Military History

"To honour and protect in death seems but a small return to those who have protected their country in life."

click for larger image
June 4th 1941

Serving with Armed Forces Berwick District
(can't find date)


  1. Hubert Edwin Kelly 1917-1980.
  2. Arthur L. Bezanson , son of George W. Bezanson, 1902-1947
  3. James William Ogilvie June 14, 1966 - Aug. 30, 1998
  4. Lloyd L. Aker (corporal) died Sept 4, 1964 age 66
  5. Pte. Norman C. Gould, #733614,112 Batt. INF.,died of illness at Kentville Feb. 2, 1916, age 18 yrs.
  6. Lorimer E. Kelley 1915-2000
  7. Robert F. Clem 1916-1991
  8. Victor W. Clem 1894-1959
  9. David P. Cochrane Apr 6, 1984 age 61
  10. Melvin H. Anderson 1900-1950
  11. Raymond N. Anderson, DC3 US Navy Korea, Nov. 30, 1931- Apr. 12, 1982
  12. John Kenneally, Private, West NS. Reg., Aug 2, 1981 age 61

To the Memory of the Men of Western Kings Who Gave Their Lives in the Great War
1914-1918

Transcribed by P. Vogler, Oct. 6th/2000. From one of two War Memorial Plaques inside the Western Kings Memorial Health Centre. Once known as the Western Kings Memorial Hospital, Berwick, Nova Scotia.

Alcorn, Carlton S. Gould, Norman C. Pearl, Amos
Best, Harold J. Hilton, H. Elthen Pineo, Henry H.
Burgess, Rhuland Hutchinson, Reg H. Rafuse, A. Clyde
Blackburn, Max Hudgins, Major Redden, Raymond B.
Butler, Kenneth J. Ilsley, C. Preston Saltzman, Stanley
Beech, Gordon K. Jones, Henigar Small, H. Lambert
Beech, Herbert F. Jones, Stewart Seaton, Jefferey S.
Bishop, Harold F. Keddy, William O. Swift, Otis F.
Beals, Leslie L. Keddy, Frank N. Saunders, Edmund B.
Beals, Philip S. Kennie, R. Melvin Sanford, Kenneth L.
Beals, Howard L. Kennie, E. Floyd Tupper, Clarence
Barteaux, Ervine McNally, Charles Tupper, L. Murray
Borden, James D. McLean, William B. Tufts, Ralph D.
Chase, James R. McNeil, Perry C. Timmons, Earl H.
Charlton, Walter McBride, Charles I. Usher, Henry A.
Charlton, Roy W. Murrs, Laurie Veinott, Herbert O.
Coleman, Swithin Middlemas, R. Somr'vle Woodworth, Walter
Coleman, John H. Norwood, Basil B. Wilson, Vernon S.
Clark, Barry W. Neaves, William L. Wilson, Don C.
Davidson, Ronald H. Ogilvie, Eno W. Westhauer, Geo W.
Day, George A. Pickavance, Albert Wentzell, Joseph, H.
Felch, Dana W. Patterson, Albert E. Warhurst, James
Fancy, Joseph L. Power, Hary S. Spittle, John A.

Their Name Liveth Forever


Members of the Armed Forces Who Died While Serving Their Country During World War II
1939-1945

Transcribed by P. Vogler, Oct. 6th/2000. From one of two War Memorial Plaques inside the Western Kings Memorial Health Centre. Once known as the Western Kings Memorial Hospital, Berwick, Nova Scotia.

Armstrong, John Felch, Edmund Pettifer, Ernest
Armstrong, Raymond Foote, Raymond Pinch, Warner
Baltzer, George Gehue, James Porter, Burgess
Baltzer, Sable Gray, Kenneth Rafuse, Cedric
Baltzer, William Hale, Blake Robinson, Victor
Banks, Jack Hall, Maxwell Salzman, Budd
Bent, Howard Howard, Hollis Schofield, Donald
Bligh, Orlay Hutt, Kenneth Skinner, John
Brennan, James Irwin, Clement Slauenwhite, Lester
Brydon, Francis Keddy, Oliver Snow, William
Burns, Delong Lacey, Lawrence Steadman, Carman
Charlton, Charles Lloyd, Merle Stewart, Robert
Cook, Charles Lloyd, Willis Toney, Leo
Dakin, Allison Mapplebeck, John Vanbuskirk, Douglas
Dewinter, Robert McLellan, Clyde West, James
Dykens, William O'Neill, Clarence Woodworth, Charles
Eaton, Arthur Perry, Clarence Spicer, Robert
Edwards, Joseph Peterson, Murray Banks, Hedley
Paid the Supreme Sacrifice in Korea, 1950-1953, Ryan, Robert.

The Register

Thursday, January 25, 1900

The Boer Rifleman’s Song.

An unknown poet, or, at least, one who is known only by the initials, "L. J. O. B." has written what some call the best poem that the war in South Africa has inspired. It was printed in the "Telephone," a weekly paper published in Capetown, Africa, on Sept. 25th. The word "rooibaatje" refers to the red coated British soldiers: -

Lay my rifle here beside me, set my Bible on my breast.
For a moment let the wailing bugles cease;
As the century is closing, I am going to my rest,
Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant go in peace.

But loud through all the bugles rings a cadence in mine ear,
And on the winds my hopes of peace are strowed;
The winds that waft the voices that already I can hear –
Of the rooi-baatje singing on the road.

Yes, the red-coats are returning; I can hear the steady tramp,
After twenty years of waiting, lulled to sleep,
Since rank and file at Potchefstroom we hemmed them in their camp,
And cut them up at Bronkerspruit like sheep

They shelled us at Ingogo, but we galloped into range,
And we shot the British gunners where they showed;
I guessed they would return to us-I knew the chance must change -,
Hark! The rooi-baatje singing on the road!

But now from snow-swept Canada, from India’s torrid plains,
From lone Australian outposts, hither led
Obeying their commando, as they heard the bugle strains,
The men in brown have joined the men in red.

They come to find the colors at Majuba left and lost;
They come to pay us back the debt they owed;
And I hear new voices lifted, and I see strange colors tossed,
Mid the rooi-baatje singing on the road.

The old, old faiths must falter; the old, old creeds must fail –
I hear it in that distant murmur low –
The old, old order changes, and ‘tis vain for us to rail.
The great world does not want us – we must go.

And veldt, and spruit, and kopje to the stranger will belong.
No more to trek before him we shall load;
Too well, too well I know it, for I hear it in the song
Of the rooi-baatje singing on the road.


Letters that were written home during wartime.
These letters were published in "The Register" newspaper.
The letters have been added to give the reader an understanding of what our men and women went through during those years.

Boer War

Thursday, May 3rd, 1900

A Letter From Trooper W. H. Snyder.

Principal L. D. Robinson has received the following letter from Mr. W. H. Snyder, of B. Squadron, 2nd Canadian Contingent. It will be read with interest by his friends in Berwick and elsewhere.

On board Str. Milwaukee,

Feb. 28th, 1900.

My Dear Mr. Robinson,

I have a little leisure now, and will try to get a letter ready to send to you at the first opportunity. I have just come off a twenty-four hour continuous watch, so if my letter appears disconnected, please pardon on this account, as I naturally feel a little sleepy.

We are now eight days out on our long voyage and have come about 1,900 miles. It is rumored that we will be at the Cape Verde Islands by Saturday, and that we will be convoyed by a British Man O’War from there.

The first three days out was very rough but since then the water has been as calm as a lake. I was quite sick for two days but am all right now.

We are fairly comfortable but our sleeping quarters are pretty cramped. We sleep in hammocks, wedged in like sardines. We get up at a quarter to six and go at once to stables. The horses, poor creatures! Have the hardest time. Already some eight have died and been thrown overboard.

The weather to-day is simply perfect, the sea is like a mill pond. A breeze, like one is accustomed to meet on a balmy day in June, is sweeping over the decks. I am writing this stretched out on the deck. All over the ship is hustle and bustle. Some are drilling, others at fatigue work, others at target practice, while many are reading or writing. We seem to be altogether out of the track of sailing craft. Occasionally a steamer can be discerned away off on the horizon but never near.

We have a sort of impromptu concert on board every night, consisting of Songs, Instrumental Music, Stump Speeches, &c. Occasionally a sportive whale, shark or porpoise pays us a close call.

One of the prettiest, or at least one of the most impressive sights I ever saw, was the Parade Service last Sunday at 10 a.m. Imagine a large steamer steaming rapidly over a trackless sea. On her decks some 600 men assembled in a Service of Parade One of the old, familiar tunes is given out by Rev. Mr. Lane and as the organ strikes the first note the time is taken up by hundreds of voices. The strain of praise echoes and re-echoes far out over the waters and I feel as if it must reach even the little town in the dear home land where are all I hold dear. God bless and keep all! I hope once again in the future to meet you all, but if it is my lot to offer my unworthy life for my Queen and country, I promise, God helping me, to die like "a soldier and a man."

The strange feature of our voyage seems to be the fact of being away from all news. I dare say stirring events are taking place. The general health of the men is good. Yesterday, and for two days before, we were being vaccinated. I was rather amused at the antics of some of the men when they bared their arms for the surgeon’s lancet. It took quite a while for some of them to get the proper courage. One fellow remarked to me that he always fainted at sight of blood. I wonder what he will do on the battlefield!

Today is wash day on board. Our troop have their turn this afternoon.

I must close now. Will try to write you an interesting letter from South Africa.

With kind regards to all

Your old School Boy.

W. H. Snyder.

B. Squadron, 4th Troop,
South African Field Service


Boer War

Thursday, May 24, 1900

Another Letter from Trooper Snyder.

Green Point Camp,
Cape Town, S. A.,

April 1st, 1900

My Dear Mr. Robinson:

It is rumored about camp that we are to leave for front on Thursday, so I am going to try and get off a letter to you, as it will be next to impossible the write from there.

You doubtless know long ago that we arrived in Cape Town on March 21st, just exactly four weeks from the time we left Halifax. We met hardly any sailing craft while coming over, but once we entered Table Bay we found a perfect hive of steamers of all sizes – men of war transports. We heard of the capture of Cronje and of the relief of Ladysmith, shortly after our arrival, and cheer after cheer rent the air from six hundred of Canada’s sons. We did not know for a few hours about the gallant part our first Canadian Contingent had played in it, but when we did hear, cheer after cheer was given for our gallant comrades from the Land of the Maple Leaf.

