Source: Duty Nobly Done Roll of Honour 18th Bn. compiled and edited by Edward H. Wigney.
From Sergt. Babcock
DEAR BROTHER – Just received your letter dated 20th March, and was pleased to learn that you are still all well. This leaves me O.K., although this really isn’t a very healthy country to live in, especially were they shoot over those whiz-bangs and coal boxes. If they light [land] anywhere near a fellow they have a very uplifting effect; but such is the live out here on the international line. We are having swell weather out her now. This sur is sunny France at times, and it is pretty nearly time too, as it is getting on in April. The mud is drying up fine, and things are getting a little promising, except for the stirring events which are taking place oftener – every week it seems now that they can move the artillery without getting it stuck in the mud. However, I have no room to kick as long as they don’t pot me.
Well, I have made a little change here since I last wrote you. I have transferred to the transport section of this battalion[i]. I made the change about three weeks ago and like it fine now, although I didn’t on the start, as everything was strange to me. Then, too, I didn’t like the idea o leaving the platoon that I had been in from six months out in the trenches. However, they told me that I was foolish to let the chance go by, so I decided to take it over, and here I am for better or for worse. I didn’t know anything about my transfer until the colonel sent for me one day and asked me if I would like to take it over, so I said I would try it.
One good thing about it is that I have a horse of my own to ride whenever I wish, and don’t have to carry my pack around. Then we don’t change our billets so often. We are in the same place nearly on the time, and can carry more little necessities which add to our comfort out here. I invested in a violin about a week ago, which helps while away the spare hours. Our corporal has a mandolin, to, so we have quite an orchestra in our tent. Some of the boys are sending for instruments so we will be able to run in opposition to our regimental band, which they have managed to hold together yet.
I saw Tom the other day. He was moved up a little closer to us no, in fact he is only about a mile from here. He is looking his old self yet. I think he has grown about two inches since he came out here. Suppose you heard that he transferred to the trench mortar battery. All the other boys are hearty, as far as I know.
Source: Paisley Advocate. May 3, 1916.
[i] Babcock was appointed Transport Sergeant in the field on February 22, 1916 replacing Sgt. Huby, reg. no. 53008 as he returned to Canada.
LIEUT. A.E. Babcock
It was with feelings of the deepest and most sincere regret that Paiselyites learned last week of the death of this ex-soldier, who held such an honored place in the hearts of the people of his old town and vicinity. His death occurred on Sunday, Feb. 12th, following an illness of nine days. The deceased was employed with the Dodge Motor Co., in London, first in the repair department, but latterly in the office, and the week of his illness was to have started on the road as a salesman. It will be remembered that during his four years of service in the war Lieut. Babcock was badly wounded in the leg, a bullet having shattered the bone from the knee to the ankle, and when he arrived home after the armistice he was very lame, and still under treatment. From what we have learned of his illness, the wound was ultimately the cause of death. He felt the trouble the last day he was at work, and intended to give the limb a rest for a few days before going out on the road, but he took a chill. The doctor pronounced his illness an attack of la grippe. Spinal meningitis developed in a day or two, and he became blind, when he was taken to hospital, after which pneumonia set in. Deceased in his 35th year, born in Bruce Tp., and spend his boyhood days in Greenock. Before the war he had started to learn the hardware business in Sinclair’s store, but was among the first young men from here to take up arms in defence of home and country, enlisting in the 18th Battalion in 1914. He was married in 1919 to Miss Lilly McDonald, of Paisely, who survives him, and to her the sympathy of all goes out in her hour of deep affliction. One brother and two sisters are living – Sam, of North St.; Mrs. Neil McDonald of Vancouver, B.C., and Mrs. R.T. McGregor of 8th Bruce. The funeral took place on Tuesday of last week to a London cemetery.
Paisely Advocate. February 22, 1922.