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Letter to Vincent from Cpt. Rayward

Field -

{To} V. McC. Eastwood M.C.

Dear Vinc,

About your gun & etc. - Yes! England has the gun & a pocketbook of pictures in Brackins kit so will see if I can get him to forward the things on to you - Am not with the battn. at present so it will mean another letter - “but you know {me Alf}.”

Understand the “bat” was in for some rough stuff & had a few casualties - {Tucker} was one of the unlucky ones - My old Coy C-S-M was killed & hell raised generally.

Do you know the more I see of this thing the less I like it - Too much of this “One damn thing after another” stuff.

Too bad your permanent grade had not gone through but you should worry -I hear that C.{J}. Jack has got his three up now - acting only -

Bill Fenton is back after a spell of sickness & leave to the South of France - He had a very wonderful trip.

Did you hear about Fisher getting a special job - Some sort of secret affair - Supposed to have {act.} Capt. {Rank} with a {“gaurd”} a day extra pay & a special kit allowance - Seems to be a pretty good thing. Wish I could have got it. Don’t give a damn about the pay end of it but there must be some excitement in it.

So long “old dear”. Keep your {pecker} up & drop us the occasional line.




This was a very interesting letter that I found at the back of the binder of letters I have. It took me so long to get to it mainly because it was not dated and I was not sure who had written it to Vincent. When showing the signature around a bit, the always helpful Eric Edwards suggested that it may be Cpt. Theodore Hampton Oswald Rayward who had written this to Vincent. As for the dating of the letter, that was a bit trickier. Again with Eric's help, and a couple hints from the letter, we are presuming that it was sometime around April 1918. Depending on the exact dates, Vincent could have still be in a hospital bed in England when he received this letter or on his way back home to Canada.

The way that we, meaning mostly Eric, figured out the approximate timing to this letter is due to the little hints in the letter itself. The first one being the fact that when he addresses him he puts the M.C. at the end which stands for the Military Cross that he won, which means that it would have had to be sometime after he received it in the later half of 1917. The next hint was that Rayward said he was not with the battalion at the moment and in his records he was with the Canadian Corp Reinforcement Camp from February to July 1918, so it is presumed he would have written in that time span.

The next clue in deciphering the date of the letter is the mention of Bill Fenton, who we believe to be Lt. William Henry Fenton, coming back from sick leave. It seems that poor Bill Fenton had Bronchitis in the early part of 1918 and from the records I looked at didn't return to the battalion until the summer of 1918. This would coincide with the rough timeline we created.

The last piece of evidence that I am going to present you with is the secret mission that Rayward talked about Fisher, Acting Captain John Matthew Fisher, was able to go on. From his records we can see that Fisher was part of this secret mission between January and February of 1918, again fitting our loose timeline for this letter.

Other people mentioned in this letter is Brackin, who I believe to be Garnet Garfield Brackin who would have been in a hospital in England from late January 1918 until around June 1918, finally joining the 18th again in July that year, unfortunately killed in action shortly after that. The other person mentioned in this letter that is not listed yet is who Eric and I first believed to be Lt. Clarence Everett Tuck, but looking at his record he was injured around April the previous year during Vimy Ridge and was struck off strength shortly after that. So unfortunately I am not sure who "Tucker" is at the moment.

As always the letter will be pictured below, unfortunately this one is in a little worse condition than the others but it was still pretty easy to make out. If you have any questions, or anything to add please let me know!

As always thank you for reading and please share this to anyone who you might think would be interested!

Michael Ritchie


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