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The Earl Campbell Story - After the war: 1919 and beyond

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Jan 5, 1919 Fontaine Valmont, Belgium - Earl is still overseas.
"Dear Sister, Well still in this part of the World yet. Our Coy Major made a speech to us this morning. He said the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th CRTs are to be at the Base Etaples by the 18th of this month. Good news eh. This is true. Our Colonel told him. So Merelda, Mon Cherie Sis, I'll soon be to see you all again. I bet you I am home before my Birthday (March 22). I hear that most of the Canucks in Blighty are gone home to their own Country where they can speak their own language.

We are not very busy now, just passing away the time. I go out to work every morning. But no work I do. I sneak around thro the town back to my billet again. I find it far better in the billet than out in the rain and mud. We have rain here every day. I have not seen the sun for nearly 3 weeks now. I spent my New Year's up at a small town called Anderlues. I had a high old time of it, didn't get back until the next day at noon. My Serg gave me a calling down but that was all I heard about it. Tomorrow I am going to Brussels for 3 days leave. A number of my chums are going. Jim Allen is for it. I never been to Brussels. They say it is a second Paris. I guess you know that Hun had that beautiful city for 4 years. He left it in good shape for a wonder. How is Arch and Dad getting along at the trapping? I was out along the Mons river the other day. If I had rifle or gun I would have had a Fisher. I took it for a Fisher. I watched it for over 10 minutes. It was about as large as Nipper only not so long in the legs. Gosh I was sore I had not my rifle with me. How did Henry get along up North? I'll shall be with him for next fall hunting. I'll try and get my short rifle home. I'll put in in the lining of my great coat before I am stuck, ha-ha. I have a couple of bayonets to smuggle home allso. Well Merelda, I must close for now. Well Merelda, I guess you can stop writing to me now. We will be on the move from now on. Please tell the rest of my dear friends to stop. They can write to me again when another war starts up. But maybe this one will not be in it. I don't think so."

Well be good. Will see you all soon. But Love to all at home, Au Revoir, Loving Bro Earl

"Will write again soon and let you know how close I am to home."

Jan 6, 1919 King letter from Alex Walker
"Hello you old port how are you making out. I suppose you are kicking around some place. We are all well at home. I had a birthday party last Saturday. I was 12 years old. I had the girls over and Richard asked Archy but he did not come. For presents the girls brought me a bottle of perfume from Pauline and handkerchiefs from Floss. We had a heck of a time. I went over to your home on Sunday Archy when skating the crick was frozen tight and good skating don't worry about it, ha-ha. I was in the house Sunday for the first time since they had the flu. I was trying the helmet on I was sitting by the east window when taking it off the dam thing slipped and hit me a devil of a crack on the nose . I jerked back and hit my head on the windows frame, wowo. You're a good shot at that Hun old boy some shot. Soon be coming back with a little wife old chap. Mother said in the other letter that I would write and so I have to. I suppose been a long time writing but you'll have to forget me this time. For Christmas I got a board and 24 checkers you can play 10 different games on it. How is old..."

Your friend Alex Walker.

Jan 9, 1919 18 Lyned Ave, Toronto letter to Earl from Mildred

"My dear Earl

Received your letter and was rather surprised, as I had thought they were a thing of the past, but nevertheless was very glad to hear from you.

Glad to hear that were well and enjoying yourself, also that you see Billie sometimes, I am rather anxious to see him myself, but hope it may be soon.

Everybody over in this part of the country are well. The "flu" has left Toronto, but has gone out into the country, as I suppose you will have heard. It is bad out home now, but we have all escaped it so far also in here. It must be scared of me, as the bookkeeper in the office has had it twice now, but as I said before eating prevents it.

