Letters From The Bowes Brothers

Join in and become part of Legion Magazine’s online community by reading and responding to a unique collection of letters written by the Bowes brothers (Clifford, James and Fred) to their mother during the First World War.

Letters From The Bowes Brothers

Letters From The Bowes Brothers – Nov. 14, 1915 Bramshott Camp, Near Liphook

Dearest Mother, Here it is Sunday again, as you will see by the date. You will have my first letters by now and I looking forward patiently to hearing from home. There has been considerable rain here this week and as a result had a day and a half of illness. But it very soon dries here after a rain. At least it appears to as there is no mud on the roads. I’m going to London on Tuesday morning for a leave of absence and will not be back at camp again till the end of the week. So I will have some very interesting sights to see and write you about. I suppose by now that winter will have set in at home. It sure don’t look much like winter here although they claim that November is the worst month of all. However we have put in half of it and I still do not mind it. Some of the boys ...
Letters From The Bowes Brothers

Letters From The Bowes Brothers – Oct. 31, 1915 Bramshott Camp

Dear Mother, After 13 days weary travel we have at last arrived in England. We are not at Shorncliffe but at Bramshott Camp, two miles from Liphook and 40 from the city of London. Canada is indeed a fine country but for a tidy place and clean you will have to give England the hand. Mother, I never did believe a place could look so nice. There is very little use of me trying to describe it as you could never realize it unless you actually saw it. One of the grandest scenes imaginable was when we were steaming into Plymouth Harbour yesterday morning. There was a slight fog and rain which suddenly lifted to reveal great high cliffs with forts on the top and the sides covered with ivy and right through the centre came a beautiful rainbow. It was a sight you would never see in a lifetime ...
Letters From The Bowes Brothers

Letters From The Bowes Brothers – Oct. 21, 1915 Still Aboard Train

My own dear Mother, No doubt you will have received my cards before this is sent to the rest of the family. When I am taking my last look at Canada for some time, my thoughts are of my own dear mother left far behind in Manitoba worrying and thinking, “Where is my wandering boy tonight?” We have had a delightful journey so far. We are due in Halifax sometime tonight. Just think, Mother, I have been further east than any member of the family. We are at present traveling down the south side of the St. Lawrence just like some mighty lake as we cannot see the opposite shore. We crossed the St. Lawrence at Montreal last night—some ride across believe me. I saw Bessie Anderson at Selkirk and also Ada and Mrs. Anderson. They gave us a march there and Bessie and her mother came to the sta...
Letters From The Bowes Brothers

Letters From The Bowes Brothers – Oct. 16, 1915 Camp Sewell

Clifford has received letters from his young sister Evelyn and youngest brother Fred. He mentions his wife (Gladys) in Elgin, Man., about 45 kilometres, northwest of Boissevain, but he is only engaged to marry her. Dear Mother, Another letter received from you today also Evelyn and Fred and as I am so busy this one will do for all. This is our last day in Sewell Camp as we leave tomorrow for Halifax, sailing from there on the 22nd. It will no doubt seem a long time to you before you get a letter from me but, Mother Dear, think how long I will be without any word from home. Well Mother, Jim and I are together again as we have joined the Machine-Gun Section. No doubt you will see our features in the paper as the machine-gun section here won the $1,000 shield the other day for compet...
Letters From The Bowes Brothers

Letters From The Bowes Brothers – Oct. 2, 1915 Camp Sewell

This is the earliest of the letters in the collection. It finds Clifford Bowes arriving at Camp Sewell, east of Brandon, Man., for basic training. The camp would change its name to Camp Hughes in honour of Major-General Sir Sam Hughes, the Minister of Militia and Defence. Ada is the wife of Cliff’s older brother, Elliott. My Dearest Mother, Your most beautiful letter received today noon and was sure glad to hear from you although it put me most painfully in mind of our last parting. I will remember your words and always do my duty even though hard at times. Well, we arrived here safe and sound, got yanked up before the captain for outstaying my pass and drew a two-day Confined to Barracks for it. Well Mother, Almar Dorn is here, now also Edgar Wilson, Preacher Wilson’s son that...
Letters From The Bowes Brothers

Letters From The Bowes Brothers – Introduction

by Tom MacGregor “This is the saddest letter I will ever have to write,” so begins a letter by 25-year-old Clifford Bowes written near Vimy Ridge in the weeks preceding the big battle when Canadian troops would so distinguish themselves. In that letter he has to tell his mother, Margaret Bowes of Boissevain, Man., that one of her sons, his brother James, has died and another, Fred, lies wounded in a military hospital. The First World War touched every small town and every family in Canada but the Bowes family had more than its share of suffering. Before 1917 finished all three of the Bowes brothers who enlisted in the Great War would perish. Throughout their service Margaret Bowes’ boys wrote home faithfully and she in turn sent letters and parcels. The letters were collected and kept to...

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