon died on 3 Nov 1934, and is buried in the city's Avondale Cemetery.

Sgt W J Plume, 1915
Sergeant William Joseph Plume was born on 28 Nov 1878 in Enfield, Middlesex, England. The 1901 Census of England and Wales lists him as being a whitesmith and still resident in Enfield. On 30 Jul 1905, he married Nellie Gotch, aged 23, at St Anne’s Church, Tottenham. The marriage register gives his address as 46 Victoria Crescent, Enfield and details his trade as being a mechanic. It is believed that he emigrated to Canada in 1911.

William Plume was attested into the 34th Bn on 14 Jan 1915 at Stratford, Ontario. He gave his trade as machinist and his address at 10 Norfolk St in Stratford. He was a member of the Canadian Militia with the 28th Perth Regiment, based in Stratford, and he also detailed 5 years previous service with the ‘1st Middlesex’. Given his address as remaining in Enfield over a period of years, and his occupation as a whitesmith in the 1901 Census, it is unlikely that he was a regular and that this refers to previous service with the 1st Volunteer Battalion, The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment).

In the Nominal Roll of Oct 1915, his rank is given as Sergeant. No detailed information is currently available on his service during the War, but he was sent as a reinforcement to the 58th Bn (9th Inf Bde, 3rd Cdn Div) shortly after arrival in England. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, the second highest decoration for other ranks, for service during the war. The DCM was gazetted 11 March 1920:
602172 Sjt. W. J. Plume, 58th Bn., Can. Infy. For gallantry and devotion to duty. He has, during several large operations, greatly distinguished himself for his leadership and daring fighting. During thirty-four months of continuous service he has at all times set a fine example to his unit.
 The 1924 Vernon's City of Stratford directory gives the address of W J Plume as 65 Blake St and lists him as a CNR machinist. A genealogical website states that he was the father to 2 boys, George and Laurence. William Plume died on 2 Feb 1952 in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, and his wife Nellie subsequently passed away in 1960.


Thurs 16 Sep 1915, London, Ontario (Postmark)


Dear P.

I have been busy with a guard etc. I received your parcel, for which very many thanks to all. Very fine. Feeling OK have been with Battn at Western Fair each day this week. Go to Stratford Mon. + Tues., I think for fair. Lots of love, write later Car

Fri 5 Oct 1915, Quebec (Letterhead)

“Up in the wilds of northern Quebec on the C.N.R.”

Friday 5 Oct 1915

Dear Pater,

For some reason or other we are switched way up here on the C.N.R. I suppose it is merely a more direct route to Quebec, but it seems that we are away up in the wilds. In fact we don’t know where we are going but we are on our way. Though I expect to post this at Quebec.

The profits from our canteen at the camp are now coming back to us in tangible form. At intervals we have passed out to us [over] cigarettes, chocolate biscuits, fruit etc. It is very nice. At the camp all the men were supplied with sandwiches for the whole journey, and at meal times they pass around good hot coffee. Though as I told you I have lots of fine stuff put up by Mrs Bluethner. She was very kind to me, and I have written her.

I was very disappointed not to be able to phone. I waited till the afternoon till I could hear the details as to when we actually went. Then on parade I was told that I must [over] mount guard at 5.30. The phone which is in the Y.M.C.A. was not open till 4.30, and then there was a line of about thirty waiting ahead of me to use it.

I had six guards under me to take five men on to the train who were given detention sentences. I had to take care of them from 5.45 till eleven and then as they couldn’t get off the train they were allowed to go back to their platoons.

Interior of a CPR colonist car  c1925, they consisted of
seating with fold down bunks - good for long journeys.
Since then we have just enjoyed ourselves. [over] The colonist cars are new and the lower seats are leather covered + comfortable.

Love to all


 Sun 17 Oct 1915, London, Ontario (Letterhead)

London, Ont. 17th October, 1915.

Dear Pater,

I am very sorry that I didn’t let you know my movements sooner after I got back from home. It never occurred to me that you might think I was gone away. I was just waiting for a chance to write you a letter in full. I shall keep you better posted from now on.