I am wondering if you will be able to read this, for I am writing on the ground by the flickering candle. The camp where we are located along with the Regulars is about twenty minutes walk from the main part of the city. There are about 5000 men in camp.

Last week we had our first experience of an African sand storm. The sand came down like hail stones, cutting one’s face and hands till it brought the blood. Our tent blew down and our horses got frightened and stampeded. Altogether it was quite an experience.

It seemed a great change to find when we arrived here that the trees were all leaved out and the weather like our summer. The winter or rainy season is about commencing. The houses are very pretty, with beautiful lawns and gardens attached. You will meet nearly all kinds of people in Cape Town.

I was detailed, with about 150 more, to act escort to Boer prisoners yesterday. They were taken to St. Helena by the same boat that we came out in. There were about 400 of them. They took matters very philosophically and laughed and chatted. I was talking to one. He said the Boers didn’t blame Englishmen for fighting but thought that Canada had no business to get mixed up in it and that the Boers were laying for the Canadians particularly.

To-morrow we strike camp, just as if we were moving from place to place, and we have to hustle.

The cars in Cape Town, both steam and electric, are different from ours. The electrics are double deckers; the upper passengers go by a winding staircase. The steam cars are lower than ours, with three compartments and the door opens on the side.

Every day pedlars bring apples, grapes, tomatoes, eggs, pomegranate and other fruits to sell. Grapes are sixpence a pound, apples one penny apiece, tomatoes sixpence a dozen. The apples are small and insignificant.

Most of the vehicles are two wheeled and the mule is chiefly used. The natives get themselves up in very fantastic dresses.

Tell the scholars if they take their geographies and look at that picture of Cape Town and Table Bay and Mountain they will see exactly where we are. We are nearly at the water’s edge, directly opposite Table Mountain.

We are kept busy from 5 a.m., until night, continually on the go.

We will be glad to get to the front. Two of our fellows have died since landing.

April 3rd.

We go to the front to-morrow at 2 p.m. – to take part, if things turn out as anticipated, in what may be the deciding battle of the campaign.

I am well and in the best of spirits, and will give a good account of my self.

In haste,

Your old School. Boy,

W. H. Snyder


Boer War

Thursday, August 2nd, 1900

Letter from Trooper Snyder,

Guards Hospital,
London, July 15th, 1900

Dear Mr. Robinson: -

You know, no doubt, that I have been invalided to England with enteric and dysentery. For a few days after landing, I was quite “fit,” but to-day have had to re-enter hospital, very sick indeed, with dysentery and abscess of the liver. During the few days of my liberty I saw Her Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria, at Buckingham Palace, also St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster, the Tower of London, Houses of Lords and Commons, War Office, Kensington Palace, Crystal Palace, British Museum, Madame Tussand’s Wax-works, etc. I have made the acquaintance of Mr. Murray, private Secretary to the Duke of Connaught. By his influence I was permitted to go into one of the Towers of Buckingham Palace, overlooking the grounds, where last Wednesday the Queen held a garden party. Glorious weather favored it, and afforded a grand opportunity for the display of exquisite toilettes, to which the beautiful garden of Buckingham Palace forms so fitting a background.

Long before Her Majesty’s appearance thousands of guests thronged the velvet lawns and shady alleys of the grounds, or floated in lazy enjoyment on the cool waters of the lake, in boats manned by the Queen’s bargemen wearing their picturesque scarlet coats and enormous black headgear, very much resembling a huntsman’s cap. Precisely at five the bands of the Royal Horse Guards, the Royal Artillery and the Irish Guards, which were stationed at different points in the gardens, struck up the National Anthem, and the Queen’s carriage, drawn by grey horses, made its appearance. I shall never forget my first impression of the Queen. She looks a good woman in every sense: - kind, motherly and sympathetic. With her was the Princess of Wales and her granddaughter. The Lord Chamberlain and Lord Steward walked on either side of the carriage which proceeded at a foot’s pace down the broad walk skirting the garden, between rows of guests standing ten deep to greet their royal hostess, who bowed and smiled. After driving twice around the grounds, during which the carriage was often stopped that her Majesty might speak to some of her more distinguished guests, the Queen entered the Royal pavilion, which was one mass of roses, orchids, lilies and ferns, and there received the diplomatic corps.

Now, if I am fit, I shall have to return to South Africa on August 9th, but the doctor ridicules the idea.

W.H. SNYDER.


Boer War

February 6th, 1902

Letter from Corporal W. H. Snyder.

The following letter, recently received by Rev. D. H. Simpson, will be read with interest.

Zondogskraal, Transvaal,

Dec 12th, 1901.

My Dear Mr. Simpson.

I have been going to write to you for some time, and now as I have a good opportunity I shall not delay any longer. We are "out on the veldt" in genuine earnest. I am on outpost duty with a squad all by myself – that is, the nearest S. A. C. post that we can see is No. 14 Troop. Our own head quarters is nearer, but we can not see it from our position. The last few days we have had plenty of excitement as numbers of Boers come very close to our squad. One of my men and myself had a very narrow squeak day before yesterday. I had just come back to my post from No. 14 Troop, when away off in the Valley below I saw a stray horse making straight for the skyline, and a horseman in pursuit.

When I got down to my outpost one of the men told me that McDonald was after a stray horse. Handing my rifle over, I immediately started out to help him. As I got to the foot of the Kopje McDonald and horse disappeared over the skyline. When I got up to the top I saw the pair disappearing over the next skyline. I followed on, but got no sight of them, so I concluded to await developments. Time passed and I began to feel uneasy. (I may say that 400 Boers under Botha and others were not more than two miles away and are still out there and we are looking for an attack everyday.) I mounted and went on. Soon I espied two horses coming towards me. I felt relieved and was congratulating McDonald on his success, when over the skyline next me I saw McDonald coming waving, his hat. At once I knew they were Boers. My first impulse was to fly, for remember we were both unarmed, but I saw that McDonald’s horse was completely played and I could not desert a comrade, so I waited. Pretty soon he was up to me, and his first exclamation was that he was almost into the Boer lines. Now our race, perhaps for our lives, commenced. The Boers got near enough to fire, and soon those little bursts of dirt around showed us that they had the range, and on we went, my horse leading the way. His tired one plucked up heart and before long we were out of harm’s way, for my outpost had seen us coming. Now we might have been all right but it was one of the narrowest escapes from death or capture I have yet had in the S.A.C.

That night we made a night march to lay for Boers, Corporal Dobie and myself being the non-commissioned officers in charge. We waited till day light but did not see any. We may go out again tonight.

It is very hot and rainy now, and miserable campaigning. I have a splendid squad under me, one lance corporal, six troopers and myself. It is called the fighting squad, as they had been considerable fighting before I took charge of it.

I am sending you a sketch of our outpost, showing our tent, trench and wire entanglements, with the skyline in the distance.

I have been offered a promotion in the Canadian Scouts, but think it best to stick where I am.

I suppose the new Canadian Contingent will have left Canada before this. It seems hard to realize that Christmas is so near, for the weather is almost killing in the intensity of the heat. Then at night we can hardly sleep for mosquitos, flies, lice, tarantulas and other vermin.

I am fortunate in having several P.E.I. men in my lot, for they are excellent fellows. Capt. Moore, of Charlottetown, and Lieut. Willets, of Windsor, our two officers, are splendid men; good, capable officers and always alive to our best interests. Lieut. Willets is the son of the President of King’s College.

We are living high on bully beef and hard tack.

I am thankful to say I am in good health and spirits.

With kindest regards and best wishes that you and yours may spend a Happy Christmas and enjoy a prosperous New Year, I am your friend.

(Corporal) W. H. Snyder,

17 Troop S.A.C.

C. (Eastern Division,) Transvaal.


WW1

June 30, 1915

At the Front.

Mrs. T. B. Morse favors us with a letter from Dr. W. T. M. MacKinnon, dated "Somewhere in France" June 3rd, which reads as follows:

………But when the war is to end no one knows. The only tip I can give you is that when you hear of the Allies having taken Lille, you may count on the war being half over. You have probably seen my letter to Mrs. Clark in The Register, and know of some of the things I have done and seen.

I have been up near the fighting line for several weeks in command of a section of a Clearing Station. We are working under canvas. I have forty-four big hospital tents for the accommodation of five hundred patients. My personnel consists of four medical officers and thirty-five non-commissioned officers and men. We live in tents and do our cooking out of doors.

During the recent active fighting we were very busy and several thousand cases passed through our station. On one busy day we dressed, fed and sent to the base 1036 wounded men. Recently, we have been working behind the Canadian Division, and several hundred wounded Canadians have passed through our hands. This is the first time a Canadian Station has worked behind our Canadian troops. The Canadians are now out of the trenches getting a much-needed rest. In the recent engagement they more than sustained the excellent reputation they made at Ypres.

A recent German criticism says that the Canadians are the best fighters in Europe today. They have certainly given the Germans a bad time of it whenever they have been in the lines. I was at Ypres for a day during the big fight in April. It was certainly a terrible affair. I was at the Canadian Field Ambulances, where the wounded were being brought in a constant stream from the front. I saw many of the victims of gas. The smell was so strong on their clothing that they had to be kept outside the buildings. Several died before they could be moved to a hospital. The noise of the guns and the clatter of the convoys going and coming to and from the front were terrific. Later in the day I went up to Ypres, two miles away. The place was being shelled by the Germans, but we got up to what the soldiers called Hell’s Corner. The city was in ruins. We did not find any wounded, but saw many dead horses in the streets and several dead civilians lying where they fell when trying to escape with a few of their belongings. As we were standing by the car a shell whistled by us and landed in a house about 40 rods away. We took the hint and left at once. Another shell followed and struck a house just at the moment we passed it. We put on more gas and did not wait to see the result. About a quarter of a mile further another landed in the rear of a house as we flew by. The occupants were all out in front with their household goods, waiting for an opportunity to get them away. It is a most pathetic sight to see the inhabitants leaving the danger zone. The aged are put in wheelbarrows or dog carts or sometimes even in baby wagons. Children, too small even to walk, are compelled to try, and you see them trotting along clinging to their mothers, who are loaded down with bundles of all kinds. Every kind of cart you can think of is brought into service. The stream of refugees sometimes extends for miles. When night overtakes them they sleep in the fields, if there is no shelter for them. Where they are going they do not know. Their only desire is to get away from danger.

