July 30, 1917


Dear Mother and Father,

Just received your letters of July 2nd, also a bundle of Examiners. I hope you are all well. Am still at the course and there is a rumour about that is is to be extended two weeks making five weeks in all, the same as usual. I hope it is so as it certainly is an interesting course in a wonderful part of the country. We have fairly easy hours, work hard when we are at it and when we get off, there are all kinds of games to play, places to go and plenty of swimming in the sea.

Today it is raining pretty heavy.

I suppose the government is still scrapping over conscription, but I suppose it will come eventually. The U.S.A. seems to be coming along and will likely get a big punch into the show in good time. Have been speaking to some U.S. doctors. We are going to play their baseball this week but I think we will be pretty busy if we finish up here then.

About two months ago I passed Hubert Eastwood’s Battalion with a company and they were halted. I only had about two minutes to spare so I dropped out and ran over to see if I could find Hubert. I met Capt. Marlin of Lakefield but Hub had gone someplace for a moment and as I had to go on, I missed seeing him.

When coming down here I met Gus Richardson of the Lift Lock and had dinner with him.

I am glad to hear that Les Stevens is out of it for a while. When I met him bout a year ago in London, he was pretty well shaken up then. I think he got home for a short while then. Saw Mowat about a month ago. He seemed to be well.

Sad about Mr. Chittick. That is the cheese house we used to alternate going home by from Chemong wasn’t it?

I suppose Doug McCarter will make quite a farmer won’t he. Jean and he are still the same pair I bet. Doug was boasting to me in his letter that he could handle Jean now but I doubt it.

You were asking me in your letter what I am doing etc. I haven’t received any word from the battalion for two weeks so I don’t know what is going on. My acting captaincy ought to be in soon. If nobody else returns to the Bn. and puts me out of my promotion I might get a coy or second in command of a company but I don’t care so much about that as I do about my leave, strange to say.

Crops look wonderful in this country at present. Potatoes in England are dirt cheap and there are heaps of them. Every available plot is under cultivation. If they could only get something by which they could destroy the Bosche crops the war wouldn’t last so terribly long.

Well this letter is a long one mostly about nothing. Will write again in the near future. For the present I will close. Love to you both and kisses, also to all.

Your Loving Son,

Vincent

I found this letter fascinating as it has many people mentioned in it with connections to his home life as well as the 93rd Battalion and his military life. He also has some interesting insights about the crops in Europe, his captaincy and baseball played against the Americans who seem to be making themselves more presented in the war.

I will start by shedding a light on some of the military personal he mentions in this letter. For the most part they have connections to the 93rd, the battalion he was sent over with, and also have connections to Peterborough, which would explain why he would mention them with such familiarity to his parents. The only one that I have not been able to track down is Les Stevens. I have looked and he doesn't seem to have been part of the 93rd, but Vincent mentioned him in this letter, as well as the letter he wrote home on October 7th, 1916, where he mentions Les looking very sickly as he met him while on leave in London. If anyone can help me track him down, that would be great. As for the others, here is a list of them, with a link attached to the name to their service record. You can also see a couple of these men in a picture from the Examiner I shared in the letter from November 8th, 1916.

John Hubert Eastwood (Hubert Eastwood. I believe he is a cousin of Vincents)

Thomas William Birchall Marling (Capt. Marlin)

Albert Angus Richardson (Gus Richardson)

Grant Davidson Mowat (Mowat)

You can find all the names listed above in the 93rds Nominal Roll where the officers are listed as well, which certainly helped me get all of the names right (thank you again for sharing that with me Eric).


The other names he mentions in this letter from back home I have had less success fully tracking down. He talks of a Doug McCarter taking on the farm, I believe that must be a cousin from his mothers side but I am not 100% sure. He has talked about Jean being at family events though, which I believe is an Aunt. He also talks about a Mr. Chittick who seems to have run a cheese house near the family cottage at Chemong. If anyone has anymore information on these two individuals, I would love to hear about it!

As always, if you would like to follow along with what the 18th Battalion was doing at this time, you can check out the War Diary entry for July here.

I didn't really have much difficulty with the words in this letter and my camera is not cooperating at the moment, so for now I will leave the picture.

Hopefully you have enjoyed reading this, and as always, let me know if there is anything that I can add or that I should change.

Thank you,

Michael Ritchie

#1917 #peterborough #93rdBattalion #potatoes #training #france

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