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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.

June 2016 Posts:

20 June 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: Somewhere in Belgium

In the first two of this week’s letters, George Battershill writes to his mother that by the time she reads the letters he will be in the trenches. The first letter was written from France and the other three were from Belgium.

On June 26, George wrote to his mother about being in the trenches: “I have been up there twice now + it don’t appeal to me at all.” George asks his mother to send writing paper (and cigarettes) as he has run out of stationery and is using paper torn out of his notebook.

June 1916 letter with 1 page

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
June [1916]
#601, P7471/3.

June 21, 1916 letter with 4 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
June 21, 1916,
#588-591, P7471/3.

June 23, 1916 letter with 6 pages, showing pages 1 and 2

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
June 23, 1916,
#592-597, P7471/3.

June 26, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
June 26, 1916,
#598-600, 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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13 June 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: “Not in the trenches yet”

This week’s letters from George Battershill were all written to his mother, from France. George seems to be catching up on letter-writing while he waits to go into battle. He describes hearing the sounds of battle in the June 16 letter: “I can [hear] the big guns plain from here + they are making some noise.”

In the last of the three letters, he begins by saying “Just another line to say that I am not in the trenches yet but expect to be in them pretty soon.”

June 13, 1916 letter with 2 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
June 13, 1916,
#581-582, P7471/3.

June 16, 1916 letter with 2 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
June 16, 1916,
#583-584, P7471/3.

June 18, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
June 18, 1916,
#585-587, 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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6 June 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: Somewhere in France

One hundred years ago this week, George Battershill landed in France. His letter of June 7 was written from Southhampton, England and the next two letters for the week were written from “Somewhere in France.” This begins a long run of letters written from “somewhere” in France or Belgium. As George wrote: “All of the letters are censored over here so I can’t tell you where I am…”.

George’s first impressions of France were positive. In his June 11 letter written to his Mom, he says:

“I am laying on my stomach writing this letter and I am up in the hayloft of an old barn + just now there is a great big pig snoring underneath me. France is a fine country and the people here treat the soldiers fine.”

June 7, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
June 7, 1916,
#572-574, P7471/3 .

June 10, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
June 10, 1916,
#575-577, P7471/3 .

June 11, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
June 11, 1916,
#578-580, 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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