Sample Letter #1

In 1914 Canada’s permanent force army was just 3,000 men, yet within months of the declaration of War more than 30,000 men were in uniform and on their way to England. Twenty year old Leo was one of the young Canadians who responded to the “call to arms”, enlisting in the 24th Battalion Victoria Rifles of Montreal. On May 11, 1915 his regiment embarked for England and tried to march in formation but the men were accompanied to the docks by such enthusiastic crowds they were unable to march together and had to find their way on their own.  A letter from Leo written to his mother on May 13 describes this event.

Sample Letter #2

Leo’s unit arrived in England May 20 and trained at Sandling Camp in southern England until September 15. By the end of this time the raw recruits had become a military unit capable of eliciting pride. Leo’s writes of this accomplishment.

Sample Letter #3

The 24th Battalion leaves England for France at night on September 15th carrying out this operation secretly and efficiently. Leo’s letter to his mother shows his pride in this accomplishment.

Sample Letter #4

Leo arrives in the trenches on September 28, 1915 where he takes up his post manning a telephone in a dugout in the front line trenches. He describes to his family his first experience under fire.

Sample Letter #5

By June 12, 1916 Leo has had significant experience of war. His letter to his sister from Ypres reflects the extent to which he has become resigned to life in and out of the trenches and the unpredictability of the future.

Sample Letter #6

Leo had become a Scout and was designated to lead troops to their objectives at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Here he is wounded and his Commanding Officer describes the events to his family.

Sample Letter #7

As above, Leo is wounded and his Chaplain describes the events to his family.