On January 24, 1916 a man from Hastings, Ontario enlisted with the 93rd Battalion, so beginning his military career. We have one postcard and three letters from his overseas service, and they give us the opportunity to look a bit deeper into the war experience of Private John Edward Parker (reg. no. 195573).[i] Private Parker … Continue reading “…we cannot buy a candle or any thing to eat…”: Letters from Lance-Corporal Parker
Introduction One of the challenges of understanding the service and experiences of the men of the 18th Battalion is that experience, removed in time and distance, is sanitized by the War Diaries. The 18th Battalion war diaries are often bereft of detail and often only deal with the bare minimum of the military events that … Continue reading “The day is beautiful and everything is quiet as night.”
These letters (transcribed in full below) are interesting as they represent the perspectives of two of the major demographic groups that enlisted in the 2nd Canadian Contingent in the latter part of 1914 with the 18th Battalion: British and Canadian born soldiers writing their first letters from England after their transit to prepare to fight … Continue reading “They soaked us pretty well…”: Two Perspectives of England
Stuart Cameron Kirkland was a 33 year old barrister who joined the 91st Battalion at St. Thomas on April 26, 1916. Less then a year later, assigned to the 18th Battalion, he was to participate in the attack on Vimy Ridge where he was wounded. Eventually invalided back to Canada were he served on a … Continue reading Letter Home Describing Attack on Vimy and Wounding of Lt. S.C. Kirkland
June 24, 1916 My dear Mother, Daddy, and Grant: Of course we always say that we have wet rainy nights whenever carrying out a relief. Well last Saturday night we moved into the line again from support on a damp night and last night, really this morning, came out in nearly absolute darkness through & … Continue reading Letter Home: …unable to get near a bath for over a month.
A hundred years ago Lieutenant William Stewart McKeough wrote this letter outlining his and the Battalion's experiences: Belgium 15/5/16 My Dear Mother, Daddy, and Grant: It is some time since my last writing. We moved from here to another camp for a 3-day date before going into the line & until now have had no … Continue reading After St. Eloi: A letter home.
Stuart Cameron Kirkland was a 33 year old barrister who joined the 91st Battalion at St. Thomas on April 26, 1916. Less then a year later, assigned to the 18th Battalion, he was to participate in the attack on Vimy Ridge where he was wounded. Eventually invalided back to Canada were he served on a … Continue reading Letter About Vimy: “Of course he was dead so I suppose it didn’t inconvenience him any.”
Letters to and from the Front give us a fascinating glimpse of the lives of the people that participated directly and indirectly with World War 1. Below is a letter from James Roy Gray that offers some insight into the experiences of a solider of the 18th Battalion and later as a member of the … Continue reading “Despite even greater disappointments and tragedies…”: Letters home from Captain Jame Roy Grey
This letter was written in the trenches in Flanders. The 18th Battalion had been at RIDGEWOOD in Brigade Reserve up until January 15, 1916 when it relieved the 19th Canadian Battalion at VIERSTRAAT. On the 16th of January a compatriot, Lieutenant Ambery was promoted to Captain that day but Major Sale was killed by rifle … Continue reading Somewhere in Flanders: A letter from Captain Samuel Monteith Loghrin