Friday, April 16, 2010
Dear Miss Macaulay....
Dear Miss Macaulay:
I will thank your nice Xmas stocking I received. I was very pleased to get the present. Everything came in so handy. I had a very happy Xmas time. I hope you had the same. I am in the 1st Southern General Hospital with the misfortune of having one leg off at the knee but expect to be in Canada in about a month or so. Many more thanks for the presents and a Happy New Year to you.
Private L. J. G--------
So reads a letter from a Canadian soldier from his hospital stay during the first world war. I have a small collection of postcards and other paper ephemera and one of those items was an envelope with a postal stamp on it indicating it was from a wounded soldier (I had never looked inside the envelope before yesterday so just discovered the letter). The other envelope displays a postal mark with a great war slogan on it: Food will win the war. Don't waste it.
And I also have another letter from a soldier during the second world war who indicates that he'd pay 5 bucks for a hamburger.
The first letter from Private L. G. is so ordinary until he states matter-of-factly that he's lost a leg. The letter could have been written last Christmas by a wounded soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq. I imagine there are plenty of those letters that were written and sadly continue to be written.
I don't know the relationship between the private and the Miss Macaulay he wrote to. Was her Christmas stocking a generic gift to be delivered to a wounded soldier by the Red Cross(women knit socks for soldiers as part of the war efforts at home)? Was it a gift from a potential girlfriend or perhaps a family friend? It would take a lot of detective work on my part to figure out both parties involved, especially the private as his handwriting makes it difficult to decipher his last name. But I may take on the project over the summer.
Two pictures of Max and his twin brother. The first taken in 1928 or so. Aren't they the sweetest kids? The second picture is from May or June, 1942, when Max's brother returned home for the first time after having survived the U-boat torpedoing of the ship he was on. Max is the one in uniform.
And the last picture is Max acting as a gunner. We are coming up to the anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, May 3rd. I'll head to the Halifax waterfront to attend the ceremonies (actually, I think it's at Point Pleasant Park which is at the mouth of the harbour and where a large monument is installed to remember our war dead). Wherever it may be, I'll be there.