100 Years Ago: Bert Lavender Killed in Action, Letter from Harry Ablard

The Intelligencer May 11, 1915 (page 2)

“Another Belleville Soldier Killed. Bert Lavender, whose name appears amongst the list of killed at the front, is a Bellevillian, having enlisted with the First Contingent. He joined the Regiment here. Relatives of the unfortunate patriot, who reside in this city, have not officially been notified of his death, but his name appears amongst members of the 2nd Battalion whose lives have been sacrificed.”

[Note: Private Bert Lavender died on April 22, 1915. He is commemorated on Page 23 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.]

The Intelligencer May 11, 1915 (page 3)

“Letter From Dead Soldier. Sergt. Harry C. Ablard Says He Is ‘Ready for Whatever Comes.’ …  It bears the date of the field postoffice, March 20th: ‘Somewhere’ in France. Dear Rector:—Just a line to let you know that I am getting on fine out here. …

I wish you could pop into our little ‘dug-out’ and see our novel surroundings. It is very dark, and quiet to-night, and it is difficult to believe that a few yards away are the much talked of ‘rival’ of ours.

In the actual realities of this road of warfare, one loses a good deal of the bitterness one feels towards them at first. They are always singing and whistling and appear to take their lot as easily as we. Of course, there are times when we feel like putting them all to sleep and that is when you see some one you know being taken away for the last time. …  Sincerely yours, Harry C. Ablard.”