As I told mater over the phone, there hasn’t been very much doing lately that is out of the ordinary. The train was about an hour late getting into London the night I got back. Next day we had an inspection Gen. Hughes, and a clothing parade in the afternoon. Wednesday, we had a very strenuous day of Battalion drill, and Thursday morning the same. Thursday afternoon we were paid. For pay, we just line up in alphabetical order, and parade to the paymaster’s tent, where they pay us in cash. Friday was just drill, I think. Saturday morning we had a kit inspection and in the afternoon, I played rugby on a team drawn from all the battalions, against the western university. I played on the half line, right. We had material for a first class team, and individually we were easily the equal of the other team. But it was the first time that we had been together, and we had no signals, and no team work, both of which are practically the main part of a team. Our right line was very strong, and as a consequence I had very little to do. But I enjoyed the game. The score was 18-0, which is not really as bad as it sounds, as it was only three touch downs.

From all appearances it seems rather certain that we will pull out this week. One of the Sergeants told me that he had seen our entraining order, though the date was not mentioned. It seems like about Tuesday or Wednesday. I don’t know why we didn’t go the last week when every one expected it, though as a matter of fact, only rumor was responsible for our thinking so.

I shall let you know all the details as I get them till we go, and try and arrange to let you know just when go too.

Now mater, and pater I am really awfully sorry that I have been so thoughtless, and I shall try and keep you posted.

            Best love to all, Your loving son


 Fri 22 Oct 1915, Various Locations

2 a.m. Fri

22 Oct 1915

Had to mount guard so couldn’t phone. Sent telegram did you get it. Am very comfortable in upper berth of a tourist car. We are in two trains, we’ve the rear.

            Best love


- - - - - - -

Coteau Jct

All O.K. here + very comfortable . Last time I gave you was wrong it was 8.45, now 11.20.



- - - - - - -

Don’t know name of this place, but think it is Richmond. Somewhere around there anywhere.

All O.K. C

- - - - - - -

SS California - sunk by a U-Boat, 7 Feb 1917

Note: I believe that these are a series of 3 postcards that Car mailed in the rail journey from London, Ontario, on Fri 22 Oct 1915. They were posted from Richmond, Ontario and Coteau Junction, Quebec. The 34th Battalion embarked for England at Quebec on the S.S. California on the following day, 23 Oct 1915. It arrived England on 31 Oct 1915.


Tues 2 Nov 1915, Bramshott Camp, England

Telegram advising his father of his arrival in England, Nov 2nd 1915

Sun 7 Nov 1915, Bramshott Camp, England

Bramshott Camp
Nov.7th 1915
Dear Mater;

St Mary the Virgin Church, Bramshott, c1914
            I have just come back from Bramshott Church with Bluethner and Honey. It is a small church about a mile from here. I don’t know the date of it, but it must be very old. Some gravestones in the old churchyard bear the date 1786. That was merely a chance one too, there may be others older. When we went in, the first thing we noticed was the bell ringers. At the crossing of the Nave and the Transept there was a space, afterwards occupied by the choir, in which six old men in white coats, each had a bell rope, and rang [over] each his bell, lustily.
St Mary the Virgin Church, Bramshott, Present
© Martyn Davies 

It was a nice peal and was rather a quaint custom. The whole church was ivy covered, and moss grown, except the inside, which evidently had been scraped, as it was quite new looking. The service was absolutely familiar, no change from out own. And the first chant was old Mornington, 155 in the chant book. All the others were more or less familiar. We had a very good sermon, and a nice choir of men and boys. Though one thing I noticed particularly was the way, in the responses, that the boys dropped tone after tone as they did at home. [over] I had a letter begun before, but I didn’t get a chance to finish it.

S.S. California 1914
I told you, en route, about the trip almost up to Quebec. We reached there about 12.30 in the pitch dark, and went in the train right down to the boat on the quay. We embarked immediately. The boat was the “California” of the Anchor Line. She is built to accommodate about 800 or 900 passengers, and we had 1940, besides the crew, so we were somewhat crowded. There were a company each of the 77th and 54th and a detachment each of 75 of the 1st and 2nd F. Ambulance D. and the Engineers. However we got along all right. The sergeants occupied the second class cabins, [over] where we were very comfortable. I was in a cabin with Bluethner, Honey and Copperthwaite, the last a Cockney Serg, who got along all right. I enclose a sample of the menu. The officers had the first class, and the men were pretty well crowded in hammocks in the 3rd Class and the steerage.