At the hospital we see some awful wounds. Fine fellows, who have done their bit, maimed or disfigured for life, yet all anxious to recover and return to duty. When they come to us they are bloody, dirty and muddy. We give them a mattress of straw and two blankets and at once provide them with hot soup and cocoa. They are then washed and dressed and given, if possible, clean clothing. Their wounds are dressed and they are then sent by ambulance train to the Base or to England. Cases too seriously injured and cases requiring operations we keep here until they are better as the result of treatment.

We have had a number of wounded German prisoners recently. One man had a broken thigh with bone protruding. Gangrene had set in and amputation was necessary. His last words as he went under the anaesthetic were "Gott strafe England." He recovered and was sent to England.

Another convoy is coming in with more wounded, so I must stop.

Address: Major W. T. M. MacKinnon, First Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, British Expeditionary Force, France.


WW1

June 30, 1915

Letter from Kenneth Butler.

Stonefarm Camp,
Shorncliffe, Kent, Eng.

Dear Mother. – You will see by this that I have reached camp. I wish I could tell you all the sights I have seen and their extreme beauty, especially since I have arrived in England.

We broke camp on the Common on Tuesday, (May 18th) and went into theArmouries, where we stayed till Thursday. Everything was in a bustle and there was lots of excitement when we saw that we were really going at last. We could hardly believe it when they first told us, but when we were told to turn in our blankets and parts of our equipment we thought that perhaps it might be true. Thursday morning there was a little note in the papers telling the way we would march to the boat. We did not leave the Armouries till after twelve o’clock, but long before nine the streets were black with people. We marched a mile and a half through the city and the streets were lined with people all the way. They were cheering and waving flags. We went on board the liner Saxonia about two o’clock, got our berths and had dinner. We sailed from the dock at six o’clock sharp. The docks on the water front were lined with people the whole way out of the harbor and there was a big crowd on Citadel Hill. Flags waved and whistles blew till we were out of sight. Friday morning we were on the Atlantic, out of sight of land. I expected to be seasick, but I was not a bit sick the whole way over. We had a little drill each day, but most of my time was spent with a magazine in my hand or leaning over the rail trying to catch sight of a vessel or anything else that had motion. For the most of the way we seemed to be alone on the water. We passed a couple of boats the second day out. When off Newfoundland we saw some icebergs. Everyday was about the same till we got near this coast and into the “war zone.” Then we had boat drill. All the boats were slung over the side so as to be ready for instant use. We saw nothing suspicious, though, and when we got within about a day’s sail from England, a couple of torpedo boat destroyers came out and escorted us in. One of the men from the boat told us that the captain said we were chased by a German submarine for more than two hours, when one of the destroyers chased it and it had to give up. If that is true, it was pretty close to us.

About three o’clock on Saturday morning (29th) we entered Plymouth Sound and we docked about six o’clock. I was up when we first sighted land and saw all the sights. I wish you could have seen what I saw. The scenery was most beautiful.

We took train about twelve o’clock for camp. Did not get there till the same time that night. We passed through several large towns, and also through a part of London. We saw Windsor Castle from the car window. At every station along the line there was a crowd of people to welcome us. They certainly received us well over here. Coming into the harbor we passed some ships that were in the fleet that Nelson commanded at Trafalgar. They were crowded with sailors, who sure made some noise cheering.

The day after we arrived (Sunday) I went in the afternoon to Folkestone. (I sent you some views of that place.) The English towns are pretty. Everywhere you go you will find flowers blooming. The back yards of mills and houses are perfect flower gardens. The streets are so clean and the fields are so level and green, with trimmed hedges all around them that one seems to be looking at a picture.

We have got down now to drill in earnest, but the weather is so hot that we almost roast during the day. We get up at 5.30 in the morning, go on parade at 6.30, stay till 7.30. After breakfast we fall in at nine o’clock and drill till 12.45. After dinner we fall in at two and drill till five. We do a little work, you see. We have route marching with full equipment every afternoon, and believe me, in this heat, it is hard work as any one could want.

We have a very good camp here. It is clean and the huts (we have houses instead of canvas) are warm, light and clean, but the dust is something fierce.

I am well now and am enjoying myself fine. Have talked with a lot of fellows back from the front, wounded or choked up with that gas the Germans are using. We are only about five hours from the firing line and on fine days we can hear the big guns booming across the Channel.

Remember me to all the young people and ask them to write as often as possible. Tell them I will write whenever I get a chance. Ken.

Address: 67715 Pte, J. K. Butler, B. Company, 25th Battalion, East Sandling Camp, Shorncliffe, County Kent, England.


WW1

August 18, 1915

Letter from Roy Beardsley

Shorncliffe, England,

DEAR MOTHER: - I will tell you about my trip on the boat from Canada.

We only had a convoy from Quebec for two days and then we were alone until we were in sight of England.

The first three days of our voyage were foggy, the others were beautiful, although I was sick for a day.

We lost a man overboard about our fifth day out, which made things kind of gloomy for awhile. We were eleven days coming over on the boat.

The view as we came into Plymouth harbor was certainly grand. I have never seen a prettier place in all my travels. The scenery is beyond description.

There are about forty or fifty thousand soldiers here and we have a grand time. I saw the Robinson boys and am going to see Will Somerville and the other fellows Sunday. They are about three miles from my camp, so you see we cover quite a bit of land.

As we came through Exeter the Mayoress treated us to tobacco, oranges, cake and sandwiches. She also presented us with the enclosed card. We appreciated her kindness very much.

We also passed through the outskirts of London. It was fully a half-hours ride, at a mile a minute, I was going to say, as the trains ran fast before we got through the place. It is some city and worth seeing.

If the boys home could only see a few of the sights here and how the English people treat us, they would envy us.

I was going to speak about the train. The engine is small and the cars have no end doors, but have three compartments with side doors. About ten ride in each compartment. The trains run at a greater speed than I ever travelled before.

I have seen a lot of the boys back from the front, who were wounded, and it was a sad sight. None of us said much, but thought a good deal about it, and will certainly have it in mind when we go to the front. We will teach them (the Germans) a lesson if we have the strength to do it.

If the people of Canada could only realize what is going on, every man that could handle a gun and endure this life, would be into it. They don’t realize it though. I never did until I saw for myself. I am glad I am here with the rest. You may tell the boys just how I feel about it, and let them think it over. There are lots of young fellows in Nova Scotia that would be doing a great deed if they would only follow the boys in Khaki …….

I had a narrow escape from lightning yesterday. There are twelve boys in each tent. Carl Alcorn, one of the boys in another company committed suicide the same day, by shooting himself.

I was down to Norfolk Beach and could see the coast of France very plainly.

Roy.

P.S. Send papers from home.

6618 Roy H. Beardsley, C Squadron, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Contingent, Ditgate Camp, Shorncliffe, England.


WW1

August 4, 1915

Letter from Cyril March.

S. S. Northland
Approaching Devonport
July 10, 1915.

Dear Mother. – A few lines to let you know we are about to land, safe and sound, after a very pleasant trip and with beautiful weather.

Submarines are numerous and are rather avaricious, so we did not take the usual route.

A couple of days out, when we approached the danger zone, every precaution was taken in case of being torpedoed. The boats were lowered to the promenade deck, a special guard of 50 crack shots (supposed) were chosen from the 1750 men on board. Most of our Regina boys were in the party. I was one. Our work was, in case of being torpedoed, to prevent the small boats from being sunk by gun fire from the attacking submarine when she rose to the surface. Our boys were stationed right at the stern, up over our one big gun, on the highest deck. We kept the horizon continuously swept with powerful glasses, looking for periscopes, but none showed themselves.

Yesterday afternoon two tiny specks were seen on the horizon; they grew and grew and came fairly leaping over the water. They were two British destroyers, Black Devils, they are called.

In the morning our ship had received word from England that an escort would protect us. When about 100 miles distant the “Black Devils” sent word that they would reach us at 3.30. They arrived at 3.40.

When they came we were much relieved – although we were not exactly afraid of a cold plunge – then the British flag could float from its staff. Just imagine, mother, a time when the British flag floats only with grave danger to its ship on the ocean! I trust that Canada will have men to send until the flag that has stood for Liberty and Protection may safely float to any breeze that blows.

One of the most beautiful scenes I have ever witnessed greeted me when I first appeared on deck about 5.30 this morning. The coast with its fortifications very close on the left – the rich green foliage, and the Old Cornish Castle, about which Jack the Giant-killer legends hang in interesting lore, lifted its turrets over the hill and above the mist.

Back of all, on the sky line, were the hedge-fenced fields, and in the harbor, as we go along, numberless ships, transports, cruisers and just this minute, a submarine goes with its turret above water and its cheering crew. Everywhere we receive cheers ………..

Cyril.


WW1

October 6, 1915

Letter from Capt. J. W. Margeson.

To the Editor of The Register:

As we are on the eve of departure from England for the Continent, I thought it might interest your readers to receive a brief account of our sojourn in this country. We have been here since May 31st, preparing for the work which must now be undertaken. Our camp is beautifully situated, sheltered between the hills in the County of Kent. In this valley about 75,000 Canadian boys are in training. London is 60 miles away and on week-ends I occasionally run up to see the sights in that most wonderful city. One of the famous Cinque Ports, Hythe, lies just in front of us on the Atlantic Ocean. Only a few miles distant to the south-west William I. landed in 1066, and a few miles to the north-east Julius Caesar landed in 55 B.C. and made Britain a Roman Province. I have visited both spots and I can assure you it made me think. Only one mile from this camp stands the castle where the murderers of Thomas a Becket halted on their journey to Canterbury. At Sandgate, two and a half miles away, the great Temperance Reformer, John B. Gough, was born. Canterbury, with its religious associations, is only 15 miles distant.

