Letters from the Great War: “I’m going on my fourth year in the army, seems like 10”

Devonport, August 21st, 1918 – (Letter #30) 

Dear Brother;

Just a few lines to let you know I am alright. Hoping this will find you all the same. Well, I am still in Blighty and I am tired of writing and getting no answer. I have not had a letter from you since I had the registered one with the dollar in it. It seems to be the same with all us Canadians here, as there is about a hundred in the hospital here and they don’t get any letters from Canada. I would like to know where in hell they are going to. That is why I am having mine sent to a private address. I do stand more chance of getting them.

Well, I had a Medical Board two weeks ago and they marked me B I for B II, so I am expecting to be on the next draft and it is for Siberia, but you leave that to me. I do not want to go there. It is too far away and too cold. I would rather go to France. I think I can kick off it. Well, I am not fit for it anyhow, but I am getting better every day. I am getting stronger. It takes quite a little time to get over gas, but this is a dead place here. I do not like it.

I was just thinking today, I am going on to my fourth year in the army. It seems about 10 years. Well, the good old U.S.A. is doing good work. They are getting lots of men over here and that is what we want to end this war quick. They are also good fighters, but, of course, they have lots of swank. They tell us they are coming to finish the war here. They don’t know what we have done and suffered the past four years. But they’ll love their swank when they get to France and up against old Jerry.

When do you think it will be over? Have you got plenty of work? Well, as long as you can keep out of the army, you are alright. Well, I do hope you will get this letter and try to write to me once in a while. Remember me to the boys. How is Sam? I never hear anything about Dave Ross. What is he doing?

Love and xxxx for Mary and Ted. Hope he is better with lots of love.

From, Lee

Editor’s Notes:

  • Lee mentions Siberia. After Russia had backed out of WW1, the remaining Allied countries sent soldiers to Russia during their civil war to assist the anti-communist movement, strengthen the Eastern front and also to protect military supplies and equipment in Russian ports. They eventually backed out in 1920, but this intervention did create distrust between East and West.
  • The Americans helped to turn back the Germans in the Spring Offensive from March to July and during the final Hundred Days Offensive from August to November. Germany was not able to replenish their armies to compete with the influx of fresh American soldiers and improved morale among the Allies. The Central Power armies were tired, the citizens were hungry. Germany wanted to fight another battle at sea with the British, but the German navy refused and revolted, supported by civilians. The German Empire collapsed. They had no choice and an armistice was signed on November 11th, 1918.
  • There are two more letters, but this letter represents the last letter before the war ended.

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