May 7th, 1943

May 7th, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Just a few lines to let yous know I am fine and feeling right in the pink. I got two letters from you, one with five bucks that was real nice, one from Bin and one from Edie. I’ve been waiting for that letter ever since I joined up way the first of January.

Yes I got the $1.00 + stamps you sent a while ago. They came in rea handy. I am having lots of fun here, it’s getting better every day and the time is going real fast. I’ll be home a lot sooner than I thought I would for fourteen days. I can hardly believe it, some fun I’m going to have. I met another fellow here from Toronto, he lives just at Broadview and Dundas, another real swell fellow, lots of fun.

Ted hasn’t wrote yet but I’ll give him one more week. If you send me his address, I’ll write to him. He ought to be coming here pretty soon, so I guess I’ll see him soon. It will be just like being at home to meet up with him. We should have lots of fun, him and my boy friends because they have lots of beer here.

I’m going downtown to see what I can get you for Mother’s Day. It may be a couple of days late, but better late than never, so be looking for something about Monday or Tuesday.

Don’t tell Marg  I got a  letter from Edie, and will you do me a favour and get a camera and get Marg’s picture taken? Three or four  of them because I haven’t  got any, I’ve asked Marg so many times that I ran out of breath so please do me that little favour. Get Sweetipie’s and Ray’s and send them too, I got pictures of everybody else. Right now there’s a [word unknown] going nuts here, he’s going on  furlough to-morrow. Maybe I’ll beat him up and take it off him. No, I don’t think I will because mine is coming in a better month.

Well, I think I’ll break off and press my uniform. I’ll be back in a minute. I got to be ready to go out on my weekend to-morrow. We’re going to sleep at the YMCA and are going to have fun. Well, I just got through with my uniform. Pretty good too, even if I do say so myself.

I don’t see Demps very often now. Did I tell you we were separated again? He’s in a different btry. than I am. We only work like a half a day to-morrow, gosh the weeks are just rolling by. I am just lying in my bed writing everything that comes to mind just so I can write a nice long letter. Tell Mill I’ll write a letter to her on Sunday night.

Well I can’t think of anything else to say except please write soon.

To the best mother in the world a son could have.
The East End Kid

May 4th, 1943

May 4th, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Well here goes again, every night for the last week I’ve wrote. I’ve been getting lots of mail lately, I got one from you and one from Marg to-day. I’m glad Ray’s home and I bet he’s glad he can get back to school.

Well I get a weekend this week and I don’t know what to do except go to Earl’s for supper on Sunday.

Well I’m getting along swell except my boy friend he got a letter from his girlfriend saying she was through with him and was engaged to another guy. I feel sorry for him, he’s going around with a long face now.

I just got a haircut, the first since I left Brampton and does it ever feel funny. I hope you and Marg keep sending me lots of mail because it helps keep up my morale.

We have got a nice lunch of BDR’s just like the ones at Brampton.

It seems funny calling Earl by his first name when everybody else says sir.

Well I can’t think of anything else to say except keep writing lots of letters.

Lots of love
The East End Kid

May 4

April 29th, 1943

April 29th, 1943

Dear Mom & Dad,

Is there anything wrong at home, I haven’t got a letter for over a week and I’m getting a bit lonesome so  how about a letter or two? I don’t mind being away as long as I  get letters but  when you don’t even get one in a week, while that’t too much. Some of the guys are getting to think I haven’t got folks at home. I don’t know what to write about if yous don’t answer my letters.

How is Ray getting along, fine I hope so. Please write, even if you just send an envelope with no letter in it.

Lots of love,
Your son,

[Shannan’s Note – Ray is Gord’s brother]

April 29th 1943

April 24th, 1943

April 24th, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Just a few lines in answer to your letter that I just received and was I glad. I was broke and that $1.50 came in real handy. I got a letter from you, Bin, and Marg and was I glad. If yous ever have any extra money or stamps, please send them as I sure could use either one.

How did Ray’s cast turn out? Fine I hope. Is he home yet?

Tell Sweetipie to be at the Union station on July the 2nd and I’ll give her a piggy back all the way home.

Don’t worry about me as I’m having lots of fun and getting along well. Tell Ted to write and give me his address as I’d like to write to him.

You say Bessie say Halifax is a lovely place, well I’ll tell you everything there is.


Somewhere near Halifax
Wilderness brush and sand
Where breeze and poison may be sought
Are found on water and land

You can’t go to the movies
The town is far away
You start to drill at daybreak
And drill to close of day

God could have worked another day
And spent it here quite well
I guess he felt a place like this
To show us part of Hell

The sand here is ten feet deep
The sun is scorching hot
The call it the eastern passage
The place the lord forgot


I got your cigs to-day and was I ever glad, I sure did need them. The address on this letter is my new address, so don’t forget to write it instead of the other one or I won’t get any mail at all.