In my spare moments I have seen as much as I could of this country for I may never travel this way again. The training has been very thorough. Our men came from Nova Scotia physically fit to undertake hard work and hard conscientious work they have done. From 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. there has been little time for play. All the men have had their practice at the Hythe shooting ranges, which are looked upon as the finest in the world. Trench warfare has been undertaken and it would surprise you to see how quickly the 25th Battalion can “dig themselves in “ and prepare to meet the foe. Much more has been accomplished which I am not privileged at the present time to make known. However, you can take it from me that the boys are ready – prepared to fight, prepared to die if necessary for the preservation of those liberties which Canadians have enjoyed across the seas.

Our Brigade (the 5th) is comprised of the 22nd Regiment (French Canadian); 24th Regiment (Victoria Rifles, Montreal); 25th, (Nova Scotia) Regiment. Col. Watson is brigadier. He has seen service at the front and is an excellent officer. Col LeCain is very popular in the battalion; the boys have every confidence in him and are prepared to follow him wherever he leads. Major L. H. McKenzie, of Stellarton, the adjutant, is one of our hardest worked officers. I have recently been appointed assistant adjutant, which, with my duties as paymaster, gives me long working hours. However, that is what I came over for and so long as my health is good, I shall not complain.

We have just completed our list of men for the front. We are taking 1,025 officers, non-commissioned officers and men, together with several interpreters. We have not had a death in the battalion since coming across. The men are kept in the best possible physical condition, get plenty of good, fresh air and are well clothed and fed. We hear no grumbling from any one. The 17th Battalion is our reserve battalion, from which we will get our drafts of men as we require them. We are only allowed to take 35 lbs. personal baggage on the transport, the rest we must carry on our backs.

Tomorrow morning we have a parade in full marching order and inspection by the brigadier. I can assure you it will tax all my strength to carry my load. The boys from Lunenburg County are all well. Capt. W. L. Whitford is my room mate and is looked upon as one of our best officers. Lieuts. Mosher and Murphy are doing creditable work. Harry MacIntosh, Lunenburg, is quarter-master Sergeant, C. Company, while Sergt. Roy King is in the same Company. G. C. Nicholl is in the quartermaster’s stores, Gordon W. Hall is the medical orderly and expects soon to be transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, Sydney Hallimore and Thomas Nass are both hard workers, Frank Zwicker, Harold Aulenbach and Joseph Bolivar are on the staff as batmen, J. Neilson and W. H. Corkum are always on the job. The latter is Enam’s son. G. Edmonds is in the A.M.C. Lieut. Gerald Cragg and the boys with him are getting on fine. J. W. Hamm, of New Germany, is a shoeing Sergeant in the Artillery. M. Freda, from Chester, is not far from us. Harry Chase is with the 6th Mounted Rifles. Capt. R. J. MacMeekin, formerly of the 17th, is with the Canadian Army Dental Corps. He looks well and feels fine. I hope I have not left any names out but as I have only a few minutes to draft this hastily written letter I may have done so. There is one thing Lunenburg County can be proud of “No crime sheets appear against our boys.” All seem convinced of the hard and serious task which lies before them.

Of the boys in the first contingent I heard good reports from all. I saw Hilchey, Caldwell, Millett, Mader and Wile. The former was wounded. The rest of the boys I have not run across as yet, but hope to before long.

I noticed by the press that patriotic meetings were held in Lunenburg County on the 1st anniversary of the war. Meetings are good, but action must follow them. We need men, but above all machine guns and ammunition. We have been fighting men against guns. We cannot keep this up. We will win, but not until our guns are as effective as those of our enemy and our ammunition as plentiful. Our men are better, but we need the stuff to back them up. Thank Heaven it is coming and before long you will see the result of it. The man who sits at home and thinks this war can be waged successfully without doing something is making a mistake. All cannot come over here. It is at great personal sacrifice that many of us have come. Everyone can do something to help the cause along. The purchasing power of $1.00 is more today in Canada than it is here.

I saw Admiral Beatty’s squadron the other day and it certainly was a sight to see the Dreadnoughts and smaller craft all ready for battle but unable to find an opponent ready to grapple with them.

I hear no politics discussed over here. The people are thinking of other things. I would like to see our Canadian people following their example.

We have had inspections by the King, Lord Kitchener, the Premier of Canada, Sir Sam Hughes and the Hon. Bonar Law. All seemed pleased with the troops as they passed under review.

I must not stop without mentioning the good work of the hospital staffs. The Canadian doctors and nurses from Canada are also doing a noble service. The Red Cross Church Institutes and Y.M.C.A.’s are on the spot lending their aid. Taken together it is a great organization running like a perfect piece of machinery.

It has been raining nearly every day since St. Swithin’s, but we hope to see a change soon.

We have been visited with hostile air craft, but so far no bombs have fallen on our camps, although I think this was one of their objectives. Our airmen are right on the job. We should not, I suppose, fight in the spirit of revenge, but the action of the Huns in submarining passenger ships and killing women and children is enough to make our blood run cold. You can hardly realize the dastardly type of warfare they wage. We will fight fairly and will win in the end.

I must bring this rather rambling letter to a close as duty calls me elsewhere. Your readers have my best wishes. I merely ask you to think once in a while of your friends enduring hardships in France and the Dardanelles and I know you will do all in your power to make their task easier. The motto of the 25th Battalion is:

“Tho’ beaten back in many a fray,
Never strength will borrow
Where the vanguard stands today
The rear will come tomorrow.”

Yours faithfully,
J. W. Margeson.
East Sanding, Sept. 9, 1915.


WW1

December 15, 1915

A Correction.

A Halifax paper says:

Captain J. W. Margeson, M.P.P. for Lunenburg, is understood to be returning on the Pretorian in charge of 150 wounded soldiers. The report that he was returning to “reorganize the pay department in Nova Scotia” was incorrect on the face of it – as some other of the current gossip in London cabled to Canada is incorrect, and is officially denied from Ottawa. The pay department of Nova Scotia is in the expert capable hands of Colonel Sircom, and in no military division in Canada is the pay department in more perfect condition. Many officers being recalled from the front will come home in charge of wounded soldiers, and during their stay in Canada will doubtless be employed in the special service of addressing recruiting meetings. Captain Margeson will be eminently successful in this connection.


WW1

Berwick Register, September 1st, 1915

From Shorncliffe.

Mrs. G.W. Butler has handed us some letters from her son Kenneth, from which we make the following extracts. Some of the most interesting passages in the letters have to be omitted in defense to the rules of censorship.

June 28th. – I have had about fifteen letters since I arrived here. The last one was dated June 12th. I got it 25th, so, you see, it takes a little time for a letter to reach me. We are in the prettiest part of England and there are some very pretty historic places near here...About five minutes walk from here are the ruins of an old castle, supposed to be more than thirteen centuries old. It looks it too. Parts of the outer wall are falling down and trees are growing up on the ruins. The castle itself is in a fair state of preservation. It is occupied by some rich family. Get your History and read about where those knights murdered Thomas A. Becket stopped and made their plans. It was in this castle. About a mile and a half from here is a town called Hythe, which is more than a thousand years old. It is a pleasant place, right on the Channel. I go down there quite often. There is an old church in the town, under which is a crypt containing the remains of more than 2000 victims of the Black Death. Along the shore are more than a dozen of large stout towers built at the time that Napoleon was planning an invasion of Britain.

About three miles from here are the ruins of Caesar’s camp, built about 55 B.C. Folkstone and the old, old town of Dover are near here.

I am just a short walk from where Billy Stewart is camping. We will be able to see each other often. Yesterday I went down to Hythe and went to church in the evening. After church they had an aftermeeting, something like they used to have at home. I enjoyed it very much as they made me feel right at home.

Fudge and papers or anything you can send will be most acceptable.

July 8th. -…. On Tuesday we received the Canadian mail…I was acting postman that day. When I got to the post office and found a large mail waiting me, I telephoned back to the 25th Orderly Room and asked them to send over a transport to carry the mail back…I guess there were some happy boys in the 25th that night; most of them were remembered by a postcard or a letter. I felt sorry for those who did not hear from home as I know what it is like. I can’t grumble this time though. I got five letters. I could have read five times as many if I had received them …..

Since we have been in camp we have been going through a hard course of study and training in order to be fit to go across to France and take our place in the trenches

July 12th.

Dear Mildred. - … if you only knew how a fellow feels over here when he gets no mail you would write hundred of letters. This is Monday morning. The rest of the boys are on parade so it is quiet in the hut. We are certainly having great weather. It has only rained one day in about six weeks. It is something like our summer weather at home only a little hotter.

The boys have just yelled, “There goes an aeroplane.” Though I have seen hundreds of them since I have been here, of course I had to run and see this one.

We are only about forty miles from the firing line and can hear the boom of the big guns. Everyday we see troops on the way to the front and wounded soldiers coming back. Some are pretty badly used up either from wounds or by the German gas.

I suppose our turn will come to “go over” some day, but we are not letting it worry us while we are in England. The boys here are writing home calling down the home boys for not enlisting. I would not call down any one, as it is no easy thing to enlist, but still I would like to see some more of them coming …. I hear that Harold Robinson is here.I am going to get track of him.

July 13th. - …. We are all in good health and happy. The boys are playing ball this evening. If you could hear them shouting you would say that they are only thinking of the present, but when they are sitting around one can hear them talking of the work ahead and wondering how long it will be before they again see home. It was quite amusing when we first came here to see the fellows get mixed up in counting the English money and in making change. It took me some time to get on to what they mean by a “bob,” “tanner,” “half-brown,” and other names for English coins. I can get along all right now.

I wish you would ask some of my friends to send a paper or a magazine once in a while. Also, tell them not to wait for answers to their letters before writing again.

July 16th. – I must write another letter today and tell you of the time I had in London yesterday.

Three or four weeks ago they came on parade and asked for the names of all those that had ever been in the Boy Scouts. I gave my name with some other fellows and wondered what it was for. We heard nothing more from it till yesterday morning when we were told to get ready and take a special train to London. We were to be the guests of General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, on whose invitation we were going to the city. We left here at 9 a.m. and arrived at Charing Cross Station at 11 a.m. At the station we were inspected by the Chief Scout himself. He made a short speech of welcome and told us he would be pleased to see us at the Queen’s Theatre at two o’clock.

To fill in the time till then we went on a sight-seeing walk and managed to see some interesting places. I was all over Trafalgar Square. From there went to Piccadilly and Oxford Circus. I always knew that London was the largest city in the world, but, believe me, when you walk the streets of that city, you really think that it is the world itself, or that all the people in the world have moved there.

