Another in the series of letters home from the files at The Elgin Military Museum. Those on the homefront were desperate for news. Many of the letters found their way into the local newspaper - in this case the St. Thomas Journal so the community could share the apprehension, joy or sorrow.
Pte Tweed Tells of Capture
St. Thomas Journal June 26, 1915
Writing from a hospital in France, Bomb Thrower Charles Tweed, who is reported suffering from concussion, tells his mother, Mrs. Annie Tweed, 20 Weldon Avenue, a graphic story of a charge on a German trench in which he figured. He was wounded by the explosion of a German bomb and removed to a dressing station. The letter follows:
Friday, November 11, 1938
Last Canadian Wounded in War Former St Thomas Man
Kenneth Lawrence Received Leg Injury, Necessitating
Amputation, Three Minutes before “Cease
Fire” Order Given
When Zeppelins Bombarded the
E.D. Mitchell, a former St. Thomas boy, writing to his folks at Eden, Ont., from Otterpool Camp, England, gives some very interesting detail of his experience when the Germans bombarded that camp from Zeppelins. Signaller Mitchell was at one time connected with the grocery firms here of Swinn Bros., J.A. McCance, Egan Bros. and Butler Bros., and will be remembered by a large number of friends. For the last five or six years he has travelled for the Swift Canadian Company out of Winnipeg and Nelson, B.C. He enlisted last June at Winnipeg, and is with the Headquarters Staff, Fifth Artillery Brigade, Second Canadian Division, as signaller and dispatch rider. In his letter he writes:
The turn of the 20th century saw many a young Englishman come to our area to make a new life for himself. Thomas Richard Young was among those who ventured forth from Bournemouth, Hampshire, to the Aylmer area here in Elgin County in the spring of 1909. By 1911, he was working on the farm of Leslie and Helen Cameron in Bayham Township south east of Aylmer. Tom then took up the challenge of going west and on October 23, 1915 he enlisted for service overseas.
The View from Sailors from St. Thomas, Ontario
The Halifax Explosion December 6, 1917 was the largest man-made explosion until the nuclear era. There are many excellent resources about this event. What follows are the memories of two St. Thomas men writing home to their parents in the aftermath. Seaman Gunner James A. Cluskey and Seaman Owen George Young were serving in the navy as members of the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve (the precursor to the 'Wavy Navy'). They were witnesses to the catastrophe and the aftermath.
In the Beginning
46 William St. corner of St. Anne's Place
Avis Dolphin came to Canada with her recently widowed mother before the First World War. They moved into 46 William Street and Avis attended Wellington Street School. When she was twelve, her mother decided to send her back to England to finish her education. So, despite the fact that the much touted phrase "we'll be home for Christmas"  did not prove true, Avis traveled to New York with two nurse companions, Miss Hilda Ellis and Miss Sarah Smith, to board the Lusitania on May 1st 1915. Seven days later she was tossed into the sea and had to fend for herself.
Parts of the letter that she wrote to her mother on May 10th from the Waverley Hotel in Dublin, Ireland were published in the St. Thomas Journal and appear below.
From One of the Lads
The Following Letter from Lance-Corporal A.l. Satchell, was written to his mother Mrs. Emma Satchell, 52 Maple Street. He left with the 91st Battalion and is now with the 12th Reserve Battalion. His sisters are Mrs. A.W. Osborne, Fifth Avenue, Mrs. Wall, 60 Chestnut Street and Mrs. H. Osborne, 52 Maple Street.
St. Thomas Journal Sept 15, 1916
Life Before the Front
Duty to the Dead
Pte Hayes struggles to fulfill his promise knowing the pain that will ensue. He lightens the load with images of a peaceful passing in the full knowledge of the harsh realities of life and death at the front during the Great War; realities that he will carry with him until he too takes that last journey.
The Elgin Military Museum has a vast collection of letters, articles, poems and pictures of veterans and others who served their community over a period of two hundred years.. This blog is our way of sharing them with you.
Elgin Military Museum
Late Arrivals Club
Military Medical Care
Royal Canadian Navy