Poor picture on deck of California
We pulled out of Quebec about 2 a.m. and started down the river. The weather was very cold when we started, but moderated a bit after we got out. All the way we had good weather. There was a bit of a blow about two days out from England but not very bad. [over] The boat was a noted roller, and kept up her name, but I wasn’t sick a day, though most of the men were. Bluethner has sailed enough on the lakes to be a good sailor, but Honey was sick all the way. We landed at Devonport on Sunday morning [31 Oct 1915]. Up Plymouth Sound it was wonderfully interesting with the shipping, man-of-war and otherwise. We left Devon about five o’clock at night on 3rd class trains, and owing to the darkness, had very little chance to look at the country, though what we saw was very pretty. [over]

It was 3 a.m. before we landed at Liphook, and we had to march about two miles to camp. We are 26 miles north of Portsmouth and 43 miles from London. We are in long wooden huts with 42 in a hut. It is quite comfortable and there is lots of room. We have cots of boards on small stands about six inches from the ground, and the boards of pine are fairly springy. Then we have mattresses and four blankets. The huts are 55 x 20 x 10 with 6; 3’ x 2’6” windows, opening a half, on each side, also a door at each end, so our light and ventilation [over] is good. They are heated by a small coal stove in the centre.

'Around the stove in our hut.
Honey on bench with his back turned.' 1916.
We have been on several route marches through the country and I have gone around a lot myself. As you know, the country is entirely different from ours. The grass is always green, and most of the trees keep their leaves. Holly, oak, evergreens and beach predominate, while the hedges are of bramble, hazel, holly or laurel. The holly is the prettiest and it looks very “Christmassy.” The leaves are so wonderfully wavy [over] such as we never see at home. The country is hilly and very picturesque. Wherever you go there is something new to see. At least I mean old. Most of the houses look as if they were built by Wm I.

It is peculiar the way the Englishmen who were so anxious to get over ‘ome are beginning to realize just how well they were treated in Canada. And begin to say some uncomplimentary things about their own people. The people here are so beautifully polite, but not always honest. Of course [over] I mean tradespeople. The trouble is that they cheat you just as politely as at other times, in fact more so. I have been caught a couple of times, but I don’t think I shall be caught the same way again anyway.

The currency is a bit awkward at first but it doesn’t bother me much. I am going to write Aunt Minnie today and get there on my first leave. That ought to be pretty soon. We get half fare on the railways. They are very strict about passports, etc, and of course it [over] is right. One must have a pass for any place outside of a limit here of five miles.

Aldworth House, Blackdown Hills Surrey
It is peculiar the way the villages are here. There are four villages close to us, Old Lion, Haselmere, Shottermill and Hindhead without any division between them, and then within a three mile radius are Hammer, Liphook, Bramshott, Seven Oaks, Bramshott Chase, Grayshott, and many others, on the other side that I haven’t explored. Tennyson lived just a few miles from here, in a house now occupied by Sir Justice Parker. [over]

Except for a cold I am feeling fine and like the place very well.

I must close now and try to get some others written. I am putting four stamps on this as I don’t know the exact postage.

            Best love to all
your loving son

            Serg. C E Young
            No 402248
            C. Co.
            34th Batt. C.E.F.
Bramshott Camp

Sun 21 Nov 1915, Savoy Hotel, London

Savoy Hotel, London
21 Nov 1915
Dear Mater;

The old adage “If mother could only see me now”, is rather apt at present. I managed to get a week-end pass and as you may see by the paper, I am ensconsed at the “Savoy.”

I am afraid the sights of the town have rather been neglected this morning. It is now about noon and I haven’t been out as yet this morning. Last night I went to the Strand Theatre and saw “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” As that was rather late and I was tired I slept till nearly ten and then had my breakfast in bed.

