October 22, 1943

[Shannan Note: I’m back! It’s been a while, much longer than I would have liked, but time really does become a thing of the past when a baby is added into the mix. I’ve not been able to quit thinking about this project, and now that I have a little more time in the evenings after kidlet hits the hay, I decided it was about time that I pick things back up. There’s TWO YEARS of letters still staring me in the face. xo]

Hello Dad,

Well Dad, I got your letter on the 20th but I was pretty busy so I will answer it now. Well, I sure was glad to hear from you. I am getting along swell and it’s a lot better than walking the beat because it is real cold down here. I don’t have to do very much, I do as much as the other cook. It’s easy because there is not very many men.

Well, I am still being a good soldier and still waiting for my furlough by the time I get it I will be 19 older enough to go over so if I don’t get it by the end of November I am going to kick until they do something because I would like to get home once more before I go over and I really want to go. Remember how you wanted to go, well I want to go just as much, I know more fellows over there than I do in Canada now.

How is the car running? I guess by the time I get home you will have it jacked up with the wheels off.

A long time ago I asked mom for a picture of sweetipie but I guess she forgot to send it so will you see what you can do I haven’t got a picture of her.

Thanks for the $1.00. I bought 4 packages of tobacco and 2 packages of papers which come to $1.02. The only time I smoke cigs is when you or mom send me some, I found out they are to dear.

Well I can’t think of much more to say except write soon and don’t forget sweetipie’s picture.

Lots of love. Your son,

The East End Kid


October 19, 1943

October 19, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad (+kids + Bin),

Well I’m sorry I haven’t answered sooner so here goes now, you say you sent me $10.00 well I have not got it yet. I got the parcel and the $1.00 okay, but not $10.00.

Yes mother, I got out of the hospital okay, thank God. It was the worst two weeks I ever spent in my life. I hope I never have to go in again unless it’s in Toronto where somebody will come and visit me, you and Marg.

I had a lovely Thanksgiving. We worked all morning and I was on guard all afternoon. We had ham, mashed potatoes, and buttered carrots with lots of butter.

I just ran out of ink and I am in a good writing mood so I don’t feel like stopping to fill up.

When you see Bruce, tell him I am going to beat the shi- out of him for joining the Army, the crazy so and so.

You say it is like fall there, well I wish it was just like fall here. It is so cold. I wear 2 pair of long underwear, and when it rains, well thank god Noah knew how to build a boat otherwise its okay.

I guess Bin won’t be having a party because I won’t be getting my furlough for a while yet, da—it. But when I do, watch out, I will tear the city apart and paint it red!

I am a cook, believe it or not I can really boil water without burning it.

Tell my kid sister to order me a brush wool sweater and I will pay her for it after the war and all the other I borrowed and forget to pay back, but tell her she still owes me 7 cents for the bottle of Coke I bought her when I was home those 3 days. Tell Binny to have a dozen quarts for when I get home in 44.

How is my watch could you please send it down as I could really use it when I am boiling eggs.

Well that’s all for tonight, please write soon and I am looking for that $10.00 as it is pretty close to Xmas.

Lots of love and kisses to the best mother a soldier boy could have.

Your son, the east end kid


September 27, 1943

September 27, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad,

Well I am sorry I haven’t wrote sooner, as you can see by my address [Shannan note: the address is Camp Hill Military Hospital] where I am and you can tell by my writing what’s wrong. Remember I think in my last letter I told you my arm was sore, well it was blood poison. Nothing to worry about, they caught it in time. I have been here since Friday afternoon, I guess I will be here for a week or two more. It’s not too bad, all they do is bath my arm and give me blood tests. I am a bed patient, they won’t let me out of bed for anything. You should see my beard, I haven’t shaved since I came in. I haven’t had any visitors either, that’s the hardest part, lying here watching everybody else on visitors day.

I am broke and down to my last bit of tobacco and this is the last stamp so could you please send me a bit.

I won’t be able to write for a while so could you please tell Marg that  my arm is sore and I can’t write, give her my address and maybe she will write me without me writing her first.

I guess you won’t get this letter until about Thursday so I hope you answer as soon as you get it. I got the $2 last week and I sure  needed it.

Well my arm is getting tired so I will close for now hoping you will answer soon.



[Shannan Note: found some interesting things about the hospital that Gord was at. After the Battle of Somme in 1916, The Commission realized they were not adequately prepared to handle a high number of wounded. In 1917, The Commission very quickly build Camp Hill in Halifax, the first military hospital for convalescing soldiers. For more on Canada’s Military Hospital history, go here: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/steannes-hospital/about-us/history]

September 22, 1943

September 22, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad,

I just received your letter saying you haven’t heard from me, I don’t know what’s wrong. I sent an air mail letter Sunday.

I hope you excuse the writing as I have got a sore arm. Some insect (bug) of some sort bit me 3 times, but I guess it will be alright, the officer fixed it up for me he is just like a father to us guys. I’ve never met a better one yet.

Well, we got issued out patch today, it is a blue triangle. I have mine sewed on it and it looks real nice. If they give us anything else to put on our sleeve we will be weighed down.

Glad to know Bin and Marg are getting along well and I hope they get a job together.

Well, I hope Mildred is happy and she knows what she is doing. Write and let me know how Doreen is getting along, I hope she is not very bad.

So Pork is taking an NCO course? Well, I hope he gets his strips out of it. All our BDRs are on draft for overseas so maybe I might get a stripe. I am trying awful hard, but don’t say anything to anybody.

