Wednesday, May 11, 2016

World War Wednesdays: Dear Mrs. Duncanson: Letters Home to Dutton, 1943

Dutton High School ca. 1943, Elgin County Archives
     Back at it again with the still-popular Dutton letters! This bunch is from 1943 and all were published in the Dutton Advance to show local soldiers' appreciation for the gifts sent to them by Mrs. Duncanson of the the Dutton Women's Institute. I hope you'll recognize some of the names included this week, and, as always, feel free to share what you remember about them!

October 6, 1943
Dear Mrs. Duncanson:
Having received you parcel two days ago, I am sitting here trying to write an appropriate "thank you" note for your most welcome gift. It is hard to explain just how much these parcels are appreciated by Canadians over here. On behalf of myself I do thank you very much for your parcel and I appreciate just how much work goes into making these parcels the success they are. I should like to add also that the rest of our crew would like to thank you also, as they shared in the contents of your box. England appeals to me very much so far, and parts of it remind me of Southern Ontario. In a fortnight or so we expect two weeks leave so I will be able to travel around a bit. I will close this letter now, Mrs. Duncanson, and again let me tell you how very much I appreciated your box, and I do thank everyone connected with packing and sending it. Give my best regards to everyone at home, and in case you do not hear from me before the end of the year, I will take the opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.
Sincerely, Bill Johnston.

October 14, 1943
Dear Mrs. Duncanson:
I received the very welcome parcel today. It was sure good to see some of Canada again and it was very thoughtful of the Women's Institute to send it. I like it very much here. We have been very busy on bomber command. It gives a fellow a bit of satisfaction to be taking an active part in the war, and I don't mind putting in some long hours, as long as get the bombs off. The Duchess of Gloucester was visiting our station today, and inspected the WAAFS. They had quite a parade, only my section was too busy to turn out. Well, I guess this is about all for just now. Thanks a lot for the parcel,
Sincerely C.A. Milton

October 17, 1943
Dear Mrs. Duncanson:
The fine selection of appetizing and needed articles reached me yesterday in perfect condition. Kindly convey my thanks to the officers and members for the thoughtfulness in remembering me. The true value of such gifts is the conveyance of the fact that somewhere somebody has not forgotten and our thoughts return to Canada.
Sincerely, Ed Roberts

October 20, 1943
Dear Mrs. Duncanson:
Just received parcel No 3, so I'm sitting here writing with a full stomach. The parcel arrived in A 1 shape and it really was swell. I also found the paper and envelopes, so I take it you never received my other letter yet. Well, it's been on the way for quite a while so you probably received it by now, at least I hope so. I guess everything is about the same around Dutton. I hope to be getting The Advance regular, so I'll be able to keep track of everyone. There doesn't seem to be many changes around here, but probably I wouldn't be allowed to know about them anyway. I spent a very enjoyable week-end in London last week. The enemy planes were over there on Saturday night, but the people there don't seem to mind very much. The weather really has been terrible here lately, its practically rained steady since Sunday morning, and it's a real cold rain which makes it very miserable. Well I will sign off for now, thanking you and the Women's Institute for the lovely parcel. I hope you are able to carry on with your wonderful work. As ever,
John Hodder
      John William Hodder of Wallacetown was the son of Frederick and Clara (Morrish) Hodder, During the Second World War, he served with the South Saskatchewan 2nd Division and returned home a highly decorated veteran, later settling in Newmarket. He later returned to Wallacetown, and recently passed away on November 17, 2015 in his 96th year. (Courtesy of the West Elgin Chronicle).

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