Letter written on this day in 1915 provides glimpse into life of World War I soldier from Burlington
A letter from a Canadian soldier written on this day 105 years ago to his father, provides a glimpse of life in the face of danger, one that would ultimately end in tragedy due to events on the bat
A letter from a Canadian soldier written on this day 105 years ago to his father, provides a glimpse of life in the face of danger, one that would ultimately end in tragedy due to events on the battlefield.
The letter, posted on social media today (Oct. 13) by Museums of Burlington, is written by John Filman who was in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces Transit Camp in West Sandling, Kent, England and dated Oct. 13, 1915 as World War I raged in Europe. Filman first enlisted with the 36th Battalion and later was with the 1st Canadian Divisional Signal Company. Military records show that he was born in Aldershot but the exact date and his age remain vague.
In the letter, Filman reports on the mundane occurrences of those camped out in England as he discusses the coming and goings of other soldiers as well as his own desire to join in the combat. “I am back to camp again but it seems quite different here as all the boys are away at the front and we are in huts here instead of being in tents and it is a change for the better, believe me.”
It appears Private Filman is laid up because of an ankle injury as he writes that it is swollen and he bathes it in hot water every hour and that he doesn’t do much else as he waits for it to heal with hopes to get back on his feet.
He also provides insight into the conflict as he writes: “This is going to be some war both Bulgaria and Greece are into it now and it looks like Romania is coming in to.”
After earlier gently admonishing his father for taking some time to send a letter from home, Filman closes off by writing, “Well I thinks this will be all for this time. From your loving son, John.”
Sadly, less than a year later, on Oct. 9, 1916, John Filman was dead, a result of shrapnel wounds to his arm and leg which led to blood poisoning. His injuries occurred during the Battle of the Somme. More than three million men fought in the battle and one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the deadliest battles in human history.
He is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, Etaples, Pas de Calais, France and is remembered locally on a family monument at Greenwood Cemetery in Burlington.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising