Letters from the Great War: “It was my Mother’s prayer that saved me”

Editor’s note: CBC Radio Mainstreet (FM 96.1) did a follow-up interview with me to talk about our series “Letters from the Great War”. The segment will air on Friday, November 9th, sometime between 4-6 pm. Our history committee engaged Alan Buchanan to voice all 32 letters and one of these will be featured as part of the interview. Make sure to listen in.

Blackpool, England, March 26, 1918 – Letter #28 

Dear Brother;

Jack, just a few lines in answer to your most welcome letter received March 23rd. Pleased to hear you are all well, but I am awful sorry to hear about Mr. MacDonald’s sudden death. It was the first I heard about it. That is the first letter I had from you since last May.

Well, Jack, I am still alive and able to move as you or Flo said. It was my mother’s prayer that saved me. I did not ever think for a minute that I would be alive to tell you that I was in France the second time, as I was in the worst of it 36 hours from the time I left England and, believe me, it was hell and I have been through hell.

I am in Blackpool now, came here yesterday, transferred to the R.A.M.C., so you can see for yourself, I am not much more good when I am no more good for infantry, but I would not be surprised to be in France again within another month. I know I won’t like this. I would rather be fighting than taking care of the wounded, but we can’t suit ourselves in the army. If I go again, it will be my last. I won’t try to go through what I haven’t done as they have not given me a very square deal, as I have been at it for nearly three years without a leave. I only had 10 days out of hospital and I was back again within 10 days in France.

Now, Jack, I want you to write this address and they will send them on to me as God only knows where because I do not. Well, I am just thinking as I am writing this letter, will I ever see Boston and you all again. If I have to go again, I won’t. But nevermind, it is all in a lifetime. I would like to be able to sit down and have a good talk with you all and I could tell you what kind of damn skunks we are fighting – that would make you open your eyes. Thank God, you have not gone through it and if you don’t, I will for you.

Give my best respects to Herb Hatch and Klein. I guess they are only friends I have, so don’t ever worry over me. When you have time, drop me a line. As always, I like to get a letter.

Love and xxx for Ted and Mary.

Your brother, Lee.

Editor’s note: 

  • Lee likely fought in the Spring Offensive, one of the fiercest and desperate battles of the War, which took place at the Western Front. The Germans realized it was their last chance to win this war before the Americans fully deployed their resources. The Germans also had the advantage of extra soldiers that had been previously fighting in Russia.
  • R.A.M.C. – Royal Army Medical Corps – they operated the army’s medical units.
  • Mr. MacDonald was Jack’s father-in-law, Beatrice’s father. Mr. MacDonald ran the Charlottetown Water Works. These are the same MacDonald’s as Lucy Maud Montgomery’s husband Ewen.

No Comments

  1. Jamie Simpson on November 7, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Great series thank you for posting these. So evocative.

  2. Gordon Furness on November 10, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Who was the MacDonald man who died? He would be my relative as Reverend Ewen MacDonald was my grandmothers uncle?

    • VB on November 10, 2018 at 5:34 pm

      I will check on name. Do you recall a relative who lived where the Charlottetown Waterworks was?

      • Gordon Furness on November 11, 2018 at 9:04 am

        Yes John MacDonald, son of John MacDonald (Iris) and Anne MacDonald (Bellevue). He died September 16 1917. Anne would be the sister of Reverend Ewen MacDonald’s father. Not sure who Beatrice and Jack are. I have John’s wife’s name as Elizabeth.

  3. VB on November 11, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Beatrice was their daughter and she was married to Jack Darrach.

  4. Marilyn Darrach Hofmann on November 13, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this very interesting series.I have read all the links.
    I am wondering about Lee Darrach’s middle name “Grant” as I had a great-aunt Verna Grant Darrach and never knew where the name Grant came from in her name. Might any readers here be able to shed any light on this?

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