Major Nelson Writes From the S.S. Grampian

Major G.W. Nelson (left) and Lieut.-Col. Wigle (right). Source: Bruce Remembers

Major George Whitford Nelson, adjutant for the 18th Battalion writes from the S.S. Grampian:

Mrs. W. Kidd
Elsinore, Ont., Bruce Co.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ocean Services
R.M.S. Grampian
Mid Ocean

April 25, 1915

Dear Friends,

I can’t very well tell you where I am but will know better when I get a chance to post this. We left London Apr. 15 in two trains one at 7:30 and the other at 8:30. I was on the last one. We had a fine run through to Montreal making an average of 40 miles per hour arriving here about noon. Then we went over the Intercolonial to Halifax. The run from Montreal to Halifax is not very interesting, mostly all woods at one place near Rimouski & Fallen Point the [seam] must have been 2 feet deep. You can think yourselves lucky in that you live in Ontario. Old Ontario looked very sunny to me when going through Quebec, New Brunswick & Nova Scotia.

When we were leaving London there must have been 1000 people out to see us off. There was some terrible scenes when the final Goodbye was said and I was glad when the train pulled out. It was heartrending to see the way they clung to each other. I must say that you people at home can never realize what some of these soldiers have given up.

We arrived in Halifax at 2:30 am Sunday morning and went aboard the Grampian about noon and then at 6:20 we set sail. I have just been thinking tonight that when we sang Tipperary back in Ontario, that we did not know that it was such a long way. We have been at sea one week and where we are we don’t know. Today the Cruiser Cumberland joined us, that is the Northland & Grampian. This is the first Warship that we have had. She certainly looked as if she meant real business by the big Guns poking out here and there. We get the war news by Wireless & we got news today that the Canadians had won a victory in France.

Tell Russel & Gordon that I saw a whale yesterday. It passed between the Northland and us and every little piece he would come up and blow. I only got a look at him once. I will be able to tell you all about the trip when we get back. We hope to reach England next Wednesday. Well I must close now and will write again when I get to England. Write as often as you can. I will not have very much time for writing when I get new address. You mail to G.O.P. London Eng. I suppose Edna told you that I have been promoted to Major.

Love to all,

Source: Correspondence from Lieutenant Colonel George Whitford Nelson to his sister, Mrs. William Kidd, 1914-1916, A994.058.008

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