Thursday, 8 November 2012

Letters from the Front - Part 3

Throughout the month of November we will be posting excerpts from a selection of wartime correspondence between Pte. Sefton Stewart of the 77th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, and his family in Richmond, Ontario.  The complete letters will be on display at the Stittsville Public Library in the Museum's exhibit honouring Goulbourn in wartime.

This is letter number three:

Somewhere, August 20, 1916

Dear Mother:

                Just a few lines to let you know we are all well, hoping you are all the same.  Did you receive my letter written shortly after we arrived in France?  Stopped in France a few days and then came right through to Belgium.  France and Belgium are more like Canada than England; the crops being splendid.

                You already know that they are very particular about any information given, making it hard what to say.  The airships are continually flying over our heads.  It is certainly great to see how they can handle them.  Quite often, shells are to be seen bursting all around one, from a distance they seem close.  It is said the Germans are very done out on the front, but are causing quite an excitement yet.  Our camp is surrounded by Belgian crops and houses.

                I forgot to tell in my other letter of receiving a cake when in Bramshott, but didn’t know whether it was from you or Clystal.  Anyway, the box was all broken up, together with the cake, but we certainly enjoyed it.  One thing missing most now is money, not being paid for about a month and only getting one franc or 20 cents per day.  Some of the other fellows have got word or different parcels which were sent but haven’t received them yet.  A parcel mostly takes about a week longer than a letter.

                The other evening we were very much surprised in seeing Roy Tubman and Tom Touchette, a son of Mrs. Rob Hills.  Roy looks fine.  He has been over here ten months and says he has certainly been very lucky, having some close escapes.  Touchette knew quite a few of the boys on account of coming over in the 77th draft.

                I haven’t yet got an envelope for this letter, which is a very scarce article here.

                The Germans seem to know every move, having up on a sign board "Welcome 73rd".  The British Artillery seems to be landing over the shells much thicker than the Germans.  We were told Alvin Danby was quite close to our camp but just moved away a day before we came in.  How are Pa and George getting along at the harvest?  I suppose they have it almost finished by this time.  I guess George and Irene throw on while Eva mows back.  You will want to get Clystal up for the potato season.

                I don’t think Channon Hall would be able to stand it over here.  We feel very bad for poor Arthur being separated from us, but the last time I saw him was in Bramshott.  He was then looking fine.  It is said their quarters are about a mile over from us.  One companion we always have is our gas helmet.  In fact, we carry two all the time.  School will soon be starting again.  George will want to start as soon as possible.
Best love to all,


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