Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Dear Sister

JWC's letters and post cards from "The Great War", written to his sister .....soft and worn, etched in pencil... are precious to us. Our soldier, born in England, immigrated to Canada, then returned to Britain, answering the Nation's Call to Duty.

My dear sister:
I have just received your letter so I am answering it right away.  Well, of course you have heard all about us at Ypres. I tell you it is a hot place. I have seen some terrible sights since I have been here and have had some narrow escapes.

My dear sister:
Trust this letter finds you and baby quite well. Of course you heard about our boys taking Vimy Ridge. It was a splendid victory. I am sleeping in a deep dugout at the foot of Vimy Ridge. Since the attack, the weather has been cruel snow, hail and rain almost continually and it is still raining.

The Call to Duty is surely a Nation's heavy burden. However, sometimes the burden can be lifted, as evidenced by Britain's outstanding National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. Over 150 acres are planted in trees and gardens; a "living tribute to war time generations of the 20th Century".  

"A Living Tribute"..I liked that very much. Located in the heart of England, you can copy the link below to read it's history, view the monuments and plantings or  follow the map to visit.  Attendance is free I might add.

The above photo, courtesy of friends R and D, show young trees, each having an identifying memorial plaque; the  magnificent Armed Forces Memorial is in the background. There are in excess over 50,000 trees which have grown rapidly since our first visit in 2005, many having relevance to the Memorials around them. Additionally and comfortingly, the landscape is home to natural flora and fauna found in meadow, woodland and emerging marsh.

A "Call to Duty", softly echoes in the plantings and memorials at the National Arboretum; today most especially, thoughts of remembrance fill hearts acknowledging those who made the ultimate sacrifice.


  1. Beautiful post Brenda! Thank you for sharing.

  2. This is incredibly moving, Brenda. Thank you for sharing it. Off to Berwick I go to pay my respects to those in my family who answered that call...

  3. So touching... here too, in NZ, and Australia, there were many boys that left to go back to help Mother England... Still part of the Empire then. Incredible to think that they travelled so far away from home, and some were so young, lied about their age, 14 years old Maori boys in the battlefield in Gallipoli, Turkey, I shiver only thinking about it.

    Yes, we must remember all that!

  4. So humbled to read this Brenda.
    We have a lot to be Thankful for and we should never forget.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. How very kind your posts have been. There is so much more I wish I could say and share, but I am glad, I copied these tiny bits of JWC's letters. It was a big step revealing his private sharing an email letter without permission.

    Have had Pete Seeger's CD playing the last two days.."Where have all the Flowers Gone". I can imagine PS thinking as he looked out on his garden at this time of year...the garden and flowers fading...thoughts turning to soldiers..every one, ...the loss.

    I heard from my friends in England, it was a grey overcast day at the arboretum yesterday...and yet, just when the the eleventh hour approached, the sun came out and shone through the portal, on the Remembrance Wreath at the Armed Forces Memorial.