Friday, April 27, 2012

August 30, 1918 Letter: Captain J.C. Little to his Wife

Ray's Captain writes to his wife about the battle of August 30, 1918 in which Ray Jackson was wounded. The letter was published in the Teeswater News on October 10, 1918. This was likely the Second Battle of Arras and part of the Hundred Days Offensive that led to the Allied Victory in November 1918.

Two days after this appeared in the Teeswater News, Captain Little was taken prisoner of war by the Germans, and was not repatriated to England until December 12, 1918.

Extracts from a letter written by Capt. J.C. Little to his wife dated August 30, 1918 and printed in the ‘Teeswater News’ on October 10, 1918.

“This is absolutely the first chance in a week and a half that I have had to write you. We have moved about eighty miles from where I wrote you last and have been over the top four times. The poor old battalion is just a shadow of what it was. With my usual good fortune I was put in charge of the evacuation party. We had to evacuate all the wounded and, believe me, I don’t want another three days like it. I just had six hours sleep in three days. In our company every officer that went in was wounded, and all the N.C.O’s but three were either killed or wounded. The company came out 28 strong out of 110. We advanced seven miles however.

Our brigade was the hardest hit of any. Two of our Company Commanders were killed. ‘A’ and ‘B’ Company Capt. Parsons (our O.C.) and Major Graham of ‘D’ were wounded, not badly though. The second in command of our Company was on leave and will be back today, and another officer, Capt. Baxter, of Chatham, who used to be O.C. of ‘C’ Company, arrived from reserve this morning, so we are alright again. The N.C.O.’s are going to be the hard proposition.

My bedroll, with all my belongings, has not turned up since I left the Corps school, so I have been sleeping in and wearing the same clothes for three weeks and you can imagine how uncomfortable I feel.

We are not likely to be in action again for months at least, as it will take all of that time to get us into any sort of shape again. At the end of the month I ought to be due for leave as my six months in France are up on September ___.

Could you let Father know I am alright, and as soon as I get back out, I’ll write a decent letter. By the way this paper and envelope is just what I took off a ‘Heiny’ prisoner; that is how I am able to write this as I have none of my own.”

Report on the battle in which Ray Jackson was wounded
From The Teeswater News
October 10, 1918

Thursday, April 26, 2012

August 31, 1918 Notice from the Field Hospital Somewhere in France

Sometime between the 26th July and 30th August 1918 Ray was sent to the front. A postcard is sent to Ray's mother notifying her he has been wounded on August 30, 1918.

July 26, 1918 Somewhere in France

Ray writes to his older brother Bert who is in training in London, Ontario. He hopes Bert gets exemption and is able to look after things at home on the farm. He mentions his cousin Wilbert McLachlan from Firdale, Manitoba.

July 23, 1918 Somewhere in France

Ray writes to his mother about a box with honey and cake he has received from Mrs. McLaughlin.

July 18, 1918 somewhere in France

Ray writes to his younger brother Jud. Only the first page survived.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

February 24, 1918 Witley Camp, Godalming, Surrey, England

Ray writes his mother about the breakup of the 160th Battalion and his eagerness to move to France with the 1st Battalion. He mentions the sale of the family farm. This became a driving force to get back to the farm in his later life.

Norm Farquharson, Lorne Smith and Ray Jackson

Tuesday, April 17, 2012