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Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.-- General Douglas MacArthur
War Stories: World War IWar Stories published under this topic are as follows:
The visit of an English squadron for the Kiel Week in June, 1914, seemed to indicate a desire to give visible expression to the, fact that the political situation had eased. Although we could not suppress a certain feeling of doubt as to the sincerity of their intentions, everyone on our side displayed the greatest readiness to receive the foreign guests with hospitality and comradeship.
BROADMEADOWS -- AT SEA
March 17 Left MILDURA for BROADMEADOWS camp. Was in P1 Coy. for 5 weeks thence in signallers of the newly formed 24th Bn. Spent Easter at Wrays GEELONG.
Bramshott 2/7/16 Dear Folks-- Received your letter OK on Friday & was glad to hear from you, also to get the picture of Norine. She is getting to be a big girl now, isn't she. You didn't say who the other girl in the picture was; were you afraid I might write to her? Well, we didn't get tangled with any Hun subs on the way over. Of course, we were pretty well protected. A battleship came with us until we were within 2 days of land & then 2 submarine destroyers came out to meet us & escorted us into Liverpool. They are some little boats, only about 200 ft long but they can certainly travel--about 50 miles an hour & they can turn around in about their own length. We are having some good weather now, a little rainy but not so bad as it was a couple of weeks ago. We are celebrating the 1st of July here today, all kinds of sports. I expect there will be some crowd here this p.m. The King was down near here yesterday inspecting the troops. It was about 8 miles from here so I didn't go. Our Battalion is all broke up now. We sent 750 men to France on the 8th of June & then about 150 to another Batt. here in camp. They kept nearly all the Headquarter staff here & we are still here & they have made the 51st Batt a base Batt & are filling it up with all the medically unfits in the camp. We have some here from about a dozen different outfits. It is certainly some outfit. We have some here from the 71st. I think some of them were in Stratford last winter. I don't know what they will do with us, but I expect we will stay here for some time. The Pioneers have an easy time now. We have done nothing since 2 weeks ago. Our boys that went to France were put in the front line of trenches about 24 hours after they landed & had a charge to make about midnight. We have not heard the official casualties yet but there are 8 killed that we know of & about 30 wounded. I suppose the list will swell when we hear the official. I only hope it is reduced though, for we certainly had a good bunch of fellows, & good soldiers. They made a record at the ranges, they beat all the troops that have been there including the imperials (British). They seem to be putting the Canadians in the toughest places & saving the Englishmen. I was up to London for 5 days & had a good time. It is quite a city. There are a lot of historical places there, but as a city it is years behind Canadian cities. It is very dark there at nights. Nearly all the lights are out & those that are burning are painted black on top so as to throw the light down. They have about a dozen search lights playing over the city every night looking for zepps. I didn't get any souvenirs, but I am going up again in a short time & will send you some then. I will also send you a 51st badge. I intended sending one before but forgot about it. I got a letter from one of our fellows in France & he said it was certainly hell over there & I guess from all reports it is, but it looks to be going in our favor now. I think they must intend making a drive at Verdun soon, as they are sending troops over there by the thousand. I don't care how soon it ends, as I am fed up with this country. Of course I am having a good enough time but I don't like these damned blokes. They are a poor bunch. Canada is good enough for me & as soon as I get free I will be back there in a hurry. Got a letter from Jack Hassard last week. He has been sick again but is getting better now. I hear from Lottie & Herb regular. Lottie is going to Edmonton for a month in holidays. I just got a letter from Mrs. Cranston where I boarded in Edmonton today, so it keeps me busy writing letters, but it is good pasttime. Well, I guess I will close & go out to the sports. Be sure & write soon. Love to all, Alex.
On April 30, 1918 I was drafted in the service of the U. S. Army and sent to Camp Dix N. J. For further use. We had a fine trip passing over the Erie R.R. To Binghamton (NY) where I saw Mrs. Oxford and Helen who were the last people I saw who I was any way acquainted with for nearly a year. From Binghamton to Stroudsburg (PA) over the DL & W RR stopping for half an hour at Scranton (PA) where we replenished our stock of joy water we stopped only for perhaps fifteen minutes at Stroudsburg where we owned the town during that stay.
