Letter dated October 22, 1915 to the Ripley and Heanor News.
Note that this soldier also served with the 21st Battalion and was very involved with its post-war activities through its Association and newsletter.
Photographs contributed by Diane Johnston
OUR SOLDIERS IN ENGLAND.
Following letter from Lance Corporal E. A. Hircock, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hircock, Cobourg, was published in the Ripley and Heanor News, England, under the heading From a Ripley Canadian.’
If I may be permitted, I would like to use your fine little paper as a medium through which to thank my friends, the kind, open hearted, generous people of Ripley, who made my stay in the town of my nativity one of the bright spots in my somewhat varied career.
I am glad I am at present time employed in such a glorious cause, in which, every true hearted Briton should be taking part. It is for our freedom we are fighting, and to uphold the glory of our great Empire, whose motto is ‘Right, not might.’
But I must not forget that I have something else to say. I was quite surprised to see so many young men in ‘civies’ when we need every man we can get to crush the monster that threatens our national life. I am wondering again, this wantalk (As we across the pond term it) seems to have got my goat. I did not start out to recruit, but I cannot get away from it. Well, to proceed, I shall go to the front with memories of my stay in ‘God’s country, that will brighten my days in the trenches. We of the 2nd Canadian Division will leave here the second week in September. Then please look out for trouble for the Huns. We are rough, we are tough, we’re from Canada, that’s enough! That’s our war cry. I suppose I am a little long winded, but that is a good point in a soldier, it carries the trenches too. Well, to finish what I started to say. Words are beyond me, for I fail to find words enough to express my feeling toward my home town and its people. It was like going home again. The folk I used to know well in by-gone days have not changed much, just a little greyer, but still the same kind hearts as of yore. The younger generation have gotten quite beyond my ken, save a few who used to sit beside me at school. The light is bad and I will have to quit this time for sure. Please remember the family to all old friends around Ripley, and if anyone has time to write I would be pleased to hear from them.
I will send you a photo of my three brothers and myself next week. We are all proud to belong to Ripley, and are not ashamed to let people know it. Well good-bye for the present.
Yours in khaki,
Lce. Corpl. Eph. A. Hircock,
B Co., 54, 43 18th Battalion, C.E.F., Sandling, Kent.
Some interesting observations from the letter:
- The letter is dated October 1915 but Lance-Corporal Hircock makes specific mention that the 2nd Canadian Division was going over to France in September. Did the paper hold publication of the letter until after to prevent the dissemination of information beneficial to the enemy.
- ‘wantalk’ may refer to ‘war talk’
- Hircock’s service no. was 54143.
- Possibly submitted patent for a bicycle brake in 1912.
- 4 other brother served in the C.E.F.: