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  • Michael Ritchie

October 7, 1917

Updated: Mar 11, 2019


Dear Mother & Father,

Received your Labour Day letter the other day and your Sept. 10th letter came in with the rations tonight. I have been sitting here trying to picture every incident.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go fishing at Indian village or up the lake somewhere. It is one thing that I can look forward to.

It is getting along into winter now. Tonight it is raining and blowing hard and mud up to the eyes. We are fairly comfortable in an old Bosche dugout. Looks like another winter of it.

I received the socks etc. and sent a letter acknowledging them. Now that I have a company permanently I can give them directly to my men and believe me they appreciate them to the ones issued.

I hope you have received you have received the souvenirs I sent you by this time. Romaine Stevenson has quite a few I gave him to give you. I also sent the cross.

The King wasn’t so familiar as you state in your letters. I didn’t accept his invitation to tea or anything like that you know.

Young Jean must be quite grown up to go touring by herself. I suppose Aunt Mary would give her a wonderful time having the new ear and all that. I suppose Aunt Mary will be able to get down to see Mother oftener. It will be very nice.

My other star hasn’t come through yet but it is in and dated back to May 1 so that isn’t so bad when it comes through. The reason it has been slow is that the organization has been changed slightly and there are quite a number of Captns. in England wounded but not struck off. If it doesn’t come through shortly I am going to raise a row and go to the flying camp as it is a far better work and you civilized treatment. Another winter in the trenches isn’t very attractive to me. Leave winter would be about all a man would be good for if it is going to be anything like last year.

I am not grousing but merely looking for a something that is due me also a better station.

Well I don’t like the tone of this letter so I will cut it short and write later.

Well I hope you are all keeping well. Couldn’t be any better with me. Received a letter from Lillian Eastwood tonight also one from Mar Neill from Prince Rupert.

All the love in the world to you both and the rest of the family.

Your Loving son,

Vincent

By the end of this letter you can tell that Vincent is in a sour mood and that is what seems to have cut it a bit shorter than the average one back to his parents, especially after not writing to them for a couple of weeks.

It seems that the annoyance, or anger depending on what you want to call it, stems from the fact that he hasn't yet got paid for the time that he spent as an acting Captain. He goes as far as to, if he doesn't receive the pay soon, leave the army and join up with the Air Force as he believes that they will treat him more "civilized". This isn't the first time he has talked about the possibility of flying, but we know that he never does make the cross over.

There really isn't a whole lot else to discuss from this letter. As we know, his friend Romeyn Stevenson was supposed to bring back some of Vincent's souvenirs from the war back to his parents when he returned to Canada, as he mentions. It is nice to see that Vincent received some freshly knit socks from home to share with his men. He seems to be trying to be a good leader, though it is hard to tell from letters home whether he is succeeding. The last thing that I want to mention is the fact that in a letter to Vincent, it seems that his parents thought he had a much more in depth meeting with the King than he actually did, which I , along with I think Vincent, found quite humorous.

Under you will see the letter if you would like to help me out in deciphering a couple of words that I could not clearly make out. Also, if you want to know what the Battalion was up to at the time the letter was written you can find that information in their War Diary here.

Thank you all for reading and as always feel free to share, comment and let me know if there is anything that I should add or fix!

Thank you,

Michael Ritchie

#1917 #WorldWar1 #WWI #France #18thBattalion #airforce #souvenirs #King