As the car quickly reversed, a thin stream of blood spurted from His Highness's mouth onto my right check. As I was pulling out my handkerchief to wipe the blood away from his mouth, the Duchess cried out to him, 'In Heaven's name, what has happened to you?' At that she slid off the seat and lay on the floor of the car, with her face between his knees.
January 21, 1917: Dear Sister: Just a few lines in answer to your letter of Dec. 5th which I received a short time ago & was glad to hear from you & that you are all well. I was in hospital & rest camp here from December 28th to January 7th with a touch of Grippe but am feeling fine again now, that is as well as can be expected under the circumstances. The weather is a little bad on the front where we are, quite a bit of snow & rain so it makes the trenches bad. But I guess we must expect that this time of year. I was lucky last Tuesday, they sent me away on a machine gun course & expect to be away till a week from tomorrow, so I will miss a trip into the trenches. It is fine here at the school. We have a Y.M. & a church Hut, both fine places. Also a good canteen where we can buy anything we want. We sleep in tents but have plenty of blankets & sleep close together so we are quite comfortable. Of course the weather is not so very cold here. It freezes at nights but is not too bad in the days. Do you know a man in Stratford, Mr. Lowe. I think he used to run a drug store. He is a Lieut. in the 46th--was in command of the Co. that I am in. He is certainly a fine man & all the boys think a lot of him. He is away from us now, though. He was operated on for appendicitis, & I think went back to England. I may have his name spelled wrong, but it is something like that. I had a letter from Selina a short time ago. Things seem about the same as ever in Brantford. I hear from Herb & Lottie regular. Also from Cranstons whom I used to live with in Edmonton. I expect a bunch of mail when I get back to the battalion after this course. How is Wayman getting along, still punching the dough? I would like to be back there for a few weeks to help him. It would be a rest for me, but I don't think it will be so very long before we will be able to beat it back. Only a few months I think, but we are liable to have some hard work before the finish. Well, I must close, be sure & write soon & I will try to drop you a letter or field card often. It is sometimes hard for us to get mail written especially when we are in the line. So long. Alex #437536 I Co 46 Can. BEF Army PO London.
Delville Wood is a name, even now, full of sadness and the suppressed agony of thousands who had to make its acquaintance. Probably nearly as many men remained in it as came out of it whole, and no one fortunate to escape from this hell can think of it without recalling hours of suffering and the names of many good comrades now no more.
1st. May. To Arras for money.
I will try and tell you a little about us taking Turkey. We landed all right, but got a warm reception and a good general salute from their shrapnel and machine guns. The 3rd brigade were the first to land, at 2 a.m. They landed under a splendid covering force from our warships; the Turks all the time pouring in shrapnel and machine-gun fire.
Writing from Malta, under date of 4th May, Private H. G. Clarke, of Footscray, a member of the Scottish Regiment at the front. 5287 Reads
Hut 11, Frensham Military Hosp., Nr. Farnham, Surrey, England September 15, 1916 Dear Lallie:- You will see by the above address that I am back again in England and in hospital. But am thankful to say I have no open wounds. Just a severely sprained back and my nerves are badly shaken up. I was buried in the trenches, and you may be sure I thought my last moment had come. My chum next to me was killed - instantly killed. Something seemed to tell me the day before that I was going to get it. I have been in the hospital two weeks now, counting the time I was in the Australian Hospital before I came to England. Yesterday was the first time I was out of bed for an hour or two. I am to shaky to walk yet, but am getting along nicely. On Wednesday who should visit me but Johnnie. I was so pleased to see him. He is near us at Whitley. We are 31 miles past London-rather a long way from home. I told dear Ettie not to come so far, as I may soon be moved to a Canadian hospital. The doctor in France also saw my toe, and he said I should not have been passed. One overlaps the other, the same as Johnnie got his discharge for. The doctor there was going to operate on them, but they won't allow him to. So I do not think I will have to go back