November brings a time to remember those who have served our country in the past and those who do so at present. The Middleville and District Museum’s War Exhibits include letters, discharge certificates, military death records, officer declaration papers and attestation papers. The Museum also displays many artifacts that include a bayonet used in the Crimean War (1853-1856), a German helmet, wartime coins, an air force uniform, a military police uniform, army uniforms and a variety of personal belongings owned by local soldiers. There are also a variety of books written about the various wartime experiences of people.
One letter written by R. G. Penman to Maggie talks about where he is stationed and how he plans to return home in the future. Here is an excerpt transcribed:
I will write you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along. You will be expecting me home anytime now. I don’t know when it will be owing to labor trouble at the docks in Liverpool. I was transferred to day to the sailing companies lines. That is the last camp in England for us. When we came from Seaford Tues we went to the Can Receiving camp at Kenmel Park Rhyl where we signed a lot of papers and after that is over we get our transfer. They won’t let us out of England until everything is correct and a lot of papers have been lost and so a lot of fellows is left on one side. We went through all that stuff in France but my papers is all fixed now until I get to Ottawa. There were three sailings this week 27-29. I would of got one of them but they are postponed to the 3rd. I hope I get the Olympic. I see quite a lot of fellows from Lanark and around here. Herb Gibson left the other night. I did not see him. I am getting my transfer to Perth. I think it is better in the winter, but I may get off at Carleton Place…
…Ottawa is 28 day leave so to give us time to get clothes and adapt ourselves to the new conditions. I did not take leave at Seaford as they told us if we (drop it) we would leave inside a week. Anyway, I had not much money. Well, I will close now. I am well. I hope you are all the same.
R. G. Penman
The soldiers depended on the mail for comfort both in the form of letters, but also in the care packages or 'Comfort Boxes' sent from home. Many care packages made their way across the ocean during wartime. Here are some of the regulations for those packages:
This journal is written, researched, and maintained by the volunteers of the Middleville Museum.