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.

Love

Gord

[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,

Gord

[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 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,

Gord

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
Gord

[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.]

July 24th, 1943

July 24th, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad,

Just a few lines to let you know I got the 5 dollars okay and thanks a lot. I was broke, all I had was 1 cent and it was a lucky one. I just got two letters this morning from you and Bin so I will answer them right away but first I just went and talked to the Sargt. and if you will send this month’s cheque I can come home for 3 days. It’s not very long but I sure would love to get home…that’s if you don’t need the money. And if you can send it, write and let me know Air Mail and then when you get it, cash it and send it by registered letter or any way possible. I could be home by the end of August.

I seen Demps yesterday and was I ever glad he didn’t go with the rest. All the guys I took my basic training with are gone, lucky guys.

When you send the money, you can expect a telegram saying “Be Home 10:00, Union Station. Love, Gord” so be looking for it, you and Dad, Bin and Marg.

Well, this is all for today, write again tomorrow.

Love Gord.

July 12th, 1943

July 12th, 1943

Dear  Mom + Dad,

Well Mom I just got two letters today from you and Dad and I got the one marked special and was I glad. That three bucks came in handy because I was broke and I didn’t have a cig to my name. The one fellow I was chumming around with got a carton of American cigs and do you think he would give you one, well I’m through with him now I got the money and he is broke so just wait until her asks me for something.

Well I’m still on draft and when I leave and get to my new camp I think I will get my furlough right away. I don’t mind waiting now because if I had of went home with Demps I would have had to come back the other day and I would have felt pretty bad.

I remember Art, the one you mentioned in your letter. I seen him quite a bit over at A (23), the reason he got his furlough is because he is going away, and Demps is too.

I’d like to be going with Bruce and Chuckie, I bet they will have a swell time. I hope Pork likes it where he is. I’ll write to him tonight. He should be down here, there is lots of water and it is easier swimming in salt water than fresh water.

I would like to have been at Davies when he met the gang, I sure would like to see them all again. Tell Miss Davies I was asking about her and tell her I’ll see them all pretty soon (I hope).

I haven’t got those snaps yet that you sent to the old address, I don’t know what is wrong with the mail. Sometimes I get them in two days and then sometimes a week. Are very many of them censored, if so is anything ever crossed out?

By the look of Marg’s picture (the one that Bin sent) I think she is a real swell looking girl and she looks as if she has changed too and I’m glad all of yous changed your mind about her. Remember when I first started going with her, yous didn’t think very much of her??

That three dollars came in real handy, so if you send me the odd dollar will be alright. I don’t expect to be home for at least a month so my next cheque will be the one to bring me home. Everybody should be home by then, it will be better anyway because everybody is away at camp now.

Will you do me a favour and buy Sweetipie a present for her birthday because I can’t see anything down here, except when I get home I’ll bring a few souvenirs with me. I’ll be ready waiting for that supper when I get home, and if you can get a brick of ice cream put  that on the menu too.

Well, I guess I’ll start to answer  the other letter now. I’m glad to hear Bob is okay. I hope to see him about January then I will try to take Daddy’s place. I’d like to see Big Ted again too. If I ever do well we will have fun just like the old days. And when I come home, I won’t forget the telegram because I want everybody there and we will have a time. We will walk all the way home just so I can have my feet on Ontario soil.

If you do happen to send me anything, would you send me a package of Craven A cigs? Mrs Davies sells them. I haven’t smoked one since I left Toronto.

Well that’s all for tonight, I will write again soon.
Lots of love to the best mother in the world.

PS: Tell Bin to hurry up and answer my letters.

for Sweetipie

July 1st, 1943

July 1st, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad,

Well mom I’m getting behind in my mail to you but I have no stamps or money so could you send me a bit and if you do could you send it by mail with your letter because the other way I have to go down to Halifax. And I don’t expect to be here very long anyway and a letter would follow me wherever I go.

You tell Marg when that when I come you and Bin and I will go up to the Honey Dew and meet Marg and then we will  go out and have the time of our lives. Tell the kids that when I come home I’ll be so happy I’ll treat them to whatever they want.

And about that holiday on the 1st I didn’t know there was one, we are so far back in the woods we don’t hear about anything.

I can’t think of anything more to say except please write soon and send $1.

Lots of love to the best mother in the world

Gord