dear agnes
my father's Defence Medal...
Rockcliffe Ont
Aug 17/44
Dear Agnes

Well we got back to Ottawa again.  The trip back was pretty warm but not as bad as going down on Friday.  We got down to the station about half past ten, and I expected to be standing like sardines for a while, but they made the train up early and five minutes after we got there they opened the gates so there wasn't such a big jam as usual.  The train pulled out right on time and we were in Ottawa shortly after six in the morning.

Things are a little busy again here.  We worked late a couple of nights, and was it ever hot the room faces west, and the place gets up to about a hundred in the afternoon and doesn't cool off till about ten o'clock then it dropped to about ninety.  Just when it started to get comfortable its time to get up.  However it was dull all day to-day but the air was still pretty sticky.  It just started to rain now so I hope it cools off a little.

They are sending some men over to England from here in the next couple of weeks but I don't expect I'll be going its only for six months but they have to pass a medical so that lets me out. 

Well thats about all the news for now so I'll say good-bye

With Love Bill (XXXXXXXXX)

On August 15th, the Allies launched Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the south of France. Two days after my father wrote this letter, the resistance began an uprising in Paris.
MY FATHER WAS BORN in Lanark, Scotland in 1906.  At the age of ten, his family having already emigrated to Canada, he went to work to help support his widowed mother and family.  According to his military records, his only education was a year of high school, taken at night.  After working as a clerk in a butcher shop, on the shop floor at a bicycle factory, and as a mechanic, he got a job in the warehouse at Supertest (later B.P., or British Petroleum) just as the Depression began.  He worked at Supertest till he enlisted, and returned after the war, remaining with the company till his death.

I've kept most of the misspellings and grammatical errors in his letters uncorrected, if only to maintain their spirit.  On reflection, I'm hardly dismayed by the poor spelling, but more impressed by how effective his limited education was; I've seen worse writing from the hands of people today, whose schooling far exceeded my father's. 

- R.McG.
from my father's war dept. records
Aug 31/44
Dear Agnes.

Things have been fairly busy since I got back, a lot of new postings came in the first of the week, and lot of the boys have been posted overseas.  The postings came in on Tuesday and I was Orderly Sargent and didnt get the score untill Wednesday noon.

It seems we are looseing another thirty or more men for overseas beside the gang of our own that are going over.

We are working short handed now trying to get the gang ready to go.  I lost three of my men last week now and another five this week, so we have had to work nights every night this week.

Things look pretty good overseas but the other night I was orderly Sargent.  I go three long distance calls for men in the station saying their brothers had been killed in France.  However I guess that's part of the business of being at war.

The trip back this time was pretty good but we didn't get in till seven-fourty which was about an hour and a half later than the last two trips.

Agnes if you haven't washed my shirt would you look in the pocket and see if the are any papers and if there are would you send them in your next letters please.  I have miss layed my meal card and an order to O/S Smith and I just thought they might be in my shirt pocket.

On the day my father wrote this letter, Soviet troops took Bucharest. Between this letter and the last, the Falaise pocket had been closed and Paris was liberated. An uprising had begun in Slovakia two days previous.
How are things at home now that you have gone back to work?*  I'll bet its quite a change from last week, but you still won't have much time to yourself.

Have you had any word from Hamilton or have things come to a stand still for the time being. 

Well that's all for now and I hope I will be able to get away next week end.  till then all my love


*My mother worked at the local Kodak plant, supporting her family when her father's contracting business failed with the Depression. Her sister Cecilia lived in Hamilton with her husband, John.
Sept 27/44
Dear Agnes

I recieved your letter alright and I'm sorry I had to dissipoint you last Sunday.  I can just see that chicken now.

Things are going along pretty good here just now, so I expect I'll be home this week end O.K. unless thing take quite a change between now and Friday.

I have got all through my drill course.  We got our test on Monday and I think I passed alright although it hasn't been confirmed yet, and I havn't had time to work late this week at all.

We opened out bowling league last night.  We are bowling at a place in Ottawa this year, and the time is ten thirty at night. pretty late late, but the hours at the hanger are so infinite just now that it seemed the best time to have it even then its pretty hard to get teams out.

My first night out wasn't very successfull my first game was 162 and the second was 138 with 190 for the last so it looks like I need a little practice although I only had one blow for the night.

I hope the weather holds out for the week end and if Bert isn't too busy I'd like to get up to Bobs and see how things are going.  I'm glad he is getting a good price for his grapes because I expect he'll need the 

The day before this letter was written, Soviet troops occupied Estonia. In the previous month, the Allies had liberated Dieppe, Verdun, Antwerp and Brussels, and reached the Siegfried line. Operation Market Garden ran its disastrous course, and Finland agreed to a cease-fire with the Soviet Union.
money before the strawberrys come in next year. *

I was up to the Hospital to-day and made arrangements to have my tonsils out on the 19th of October.  so that will be all over with

I'm glad the girls had a party for your birthday it seem when you are haveing anything I'm always somewhere else, but it won't always be that way, sooner or later I will be home with you.

Well that about all for now hoping to see you on Friday night till then lots of love from Bill (XXX)

P.S. I hope you can read this letter I've been haveing an ofull time with the pen.

* According to his discharge papers, my father intended to return to Supertest, but had also inquired into money from a small holding scheme "to augment his income raising fruits." Ultimately, he was too busy raising a family and working with the local church for an orchard or a farm. Pride of place in the backyard, however, went to an apple and a pear tree.

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