100 Years Ago: Letter from Frank Bristol, Canadian National News Service for The Intelligencer, Letter of Thanks to Schoolgirl

The Intelligencer September 5, 1917 (page 3)

“Frank Bristol writes from Somewhere in France to his sister, Miss Addie Bristol, Belleville. Dear Sister—Suppose you began to think I was never going to acknowledge the parcel you so kindly sent, but the truth is, we went into action the next day after I got it. …  Your parcel was fine, and I thank you very much. I have had several good feeds on those hot cakes; they just hit the spot for a change. …

We are sleeping in cellars now; partly on account of shells, and partly on account of the noise of the guns. …  I was out to the second division burying ground a short time ago, and this is only one of thousands through France and Belgium. They are only buried about fourteen inches apart. There is a wooden cross at their heads fixed up very nice, with their name and number of battalion they belong to, and where they are from in Canada. Always at the bottom are the letters, R.I.P. (rest in peace). The crosses are about two feet apart in long rows, several hundred yards, so you can imagine what it looks like.

They keep the grass well looked after in most cases, and a record is kept of the occupants. It sure looks like a shame to see the thousands of young men who have been slaughtered in this way. We are still having it pretty hot, and its liable to be worse before it is better.

We are in a very nice part of France at present, and it looks like a shame to see it torn up the way it is. …  This is about all I can think of to tell you this time, so good-bye and write soon. Your loving brother, Frank.”

The Intelligencer September 5, 1917 (page 6)

“The new Canadian National News Service which was inaugurated on Sunday marks a great forward movement for Canadian newspapers affiliated with the Canadian Press Limited of which The Intelligencer is a member, and will have the exclusive benefit of the new service for Belleville.

With the consummation of the new telegraph service readers of The Intelligencer will be served with a much wider range of telegraph news from all over Canada and the United States.”

The Intelligencer September 5, 1917 (page 7)

“Gifts Received by Soldiers. The following letter was received by Laura Cook, 286½ Coleman Street, in acknowledgment of soap sent by her along with articles sent from Queen Mary School: Somewhere in France, Aug. 13, 1917. Dear Friend:—Some little time ago I was handed a cake of soap and inside I found your address. Now as I have previously been asked by people at home if we really get the things that are sent I thought I would drop a few lines and acknowledge the receipt of the soap.

Of course, I am not allowed to tell you where I was when I got it, more than to say it was at the actual front. I am in the engineers and I was up the line when the soap came up with our rations. We all appreciated it very much.

I came out to France 18 months ago, and I certainly would not object to getting finished soon, and I guess there are many more like myself. …  I would be pleased to hear from you at any time, as it is pretty lonesome out here at times, especially when we are up the line working for 18 or 20 days at a time. A letter from Canada looks pretty good about then. Things are very different here than in Canada, but we are getting quite accustomed to the ways of the country by now. I was in Belgium first, but I like France better.

I am in the 3rd Army Troop Company, Canadian Engineers, so if you put that on a letter and simply France, it will find me all right. Thanking you again for the soap. I am very sincerely, Spr. D. D. Healy.”

[Note: Laura Cook was born in July 1905 and would have been a twelve-year-old pupil at Queen Mary School when she received this letter.]