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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.

November 2016 Posts:

28 November 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: Looking forward to Christmas

There was just one letter for this week, written November 29, 1916 from George to his father. For several weeks George has been talking about Christmas and sending Christmas greetings, obviously aware of the time it takes for letters to arrive in Winnipeg.

In this letter, he talks specifically about the parcels he is hoping his mother will send, including some for his friends, Sid Fox and Bert Brown. He’s hoping his mother will send some francs and that she will write to his aunt and uncle to thank them for the parcels George has been receiving.

After signing off, he adds a note on the back of the page: “A box of Cigars would come in handy about Xmas.”

November 29, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
November 29, 1916,
#783-785, P7471/4.

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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21 November 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: Family connections

This week’s letters include one to George’s father and three to his mother. George often mentions his interactions (or lack thereof) with members of his family. In these letters, he refers to the packages he receives from his aunt and uncle in England. He says that his aunt’s cooking is very good, almost as good as his own mother’s, but not quite.

He talks about needing his parents to forward letters to his sister, Mill, who lives in the United States. He can’t mail to her directly because he doesn’t have stamps. He mentions that his brother Charlie has written to say he has arrived in England and hopes to get a leave to England to see him. Finally, in these letters and for several subsequent weeks that, he expresses frustration that his brother-in-law Harry is not writing him back.

Both Charlie and Harry survived the war. The Battershill collection at the Archives includes letters from Charlie (Charles) and a few from Harry, 1916-1917. These have not been digitized but can be read at the Archives.

November 21, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
November 21, 1916,
#773-775, P7471/4.

November 21, 1916 letter with 2 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
November 21, 1916,
#776-777, P7471/4.

November 24, 1916 letter with 2 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
November 24, 1916,
#778-779, P7471/4.

November 27, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
November 27, 1916,
#780-782, P7471/4.

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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14 November 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: Dear Kid

This week’s letters include one addressed to the “Kid” and one to “Mother”. This is the first of the letters in the collection not written to George’s mother or father. It is likely written to his sister, Dorie, as his sister Carrie is mentioned in the letter.

The letter strikes a different tone than George’s letters to his parents as he starts by saying “I don’t know wheather [sic] it is the pen or the shot of rum I just had but it don’t seem to write any good.”  He goes on to gossip about a girl he refers to as B.R.

George’s letters to his mother often speak about the practical necessities to which he does or does not have access. He talks about the parcels he’s received from his mom, the things he needs her to send in the next parcels and what he’s been eating.

In this letter, he writes “We had Mutton chops yesterday and they were just like home.”

November 14, 1916 letter with 4 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
November 14, 1916,
#766-769, P7471/4.

November 16, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
November 16, 1916,
#770-772, P7471/4.

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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7 November 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: Remembering

This Remembrance Day, the Archives invites you to spend some time reading the letters of one Manitoba soldier from the First World War. For the past half year and continuing until April 2017, the Archives blog posts have been focussed on the letters of Private George Battershill from East Kildonan. Each week, we post the letters that were written by George, one hundred years earlier. These letters give a glimpse of what the war was like for him.

The Archives collection of Battershill family records includes more than one hundred letters written by George to his mother, Caroline and his father, John, Sr. and to some of his siblings. George’s letters home to his family began in March 1916 and continued until April 1917. He died on 17 April 1917, after being wounded at the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9.

This week’s letters include one to George’s father and two to his mother. In the second letter to his mother, he writes:

“You don’t live over here, we just exist in a dugout all day, or bumming around in a trench keeping our heads low + watching for Fritzies at night.”

To his father, he summed it up by saying, “I have had all the fighting I want for the rest of my life.”

November 7, 1916 letter with 4 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
November 7, 1916,
#757-760, P7471/4.

November 7, 1916 letter with 2 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
November 7, 1916,
#761-762, P7471/4.

November 8, 1916 letter with 3 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
November 8, 1916,
#763-765, P7471/4.

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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E-mail us at archiveswebmaster@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post. Your comments may be included on this page.

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