Though the meal was fair, I did wish I had been at home for it instead of here. I had herring, poached eggs, marmalade, coffee etc. And when the waiter brought it in I was rather startled by its grandeur. A big wheeled table, piled with dishes, it was surely rather getting my money’s worth.

I have walked around a bit and things are very fine. I haven’t been out of the Strand yet but I am on by way now.

London is chock full of soldiers, and dark at night but otherwise it is quite natural.

I have met troops of every colony here, also those back from the front, and it is very interesting.

I received a couple of your letters, and also the socks before I left London. I shall write in full, later.

Your letters save a couple of days by being addressed to Bramshott Camp, Liphook Hants.
I shall drop a line to Marion, now and then off for a stroll. I am feeling great.
            Best love.
            Your aff. Son

Original letters here

Tues 30 Nov 1915, Stroud, Gloucestershire

Stroud Nov 30 1915
[Dec 14]

Dear Pater;

Well, here I am at Aunt Minnie’s. I left London at 11.45 a.m. yesterday, and arrived just after three. Ettie met me at the station, and knew me at once, though I recognised her quite easily too. We walked over to the house, just about a mile. The house is on the edge of the grounds called by Aunt Minnie the “Thrup”, anyway, belonging to Uncle Alfie’s father, a rather palatial residence [over] set in the trees up the hill just behind us.

They have been extremely nice to me here.  Aunt Minnie was here when we first arrived, and Uncle Alfie came in shortly after. We had tea about 5.30, and dinner about 8.15. The meal hours in this country are, to us, rather peculiar. After tea, Uncle A & I went up to the Thrup where we met his father and brother. People here seem just what I had expected, only more so. [over]

Aunt Minnie is very much like you, Pater, I could tell her anywhere as your sister. Ettie is rather taller than I expected, but very pretty, Billy is not home, but has a little dirigible all to himself, in which he patrols the Channel. Tommy is near the sea, at Southampton I think, close to her husband anyway.

The views here are very wonderful. The pictures at home rather convey the idea of long rolling hills, [over] but as I sit here in the breakfast room, I look across a deep valley where is Uncle A’s dye works, and then up a very steep hill about half a mile long to the top, houses are built all up the side. The town is in the valley, and hills like these are all around. This afternoon, I am going in Mr Harold Chamber’s motor, for a bit of a tour.

Last week I wrote you a couple of cards from London. I got a week end pass, and went alone [over] to have a look round. I got there about 4 p.m. Saturday and went up to the Strand to look at the hotels. I finally landed at the Savoy, as you can see by the letters I wrote from there. After I wrote that, I went out and hopped on to the top of a bus. This landed me in front of St Paul’s. I got off to have a look around. There is a large space in front with a statue of Queen Victoria and in the space there were about 500 pigeons flying around and on the ground as tame as [over] little dogs.

I went in and the service was within 15 minutes of the end. The singing was wonderful. A tremendous volume of boy’s voices which echoed and re-echoed through the church intermingled with the thunderous rumblings of the grand organ. At the end of music lines, they paused, holding the notes gradually to a finish, and you stood there just listening and catching the next, and the next re-echo from the roof to transept. [over]

The church was well filled and there were a number of sight seers waiting for the service. When it was ended I walked all around and looked at the statues etc. The biggest was the Duke of Wellington’s which occupied a whole arch up to the ceiling. While I was there, I met a fellow from the South African Scottish Regiment (in kilts) looking around too [Note]. I went with him there and then we went together round the city.

German Aeroplans, Horse Guards 1915
© Flight Global/Archive
I suggested Westminster, but it wasn’t open though we saw it from the outside. [over] Then we went back to the Horse Guards Parade where a big crowd were seeing three captured German Aeroplanes, some rusty looking trench mortars, a 4.1 [4.1 inch calibre] gun, from the Emden, 2 torpedoes, 3 mines (sea), and several other articles. They were very interesting. Then we went to the British Museum and spent a couple of hours there. Needless to say, a week wouldn’t let you see everything, but we saw a little of a great deal. We skimmed most of the place.