I was up home for Xmas & New Year. The sleighing just came the day before Christmas we had a good time although there was nothing going on, on account of the "Flu", but we had a bunch of the well ones there and danced, played Euchre, etc. Then on New Year, we were to grandmother's it rained all day, so we had no skating this year. But now the weather is cold enough to freeze anything, but I have not been skating yet. I have just got home from the picture show. It was good too, was Charlie Chaplin in "Shoulder Arms", and as usual it was crowded, and they were lined up outside when we came out.
Herb Steele is here, they are busy playing "Five Hundred", but there is enough without me, I just play to fill in, but we play ourselves nearly every night. Herb doesn't seem to be any the worse of his experience only, he can tell some stories, he was down for his last medical examination last week, so he is nearly through with them now. They are quite a few coming home now, but not so many that we know yet. Jimmie Jenkins and Bob Kelly are back to King, but I think that is all, yet. Frank Teasdale is working at Aurora again now, but of course he has attraction there. I guess Ed will soon be back too. As he didn't get any farther than England. Archie (my brother) has just got on his first longers, so I guess he thinks he is a man now, but I suppose Flossie will have told you all about that before this. He has grown since you saw him thought, he is almost as tall as I am now and we weigh just the same, so I am beginning to feel small, as the other two girls are both bigger than I am, but I should worry . But my all accounts I guess we will hardly know you now, so I hear you are such a big fellow that is if you come back here and do not go the Mexico. But you ought to come back to see Carey, they say she has teeth now so some class.

Well I think this is about all the nonsense I can think of and hoping to hear from you soon again and give my best if not better to Billie when you see him."
With all kinds of Love, Mildred

Jan 14, 1919 King - Floss wrote the letter to Earl on the back of an envelope that was sent to Jerome Campbell (Earl's Father) from J.E. Tankard, Cleveland, Ohio.
"Dear brother Earl:

Well here goes another letter on fancy paper. Merleda and Pauline write so many letters they use up all the writing paper and I write on anything I find. I guess I would write on a newspaper if there wasn't any other kind in the house. I haven't wrote to you for an awful long time. I had that influenza, and it sure is an awful disease. We all had it except Mother and Arch. Mother says if you are not soon coming home to write her a big, long letter for she hasn't time there is so much sickness around. Aunt Essie is so sick she is out of her mind and Merelda is over there. Arch made about seventy dollars out of furs already, and he is off again to-day and Dad is at Fry's sale at Nobleton. Merelda over at Aunt Essies and Paul is washing, and Mother too, and I am writing to you. I have to be chore boy when the men are away. We had twenty-six head of cattle and sold six big ones and got eight hundred dollars for them. There are some of the boys back at King. Mr. Wess McBride, Bert Kelly, Lieut Jenkins. I had better tell you Ruth is to marry a Mr. Hugh ??? a farmer, "bah". He has a big stone house, thoroughbred stock and I don't know what date they have set for the big day. I am tired to death with farming this farmerette business don't agree with me, but what the use of crumbling, who can't be helped " a better day is coming by and by". Well I used up all my thought for this time, hip-hooray. You will soon be home again."

Will now say good-bye your loving sister, Floss

Jan 15, 1919 Etaples, France to Merle
"My Dear Sister, just a few lines to you all to let you know I am on my way to dear old home. The Batt is at the Base here. We're getting cleaned up and fitted out with new uniforms just now. To-morrow night we take the train to Boulogne or Calais. I don't know which dock we shall sail from, don't care either. All I want is to see old Canada again. We had a medical inspection yesterday. I pass through it jake. We have another one at the Dock before we cross to Blighty. Then we will get another one before we leave for Canada. They are bound to send us back in the very best of health.

How did Henry make out up north his fall? I hope he wasn't chased by any bear or moose. I will be with him next fall I bet. No bear or moose in Northern Canada can catch me now. I am to good at the running business. How is Hazel & Walter? I'll not know them when I get back. I suppose the weather will be very cold in King now. We have had no snow in this country yet. But we get plenty of rain, raining very day. If I was to see the sun I would probly die with heart failure. Well Merle I will now come to a close. This will be my last to you from this country. I hope so anyway, because here is a lad that is certainly fed up on this life in Flanders. No bon pour moi.

