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Letters Home


These letters span the years 1914 to 1918, and were written to Lily (Richey) and John Morrison at Yellow Grass, Sask., and their little 4 - 8 year old daughter, Jean (in later years called by Reché). Their hired girl was Lena.

Many of the letters were written by Louis (Lou) Duff, Lily's nephew. You will meet other members of this family as you read their letters from 1914 to 1918. These letters give us the point of view of the soldier and the families at home, and are best read in order so that you have the flow of the 'conversations' between family members.

These letters were genereously submitted to The Canadian Military Heritage Project by Lilian Ione Heselton and they are copyright to Lil. They may not be used without written permission of the submitter.

In 1914 the family consisted of the following individuals. Those whose letters are online are in colour:

Rosa Duff (Isabella Rosamond Richey - Lily Morrison's oldest sister) was a 54 year old widow living at 211 Fern Ave., Toronto. She had seven children:
  • Rosamond age 29, working in Toronto
  • Alex age 27, working in Toronto with Dunlop, joined army, but as chemical engineer kept in Canada with Munitions Section
  • Lou Duff - Louis Richey Duff age 25, living in Moose Jaw, joined 28th Batt. from Moose Jaw in 1914. Lou wote many of these letters. He married Penzie Roblee Dec 12, 1917 after returning home from the war. Lou was seriously injured and suffered from hearing loss and "ringing in the ears" all his life. He died in Nelson, BC in 1979.
  • Cecil Duff - Cecil Easson Duff, age 24, living in Alberta, joined 203rd Batt. of Winnipeg. Eventually shipped overseas.
  • Clarence age 21, working in Toronto, "unfit" due to a game leg, married Ruby Skeans in June, 1917
  • Jessie and Lilian, the twins, age 17, living in Toronto, still at school

Elizabeth Richey (Lily Morrison's older sister) was a 45 year old Toronto business woman.

Harry B. (Henry Billings) Richey (Lily Morrison's younger brother), was 36 years old, living in Toronto, married to Florence Culverwell. They had a baby daughter, Betty, born 13 Oct. 1914; joined the 180th Batt. Rank Captain. Harry managed the "hotel" at Lorne Park, ON before joining up.

Tot & Will Galloway, lived 642 Bathurst St, Toronto, they had 6 children (Tot was J. E. Malcolmson - Lily Morrison's 1st cousin, daughter of her mother's sister Jessie):

  • J. Louise age 28
  • Will age 24
  • Alex age 22, married to Florence, daughter Eleanor born summer 1915
  • Gordon age 20, student at University of Toronto, enlisted 26th Battery. Corp. G. Gordon Galloway, 26th Battery, C.F.A. Killed in action in Flanders, Feb. 10, 1916 (immediately after arrival at the front) aged 21 years.
  • Jean age 18, who Jean Reché Morrison was named after
  • Eva age 16

Maggie McNally, first cousin to Mr. John Morrison had a son of her first marriage, Tomas Bristow. They lived Glenwilliams, ON. He was in 208th Batt. Joined Dec 4, 1916. Went immediately overseas.

Birdie & Dr. Tom Leask, living in Moose Jaw, they had 4 children (Robert, Duff, Jean & Mary) age 6 & under (Birdie was 1st cousin to the Duff children - her mother and their late father were siblings). Tom was with Canadian Field Ambulance. (No letters)

Lilian "Girlie" Ryan, age 21, in training as a nurse, daughter of Lily Morrison's sister Jessie Ryan.



  • 9 Jan 1915 letter from Rosa (Lily's sister and Lou's mother)to Lilly
  • 26 Feb 1915 letter from Jean to her Aunt Lily
  • 18 Apr. 1915 letter from Tot (Lily's cousin) to Lily
  • 29 June 1915, England. Letter from Louis to his Aunt Lily
  • 21 Aug. 1915 England. Letter from Louis to his Aunt Lily
  • 24 Oct. 1915 Toronto. Letter from Rosa (Lily's sister and Lou's mother)to Lily
  • 14 Oct 1915 France. Postcard to Lily from Louis
  • 1 Nov. 1915 Toronto. Letter to Lily from Rosa (Lily's sister and Lou's mother) enclosing Louis' lengthy letter of 11 Oct. 1915 in France
  • 19 Nov. 1915 Belgium. Letter to Lily from Louis plus enclosure for his niece Jean
  • 6 Dec. 1915 Belgium. Letter to Lily from Louis


  • 7 Jan. 1916 Toronto. Letter to Lily from Rosa (Lily's sister and Lou's mother)expressing her worry over Lou's silence
  • 10 Feb. 1916 Toronto. letter to Lily from Rosa (Lily's sister and Lou's mother) with the cable explaining Lou has been wounded and will be in hospital in England two months
  • 11 Feb 1916 England. Letter to Lily from Lou about his skull fracture from shrapnel
  • 18 Feb. 1916 Toronto. Letter to Lily from Jessie
  • 8 Mar. 1916. Winnipeg. Letter to Lily from Cecil Duff, Lou's brother
  • 16 Apr. 1916. Toronto. Letter to Lily from Harry Richey, Lily's brother
  • 18 April 1916 to 18 Sept. 1918 - These letters are not online yet, but will be as soon as possible.

Note from Brian
I found this on the CEF online database
Rank: CPT
Reference: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 2701 - 53

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Brian Lee Massey
copyright © 2001
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