Wednesday, April 27, 2016

World War Wednesdays: Letters Home to Dutton, Second World War Edition

Dutton town hall, ca. 1942

     Welcome back to another edition of Letters Home to Dutton! This week I thought it would be interesting to jump forward to the Second World War, and feature the letters available through the Canadian Letters and Images Project from that period. Each of the following pieces were received by family members in 1942 and subsequently published in the Dutton Advance. If you have any information or anecdotes involving any of the people featured this week, I'd love to hear them!

October 22, 1942
Letters From Local Boys Overseas
Dear Mrs. Duncanson (*Dutton Women's Institute*):
I received your parcel Sept. 8th and I was very please to receive same. I am keeping quite well and fit, and hope all the folks of Dutton are the same, We are doing plenty of training, and just when the weather is very unsettled. Although the sun shone all day it was very chilly. We are under canvas yet and it's awful hard to keep our kit clean. I hope we move in billets of some kind soon. I guess you get all the news from the papers, so I can't tell you much. Thanking you very much for the parcel.
George Hefford
Dutton High School, ca. 1943
October 22, 1942
Letters From Local Boys Overseas
Dutton Women's Institute.
Dear Members: With many thanks and deep gratitude, I am again in receipt of your parcels and the contents have been greatly appreciated. I might say that personally I have especially enjoyed the fruit juices contained in your parcels which are always very acceptable, but more so since I have been in hospital. I am feeling much better now, but am still somewhat of a cripple. However, I have been taken from hospital and am a guest of Mr. And Mrs. Massey for a month, which is a very welcome change after six and a half months in hospital. It is a very pretty part of the country here and one of the most beautiful views I have witnessed, overlooking a great valley and on to the foothills of the Black Mountains of Wales. The small and numerous towns of Wales of which we are surrounded are most interesting, and especially on market days when I have visited them. The Masseys have certainly gone to a lot of work and expense to make this a most entertaining place for convalescent guests. There is cycling, archery, croquet, tennis, billiards, riding, fishing and clay pigeon shooting. So no matter what our condition, there is a form of entertainment for us. I met Bill Hockin about three or four weeks ago while hobbling about on crutches, and it certainly was good to see someone from home, although I believe there are others from home now stationed near my location and I am going to try to see them as soon as I become a bit more mobile. Again many thanks for your untiring and unceasing work of remembrances of the boys overseas.
Vernon Shipley
Main St., Dutton, ca. 1945
November 12, 1942
Letter Received By Parents From Lieut. H. W. Hockin
On August 24th, Lieut. H.W. Hockin, a prisoner of war in Germany, sent a letter to his brother, Capt. J.M. Hockin in England. This letter was sent on from England and was received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H.B. Hockin, on Saturday. The letter, which was censored, is as follows.
France, 24 Aug. 42
Dear John: Today is the first chance we have had to write, I think it is phoney, but worth a try.
This is to let you know that I am a prisoner along with a number of my pals and many others, and not killed. However, you will probably have an official report before you get this, if you get it at all.
I won't tell you much about what has happened [Paragraph deleted by censor].
Please let dad and mother know and tell them I am O.K. and not wounded. Also look after my kit and uniform. Better store them in England, I think.
Hope to be able to give you the full story some day. Until then we are counting on you fellows. Good luck.
As ever, Bill
     Thank you all so much for your continued interest in these truly amazing pieces of local history. As long as you keep reading them, I'll keep compiling them!
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)

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