Mom, I hate to tell you this, but if I don’t get my furlough by the end of October, I am going to take it.

Well I can’t think of anything else to say, except write soon and if you have any spare change I could use it.

Lots of love,


[Shannan Note: Military Acronym Check

NCO Course – A non-commissioned officer, a member holding the rank of Sergeant or Corporal.

BDR –The rank of Bombardier.]

September 17th, 1943

September 17th, 1943

Dear Mom & Dad,

Well, I’m sorry I haven’t wrote sooner. But when I sent that telegram last week, I went to the hospital and just got out yesterday. I wanted a bit of money because I didn’t know how long I would be there. And I missed payday and can’t get any pay until the end of the month so could you please send me a bit and I will send it back at the end of the month. Don’t worry about me, I just went for a rest.

Well, how is everybody at home? I bet they are glad to get back to school, I wish I was back going to school. I guess Maggie is mad because I haven’t wrote, but if you send me some money I will write every other night.

Well I passed the course [Shannan Note – the gun course Gord mentioned a few letters ago] and am I glad. It was pretty hard.

I forgot to tell you, I wrote to Big Ted about two weeks ago. I bet he will be surprised.

When I got back from the hospital I got a week excused duty, pretty soft. I didn’t get any mail while I was in the hospital so I have lots to answer.

Tell Mildred I wish her all the luck in the world and to think of me when the best man kisses her.

Glad to hear Gramma is getting along okay.

So, Ray has a new uniform, eh? Tell him to keep a lookout for that telegram.

Well I bet Pops thinks he is tops now that he’s working at Gorries. He will like that because there isn’t a thing he doesn’t know about cars.

I got a letter from Eddy the other day but I didn’t feel like writing but I’ll answer it.

I didn’t feel like finishing this yesterday, but I did now.

Well, lots of love and kisses to the best mom in the world.


[Shannan Note – I was curious about  Gorries where my Great Grandfather had just started working at according to this letter, and I uncovered a really neat article on it from Ryerson. Gorries has some pretty cool history in Toronto – check it out! https://library.ryerson.ca/asc/archives/features/gorrie/ ]

September 5th, 1943

September 5th, 1943

Dear Mom & Dad,

Just a few lines to let you know I’m okay and I got the five dollars. I hope you don’t get mad because I send for money.

Well I only got one more week of this course to go then I will be through. Will I ever be glad because it’s pretty tough. We went on a shoot yesterday, didn’t hit anything, but it was still lots of fun. Boy do they ever make a noise, that is the 6th time I’ve fired the gun.

I am on a weekend and I came in yesterday and it took me all day to get a bed. You have to get in early if you want to get a bed that has sheets.

I seen Ted Friday night, we went to the show. He in a place like I was, but he says he likes it, wait until he is there for two months.

I think I should be getting my furlough by the end of the month. Maybe Waugh and I may get together. I hope so because we have it all planned on what we are going to do.

How is everybody getting along? What’s daddy doing, is he back to work yet? And how is Marg, is she still working or going to the shows?  Does Demps’ mom know he is gone yet? He is probably too stupid to send her a cable and let her know he is safe.

Well, that is all for today. Will write as soon as I get an answer from the other letters I sent.

Lots  of Love,


The East End Kid

[Shannan Note – Sorry for for the extended time between letters…. life has been hectic as all get out, and I took my very first official vacation last week, so it’s been a lot of prep and catch up from that.]

September 1st, 1943

September 1st, 1943

Dear Mom & Dad,

Well I guess it’s time to write again. I’ve only had two letters since I got back but it’s my fault because I didn’t write sooner. Well only 11more days to go and will I be glad. Do we ever work, we are learning more in 3 weeks then I did in two months. I hope we get something out of it, we can’t be doing all this training just to be plain Gnrs.

Well how is everybody getting along? I guess they will all be going back to school by now. Are they ever lucky. This is a swell life as long as you keep moving, but once you stop…?

Well, Demps is gone. I met a fellow today that was with him and he said he was gone. I wished I was with him but I will be seeing him in January I hope. Waugh and I says that if they don’t send us we will just swim across. Waugh cut his finger yesterday really bad too, nearly cut it off. All they did was put a bandage on it and sent him back to work, that’s how important this course is.

How is Mill, June, and Teddie getting along? Do they still like in Toronto? I hope you have more than that ½ a pint in the ice box the next time I come home.

How is Marg, is she still working as hard as she never did? I’ll be glad to see her again, we will all have to get together again.

Don’t forget to send me Ted’s address and tell Bin to send him mine, and tell her to tell him I am near Franklin Park, he will know where that is, everybody knows where that is.
Well, I can’t think of anything else for now.

Will write soon, answer soon.
The East End Kid

[Shannan Note: some really exciting things over the last couple of weeks… the blog finally made its way to Gord’s kids! I knew they were out there, but some old attempts at contact went unanswered. I’ve always had a little bit of concern that when they eventually made their way to the blog, or I made contact, they wouldn’t be keen on the project. Thankfully my fears were just that, fears. The family is happy, engaged, and wanting to help fill in any blanks they can, and I’ve connected with family I didn’t even know I had! It’s given me that little push i needed to get through the craziness of late and refocus on the letters and my genealogy work… I’m getting some really incredible personal and family stories about Gord that are really helping to round out who he was, and it’s become quite clear that this young soldier we’ve started to get to know, asking often after his little sisters and longing for home, grew into a kind and wonderful man, and I feel even more privileged than ever to be able to help tell a little bit of his story.]