If you or Dad or Bin have any spare cigs, stamps, or money please send them I sure can use them. This is Saturday afternoon, our day off. Right now I am just lying in bed writing this letter, I guess I’ll write till I run out of stamps and that won’t be very long as I only got two stamps left.


Hello Bin,

Well how is the big sister and all the rest? Where is all those cigs and parcels you  were supposed to send me – still waiting. Tell Jean Howie I was asking about her and all the rest. The carb you sent me won’t do any good because we’re all C.B. for 21 days because of Scarlet Fever, 6 guys have gone out of the hut with it.

Well that’s it for to-day.

Lots of love to
Mom xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Dad xxxxxxxx
You xxxxxxx
Marg xxxxxxxxxxx

[Shannan’s Note – Some Googling suggests that Gord’s Halifax poem is in fact an original. As mentioned earlier, Gord’s views during this time were all his own, so please don’t take offense if there are any local Halifax folks reading…]

April 16th, 1943

April 16th, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Just a few lines to let yous know I arrived safe and sound and very tired but it was a swell ride. I can’t say anything about the camp except that it’s a swell place. I’ve met all the guys I used to know at the Horse Palace. Demps and I are to-gether again for good I guess. Find out Earls address and I can drop in and see him.

If you have any spare old dollar bills lying around send them I can always use them. Take Demps letter to his mother and ask Marg to drop me a line as I’d like lots of mail.

Well that’s all for to-day. Write again to-morrow. Lots of love

Your son
The East End Kid

Be home soon I hope.


[Shannan’s Note – Gord mentions a place called the Horse Palace in this letter. For those of you that aren’t native Torontonians, you’re probably left wondering if we really see our horses as royalty, worthy of a Palace for a home… Although incredible creatures, yes, the Horse Palace isn’t exactly a Palace in the usual sense of the word. Built in 1931 and once thought of as one of the best equestrian facilities in Canada, the Horse Palace is one of many buildings that make up the entire grounds of Toronto’s Exhibition Place. I will spare you the full history of the grounds themselves, but they are best known as the home to the beloved summer fair, the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), affectionately known as The Ex to us locals. The Ex started in August 1879, and aside from 5 war-era years, has been a Canadian tradition ever since.

From 1942 – 1946, the CNE would not be held. The Exhibition Place grounds (including the Horse Palace) were turned over to our Department of National Defence to provide a core training ground for soldiers. In 1945, after the war ended, Exhibition Place was converted from training grounds into a demobilization centre to help integrate returning soldiers back into society. The grounds were turned back over to the city in late summer 1946, but with too little  time left to plan the annual fair, The Ex would begin again in 1947.

Today, the Horse Palace is actually home to horses that may well be royalty after all, Toronto’s much loved Mounted Police Unit have been the main tenants since the late 1960’s and on any given day you can walk by the Horse Palace and see the officers and their four legged partners heading out for duty.]


April 15, 1943

April 15th1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Just a few lines to let yous know I am okay and having lots of fun. I bumped into Demps on the train in Montreal last night and I’ve been with him ever since so will you go up and let his mother know. It lots of fun riding on the train, we passed snow 3 and 4 feet deep. I seen nearly all of the St. Lawrence and lots of hills. We had dinner and supper on the train yesterday and breakfast and dinner to-day. We’ll be having supper too. My seat is awful sore from sitting and my back is tired of sleeping, but its lots of fun.

Demps and I will send a cable as soon as we arrive.

Well that’s all for now.

Your son

[Shannan’s Note – I’m not to sure  where Gord is going yet, but the address at the top of the letter said “Somewhere in Hell”…]

April 13th, 1943

April 13th,1943

Dear Mom

Just a few lines to let yous know I’m okay. Well we got paid this morning, filled up our packs, and handed our blankets in. We have to get up at 4am to-morrow and you know where I said we were going. Well I’ll write as soon as I get there, so don’t write any more letters till I let you know my address.

Tell everybody good-bye for me and I’ll see them soon, even Marg I still think a lot of her.

Don’t worry about me, I’ll be good and have lots of fun. All my boy friends are going to, so that won’t be to bad. Will you try and get a picture of Marg for me.

Tell Gladys and Grace I’ll write and want them to answer.

Well that’s all I can think of for now.

Your son
Lots of love.
P.S. Remember what you asked me what SMRLH meant? Soldiers Mail Rush Like Hell


[Shannan’s Note – EXCITING NEWS!!! I know who Marg is.. my incredible cousin Gail, who I have mentioned before as being instrumental in filling in blanks in the family, has been on the case and messaged me today with an answer… Here is where we were at:  We knew from Gord that Marg and Bin (my grandmother) were close. Bin was dating (and went on to marry) my grandfather Ted. Ted’s brother was with Gladys (mentioned above) and Galdys’ sister was Marg! I know it’s confusing, and it might not seem like that big a deal, but this is someone that has been mentioned in nearly every one of Gord’s letter so it’s obvious that she was very important to him during thistime, so this is such a  great bit of info for me. Thanks again, Gail!]