I'll write when I get to Blighty. I think we get 10 days leave in England. I must have those days. Well here is hoping to see you all in King before 1st March. Please don't write me anymore. Do you know for why, ha-ha".

Best Love and good Luck to all, Loving Bro Earl
Will see you very soon

Jan 19, 1919 Havre, France
"My Dear Sister. Well I am this near to home. We arrive here at Havre Rest Camp yesterday afternoon. We had another Medical exam this morning. I pass jake. Next one will be in Blighty when we mount the old steamer bound for Canada. We expect to sail for Blighty Tuesday. The Camps here are so full of troops one hardly know when they send you across the river. But I should worry I am on my way anyway, eh. A, C, & D went across yesterday. They beat us down by 24 hours. So poor B Coy and Headquarters has to waite for a day or two. How are you all at home. I hope that Flu is not around yet. Is Pauline all better by now. I hope she is. It is a dreadful sickness for anyone to have.

Well Merelda I'll call this a letter. I don't know what you will call me for writing such a thing. But I can't write letters any longer. I am in to much of a hurry to get away home. Well be good Merelda. You need not write to me any more. I am real sore at you. Get that. Wishing you all the very best of Health and Good Luck". Au Revoir, Mon Cherie, Loving Bro, Earl

Jan 20, 1919 R.R. # 1 King, Ont, Canada
"Hello Yek Here I am, at once dis-obeying your orders. You told me not to write you anymore, but I thought maybe you'd have time to get lonesome before you'd leave "over there" and I'd just write. Now, what you think of me? By the by, how are the Belgian lassies using you. Is it them or their "mas" that use you so good! Anyway, I'm glad they are so good and that they give you a little comfort & happiness before you return.

The Flu has just about gone it's course here I think. The doc has only one case now, & that's a McQuarrie girl, the one who used to teach school at King. O yes, Jessie recovered alright. We haven't heard from her for some time tho.

Well speaking of skating. I have only seen mine once this winter & that was when I lent them to Marjorie to go to Aurora that's the only place there is to skate in this land. But remember what a be-ut-iful skater I was? Ha, ha

Well if you come along soon, as you say. I think you'll make it in time to see Marjorie married for I haven't heard anything of it yet. By the way, we are expecting her over to-night but it's getting a little late & she has not put in her appearance yet. I think I'll have to get you to learn me French when you come home, then I'll read the last page of your letter, eh? It looks nice & sounds nice when I read it, but --- that's as far as I can make out (I can read it you know - In Canadian I 'spose, but don't understand. The English lasses surely are snapping up the Canadian boys, i.e. according to the" ... [The remainder of the pages are missing.]

Jan 23, 1919 Bramsott to Mother
"My Dear Mother,

Just a line or two to let you all know I am in Blighty now. We left France the 21st and arrived at Weymouth the next morning. It sure went good to see Old England once more. I don't know what I'll do when I set my eyes on Canada shores. The trip across the Channel was not to rough. But some of the lads where feeding the fish in good shape, ha-ha. I don't know how long we will be here at Bramshott Camp. I hope not long because it is a muddy camp these days. I think we will be getting our leave soon and then be sent right across to Canada. The whole Battalion of us are here. Allso all of the 1st C.R.T. I meet Paddy for the first time at Havre Dock. He is looking well the same as ever. I have not seen him here yet tho. This is a wonderful big Camp. I would far rather be at Witley or Borden tho. Well Mother I will close of this time. I will write in a few days letting you know where I am. Take good care of yourself and watch the rest. Best Love and the best of Good Health to All,"
Bye Bye, will see you all very soon. Loving Son, Earl

Jan 26, 1919 Postcard sent to Mother from Earl, Bramshott Camp

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