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

May 2nd, 1943

May 2nd, 1943

Dear Mom + Dad

Well I just got three letters yesterday, the first for a long time, I don’t know what’s wrong with the mail because I’ve wrote five letters. I was wondering why yous did not write.

On Saturday my boy friend and I went down to look for Earl and after two hours we found him. He didn’t even know my name, but he was awful glad to see me. He invited me and my boy friend to supper next Sunday. He has a very nice wife, nice looking too, but the sailors have all the luck. He was in a nice little house with hardwood floors, nice, place. He has been away for so long he doesn’t know anybody’s name. He didn’t even know Ted was overseas.

Tell Ray I hope he soon gets home. He has been away longer than I have and I’d like to get home but if I get lots of mail I don’t mind so much.

You can send me as much as you can spare out of the cheque, but if you need it keep it.

I broke my watch about a week ago, I can’t  tell you how, so I’ll send it home to get fixed because I took it in down here and they said it would take six weeks and I haven’t got that long. I’ll  be home before that I hope, hope, hope.

What’s wrong with Marg, has she found someone new? I haven’t got a letter for over a week and I just sent her two.

I couldn’t go downtown to send you an Easter Telegram but Mother’s Day is the 14th of May.

Tell Daddy I like it here, but I miss yous all. I guess when I get back to Toronto I’ll get lost so yous will have to meet me at the station or I’ll never get home.

I wrote to Edie when I first come here, but she hasn’t answered so tell Pork to phone her up and ask why she has not wrote, he’ll like that RA 5925.

Where is all the letters and parcels Bin and you were going to send? Bin said she was going to write every night. Tell her if she don’t write, I’ll come home and giver her H—. Tell Bill he was lucky he didn’t get in the Artillery. It’s no good for me, it’s too much brain work.

How did you like that poem I sent yous about Halifax, pretty good un?Too bad Jose went back to Lindsay but write and do tell her to be there when I come home.

Well can’t think of anything else to say expect write soon or sooner.

Lots of love to the best mother in the world
The East End Kid

[Shannan’s Note – Glad to hear Gord in better spirits than the last letter! I’m not entirely sure what RA 5925 means, or how it fits into that sentance… Google searches have come back with nothing, but I’ll keep digging around in the paperwork, perhaps there’s something in the bits and pieces. I’m also not sure who Earl is. The way Gord speaks of him sure makes him sound like family, but I haven’t seen the name in any of the work I have been doing. Ted is my grandfather, and Gord’s letter suggests that Earl and Ted knew one another, so perhaps  a relation there? Another mystery for the stack, I suppose.. ]

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!]