At two o’clock we went to the Queen’s Theatre and were shown to the seats reserved for us. The programme was one arranged by Society ladies in aid of the Canadian Red Cross Work. About the end of the first half of this programme, Sir Robert Baden-Powell and his wife arrived with Sir Robert Borden and the General in command of the First Canadian Contingent. Each received three rousing cheers and each gave a short and pleasing speech I reply. I say pleasing as the speeches were all in praise of the Canadian soldiers. After that Sir Baden-Powell welcomed us again and presented each one personally with a small gift which was to serve as a reminder of the time we had spent in the Scouts and as a remembrance of him and his English Scouts. The gift (which I am sending home to be kept for me) was a neat cigarette case, filled with the best chocolates and done up in fine paper sealed with a small British flag. You will notice that the chocolates are gone. I ate some and the remainder were captured by some of the ladies who were acting as our hosts. In letting them have them I remembered something about “Sweets to the sweet,” which helped me to endure the loss.

After the presentation we cheered again for the Chief Scout and then, as we had an hour or two before our train was to leave, we went out to see some more of the city. I walked through Trafalgar Square and along one of the prettiest streets in the city of London to the entrance of Buckingham Palace, the residence of our King and Queen.

I also walked toward London Bridge, but saw so much on the way that it was time to turn back toward the station before I reached the Bridge. There have been thousands of Canadians soldiers in London, but, for all that, one is stared at and spoken about wherever he goes, and it is all praise for the Canadian troops. We left London at 6.30 p.m. and arrived in camp at 9, having spent one of the most pleasant days we have experienced in England. Today I am back in the office and it seems dull after the exciting time of yesterday. If I can manage it, I am going up for a week before we go to the front.

July 25th. - ….As today is Sunday, we have most of the day off. In fact, all we have to do is to attend church for an hour in the morning. The rest of the day we spend in eating, sleeping, writing to friends, and we usually take a walk to one of the towns in the afternoon. I purpose to try to get to Folkestone this afternoon and to Baptist Church in the evening, but the 25th Battalion is for Brigade Duty this week and I may have to go on picquet at any time. Right next to us is the 22nd. They are practicing the Dead March for this funeral of one of their men, who dropped dead the other day. I think this is the first casualty in the Second Contingent……

I hope there is another Canadian mail in a day or two as I like to hear from home. The last mail from Canada brought me eight letters. I am answering them as fast as I can. I also got The Register of June 30th with my Masterpiece (?) in print.

Here is a sample of the English weather: A minute or so ago the sun was shining and hardly a cloud in the sky. Now it is “pouring out.” I am commencing to feel that it must be near mess time, so will close this and get my knife and fork. When the grub comes it is a case of “The early bird catches the worm” and I try to be one of the early birds. I have had lots of cherries and strawberries at the rate of sixpence a pound …. Have just remembered that my birthday is but a few weeks away (Sept. 13th). I will be only nineteen, but I feel almost like an old man. Love to all at home, yourself and papa included.

Ken.


WW1

September 15, 1915

In France

Mrs. J. B. March has favored us with some letters from her son Cyril of the “Princess Pats.”

The first one dated August 7th, written from London contains an interesting account of a visit to that city. Another dated August 22nd, is also written from London. In this he says: “Time for writing is very, very scarce. The only time we have had has been evenings, and on many of them, because of danger from Zeppelin raids, all lights were ordered out …. I have not seen Preston Ilsley yet. Have seen W. H. Snyder, Kinney, Milton Robinson. Henry Pineo is taking an officer’s course here; I have not seen him yet though I hope to before long.

“The poor old Russians seem to be getting it pretty hard these days. However, the day for the Allies is coming. Things are getting lined up all right. I would not be in any other place than here for anything, for the old world can never move along in its usual channel until this war is settled and settled as it should be.”

The following day, August 23rd, he writes from Southampton.

“It was only yesterday that I wrote you from London. This morning at 4 a.m. (I got back from London at midnight) I found all preparations had been made for our embarkation today. I certainly had to hustle and get my kit together. We sail some time during the afternoon.”

Then comes a picture post-card showing “Rouen: La Cathedral” on one side. On the other under date of August 25th, is this message:

“Dear Mother, Arrived safely and soundly in beautiful France; we are all feeling fine, never better. Splendid arrangements are made for the comfort and convenience of the boys, France is very brave and noble in these days, Cyril.”

Address, Pte. A. C. March, McG. 195, P.P.C. L.I, B.E.F., France.


WW1

Wednesday, October 27, 1915

At the Front

Kenneth Butler writes:

Dear Mother. – When I last wrote you from Folkestone, Sept. 15th we (25th) were preparing to leave camp to go across to France. Everything was in a bustle of excitement as we knew the minute had come at last. We left camp at 7 o’clock that night. We marched to the boat, which we boarded about 10 o’clock. Very few people knew we were going as we moved after dark. The trip across the Channel was made in safety, we landing at Boulogne late that night. After landing we had to march several miles to a place where we could find a little rest. I guess we needed it. We had been each carrying a pack which weighed 70 to 80 pounds. We were “issued with” our reserve rations, consisting of hard-tack, biscuits, bully-beef and seven pounds of powdered stuff for making different things to eat.

We boarded train that afternoon (16th) travelling till late that night. The country is very pretty, but we did not greatly enjoy it as we travelled in a very slow freight train. We passed through Calais, and then travelled south till we got somewhere near (censored) where we unloaded ourselves. Then we had to march more than five miles before we could rest. We were in want of sleep and tired of carrying the pack. We slept in an open field that night and it sure was cold.

When we arose the next morning (17th) we found that our march of the night before was wasted as we had gone out of our way. We started about 9 o’clock and marched till dinner time. After a two hours’ rest, we started again, marching till late at night, when we slept in a barnyard. The houses here are “shingled” in slate or tile. The farmyard is right in front of the house, which makes it look dirty. We are in plain sound of the guns now.

Sept. 18th. – Got up this morning, washed, fixed up my kit and had breakfast. We’ll lay around for a while now, as we are to be billeted in the village … We are now billeted in a farm house. There are about 120 men here. We sleep in the barns in the straw. You can imagine the change to a soft bed. It sure looks good to me. We were told that we are to be here several days and rest, but I will go to bed early and rest, as we never know at what time we will have to move.

19th. – At 2 this morning we were called out and told that we had to go to the trenches. We considered it worth a cheer.

We marched all day, passing through a large town in Flanders, on the French frontier. Then we crossed into Belgium and slept at night in range of the big guns. They could shell us if they knew where we were. We can see the enemy’s lines and shells bursting in the air all the time. We are quite close to it now.

Somewhere in Flanders, Sept. 29th.

Dear Mother. – I suppose by this time you will know that we are in the trenches and will be anxiously watching the papers for news from me. I have much to tell you and will get about it, as I don’t know how many minutes I will have to myself. We have been eight days in the trenches on the firing line and have just come out for a few days’ rest. It seems months since we left England.

A week ago Monday night (20th) we were told to get ready as we were to take over part of the British line of trenches. About 10 o’clock that night we found ourselves under fire for the first time. By midnight we were banging away at the Germans in front of us. It is certainly a new experience to most of us to know that the moment we show ourselves we sign our death warrant. Two or three of our fellows will never see home again. Our casualties for the eight days were two killed and several wounded. Nobody was hurt in our company.

Talk about life in the trenches! I wish you could see me now. I am coated in mud to my ears. It rained the last three or four days we were in and the trenches are by no means dry. We slept in a hole made in the side of the trench and what with our wet clothes the nights were pretty cold. We had to go after rations and water every night by a road right in sight of the Germans. It used to get quite hot sometimes. When we first went in we would duck our heads every time we heard the ping of a bullet, but we soon got used to it so that at the last the screeching and bursting of shells over our heads did not bother us. We sometimes had narrow escapes from being hit by flying shrapnel.

We were in the trenches when the French made their big drive. For awhile there was some noise of guns and shells were whistling over our heads in all directions. The engagement was some distance from us but we heard it all right. It sounded like hundreds of heavy thunder storms put into one. The morning we were relieved the shrapnel was bursting around us in our trench … Bang! There goes a battery of artillery ….

We are now in billet in a bar about a mile from the trenches. We are supposed to be resting, but I guess they think we are mules rather than men. The rest consists of trench digging.

I got your letters and the box of candy and things from the friends at home. It reached me in the trenches and I was dying for a taste of candy. Thank all the friends very much. O yes! Socks come in quite handy. Our feet soon get wet in the trenches and a change feels good…

The 22nd Battalion have three German soldiers who gave themselves up; said they had been forced to fight and were half-starved.

Will answer all letters as soon as possible. With love to all,

Ken.


WW1

November 10, 1915

Private W. Ramey, of Co. No. 4, 13th Battalion, B.E.F., now in France,writes to his brother, Mr. O. Ramey, and his niece, Miss Lena Ramey, in South Berwick.

France, Oct. 6, 1915

Just a few lines in answer to your very welcome letter (dated Aug. 11th)which I have just received. The reason that letter took so long to find me was because you made a slight mistake in my address. You wrote 23rd Reserve Battery instead of Battalion. The letter went through the Canadian Artillery before the mistake was found…

I came to France toward the end of August and have been keeping the flag flying ever since. Of course you will have to wait until I come home to hear much about my life and other matters of interest because our letters have to be passed by the censor before they are sent off. I have been in the first line of trenches, so near the Germans that I could hear them talking. But you must not think that I am in the trenches from one week to another; Oh no! We get relieved every so often by another bunch. Then we retire to the base for a rest. It would soon get monotonous if we were in the trenches all the time, just waiting and watching – unless Fritz gets his wind up, then things get lively.

The 13th Battalion is kilted regiment. They are the Royal Highlanders of Canada. I never thought I would have to wear a skirt. It is a good thing that there are no photographers handy: their poor cameras would suffer.

About a dozen of the Bridgewater boys are over here: the rest have not come over yet. Those who are here are healthy and happy. We are all looking forward to a good old time when we get back. Don’t get the idea that it is a crowd of old women coming when you see our hobble skirts...


WW1

December 22, 1915

About Capt. J. W. Margeson.