to France. We were in the same place as Harold got his arm off. It was awful. Perhaps you read the report in the paper-the bombardment of Sunday the 3rd. I thank God he spared me to dear Ettie. This morning I had a letter from Harold, also one from Johnnie. Harold writes very good indeed with his left hand, and he is getting along fine, waiting for his new arm. Now Lallie, I hope you are quite well, and I think you had better come back to England and be with us all here. You know there is always a home waiting here for you with dear Ettie and I. Well, I have no news. When you write to me send it to Ettie and she will forward it on to me, unless I am home by then. Remember me to Mrs. Booty, also, Mrs. Northgraves when you see them. Take every care of your dear self. Heaps of love. God bless you. Your Loving Brother Fred
From somewhere in Belgium December 25th, 1915 Dear Sister & All: I now write you a few lines to let you know I am well and hope you all are this small. Well Mable this is Christmas Day and it is nearly over now and I have been thinking of you all to-day so I though I would drop you a line on my new pad. We were given a wallett yesterday with a pencial and this little pad and several post cards we were allso given a box of tobacco and a box of candy so I think they used us pretty well. I have not received any of the parcels that was sent me for Christmas only the box of candies Jeff sent me. I do not know what has become of them I suppose I will get them all at once now after Christmas is all over. We all got a present from Mrs. Capt Eve of Montreal I got a book and it is a good one to we allso had a can of plum pudding given to each one from Mrs. Major Gualt instead of having turkey as I had a year ago. I had Irish Stew and plum duff for dinner. I had the pleasure of attending church this morning they took us down in motor Lorries it was the English church and we had sacrement we have made it as bright a Christmas as possible but it is much different then last year. Last night Xmas Eve I was out on a working party and the bullets were falling around us and I was just thinking what I was doing last year I remember we done our delivering on sleighs and Xmas Eve I was in the store, never thought I would be over here now, but you never can tell. We have been out on working party three times now and each time have been under fire. The first time was the worst we were going through a town which has been shelled to pieces and we have not marched through this town very long when the huns dropped a shell and tore the corner out of a building and we had a lively time for a while. You can hear them big shells leave the guns and then you hear them come through the air and then there is a big bang and you get under cover for the pieces of sharpnel drop all over however you can hear them coming but a rifle bullet you can't hear it until it drops beside you. We were in tents first but changed to dugout yesterday. The camp we left were like Salisbury for mud it was kneedeep some places. I was certainly glad when this is ended and we can get home again. The soldiers that are in Canada this winter are lucky. I met several boys from home here this week and had a good talk with them they were out of the trenches on there six days rest. They do six days in and six out. They are looking well. I hope you have all had a good and enjoyable Christmas this year and I was surely thinking of you. I guess you are about having your dinner now and I have just had my tea and am putting in the time writing. I hope all the children are well and that Santa Claus was good to them. Well dear sister I wil close with love to all and remember me to anybody I know and the children I send my best love. As ever your brother Archie PS Tell Miss Taylor I am well and I send my best regards to her.
September, 18, 1916 Dear Mother:- I suppose you have received my card by now saying I was wounded, I just got a piece of shrapnel in the chest, am doing fine. Expect to be out of the Hospital soon. We were all in the reserve trench when a shell burst and hit ten of us. There was only one badly hurt and he will be in the Hospital for a couple of months. I will send the piece that hit me home so as you can see it. Well Mother, this is all for now so will close. With love to all I remain Your Loving son, Bill
In November 1915 I was one of those accepted by Colonel Lord Feversham to be enlisted in the Yeoman Rifles being formed at Helmsley Park. In January 1916 the battalion was transferred to Aldershot, where we became fit for our great adventure. Runners were asked for, and I volunteered for the job.
