Pte. Hoover’s Letter from France

Huron County War News – January 4, 1917

The Brussels Post published the following letter from Pte. R.H. Hoover (654889) of the 161st Huron Battalion in its January 4th edition.

“Pte. Hoover Writes From France”

Dear Mr. Kerr – It is with much pleasure that I take my pen in hand to write you these few lines, although we must be brief – because of military restrictions. I hope these few scattered ideas or news might interest the readers of THE POST.

In the first place I must say that I am enjoying fine health with the exception of a slight cold which, needless to say, every chap gets when he follows the army life. Of course we feel rather tired at times, especially after a 6 or 10 mile route march with full marching equipment, which take it from me is no light weight.

Well folks! Without any further preliminaries I will continue with hard facts. Here we are in distant France and before you get this letter, we will be in the trenches opposite old Fritz. Our Battalion is re-enforcing the 58th Battalion and many of us Brussels boys are all here together. We sure have some good times amid our troubles. However we are here to uphold Canada’s honor and that we’ll do even to our uttermost. Leslie Lowry, Charles Forrest, Frank Shaw, Roy Thuell, Leslie Perrie, Alf. Posliff, Will Sholdice, Walter Noble, myself and others are here together and from this fact we are more cheerful.

Have not seen Cleve Denbow yet but might some day. Poor chap! I can imagine him all alone, whereas we are together. I suppose you will be enjoying a sleigh ride when this reaches you. No snow here as yet but sometimes very wet and mostly muddy. The scenery of the country here is very picturesque but not so up the line – that is at the front. The people talk mostly French but odd ones can speak a little English. The French money is mostly paper bills of francs and centimes; a franc being worth 20 cents and a centime is a 1/6 of a cent. It sure is odd but more easily reckoned than the English money. It consisted of pounds, shillings, pence, florins, half crowns, crowns, guineas, etc. But after all give me the old Canadian money of dollars and cents.

Do you know readers that the trip all through has been very interesting – especially the six day leave we had in England before coming to France. Charles, Frank and I went up to Glasgow, Paisley, Gourock and Greenock. We visited relatives of the others at Gourock, which is outside of Port Glasgow, and we sure had a good time. Also, returned to see many of the famous palaces, cathedrals and Parliament buildings of the world’s largest city – London. We saw also where the late Lord Kitchener lived, the residence of Lloyd George, Dickens’ Old Curiosity shop and many other interesting places. I might say here that if some of you wish to see a few of the pictures you might ask brother “Bill.”

Have seen many of Fritz’s prisoners since we landed and they sure look downhearted. The training is very interesting and very soon we will be practising on old Fritz. We fellows received letters just before leaving England but none since, until we go up the line. If any of you wish to help cheer us along be sure to write, if its only a few lines as a letter seems to be very cheering.

Now I must not say too much this time as it will take too much room in your paper. However I hope these few lines may interest you all and sometime later, if Mr. Kerr will permit room in his paper, I will write a much shorter one when I get up the line.

With this I close, wishing you all the season’s compliments and the day when war will have ceased and the time of Peace proclaimed when I will see you all face to face again.

Yours sincerely,

654889 Pte. R.H. Hoover

58th Battalion, B.E.F.


Sapper J. Gordon Ferguson, son of Mr. & Mrs. W.H. Ferguson of Belgrave, was presented with a khaki-covered bible from the members of the Young People’s Society of Knox Church in Belgrave on the evening of January 2, 1917. The presentation was made by James Wightman and Charlie Cole read the following address:

Dear Friend in Khaki – It was with pleasure we heard you were going to be at home for a few days and taking advantage of the opportunity we have gathered here with you for a short time this evening. The contemplation of your departure is far from pleasant yet we are proud to have you on our Honor Roll together with other brave patriots who have sacrificed personal interest for King and Country. We, as a Y.P.S. of the Christian Church are anxious that you should continue to be a brave soldier of the the Cross. We assure you that you will not be without our prayers that you may always Fear God, as well as Honor the King. We present  you with this Bible and commend you to the care of an All Wise and loving God and pray that in His own time he may bring you safely back.

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