100 Years Ago: William Rowles Wounded, Letters from Willie Clarke Before and After the Battle

The Intelligencer April 30, 1917 (page 2)

“Pte. Wm. Rowles Wounded. Ottawa, Ont., April 26, 1917. Mrs. Hazel M. Rowles, c/o Mrs. Wm. Sharpe, Belleville, Ont. Sincerely regret to inform you that 220360 Private William Rowles, infantry, officially reported admitted to No. 1 Convalescent Depot, Boulogne, April 13, 1917, shell-shock. Will send further particulars when received. Officer in Charge Records.”

The Intelligencer April 30, 1917 (page 5)

“From W. E. Clarke. Somewhere in France, April 8th. Dear Mother, Father, Sisters and Brothers:—Just a few lines to let you know I am still alive and well, and hope this finds you all the same. Well Mother and Dad, I am writing you these few lines just behind the firing line, and I tell you the big guns are firing something fierce.

By the time you receive this letter I may be in Blighty, that is what we call England when we get wounded. We expect to go into a fierce battle before long, and this may be the last letter you will receive from me for awhile (I have the best of hopes of coming through safely, but if the worse should come to the worse, why I will not be counted in as one of the cold-footed ones, but we must look on the bright side. …

I only wish I could get home and see you all, if only for an hour, but I may be back, so don’t worry. I will close now with my best love for you all. Bye, bye. Answer soon. I remain, Your loving son, Willie.

England, April 12. Dear Mother:—Just a few lines to let you know I am still alive, but in a hospital in England, so do not worry, as I am not seriously wounded. I was only blown up by a shell in the attack on Monday, and I tell you we made the Germans call for mercy, but did not give them much.

I arrived in England last night, and I am in a place called Easleigh, but expect to be shifted to another one on Monday; a larger Canadian Hospital near London. I have got the muscles of my back strained; they call it contusion multiple. I expect I will be all O.K. again soon, and will be back in France in about 2 months. So do not worry. …

Well, Mother, remember me to all my friends, and tell them I will be all O.K. Kiss Kenneth, Russell and Mabel for me. I am weak, Mother, and tired, so I will close with my best love and wishes for you all. Bye bye. Will write soon. I remain, Your loving son, Willie.”

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