Dear Mr. Hunter:- I write these few lines to you in answer to your letter. I received it on July 11th, so it was 36 days in coming over. I am very thankful for the trouble you are taking in looking after my wife, and glad to hear she is some better, but I think she will improve when the warm weather comes. Well, Mr. Hunter, we are in the thick of it now. I am lying in the dugout with the shells and shrapnel flying all around. You can hardly hear one another speakfor the noise is something awful. At night, to put it in strong language it looks like hell up on earth. Some of my pals are wounded and are in England again. You should see the boys when they mount the parapet to go have a look at Fritz. The machine gun is the worst we have to put up with. I think all the boys will be glad when it is over. They are never so happy as when they are running after Fritz. I can tell you one thing, it is different soldiering out here to what it is in Canada and if they could just see the ruins about here which are most shameful, there be a lot more enlist than what there is at the present. But thank God, I am glad I came to do my little bit. The sights sometimes are awful-enough to send one crazy, but I have pulled through safe so far. You should have seen the advance the boys made awhile back. It was something grand. But I am sorry to say there are lots who will never come back to Canada, but they died for a just cause. We will never give in. The Germans call the Canadians the "White Gurghkas." That is, they don't show them any mercy at all with the bayonet, which they don't like to see in the hands of our boys. I have seen some sights which I hope never to see again but you never think about that when you are in the thick of it, for you are simply crazy with excitement. The only thing you want to keep is a cool head, a clear mind and a quick hand, for if you don't get Fritz he is going to get you, so the best one still lives. I have had some near shaves but pulled through somehow which I am hoping to do till the end of the war. Just remember me to the boys and give my kind regards to them and tell them I am hoping to be back with them by Christmas, that is, if I am spared to see it through. France is a fine country in the summer--the most beautiful scenery. The main roads have a beautiful avenue of trees along them. The crops look fairly good in the country. Most of the work is done by women for you hardly see a man about out of uniform. I have been transferred to the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. I left England in less than 36 hours notice. That was quick work but we got over safe. Remember me to Gordon when you write to him. I guess he will soon be coming over to England. I have not heard from Bill Near at all. Don't know whether he is over here or not for the 33rd were all broken up, too. I think this is all this time so give my kind regards to all enquiring friends and to Mrs. Hunter and Hally, also Mrs. Richardson. So I conclude with best wishes to all. So Good-bye, From Your Friend, ED. E. PERRELL No. 126608, A. Company, 1st C. M. R. Batt., 8th Inf. Brig. 3rd Can. Div., B. E. F., France
September 20, 1916 Dear-, In answer to your kind letter dated Aug. 27th. I was very pleased to hear you are keeping well through these war times. I came to this Hospital about a month ago and it is a far better place than Camberwell. It seems to take a long time for my wound to heal up and as I still have to walk around with a tube in it. I won't be sorry when it does. The doctor here thinks there is still a piece of something in there yet. Very deep down, and as they can't trace it he won't take a chance of operating. When it does get better I expect to be sent back to France, by the way they are sending some of the poor fellows back. Some are not really better yet. I had a letter from Harry a few days ago and he says he is quite well. Yes, I am very much alive and I sure did think my time had come when I was buried for twenty minutes or more, for it seemed like hours. I am pleased the boys are keeping well and I hope they have good luck too. It must make your mother feel a lot better when she hears from them often. I hope she is well, also the rest of the family. We are getting some cold, windy weather here now. I hope you are getting it good out in St. Marys. How are things there now? They are not very good in London at present-everything is so dear. It is over two years since I was in St. Marys. My! how the time flies. I go home two or three times a week as it takes half an hour to get there. My Brother George is still out in France and was quite well the last I heard. I think this is all, so will close with best wishes to all. Your Friend Billy Serg't W. Hobson, Military Hospital, Brondesbury, N. W., England September 20, 1916
1655: Puritans jail Governor Stone after a military victory over Catholic forces in the colony of Maryland.
1804: The Secretary of the Navy approves the first formal uniform of the Marine Corps.
1813: The frigate USS Essex flies the first U.S. flag in battle in the Pacific.
1863: Secretary of War Edwin Stanton presents the first Medals of Honor to six of the surviving members of Andrews Raiders. They are the first Medals of Honor ever presented.
1864: The Battle of Paducah Kentucky takes place.
1865: Confederate General Robert E. Lee makes Fort Stedman his last attack of the war in a desperate attempt to break out of Petersburg, Virginia. The attack failed, and within a week Lee was evacuating his positions around Petersburg.
1865: The Battle of Bluff Spring Florida takes place.
1865: The Battle of Mobile Alabama takes place.
1879: Japan invades the kingdom of Liuqiu (Ryukyu) Islands, formerly a vassal of China.
1895: Italian troops invade Abyssinia (Ethiopia).