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Remembering the First World War – Archives Blog

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At Home and Away: Remembering the First World War through records at the Archives of Manitoba

Visit this blog for regular posts about records at the Archives of Manitoba that date from the time of the First World War. Visit the Archives of Manitoba to see the records in person.

From April 2016 to April 2017, this blog will feature the First World War letters of one Manitoba soldier, George Battershill, of East Kildonan. Most of the letters were written to his mother or to his father. The blog will follow the letters that George wrote in the same week, one hundred years ago.

August 2016 Posts:

22 August 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: “I think it will be over pretty soon…”

In letters from the past few weeks, George has expressed confidence that the war is going well for the Allies and that it will end by Christmas.

In his August 25 letter to his mother, George wrote:

“If this war goes on as it is I think it will be over pretty soon + the sooner the better because home would look pretty good for Christmas dinner + I hope to be home by then.”

Search Tip: Search the Battershill family fonds in Keystone for more information. All of the George Battershill letters have been digitized and can be read from the database (if you can’t wait for the weekly installments!).

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15 August 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: Visiting friends at the 78th Battalion, the Winnipeg Grenadiers

There are five letters from the third week of August. George continues to express his frustration over not hearing from his brother-in-law Harry and not knowing what has happened to the money order, sent by his mother to Harry, for George. This frustration has been mentioned for the last several weeks.

Finally, in the letter written on August 21, George reported that he received the money from Harry.

George writes frequently about visiting the 78th Battalion, the Winnipeg Grenadiers, and mentions several that he saw including Sid Fox, Bob Moore and Bert Brown: “I met a lot of old boys from the Peg.”

George also refers to news of his former battalion, the 61st: “I have seen quite a few of our officers of the old 61st over here + about half of them are killed.”

August 16, 1916 letter with 2 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
August 16, 1916,
#674-675, P7471/3.

August 17, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
August 28, 1916,
#676-678, P7471/3.

August 19, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
August 19, 1916,
#679-681, P7471/3.

August 21, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
August 21, 1916,
#687-689, P7471/3.

Search Tip: Search the Battershill family fonds in Keystone for more information. All of the George Battershill letters have been digitized and can be read from the database (if you can’t wait for the weekly installments!).

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8 August 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: “It is great fun in one of these holes”

This was a week for receiving parcels – George received a new pen, coffee and cigarettes from his mother and a big box of cakes and biscuits from his uncle and aunt.

George’s letters continue to be somewhat repetitive and do not contain a lot of new information. He writes to his dad, “I guess this is all for now as we cannot write anything we like…”.

In the letter of August 11, however, he gives a one-sentence description of the battle from the trenches:

“It is great fun in one of these holes… you have to lay down all day + if you move about over comes a bomb + then good night”

He then proceeds to ask about the neighbours.

August 8, 1916 letter with 2 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
August 8, 1916,
#665-666, P7471/3.

August 8, 1916 letter with 4 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
August 8, 1916,
#667-670, P7471/3.

August 11, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
August 11, 1916,
#671-673, P7471/3.

Search Tip: Search the Battershill family fonds in Keystone for more information. All of the George Battershill letters have been digitized and can be read from the database (if you can’t wait for the weekly installments!).

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2 August 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: I remain, as B4, GeoB

At the beginning of August, 1916, George Battershill continued to write on some familiar themes: friends and acquaintances he’s met in France, people he has heard from, worries about money, the hot French summer and the hope that the war would be over by Christmas.

Another pattern that George continued throughout his letters was his signature.  Most of his letters are signed in the same way: “I remain, as B4, GeoB”, using a short form of ‘before’ that may have foreshadowed the texting shorthand of 2016.

August 2, 1916 letter with 2 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
August 2, 1916,
#657-658, P7471/3.

August 5, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
August 5, 1916,
#659-661, P7471/3.

August 6, 1916 letter with 3 pages

enlarge (3 images)

Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
August 6, 1916,
#662-664, P7471/3.

Search Tip: Search the Battershill family fonds in Keystone for more information. All of the George Battershill letters have been digitized and can be read from the database (if you can’t wait for the weekly installments!).

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