Let­ters from the Front

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - 100TH ANNIVERSARY -

Char­lie Judd of Sim­coe: Mem­oirs Ar­mistice

I must say a lit­tle about the Ar­mistice. At 11 am on the 11th we had been told the night be­fore it was go­ing to hap­pen but didn’t be­lieve it as we had been told that so many times be­fore. This time it re­ally hap­pened right on the dot. It seemed as if the world had come to an end, with noth­ing mov­ing. Men stood with their mouths open and just held their breath for a mo­ment, and then the birds seemed to start to singing, and the troops took it from there, and just went “nuts.” In fact, in no time at all they were gone all over the neigh­bour­hood and it was sev­eral days be­fore some of them re­turned that was after their money run out and they got hun­gry.

Pte. Robert An­drew MacInnes of Vit­to­ria 11th Novem­ber, 1918 - France:

We went through sev­eral towns and vil­lages, and all the folks were out to greet us with flow­ers, cof­fee, co­coa, and the women even grabbed our hands and kissed them, say­ing Merci, Cam­er­ada! Vive Les Cana­di­ens! One woman kissed our of­fi­cer on the cheek. They were sim­ply hys­ter­i­cal with de­light when they saw us. It was the sig­nal for a cel­e­bra­tion for us, so the whole town and all the sol­diers bil­leted there got out on Mon­day night and had a huge bon­fire.

Pte. Marvin Wil­liam Ni­chol of Forestville:

Dear Fa­ther: Just a few lines to let you know that I am OK, and this is one of the great­est days of our lives. I sup­pose you know that the Huns have signed all our terms and the guns ceased fir­ing at eleven o’clock this morn­ing. It is a day I will never for­get. Just to think that we are out of all dan­gers of the war. It is al­most un­be­liev­able. After be­ing spared to see the end of it all I thank the dear Lord for be­ing so kind to me. I sup­pose there will be great re­joic­ing in Canada to­day. The boys are hav­ing a ju­bilee, so I am go­ing to stop now and join them. {The Sim­coe Re­former, Dec. 26th, 1918}

Sergeant Will Rigg of Sim­coe: Novem­ber 13th, 1918:

Will was a lithog­ra­pher with the Sim­coe Re­former. “Vive les Cana­di­ans! La guerre est fini!” Our long looked for con­sum­ma­tion has at last been re­al­ized, and sooner than we ever an­tic­i­pated. You must all feel re­lieved, and we won’t be long now get­ting home to our dear ones. You have heard all the news by this time, but I un­der­stand the cen­sor has kindly al­lowed us to say a lit­tle and give a few de­scrip­tions. We en­tered Mons on the 11th of Novem­ber. The square of the city was one seething mass of peo­ple, and the cer­e­mony was op­po­site the Town Hall. When the Bur­go­mas­ter and of­fi­cials had fin­ished the cer­e­mony of the grand en­try into the city, and the re­lief from four years of Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion and sup­pres­sion, the bands played the Bel­gian Na­tional An­them, the Bra­ban­conne, and ev­ery throat was loos­ened, old men and women, even the old gran­nies at the win­dows, and up in the steeples were peo­ple all singing with the voice of a peo­ple. I have read of the peo­ple of the French Revo­lu­tion singing the Marsel­laise with a spirit that could only be re­al­is­tic to those who were in it, and this I will never for­get. Lit­tle kid­dies with their hands in yours, clutch­ing at your tu­nic, hands, any­thing, and shak­ing their bod­ies with one yell of song and lib­erty had come at last. Then the Marsel­laise with its wild, singing melody, well I never want to hear the Marsel­laise again after that. Here was the liv­ing Marsel­laise! Peo­ple opened their doors and shouted, “en­trez, en­trez, Cana­di­ans!” Cof­fee and any eats they had were ours. I was asked into one house, and on went the cof­fee pot, while the old dame show­ered me with ques­tions. Then in came the priests, Ca­puchin monks; all around was joy.

Cor­po­ral James Urie of Sim­coe: Bel­gium, Novem­ber 14th, 1918

{The Sim­coe Re­former, Dec. 26th, 1918} We marched into the mar­ket place in Mons, a big, cob­ble stoned square. The stores all around the square were packed with civil­ians; in the win­dows, on the roofs, bal­conies, etc., and the side­walks and streets lead­ing to the square were packed. Our engi­neers’ band played the Bel­gian an­them as we marched in, and it was lit­tle won­der that some of them did not fall from their lofty po­si­tions in the ex­cite­ment. In the evening we were en­ter­tained at a house with pi­ano and vi­o­lin mu­sic, and when bed­time came we were pretty tired.

Nor­folk Women in the War

In WWI, 2,400 women went over­seas as nurses in the Canadian Ex­pe­di­tionary Force and served in Eng­land, France, Bel­gium, Egypt, Greece and Rus­sia serv­ing in base hos­pi­tals, clear­ing sta­tions, am­bu­lance trains and hos­pi­tal ships. They had war ca­su­al­ties of 18 deaths by bombs or sub­marines, with 15 dy­ing of dis­ease. Thirty-five Nor­folk women served as nurs­ing sis­ters of which fourteen are named below. Lieu­tenant Nurs­ing Sis­ter Alice Trus­dale of Water­ford died from menin­gi­tis on 12 Septem­ber 1919. Her story is on dis­play in the Water­ford Mu­seum. Emma Betch­tel, Sim­coe; Stella Bowlby, Port Dover; An­nie Amelia Bowlby, Woodhouse; Edith Ferne Crysler, Delhi; Edith Ed­monds, Delhi; Pawnee McCall, Woodhouse; Inez Roberts, Lyne­doch; Pauline Rose, Sim­coe; May Austin, Nor­folk; Alice Louise Trus­dale, Water­ford; Neva Trus­dale, Water­ford; Lau­rel Mis­ner, Port Dover; Min­nie Mis­ner, Port Dover; Su­sanna Mary Smythe, Woodhouse; Bertha Smith, Sim­coe.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.