April 4th, 1943

April 4th 1943

Dear Mom

Well I made it back okay, and did we ever have fun. We met a couple of girls from Malton Airport sitting in the back of the bus so we joined them and we sang all the way back to camp.

To-day I’m working in the kitchen washing dishes till 6 o’clock then I go down to the guard as a spare that means if anybody gets sick I take their place but if they don’t I sleep all night, that’s not too bad.

Right now in the canteen all the fellows have got their girls here and a bunch of guys playing the piano and I haven’t even got a girlfriend to write to but I don’t care no more, I’m having lots of fun. Some young kid from town just now came in and he’s playing the drums.

Don’t forget the party next week and tell daddy not to forget to get me the bottle to take away.

We hand our rifles in tomorrow and will that ever be nice.

Well I can’t think of anything else. Write soon.

Your son
The East End Kid
General Gordon

Mom xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sweetipie xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Rest xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 Gord and Unknown Woman, Date Unknown

[Shannan’s Note – Since we started in on Gord’s letters he’s been asking after Marg, whom I believe was a friend of Gord’s older sister (and my grandmother), Bin. I haven’t been able to uncover much on Marg or the relationship that she and Gord may or may not have had, but I have a couple of leads that I am following to try and find a little more info on Marg, and who she might have been. I’ll keep you posted. The photo above is of Gord and an unknown woman, date also unknown… My cousin Gail, who has been an incredible help since I started on the letters, mentioned that her mom (Gord’s sister Geraldine or Sweetipie as you may know her) used to say that Gord was a…ahem…popular fellow who didn’t have any trouble finding a different lady-friend in every port or town… Did that get going after a love lost in Marg? Maybe we’ll find out more as the letters and the research progresses, but the romantic in me is just a teensy bit hopeful that it’s Marg in that photo…]

March 29th, 1943

March 29th 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

I’m sorry I haven’t wrote sooner, I didn’t have any stamps or money till yesterday and then I was on duty last night. Well we’re all through our training and are we having it easy, this morning we went out on a route march, came back at twelve, had dinner then went away back in the woods behind the camp and told stories till 5:15 then broke off for the day. On Sun when I was coming back I met one of the guys at the bus station, he drove me back to camp.

The next time I come home it will be my last leave until July so how about a little party, and how is Marg, I haven’t wrote to her yet.

How is Ray getting along pretty good I hope. We have been told where we are going but I can’t say, but it’s a two day and two night train ride.

I’ll try to get home for a couple of hours on Sat. If you can get any stamps send them, they are awful hard to get here. You can tell by the date I started to write this letter a couple of days ago but I didn’t have any stamps.

Well that’s all I can think of for now, see yous Sat.

Your son,

10th Platoon

Gord and his Platoon at their training base in Brampton. 10th Platoon, C Company, 24th Regt. March 1943.

[Shannan’s Note – it’s tough to tell from the photo, but I think  that’s Gord in the front row, second from the left. I assume this picture was taken upon completion of their training]

March 22nd, 1943

March 22nd, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Just a few lines to let yous know that I don’t feel too bad. I went to the M.O. this morning and he gave me nine pills to take all at once so I took them and I’ve been running to the toilet all day, but it’s not too bad. I got excused duty, all I’ve been doing is sleeping all day and is it nice, I have to go back at 7 o’clock to-night, I hope he don’t give me any more pills.

I’ll be home about 8 o’clock on Fri night, maybe early, I don’t know for sure so tell Bin to buy a couple of films so we can take pictures.

It’s a real summer day here to-day, sun shining. We’ll soon be able to wear our short pants that will be lots of fun

Well I can’t think of anything else to say except write soon.

Your son,

P.S. If I don’t soon get promoted to a General I’ll quit.


Well, here is another day. I didn’t have any stamps yesterday so I borrowed two today so I’ll send it now. If you have any stamps and change send it please. I feel lots better to-day


I got my promotion.

Amy and Edward

[Shannan’s note – The picture above is of Gord’s parents, Amy and Edward (nicknamed Bucka), year unknown. Amy was born in 1902 in Peterborough and was the oldest of 5 kids. Edward was born in 1897 in Tweed and was the oldest boy in a family of 7 kids. He and Amy married in 1921 in Peterborough. Edward was a Chauffeur at the time, and they went on to have 5 children. Edward passed away in 1955 and Amy lived, beloved by her family, for another 20 years.]