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.

February 2017 Posts:

27 February 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: Letters to siblings

All three of this week’s letters were written to George’s siblings, one to his sister Dorie (Dorothy) and two to his brother Charles who was overseas in England at the time. Oddly, the first two letters were both dated as February 29, 1917 although 1917 was not a leap year and there was no February 29.

In two of the letters, George mentions hearing from Bob Baird. Interestingly, his sister Dorie married a Robert Baird in 1920. It seems very possible that it is the same man.

A common theme in George’s letters is his need for money. He regularly asks for and waits for money from his parents and from his brother, Charlie.

February 29, 1917 letter with 1 page and an envelope

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
dated February 29, 1917,
#844-845A, P7471/5.

February 29, 1917 letter with 1 page

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
dated February 29, 1917,
#846, P7471/5.

March 4, 1917 letter with 2 pages

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
March 4, 1917,
#847-848, P7471/5.

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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20 February 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: Clean sheets and a hot bat

This week’s letters include two written by George to his mother. George reports that he has had an attack of the “grippe”. He is being billeted with an “old French woman” and is enjoying several home comforts, including clean sheets and hot baths.

In the first letter, he writes that he doesn’t have enough money for a change of underwear and in the second he reports that the “old lady” has given him a pair! In the first letter he also mentions going to a “picture show” to see Charlie Chaplin and the “Battle of the Somme.”

The February 26 letter includes a reference to someone using initials only. Is it a girlfriend? George mentions having received a letter from her and also that she received the brooch he sent. The initials look like they may be “V.W.” or “E.W.”

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 February 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: Billeted in a big town

This week's installment is just a one-page letter from George to his mother. George writes that he is currently billeted in a “big town” behind the lines in France and that he could use some money as there is much to buy. He writes again that he hasn't heard from his brother-in-law Harry for four months but hears regularly from his brother Charlie and his friend Emil.

February 14, 1917 letter with 1 page

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Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from George Battershill,
February 14, 1917,
#840, P7471/5.

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 February 2016

One Manitoba Soldier: Charles's letters home

There were no letters from George for this week in February. The Battershill family records include a similar run of letters sent home by George’s older brother Charles. George frequently mentions his correspondence with Charles and some of his letters to Charles are in the collection. Charles’s letters date from June 1916, when he was in training at Camp Hughes, until November 1917, in England.

The collection includes three letters written by Charles in the first week of February 1917. The one featured here was written to his mother on February 8, from South Camp, Seaford, England.

He writes that he is taking a bombing course and goes on to say:

“Well some of my friends have gone to France in a draft and some more leave soon. They won’t let me go yet. I don’t know the reason but I am going to kick soon. I want to get over there before the spring drive.”

Charles was injured in France in September 1918 but survived the war. He was overseas until April 1919 but the Archives does not have letters after November 1917.

February 8, 1917 letter with 2 pages

enlarge (2 images)

Archives of Manitoba,
Battershill family fonds,
Letter from February 8, 1917,
#162-163, P7470/2.

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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