Readers of The Register will readily recall the famous case of Dr. Crippen who was "caught by wireless" and brought back to England for trial. The trial was held in the famous Old Bailey. Pictures of that trial went the wide world over. Sketches appeared of the bench, the dock and the seats and tables of the eminent counsel. During the trial the prisoner in the dock occupied a comfortable leathern chair. I never expected to see a Nova Scotian sitting in that chair. It is the unexpected that most often happens.

If The Register circulated largely in Lunenburg County it might not do for me to tell the name of the man I saw in Crippen’s chair. The people of Lunenburg would resent the statement that their popular representative in the provincial parliament had been in such a position. Berwickians, too, might be resentful, since that popular member is a Berwick boy. But I must tell it. On Tuesday, November, 30, 1915, I was in the Old Bailey and in the prisoner’s dock, in Crippen’s chair, sat Capt. J. Willis Margeson, M.P.P.

If I stopped here, some Grits who don’t like Willis might say: "I knew he would come to a bad end because of all the things he has said against the Murray government."

But it happened this way: Captain Margeson, while in the fighting line in France, where more formidable missiles than Grit epithets were coming his way, got orders from his commanding officer to report in London. He did so, and got further orders to report at Ottawa. I am not supposed to know any of the details of these orders and if I did know it would not be etiquette la journalese to publish the same. Anyway, the captain had some spare time in London and since we both hail from the same port, it was natural that we should, for a time at least, be in each other’s company. He and I did some sightseeing together and, lawyer-like, he wanted to see the courts. For my part I prefer to avoid such places as long as possible. These are militaristic days, however, and when the captain said we must go to the Old Bailey it was not for me to demur.

Court was not in session, but there was an ever-ready (and ever-receptive) attendant in charge and we were shown through the wonderful building which now covers the site of the Old Bailey of centuries gone by. It was during this ramble that the Lunenburg member sat himself down in the Crippen chair.

Since I have started my letter with a story about Capt. Margeson I might as well tell another. The captain is not as well acquainted with the fruit market as I have become. It has been my business to get acquainted with the fruit market. I am quite familiar now with the Stratford Market, the Borough Market, Spitalfields Market and the far famed Covent Garden Market. In the latter market there is a big auction room called Floral Hall. It was built for floral displays but has degenerated. The salesmen, from barrels or boxes displayed on their stands, auction off large parcels of fruit running into hundreds and thousands. During the plum season Captain Margeson was in London and happened into Floral Hall. Plums were on sale. A glib auctioneer showed a beautiful box and the bidding began. The fruit looked toothsome and the gallant captain thought it would be a nice treat for his mess at Shorncliffe if he took a box to camp. He made a bid. Down came the auctioneer’s hammer and the purchaser stepped forward to discover that he had bought three thousand boxes of plums! Shades of Sam Hughes! A paymaster in the Canadian Army making a big fruit speculation! Anybody in the local legislature will tell you that nobody knows better than J. W. Margeson, M.P.P., how to get out of a tight corner. He uploaded those plums in less than sixty seconds. It seems that the auctioneer was ultra-patriotic and noticing the khaki of the bidder knocked them down without much competition and a Hebrew fruit dealer, seeing his opportunity, readily took over the three thousand boxes at the prices bid. Willis has been kicking himself (figuratively speaking) ever since for not making a shilling a box on his fruit flyer.

I wish I could tell some of the things the Captain told me of the front – but "mum" is the word. I can say, however, that he often got a shave from "Felix" Corbin, who now hails from Weymouth but for a long time was a beard remover in Berwick. He frequently saw Kenneth Butler, who is now, to quote the Captain, "a fine stalwart chap that can stand anything and because of his courage and trustworthiness has been made a messenger carrying important instructions between various places on the fighting line."

From some other officers I have learned that Captain Margeson, although paymaster, is not kept back in safe quarters. He has frequently had to be in fighting positions of great danger with troops under his command. That he has attained popularity in the camp goes without saying. Among the sick and wounded he has been "different from other officers." It might be his political training, it might be his nature, it probably is both, that makes it impossible for J. Willis Margeson to be "uppish." They say he can call every man in Lunenburg County by his first name, that one out of every five babies in that county is named after him, and that when this war is over if he wants to represent Lunenburg County at Ottawa all he has to do is to say the word and woe betide any man who dare offer opposition. The same qualities that have made him popular on the fields of pace have endeared him to the brave chaps on the field of battle.

I am very busy these days or I should tell a little more about "London in War Time." When I get back to Berwick, if Mr. Bligh will let me have the hall or one of the parsons let me have his pulpit there are lots of interesting things I can tell that I don’t want to get into print. Red Cross funds are needed and if the Berwick Red Cross thinks that I can draw a crowd willing to pay a little to hear me talk I am at their service.

P. F. Lawson


WW1

January 5, 1916.

Letter from W.A. Sommerville.

Capt. E.F. Robbins, Secty. Berwick Lodge, I.O.O.F., hands us a letter recently received from one of its members, W.A. Sommerville, of the Canadian Field Artillery. The letter is dated “Somewhere in France.”

Dec. 5, 1915.

DEAR BROTHERS. – I received your parcel today in perfect condition. I can assure you the contents were very welcome. A cigar is a luxury here

We get only the necessities of life and hardly those. A small quantity of smoking tobacco is issued every week but that is all, except some cigarettes. As I do not smoke these I have to hand them over to the other boys.

The weather is very bad here: rain every day, and mud! You do not know what mud is. All the way from one to two feet deep everywhere. Imagine a field on the Back Street, say, ten acres, with 400 horses and as many men teaming over it for two months and it raining almost every day: then you can guess what it is like here. If the Germans want this country they had better let them have it. I don’t know what anyone would want of it. When you hear anyone speak of “Sunny France”, call him a liar for me. There is no sun in this country…

The general health of the boys is good and they are standing up to the work much better than I expected. Any one who thinks a place in an ammunition column is a snap is fooling himself. The boys have to work long hours, night and day, and hard work. We have not lost a man or a team yet, but some have had very narrow escapes. There will be a lot for me to tell you when the war is over and we are back in the old hall again together.

Yours in F.L.T.

W.A. SOMMERVILLE.


WW1

February 2nd, 1916

Died In Hospital.

Mr. Henry Wentzell received a telegram on Monday from Ottawa, informing him that his brother, Private Joseph Hughie Wentzell, was dead. Private Wentzell’s death occurred on Saturday at a hospital in Etaples, France, from a gunshot wound in the neck.

Joseph Wentzell is the first of the Berwick Contingent of Volunteers for service overseas to lose his life in this war. He was born in Lunenburg on May 25, 1870. Mr. Henry Wentzell is the only living near relative of the deceased.


WW1

March 29, 1916

Letter From France.

Following are extracts from a letter forwarded to us by our Grafton correspondent, written by Reginald P. Kinsman of the McGill Hospital Corps, and dated France, February 29, 1916.

I was greatly pleased to receive your letter of a few days ago. It was kind of you to remember me. Letters from home are much appreciated these days.

Will you please thank your mother for the socks. She will be glad to know that they were appreciated. I gave them to a Nova Scotia boy who has a gunshot wound through both thighs. He will be transferred to a hospital in England in a few days and will enjoy the socks while crossing the Channel and also after he recovers, which will probably be soon as his wound is not very dangerous. You may think this strange, but we have learned many new and strange things about surgery as well as other matters, during this war. A rifle bullet almost invariably makes the cleanest wound possible. I have seen cases where men have been shot right through the abdomen (with rifle bullet) and they recovered. On the other hand, shrapnel is bad, very bad, often causing most shocking wounds, and almost always these wounds become infected. The only thing to do is to remove the pieces of shrapnel as soon as possible: sometimes one piece and sometimes as many as a dozen from one man. Our X-ray department does us great service in this work, in fact, is almost indispensable. The bullet or foreign body can be localized by means of the X-ray and its exact position determined. I see a good deal of this work at present as I am giving anesthetics in the operating room, and many are the strange freaks of – Chance, shall we say? – and miraculous escapes which are disclosed by the surgeon’s knife. A bullet will often enter the body, and, after just missing several vital spots by a hair’s breath, will be found imbedded in the muscle or under the skin in some distant part of the body.

I am afraid you will be getting bored with all this shop talk and surgical stuff. Let me tell you about the patients.

The English Tommy is about the most remarkable type of man which I have met: No, - wait a moment, - the Jack is quite the most remarkable, next, the Tommy. Believe me, these Scotch boys and the Tommies are wonderful, absolutely wonderful. For grit, they surpass anything I have ever seen. Then, they are jolly: so uncomplaining and so appreciative of everything one does for them that it is a pleasure to be able to help them and make them comfortable. The Canadian boys are fine, of course, but we get very few of them in comparison with the number of Imperial soldiers who pass through our hands. After all, I fear that I will have to acknowledge that I am partial to the “Scotties:” They come from all parts of Scotland, but they all have the same water mark. All the boys have great stories to tell, and I assure you, some of their experiences have not been pleasant. However, they treat it as a joke and laugh about their hardships. They bear no hatred toward the Germans, but not a man among them dreams of giving up until the “Bosches” are thoroughly licked. There’s not a man of them with even the thinnest streak of yellow in him. It makes one proud to be a Britisher. I happen to think of one story that the boys told which is, I think, pretty good. You may judge of the veracity of the narrater for yourself. It is a story of the Indian troops. The Ghurkas are adepts in the use of those little curved knives of theirs, you know. They think nothing of stealing out to the enemy’s lines, lopping off a German’s hand and trotting back with the souvenir under the arm. A good healthy East Indian will pull off a little stunt like this about three times a night, just for exercise, you know. Well for the story –

A Ghurka was out exercising one night. He came upon a German all alone by himself, dreaming of his good frau at home frying her evening meal of sawdust sausage and clover sauer kraut. The little black man (or brown, or whatever shade he may have been) whipped out his little knife and, with great eclat, lapped off the dreamer’s head, all but a bit of skin at the back of the neck. The German looked up with a grin and said “Ah! Ha! That’s where you got foolish.” “Is that so?” said the Ghurka, “shake your head and see.” Sounds plausible, Don’t you think so?