Then we went to the National Gallery which was very fine. [over] The two pictures that really interested me were the originals of “Dignity and Impudence”, and “The Blind Fiddler.” Then we watched an impromptu recruiting meeting in Trafalgar Square, by some soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and Newfoundland. London is full of Australians and N.Z.’s all of whom have been wounded at the Dardanelles [the Gallipoli campaign]. One of the biggest sights was the gathering of Empire. I spoke to fellows from every colony of England, I think it was wonderful. [over]

Next after tea, I went to a little church, “St Giles-in-the-Fields”. Fields which might have been why bordering on Trafalgar Square is “St Martin’s-in-the-Fields.” St Giles was a nice service, but nothing out of the ordinary.

I am going down town with Aunt Minnie now so I shall close, and write the rest later.

Aunt Minnie sends her love and says she is writing.

Best love
Your loving son

NoteThe 4th SA Infantry Regiment was led by Lt Col F.A. Jones, DSO and became known as the "South African Scottish." It was raised from the Cape Town Highlanders and the area of Cape Town (A Company) while members of 1st Bn Transvaal Scottish made up most of B Company. C Company came from 2nd Bn Transvaal Scottish and recruits encouraged by the Caledonian Societies of Natal and Orange Free State made up D Company. It fought with the South African Brigade in Egypt, France and Flanders, 1915-1918. (Wikipedia)


Sun 5 Dec 1915, Stroud, Gloucestershire


My dear Clarence –

            My letter is I feel much overdue. Car left us on Wednesday 1st and I ought to have written at once and should have done if I had not been so busy. I know he was writing while he was here – so his side of the visit has gone. I only wish he likes us half as well as we did him – he is a dear boy and won golden opinions. It is a pity they are allowed such short leave. [over]

Stroud is an awkward cross journey and takes up time. We hope he will be able to come for Christmas or just after, but the leave question crops up again and of course it depends on that. London is easier and it is nice for him to have friends there when he can get half a day. Ettie went to the station to meet Car and said she found him easily on account of his likeness to the family. I think he will make a fine soldier – he is so keen. Alfie was always asking him for tips about drill. I must apologise [over] for not acknowledging the photograph of Will’s children – such a pretty group. Eleanor has great character in her face and the boys are darlings. I am sure *** must be very proud of her family. Car says the boys are wonderfully strong for their age and lift heavy chairs. The baby has the same name as [the] Douglas’ child all the old fashioned names are revived now – thanks so much for sending me the photograph.  [Note 1]

Pat's Mr Dawson [Note 2] is at Shorncliff not far from William – they are trying to arrange a meeting [over] but I haven’t heard that it has come off yet. William writes he won’t get leave ‘till after Christmas. Bad luck for him and us. They do keep him busy at something or other but we don’t know what except that it is flying. Esther was so sorry she doing morning duty when Car was here which meant he had to put up with me. I hope you had a pleasant visit in Toronto. Has Mrs Smith written any books lately? Alfie and Esther join in much love to all.

Your affec. Sister

Minnie Chambers

N.B: This is a letter written by Car's Aunt Minnie (Stroud, Gloucestershire) to his father Clarence (Brampton, Ontario) subsequent to his first visit. Her handwriting has quite a flourish and this is the best transcription I can manage. Any help for missing for misidentified words would be greatly appreciated.

Note 1: Eleanor is my late Grandmother, Eleanor Maynard Young (b Apr 1910). The boys are twins Robert and John Young (b Aug 1913) and the baby is Mary Young (b Feb 1915). All children of their brother (Car's uncle and my Great Grandfather) William Young, then employed as an oil engineer in Peru.

Note 2: This likely refer's to Minnie's niece Madeline ("Pat") future husband Mr Heber William 'Maurice' Dawson.  Born 6 Dec 1892 in Montreal, Dawson was attested on 12 Oct 13 and was commissioned in the Canadian Engineers (Signals Section).  He gave his employment as Electrical Engineer and lived at 436 Gilmour St, Ottawa.  His wife is listed as next of kin in service records as: Mrs Madeline P. Dawson, 21 Lyndhurst Rd, Hampstead (London).  He was discharged, 28 Aug 1919.  Shorncliffe was the site of a major military garrison. It is possible that 'Mr Dawson' was serving in the CEF and Minnie was hoping that he and her son, William, could meet up.


