Letters from the Great War: “Old Wilson did take a tumble”
France – April 28th, 1917 (Letter #24)
Just a few lines to let you know I am well. Hoping this will find you all the same. I have not had a letter from you since I came to France, but I have written every week. Hope you are getting them alright. I know Mother doesn’t get half my letters I write, as I can tell by the letters I get from home. My address in now 1/7 Lancaster Fusiliers, C.Coy, B.E. Force ℅ G.P.O. London attached to #427 Field Coy (E.L.) Royal Engineers.
Well, I bet you are pleased that old Wilson did take a tumble and came into the war. Give me all the news when you write. I bet there is some excitement around Boston. I see by the papers they are sending troops over here. Well, I think it will shorten the war.
Things are very lively on this front but it is all one sided and that is our side. I hope they will drive them all straight to hell, but I don’t think the devil will have them. Do you ever hear from Vernon MacLeod? I wish I had his address. He might be right handy for all I know. When I get his address, I will write to him. I have seen quite a few Canadians, but no one I know yet.
Well, how is work this Spring in Boston? Are you kept busy all the time and is Sam working all the time? I wonder how poor Eldon is getting along. I hear he had to go to Halifax. I don’t see why they keep him with such a bad heart. Well, we are having very good weather at present and I hope it will keep so. We did have awful rotten weather ever since we came to France until last week. Well, there is always something to do on this front.
Well, I am with the Engineers at present and there is plenty of hard work for all of us all, but I would like to drop in and have a good feed with you. I think I could stand it all right. Remember me to Herb Hatch and all the boys. I bet Teddy is a big boy now. Lots of love and xxx for Mary and Ted. Remember me to Flo, Sam and kids.
With love and best wishes from your brother, Lee.
Editor’s Note: The US remained out of the war as long as they could. Politically, they took a position of neutrality; however, they were helping to finance both Britain and France in their war efforts. Americans with British ancestry had been keen from the beginning to have US join the war, but others who were predominantly Democrats were dead against it. There were two developments that changed that balance further to the earlier sinking of the passenger liner RMS Lusitania in 1914. In 1917, Germany decided, in an effort to finally win the long war, to starve out Britain by blocking merchant ships reaching its shores by declaring “unrestricted submarine warfare”. The US also intercepted a telegram where Germany offered to assist Mexico in regaining the territories, now part of the US, they has lost in the Mexican-American war. The US declared war against Germany in April 1917 and later in December against Austria and Hungary. Germany calculated the US would take some time to be ready to fight a war, and, by that time, it would be over.