The Munro Letters 1914 - 1917 : Letters Home from the Front - World War I
Date of Letter:
In which Gordon Munro writes home to his sister Ethel with news of daily life on the front. Included is his appreciation for gifts he has received from friends and family; description of military issued apparel i.e. steel helmets, leather jerkins; description of a walk through the countryside; and, expression of sorrow over a fellow Oakville soldier’s death.
Saturday Jan 8/16

Dear Bill, -

So you wanted a good fat letter for Xmas eh? did you get it? I sent the lace handkerchief so I thought it would get there about then. I have a letter of yours, one of Pork’s, 2 of Fathers 2 of Mothers to answer all at once. They all came nearly the same day, although they were written a week apart. I have been getting on pretty well this year. I have so many things to talk about I dont know just where to start.

Scottie & Brock & I got the parcels from the Y.P.S. I dont suppose they would want to know any more than that we enjoyed them. I got a box of apples from the O.H.S. & one from Mr. Cordingly, say but they did go fine, they were in first class condition too. I thought I was in Canada all the time I was eating them. You might tell Mr. Cordingly as it may be a few days before I get a chance to drop him a line. Mrs. Fisher sent me the rubber boots last week, they are sure classy & fit like a glove. Last Thursday Brock & I (he in Pete Maskell’s rubber boots & me in mine) started across country for a walk. It was a fine day & the walking for once was good. We sure did enjoy ourselves. We started at 11.30 & walked over 12 kilometres. we were in 4 villages, all about Oakvilles size, in the 12 miles ks. The first 2 villages were under the Huns eyesight, so we didnt hang around them long. the next one was fine. I’d like to live there for a while & say Good luck! to the boys as they went up to the trenches. But no soft jobs for me . we had coffee and bread & a can of peaches for dinner. The house we had dinner in was a model for neatness & so was the hostess (Madame or Frau Herberg de Berg or some such name, a real Flemish outfit). The old girl thought Brock looked to young & pretty to be a soldier. I nearly collapsed at that & spluttered like a fish over my coffee. she wouldnt believe he was my senior. We went to a Band concert in a Y.M.C.A. next. it was a famous band that is touring France & playing behind the lines. It sure put up some good music. It was in this same town we met a pte. Le Page who used to work in the tannery at Oakville. Pork knows his sons George & Lance who were in public school. I saw a man of Horace Haneys Batt’n & asked if he knew him. it turned out that this man was Horace’s section commander, so I sent my address & a message to him. We then started on again as we heard Snyder’s bunch was just along the road about 2 miles, we got there only to find they had moved. however I expect to see him as they are not far from here. Had we time we would have gone on to see Scott & Archie McM. but they were about 5 mi. further on. We started for home & got there just about 4.30. That was some trip, rubber boots & cobble stones for nearly 20 miles & never a sore foot or the least wear on the rubber. It sure is a great country when you get back a little ways. (pen run out as per usual)

So far we have had no real cold weather, cool is as far as its got. I picked butter cups the other day, the grass is just as green as in summer & when we get a sunshiny day, its jake. The natives say the worst rain is over but its colder in February. I saw a real Mavis the other day & heard him sing, he was on a tree between the lines & it sure did sound good after those “sighing susies” (coal boxes). They say a Mavis is the first bird of the year, by the time you get this spring will nearly be here & then everything will be fine.

We have not got those revolvers yet. it looks as if it was just one of the many rumors we get. We are getting more like the ancient Britons every day. We now wear steel helmets in the front line. We also have big leather jerkins which were issued out in place of goat skins. they are brown & warm & waterproof. then we have a villanous little weapon, we carry entrenching tool handles, a short Oak handle about 1 ½ ft. long, just lately they gave us a piece of steel which fits on one end & there you have a regular young mace. its all sort of like a cogg wheel & believe me in close quarters you could hit a guy so hard it would jar his friends in Asia. I dont know what they call these weapons, but they are commonly known as “skull-crackers”, rather suggestive, isn’t it? These are all the latest editions.

I sent $50 to Edward yesterday. you can tell him $25 is his sum, $5 is yours & Margarets, that is $2.50 each. The remaining $20 you might have deposited to my credit in the Bank of Hamilton. If anyone wants to use it for awhile they can, so long as it gets there someday. The rest of my spare cash I’ll leave till I go on pass & then send what I don’t blow in home & make arrangements for a monthly remittance or whatever you call it.

I was sorry to hear of Don Mackay’s death. I saw him 2 or 3 times but never had a chance to speak to him. I believe he was killed by a shell but I guess you will have all particulars by now.

Just last night I got a parcel of cakes & a toque from Mrs. Smith. The cap is fine & the envy of all the boys as it has two little tassels on it & anything odd like that is just the ticket. I do nothing but swank now in my new boots & togue. Brock swanks considerable too in this new Larrigans, thats all fiction about them being issued to the troops. My pass still is in the dim future, however if all goes well, no doubt I will get there about next Xmas or later.

Well I guess I’ve just about exhausted you all with my history. I hope Cy is getting on well with his commission. Last week I got another parcel from Aunt Maggie & a box of candy from Griffin & Mrs. Magwood. I must close now & get some sleep etc. you know we got to get ready to give the Huns a good punch this year.

love to all


Grenade Co.
15th Batt’n.
48th H.O.C.
1st. Can. Div.
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Gordon Munro Letters, Jan. 8, 1916Gordon Munro Letters, Jan. 8, 1916
Gordon Munro Letters, Jan. 8, 1916Gordon Munro Letters, Jan. 8, 1916
Gordon Munro Letters, Jan. 8, 1916Gordon Munro Letters, Jan. 8, 1916
Gordon Munro Letters, Jan. 8, 1916Gordon Munro Letters, Jan. 8, 1916
Gordon Munro Letters, Jan. 8, 1916Gordon Munro Letters, Jan. 8, 1916
Gordon Munro Letters, Jan. 8, 1916Gordon Munro Letters, Jan. 8, 1916