Christmas Eve 1915, Bramshott Camp, England


Christmas Day 1915, Bramshott Camp, England

Bramshott Camp

Dec 25th 11 am.

[Jan 11/16]

Dear Pater;

Christmas day in camp, with rain, mud etc the outstanding features. Hardly our style of weather, but what we must expect, so we needn’t be very disappointed. Needless to remark, I wish I were home today. I have [over] been thinking of you all a great deal. I can picture things pretty nearly as they ought to happen. It is now eleven o’clock, and the excitement with you ought to be about at its height. You are five hours later than we are. I sent a few things home, and though I didn’t include everybody, [over] don’t think I have forgotten anyone. I am thinking of you all.

I received your parcel and one from Walter + H. It was a fine idea with the stocking and everything just as if I were home. They arrived in fine condition on the 22nd. Thank you ever so much for all of it. [over] I have received several parcels and letters so I haven’t done so badly. They make a tremendous difference, I can tell you. I haven’t received your apples yet, but I ought to before long. I received the bundle of papers and the Mail and Empire comes regularly. [over]

I haven’t had what you would call a Christmassy Christmas to a certain extent. Last night, I was canteen sergeant and spent my Eve in the men’s canteen where every man thought it his bounden duty to be drunk as possible. [over] This is literally the idea that many of the men have. My duty was to keep order in the canteen. There was only one fight, which didn’t amount to much, but as to racket. The competition was keen. The place was small with a bar at one [over] end, a few tables, and many beer barrels. The place was packed, and the air was blue. I was there from 12 to 1, noon, and 6 to 9 p.m.

After I got to bed, the fellows raised a nice racket and sleep was hard to get, [over] some of the fellows got band instruments, and tin pans etc and serenaded the officers. Those who had the instruments played really well, and as waits they did well. The pans weren’t in evidence long. There were bands of waits [over] going all night till about seven this morning. I forgot to mention that we Sergeants now have a hut to ourselves with 16 in it instead of 45, as we were formerly when with the men. It is much more comfortable.

This morning I mounted as commander [over] of the brigade guard. I have a Corporal and nine men, a police corporal and four men in a big brick hut with about thirty “prisoners.” Their “crimes” are such as a bit of insubordination or drunkenness or something of that sort. I shall be on [over] till 9 am tomorrow. But withal I am happy as a lark. I don’t mind, it is all part of the business. I would have liked to be in Stroud, but I may be there for New Years. I had a very nice time there before, and they were [over] extremely nice to me.

I had a couple of days in London early in the week, and I put in most of my time in the theatres. I should have liked to see the pantomimes but they don’t start till Monday. [over] As it was I saw H.B. Irving in the ‘Case of Lady Camber’ at the Savoy. ‘Charlie’s Aunt’ at the London Opera House, ‘The Pedlar of Dreams’, a revue at the Vaudeville, and ‘A Little Bit of Fluff’ at the Criterion. All were good and I enjoyed them. At the [over] Criterion I sat next to a young naval officer and his wife who were extremely nice. He, by the way, has played a good many times in the “Private Secretary’s”. He took the part that Bluethner had. [over]

I have really seen quite a bit of London, at least of the places the tourists are obliged to see to have “done” the town. I was in the British Museum, Madame Tussauds, The National Gallery, St Pauls, Westminster, [over] and several other places. Other shows I saw there were ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’, at the Strand. The revue ‘Now’s the Time’ at the Alhambra and another revue at the Coliseum. London is very dark, and though a bit [over] serious, yet business is must certainly as usual, and Zeppelins are no more than a curiosity and one of the sights. They haven’t been there for over two months and their reception will be very warm when they come again.
The weather here is very [over] April like as far as rain and mud go, only of course it is not spring.

I shall write more later.
Best love to all and a Happy New Year.
I have had a bit of cold but it is about gone, otherwise I am feeling fine.
Your loving son