War Letters

Letters from the First World War

Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – June 19, 1943.

Dear Mum, Dad and Jack: Here I am again, a little late but better late than never as they say. As you no doubt know I was writing every other night but I was so darn busy the last three days it wasn’t funny…. One thing about these is that the stamps are just as hard to get as the forms so don’t be surprised if it is written one day and not mailed until the next….  After this I will buy as many [stamps] as I can, or as many as this Army pay permits is more like it.… Well folks…I have been moved and am now in what they call “the field.” They said it was O.K. to say that so guess I won’t be court-martialled. We sleep in tents, eat in tents, have a shave in a tent and I am writing this in the tent. It is just like at the shore but just a little bit worse in a way. I am now in the Essex Scott...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – June 16, 1943.

Dear Mum, Dad and Jack: Yesterday was another swell day for mail. I got seven altogether, boy was I pleased…. Well “Ma” I guess I can say I am really in the Infantry now and by the looks of things here I stay. I think it is O.K. to say this at least they said we could. I am in the Essex Scottish Regiment, it is from Ontario. I tried to get in a Regiment from Nova Scotia but couldn’t, more of my luck in the Army. You should see me now, we have to wear those tam o’ shanters, boy do I look cute in them. By the way we need a flash for our hat badge and can’t get that over here.  They are a piece of plaid about six by six and are red and green. Should you be able to get me one please do and send it along. I wish I could send you a picture of me in my bonnet, you could really have a good laugh...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – June 6, 1943.

Dear Mum, Dad and Jack:   …It gets tougher every day to try and find something to write about, I can’t tell you half the things I want to. Someday I hope I can give you all the news but not while I am over here.   There wasn’t any church parade this morning but believe it or not I was up at seven. I wake up every morning at six now, just as if there was an alarm clock. If the chance ever comes for me to be able to sleep to dinner time like I used too I’m doubtful if I can. Another thing you will be surprised to hear Mum is that I eat about as much for breakfast as Dad does. If I miss breakfast now I’m starved for the rest of the day. The only trouble with that is there is nothing to get in between. When I was in Canada I always had a chocolate bar in my pocket for the...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – June 2, 1943.

Dear Mum, Dad and Jack:   I managed to get hold of this form by a piece of luck so am sitting right down to fill it out before it disappears. That is the only trouble over here, there are so many fellows who take whatever is loose. I lost my pen and pencil set but one night I roamed around the writing room and saw it in use. I wasn’t long claiming it and since two of the fellows were with me to identify it, I wasn’t long getting it back. Boy I was plenty mad and threw a scare into the fellow by threatening to have him up for offence, they allow you to do what you want with that kind of fellow. They even cut your kit bag open and steal cigs, etc.; a fellow has to have his eyes open.   Since my last letter things have been going same as ever, they are sure keeping us ju...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – May 27, 1943.

Dear Mum, Dad and Jack:   …The first day we were here they told us what we could write and what not to write and I figured it would be “Hello and Goodbye”.   Since coming here everything is going fine and I sure am hoping it keeps up that way. The weather is swell here, it is true that it rains some but it is real nice. I imagine the weather here is about a month ahead of N.S. The English roses are all in bloom and the leaves out. The countryside is really swell and I’ve never seen any place so clean. Not just one place but every place is just like our parks. We all took notice of that on the train but so far have had no chance of seeing it otherwise since arriving in camp. Every spare foot of ground is filled with lettuce or something. For all it is so pretty, they ca...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – May 23, 1943.

Dear Mum, Dad and Jack:   Well here I am in England and it sure feels strange, in fact I hardly believe it and no doubt it is the same for you folks. Had a very quiet trip across and wasn’t a bit sick. Guess I should have been a sailor….   It doesn’t seem right that I am nearly 4,000 miles from home, but it is I guess. The countryside is sure beautiful over here this time of year but give me good old Pictou Co., N.S, any day. It may be a bit early to decide but I don’t think I like it here but I guess I have to put up with it. Don’t forget to send cigs and boxes as both will be welcome. I haven’t had a square meal since I was home.... Cigs are about thirty cents for ten over here and they are English cigs. They are not near as good as ours. We are allowed 1,000 a mont...

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An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.