Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Sepia Saturday #241: Lucky Letter from Lucy

Francis Joseph Killeen
I have two contrasting letters to offer for this week's prompt. One is deadly serious and the other...well, you decide. 

The first is from the HQ of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada and likely determined that my father survived World War 1.  He enlisted in the Canadian army when he was under age for combat and lied on his application forms claiming his birth year as 1898 instead of 1899. My grandmother wrote a letter informing the army of his true age and she received this letter back. Note the reply to her request was dated a little more than a month from when she wrote it  - her letter traveled from Canada to England and through some kind of bureaucracy in such a short time. During a war! In 1918! 


As soon as Dad turned nineteen he was moved to the firing line at Arras where he was wounded (gunshot to the eye) on his first day and shipped to Cambridge Hospital in Aldershot England to recover; of course the war ended and he never had to return to combat.  He was a lucky guy. 

My grandmother had two sons and a husband in the army. I guess she decided she'd done her part. As enlistments dwindled in Canada, recruitment posters became more and more explicit and guilt inducing. 
How could you enjoy a hockey game after seeing this poster?
Canadian Recruitment Poster

The second letter is a "report from the front" - my six year old niece letting me know how the family was getting along. To me, it's priceless.
And that is ol from me this week.

Dear Reader. It is with great pleasure that I direct your attention to Sepia Saturday for more fascinating letters . Sincerely, Anntie Hulin. 

19 comments:

  1. That second letter is a treasure! How wonderful that you've kept it all this time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The letter about your father is very interesting. The one from your niece has so many spelling errors along with the childish printing that it is quite amusing

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anntie Hulin, Your father certainly didn't look old enough to go to war. Was he even shaving yet? I wonder if the officers had a big laugh over your grandmother's letter or if they just rolled their eyes. They probably got lots of similar letters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. He took a lot of heat over that letter.

      Delete
  4. Well done to your grandmother, any mothr would have done the same. Who knows what injuries he could have received had he been sent direct to the firing line? As for the letter from your niece; that’s a real treasure.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't suppose your father was terribly pleased at the time to have been withdrawn from the firing line as a result of his mothers letter, even if it did save him!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I haven't heard of any other case where a mother intervened in an underage enlistment, would have caused some friction perhaps, but as you say may have saved your father's life.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Letters and cards from children are a SS prompt themselves, I think! That would bring forth lots of fun posts -- very creative speller!

    ReplyDelete
  8. The letters are both priceless. The recruitment posters, subliminal messages hadn't come into play yet.

    ReplyDelete
  9. A lovely post - from the story of your grandmother's plea to the wartime posters which I had not come across before. Children's early letters are always so precious.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Two enjoyable tales in one post. It's hard to decide when there are so many options. I'm glad you posted both.

    ReplyDelete
  11. A husband and two sons in the forces would be rather hard to bear. I wonder if your father was embarrassed when he was withdrawn from the front. Lucky young man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I remember him speaking about being embarrassed but he did consider himself very lucky.

      Delete
  12. As a mother, I know how we can get! I just adore the child's letter and how well they do just sounding words out! The spelling is often way off, but you know what they mean!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I sure hope Greg and Patt got over the Mezlas quickly!

    ReplyDelete
  14. A wonderful post. All these sombre war letter posts (although important) so it was great to read your lighthearted letter at the end, which gave me a real smile :)
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  15. Goodness, that last card is a classic! Fine post.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I just love the letter from your niece. Yes, it is a source of wonder to me that any of those letters during the War got to where they were meant to go.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm loving this week's theme. A great pair of letters, love the misspellings in the second. I hope your niece appreciates it now as well!

    ReplyDelete