Our hospital here is very nicely situated. We occupy the site of an old Jesuit College. A high brick wall surrounds the grounds, and within are the remains of cloisters, grottoes, and shrines. Very romantic, if one had time to think of romance. We are on a hill. On one side lies the town. On the other sides are green fields and hills, with here and there a farm house. Very peaceful and quiet it looks. It is hard to realize what is going on not far away, except when a German or two chooses to pay us an unwelcome visit via aerial route, and drop a few bombs just to wake us up.

Now let us talk about dear old Canada and the dear ones at home. How far away they seem tonight! … I expect mother is a little lonely at home these days. She thinks so much and worries so much about me. There is really nothing to worry about. I’ll turn up as good as ever, Apres la guerre finis. If you have time and inclination I would like to hear from you again. I do like to hear from home. Am sending you a copy of our hospital paper.

Your sincere friend REG.


WW1

January 9th, 1918

Mrs. A.N. Rafuse, of Waterville, sends us the following:

Friday, Dec. 7, 1917.

DEAR MOTHER; - Just a few lines to let you know that I am getting along finely. I suppose you know, long before this, that I have been in hospital. I got a piece of shrapnel in the right arm and neck. It is getting on fine now and I expect to be in England in about a week's time. Don't think I will be doing any more fighting, and don't worry about me, as I am the happiest man over here. We are having some pretty cold weather now, but I am quite comfortable where I am. The gramophone is now playing "A Little Bit of Heaven" and I will think it is so when I get home again. I will be glad if you will send me fifteen dollars payable at an English post office, as we do not get paid, while in hospital. When I leave here I will be going to another in England. It is about four weeks since I had any mail. I have sent to the battalion and they will forward all letters on to me, and if I do not get them here they will be sent along after me when I leave here.

My address at present is Pte. R. N. Rafuse, 283268 42nd Battalion, Canadian, B.E.F., Bed 18, Ward L, No. 2 Australian General Hospital, B.E.F. France.

Remember me to all the girls and tell them I will write as soon as my arm is better.

By the way, we will soon be having Christmas and I hope you will all have a good time and that the war will be settled by then. Don't know if I will be having any turkey but, believe me, in all the hospitals the soldiers are well looked after and have a very good time. This letter has been written by a friend in the next bed to me.

With love to all from ROBERT


WW1

January 9, 1918

(Mr. Ezra W.A. Sawler, of Cambridge, furnishes us with the following letter from his friend, Pte. A.C. McGill.)

Dear Ezra. - Your letter arrived two days ago. Very glad to get a letter from home for they seem few and far apart. I am having some time. This is five weeks for me to be in bed. I got rather a bad smashing up; laid thirty-eight hours in a shell hole, before I got picked up. Anyway I got through with it all and am in Bradley, England. I have lost much flesh. To give you an idea how heavy I am. While having my bed made, the sister of the ward lifts me into another bed close by and does it easily. Before I was wounded I weighed one hundred and fifty pounds. It will be some time before I will be able to get out of bed. I have a great deal of pain and don't sleep much at night.

This is the third hospital that I have been in so far. This one is splendid and food is good. I have begun to think I am quite important at times to have nurses bring me coffee, egg and toast for breakfast. I also have swell dinners and can say I have a good appetite now.

Of all things I sometimes feel that if it were possible, I would give the whole world to be back home and find it as I left it. But it seems we have to take things as they come. Speaking of France, the last push I was in I saw more dead and wounded in one hour than in all the rest of the time I was in France. It was absolutely awful I never want to go through it again. They were piled knee high everywhere, especially "Fritz." When you come across hundreds where our fellows have bayoneted, it is a pitiful sight. Oh, but it makes you feel great to get a whack at them, especially the Snipers. It is surprising how quickly they run while the bullets are whistling around them. I am finished with France at present and quite harmless. I sit up in bed for a few minutes at a time, but my head feels as if it were going around like a top. It's wonderful how weak a person gets lying in bed. I often think I can't stay here another minute.

I suppose Cambridge is getting along without me as usual, except missing the noise around the corner at night. Think of me back in Cambridge swinging a crutch and cane at the same time. I suggest that I will make a good apple picker with this attachment.

Hope you'll make this out. Pencil is poor, remember, I am on my back in bed.

Now I think I will wind up for this time as my hand is getting shaky.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Remember me to the rest of the family. I remain your old friend,

Alfred C. McGill, 73582 Ward A, Military Hospital, Sulten Veny, Warminster, Wilts, Eng.


WW1

February 27th 1918

Arthur Cyril March, of the Princess Pat's, a prisoner of war in Switzerland, writes to his mother:

Hotel Eiger, Murren, Suisse,

Dec. 30, 1917.

DEAR MOTHER: Without doubt you have heard before this that I am in Switzerland, one of those interned - a new phase of the world's war, and believe me a very fortunate one for me. Naturally, captivity surrounded by barbed wire, seeing starving men around one everyday, and being unable to help them, living in a barrack with a couple of hundred others, many of whom are the most uncongenial of human beings - noisy, etc., types that are to be found I think only in the army or out of any regular employment. Such a life for one who likes to study, read, and to think, for one who has been used to the great broad sweeps of the prairies, and a position not of a subordinate nature, - such a life as was that one back in Germany, was not a life but a poor existence - with of course, because of some associates, not a few very pleasant and profitable hours. That is past, and owing to the food sent us by the Red Cross, and the constitution that was ours, we are still alive, and will be shortly quite well again.

Germany has been living on very little for a long time, and will, I believe, continue to do so. Their will and organization are wonderful - the people are making sacrifices that as yet possibly no other country has made. The treatment of prisoners varies. In some cases exceedingly kind, others, particularly in reprisals, and in mines, very brutal. However, at present the British, in comparison with the poor Russians and Italians are well treated. And their lot is good. They are respected, and in many cases, especially those from the British Isles, get along with the Germans (if they are working among the farmers,) even better than they do with the French.

Germany's soul is undergoing a change - recent prisoners from the front tell different stories from those which many had to tell, although at all times my treatment has been not unfair: - Hungry, yes, uncomfortable, yes, in a world's war things like that are to be expected.

My associates helped wonderfully to give many fine hours, better than which for men to have is impossible - hours with a couple of Frenchmen, and with the Russian Doctor, in reality a Pole, a Professor, and literary man, a mind as clear and keen as the best, a heart as large as the world. Then there were a few of the Canadian boys, Donald Chase and Bob Hare, a medical student and a prince, our Red Cross man, and the only one who knew anything about his work - the knowledge of many who serve in that capacity is apparently nil - but among all the Britishers, there was no other university graduate, possibly, that has been of use to me, inasmuch as I was obliged to get after French and Russian, to be able to speak freely with the best men in Camp. When I think of some of those fellows back there, in spite of the fact that I am practically free here, I feel that even yet while they are there, I am still in a degree a prisoner.

We always tried to make the best of a bad job. Last winter we had no coal, it was very difficult to get wood to cook with - Donald Chase and myself invented an electric stove in the office of the "Sans Fil." In two days after we started, we had it going full swing - the cost for the wire was about three cents per stove - the rest of the material we managed to get around camp - very simple - one would last about a week. We each had one, as then we did not mess together. They were certainly convenient, and used a great deal of electricity, but as there was only one meter for the whole camp, there was no check on the current. Had we been caught, of course, it would have meant a couple of months, perhaps, of arrest - but in War time, one takes chances. That served well until last August, when, owing to a rumor that a special party was coming to search, we got rid of it. The same applied to electric light - a good reading and studying lamp has always, not always, but since the first of the year, been at my service. To all appearances, it was an acetylene lamp - the wires were concealed and believe me they would take some finding. Such was my lot, mother - better indeed than many others.

I have never been in what they call the catagorie for hard work, my air of being rather weak was no doubt partly due to the fact that I had no desire and made no attempt to appear strong - and when German (ordinary camp) doctors have their inspections, they decide largely by a man's appearance, and what it seems to them that he has done. My ability to speak German, and the advice of the Russian doctor, no doubt, helped me whenever my case was in discussion, and I gave it the best representation possible - as you see - for I am in Switzerland now.

Oh! it is indeed beautiful here - the great mountains - today, the peaks which yesterday were quite visible are shut off by a snow storm.

(A sheet here has evidently been deleted by the Censor.).

When I say that it is one of Switzerland's best, then you know it is O.K. There are in all, a couple of hundred British interned - about forty in this hotel. I have a first class room, sharing it with another chap, also a Canadian - two beautiful beds, well furnished, and steam heated - a view that is quite poetic - already I have climbed up among the hills - soon I hope to skate, ski, etc. It seems that it is difficult to get money here - the last group of interned here, a great many old soldiers had a weakness for "Booze" and a poor sense of responsibility. They failed to remember that they were guests of one of the greatest little countries on the earth, so the British government, ashamed of their conduct, not only punished them, but took steps that would prevent in the future a similar type from having too much money. The amount now is sufficient for ordinary expenses, but if a person wishes to buy books to attempt to get as nearly as possible back to his civil mode of living, than it is insufficient, and some means will have to be taken to get a supplement. That will be arranged all right. When I feel real fit again, I hope to take up studies at the Swiss universities. Here French and German will be indispensable, while Russian, without doubt, will be of service too.

So it goes, mother, all fine and dandy.

The Swiss people gave us a lovely reception at one city at 11 p.m., another at 2 a.m., and now all their resources, resorts, climate, food, doctors, educational institutions are at the disposal of the interned to make them as well as possible in body and soul.

Trust this finds you all well. With love to you all and with best wishes for the coming year,

Your affect. Son,

A. CYRIL MARCH

Address: L/C A CYRIL MARCH, M.G. 195, P.P.C.L.I., British Interned Prisoner of War, Hotel Eiger, Murren, Switzerland,


WW1

February 9th, 1918

A Soldier's idea of Conscription.

The following extract from a recent letter of Pte. Geo. R. MacKinlay, formerly of the 219th, now of the 13th Highlanders, to his father, Wm. K. MacKinlay of So. Berwick, may be of interest to his many friends here, especially the opinion on Conscription and the great work the Y.M.C.A and the Church Army are doing for the boys at the front. After a year in the trenches he is having a short furlough in England.

France Dec. 3rd. 1917.

DEAR DAD: - Just to let you know I am still alive and well and thankful for that, but, of course a fellow can never know what is coming to him. I will be here a year without getting a scratch but have lost a number of my pals in the last big scrap. I am scribing this in one of the Church Army huts. They and, more especially, the Y.M.C.A, are doing wonderful work out here and, believe me, they go to make life a lot brighter both in trench and billet.

