Lest We Forget

Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 by Kally83
At the beginning of November 1944, my great-grandparents received a letter from their daughter-in-law.
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The letter reads:

My darling Mom & Dad,
So I have lost my darling – what have I done to deserve this parting. I can’t believe it – he was one of the best in the world and how I am going to face this world without him I can’t think. I received the telegram at 8:45am on Monday, Oct 23rd and it said they deeply regretted to say my husband was wounded and died of his injuries somewhere round about Oct 20th and that there was a letter following. I am at Yorkshire just now staying with another Canadian’s wife in the hope I will hear something about him. I received a letter from him this morning, Tuesday, saying he was hoping he would be home for Christmas and what he was going to do. I hope he did not suffer long but what hurts me most is that he went without saying goodbye and I was not able to see my darling. We were the happiest couple on earth and I just lived from day to day in hopes of seeing him one day. Now I have absolutely nothing left in this world that makes me want to stay. Don’t say I am selfish Mom & Dad. I loved him so and I can’t bear being parted from him. Why did he have to be taken? My thoughts are with you too – all of you – and I wish I could be with you to comfort you a little. Don’t let it get you down – he would have said “Keep your chin up” so do try although I know it will seem impossible just now. I can’t write any more now – will write you when I hear more news.
Your loving daughter
Eileen


She hoped beyond hope that there had been a mistake, but shortly after receiving this letter, my great-grandparents received a second.


My dear Mom, Dad & family,
I have received the letter from the Padre. I was praying that it all was a mistake and my darling was spared but now it is so definite. Now Mom and Dad, I know you will be heart-broken at John’s going but please be brave – although my people are trying to comfort me by saying it is all for the best. I fail to see it at the moment. Life is so empty now – no letters to write to him and even now I wait for the post hoping against hope. The Padre said John was brought in the base hospital at 2pm on Oct 18th and he was dangerously ill with abdominal wounds, there being no hope for him, the Padre said prayers and he died Oct 20 in the early hours.
He is laid to rest in Antwerp cemetery and the Padre gave me his grave no and what row. He also sent me his sympathy and God’s blessing. I was hoping John would have sent me a last message but evidently he was too ill. Poor darling he wanted to live so much – we had planned and planned and now I am alone. I feel absolutely lost. Why has such a good living boy to go – and why should he give up his life for the sake of a few greedy imbeciles. I wish I could get away from all this horrible war and uniforms – for me the war can go on forever. Maybe I sound bitter and Mom & Dad I am, but you will understand. I hope I can come to Canada if not to stay, to visit you as I know he would have wished it. I think this is all for now – I will let you know any further news – am expecting a letter from some of John’s pals telling me how it happened. I have been wondering if Annie could come over and then I could travel back with her – is it possible do you think? Keep your chins up and please don’t grieve too much. Forgive me for being such a poor comforter but maybe when I have got over my great loss I will be able to see reason. Please write me as often as you can even if it is only a few lines. God bless you all and keep you safe.
Ever your loving daughter,
Eileen


Both Eileen and my great-grandparents received letters from the chaplain telling them where John had fought and how he had been killed. He had fought in various parts of France (including Dieppe) and pursued the enemy into Belgium which is where a Nazi’s “Flying Bomb”(V1 bomb) landed in Canadian lines. He had been wounded with shrapnel and died from those wounds a little over a day later. He was only 25 years old.

I learned all of this information in the past two weeks in emails from my dad’s cousin. As a mother to two small boys, I can’t tell you that I didn’t cry seeing these photos and hearing this story. We must never, EVER forget the sacrifice that was made for us and that our troops continue to make for us.
On this Remembrance Day, I keep my thoughts on three very special people. My grandmother and grandfather who were both involved in the war and have since passed on and my great-uncle who I never had the pleasure of meeting.
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3 comments:

  1. Witchy Godmother

    Thank you for sharing it here. No we will not forget. I believe that always.
    Hugs and sparkles
    WG

  1. ~*Gypsy*~

    what a sad memory, but thank you for sharing it. We all need to remember the greatest sacrifices of then and the ones men and women make every day to fend for their countries today.

  1. Lyn

    Thank you for sharing. It really brings home the impact of war when you read someone's raw heartbreak.

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