You will often find a Y.M.C.A dugout very close to the front line trenches where you can get almost anything you need, biscuits, candy, etc. reasonably and very often tea, coffee or cocoa, free. What ever some of us used to think of the Y.M.C.A at home, it is a God send over here.

Of course you heard about the elections being held out here. I do not believe in conscription but still I have voted for the Government. In one sense we don't want it as it is taking away the greatest thing we have, in fact what we are fighting for, our Liberty.

But again, taking it form our point of view, over here, we want reinforcements and the more we get the easier it will be on us; the more leave we will get and above all the more rest. And again, any man with any reasonable excuse can get exemption, so it will only serve to root out a lot of slackers who should have come anyway. Well, I must close please answer soon and tell all the news. Wishing you all the best of luck and happiness in the coming year I am as ever, your affectionate son.

George
No. 283,423, 13th Batt. C.E.F. France.


WW1

October 9, 1918

Letter From a Prisoner

Mr. David H. Borden, of Canard, for some time a prisoner in Germany, now interned in Holland, writes to the Red Cross:

The Hague, August 28, 1918.

The Ladies of the Berwick Red Cross.

Dear Friends. - Mrs. Harris told me some time ago that you were paying for my parcels in Germany, but, owing to restrictions on correspondence, I have been unable to thank you.

I arrived in Holland about three weeks ago, under the agreement of 1917, for the internment of officers, N.C.O's and invalids in neutral countries. Needless to say, the change is very much to our liking. In the lagers of Germany, British, Italians, French, Belgians, Russians and the rest, are all herded together in close, smelly barracks. Here we are billeted in empty houses and hotels, two or three in a room. The food, well, the German rations were not fit for pigs and we were compelled to live entirely on our parcels, except when we succeeded in stealing a few vegetables.

As for treatment, I want to forget that, until I get a chance at a German again. You may be certain that no ex-kriegsgafangener will forget or forgive Germany in a hurry. Our papers don't print half enough regarding them. No matter what agreements they make for better treatment of prisoners, they always find some way of dodging around a corner. Thousands of newly captured men are kept working close to the line, until they either die of starvation or are killed or maimed by shell fire. I know one sergeant, who was thirteen months under our own hellfire, and finally came back with one of his arms useless.

If it were not for the British Red Cross not one prisoner in ten would ever leave Germany alive. In Saltan Lager, Russians and Italians are dying at the rate of ten a day. The French and Belgian prisoners are fairly well looked after, but the British are away above all. In all the large lagers, relief committees receive parcels of food, clothing and medical comforts for the new prisoners. Each new prisoner gets a parcel every tenth day until his own parcels come through. Then as far as food and clothing is concerned, he is far better off than his captors.

We have been hoping to hear that the new agreement for direct exchange of all prisoners had been ratified, but so far we have been disappointed. There's no use saying we're not homesick, though its really more the desire to be doing something. It's no joke, sitting on the bench, when the game is a tight one.

I started in to tell you how deeply grateful all the boys are to the women of the Red Cross, and instead, I've been burdening you with more of our troubles. As a matter of fact, my vocabulary is too limited to say all I want to. So until I see you in person, I will just say, "Thank you" for all of us.

Very sincerely yours,

David H. Borden.


WW1

June 19, 1918

At the Front.

(Extracts from a letter of Major Fallis, dated May 26th. Major Fallis is “A.D.C.S. Lines of Communication, Canadians, France.”)

. . . I have been so busy lately that I have scarcely been able to sleep or eat. I am getting into my stride now and find myself as enthusiastic as it is possible for me to be over the chaplaincy work of this part of the service. I wish I could send my diary of these days and weeks. Like the Irishman’s flea, I’m everywhere. But, just this minute, I’m in my billet, and it is time for bed. I have just come in and, as I missed dinner, I have three sandwiches and a cup of tea in front of me as an evening meal.

This is Sunday night again, and such a night it has been! I am just back from a long car ride. I was attending the beautiful memorial service for the nurses and doctors and C.A.M.C. boys and men killed in that awful air raid of a week ago tonight. I have seldom seen a service so impressive.

That was an awful air raid. I have experienced a lot of air raids and shelling but I have never seen anything that would match this. It was awe-inspiring at a distance and terrifying when they drew near with their bombs. I had none drop closer than 600 yards from me, but the poor patients and sisters of two of our Canadian hospitals got an awful mopping up. It was diabolical. The funeral of the killed, which was held the following Tuesday night at sunset, was a sight never to be forgotten by any who were there. It seemed so awful that those who were doing nought else but care for the wounded and dying should suffer so.

One of my padres, Capt. Parker, from Sussex, N.B., was badly wounded. After service I motored over to see the nurses who were wounded and are in hospital six miles away. They are all off for “Blighty” tonight. They were as cheery as “Tommies.” I wish I had time to write it up for all the world to read.


WW1

October 30, 1918

J. Kenneth Butler.

Among those who, in the earlier stages of the war, gave themselves to the service of their country was James Kenneth Butler, of Berwick. He was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Butler and was born in Berwick, September 13, 1896. As he grew out of childhood he acquired a health and vigor to which, as a child it had been feared that he would never attain. Before he had quite completed the curriculum of the schools he entered the service of the Royal Bank of Canada. In this service he won rapid advancement and at the outbreak of the war was paying teller in the agency at Berwick. He offered himself for foreign service; the offer was accepted and he went overseas as a member of the 25th Battalion. After the usual period of training in England, he crossed to France where he had his share of the terrible life of the soldier during the first two years of the war. The exposures and toils incident to trench life were too severe and he was invalided to England and, later, returned to Canada, arriving at his home in Berwick on April 2, 1917. His life since then has been a battle with disease and the end came in the early hours of Sabbath last, October 27th.

Kenneth was a young man of most estimable qualities, beloved and respected by all who knew him.

The bereaved family has the sincere sympathy of very many friends.


WW2 articles

Wednesday Evening, September 6, 1939 (The Register)

Britain and France At War With Germany

Japan, Russia and Italy Neutral …King
George Broadcasts Message of Hope
and Determination to Empire

London, September 3. – Great Britain and France went to war with Germany today.

As the fateful news was made known the King sounded a rallying call to his people scattered throughout the British Empire "to stand calm, firm and united" against Germany’s challenge to civilized order in the world.

Meanwhile Japan, Russia and Italy remained neutral. Reuters News Agency reported from Shanghai that according to a reliable source Japan has assured Great Britain of its neutrality.

Moscow observers stated Soviet troops would not march, even to the extent of lending economic aid to both sides of the war, and it was reported Britain and France would demand a statement of Italy’s intentions.

The King broadcast his message of hope and determination a few short hours after Neville Chamberlain, Great Britain’s 70-year-old Prime Minister, announced a brief, simple statement: "This country is now at war with Germany."

While Britain’s navy, army and air force prepared to co-operate with the military machines of France and Poland in a struggle against Hitlerism and everything it stands for, the quiet voice of their commander-in-chief was addressed to "my people at home and my people across the seas who will make our cause their own."

Addresses Subjects

Seated alone in his study in Buckingham Palace, dressed in the uniform of an admiral of the Fleet, the King addressed this message to every British subject:

"If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, (the cause) ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then in God’s name we shall prevail."

Shortly afterward it was revealed that members of the royal family, as in the Great War, were ready immediately to stand with their subjects in the duties of war.

The Duke of Kent, a simple Admiralty announcement said, has taken a war assignment as a rear-admiral.

The machinery of Government was immediately adjusted to the new conditions. As predicted, the Prime Minister shuffled his Cabinet, and first to be included in the war-time ministry was Winston Churchill, who became First Lord of the Admiralty, the same post he held just a quarter of a century ago, at the outbreak of the great War.

Lord Hankey, one of the Empire’s most brilliant civil servants and a confidant of all prime ministers since the Great War, emerged from retirement to serve in the ministry. Anthony Eden, former foreign secretary, became Secretary for Dominions.

France Follows Old Ally

Paris, September 3. – France followed her old ally, Great Britain, into war with her historic enemy, Germany, today when the French ultimatum expired at 5 p.m. (1 p.m. A.D.T.) with no reply from Adolph Hitler.

A French army of more than 3,000,000 and a potential reserve of another 5,000,000 men moved into war positions, but just how and where Great Britain and France would go to Poland’s aid remained a military secret.

In a broadcast to his countrymen tonight. Premier Daladier placed blame for the war on Hitler and said: "The cause of France is the cause of peace, and it will be victorious."


Wednesday Evening, October 18, 1939 (The Register)

Britain Rejects Peace With Hitler

Offers German Chancellor Choice Of
Lasting Peace Or War To The
Bitter End.

Prime Minister Chamberlain in a stirring speech before the British House of Commons last Thursday, voiced the British Government’s attitude towards the peace which Adolf Hitler had projected, based upon his conquest of Poland. The announcement offered the German Chancellor his choice of war to the bitter end or a real lasting peace fortified by effective guarantees against further aggression.

Without naming specific peace conditions, Prime Minister Chamberlain told the House of Commons:

"The issue is plain. Either the German government must give convincing proof of the sincerity of their desire for peace by definite acts and by the provision of effective guarantees of their intention to fulfil their undertakings, or we must persevere in our duty to the end.

"It is for Germany to make her choice."

Stern of voice, the 70-year-old prime minister declared that Great Britain would never accept peace at the sacrifice of her honor or abandonment of the principle that international disputes should be settled by discussion, not by force.

Mr. Chamberlain spoke only 16 minutes, but again and again he was forced to stop in the reading of his manuscript by prolonged cheering from the crowded house. His voice took on a unusual tone of uncompromising firmness. Not once did he lean his elbow on the big red despatch box as on other occasions. He stood stiffly upright, his face set and his voice almost resonant.

In blunt language Hitler was told that acts – not mere words – must come from him "before we, the British peoples, and France, our gallant and trusted ally, would be justified in ceasing to wage war to the utmost of our strength."

Mr. Chamberlain, in making it clear that any move by Germany must be backed up by more than promises, expressed doubt that Hitler would give the required guarantees.

"The plain truth is that after our past experience, it is no longer possible to rely upon the unsupported word of the present German government," he said.


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