A soldier's letter home to mother
- Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 10 Nov 2006, p. 1
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Sgt. Walter Meal, of the 5th Battalion, Royal Scots, City of Edinburgh Regiment, wrote the following letter to his mother on the final day of the First World War (Nov. 11, 1918). Sgt. Meal, along with many school buddies, were shipped out for the invasion of Gallipoli in 1915. He was wounded in the arm and sent to Cyprus for convalesence before being sent to the trenches in France to fight, where he was part of the further decimation of his battalion. He survived the remainder of the war and penned this letter to his mother, which Georgetown resident David Meal-- Walter's son-- has allowed us to share with our readers.
Monday, 11th Nov. 1918 My Dear Mother, This morning we received the great news so I thought I would just send a few lines on this memorable occasion. We were all delighted when the message came through, that hostilities would cease on the whole front at 11 a.m. and I cannot tell you how thankful every one of us was. After all this long weary spell of suffering and butchery it is difficult for me to fully realise that at last has come the ceasing of the bloodshed. We have spoke of SGT. WALTER MEAL nothing else all day but about the great feeling of relief we have experienced. Tonight our officers are having a big dinner and as I write this the band is giving forth its cheering music. Everyone is in high spirits. Much has yet to be done before things are settled into, but I am sure you and Bella and Alice and all friends will rejoice with me and the others of all countries that this great step has been made in the general progress towards what we hope will be a lasting peace for the world. None of us know how the great demobilisation scheme will work out, but our thoughts can now turn more readily to such a subject and I will certainly have food for very serious thought. For the present, however, our main thoughts will be for the finishing of the task before us, trusting that one day we will all be spared to reach the old country and gather with one's dear ones and friends as of old. Today we have been very glad, but our joy has been tempered by the sad memories which such a day brings to us. We have been spared to see the rising of the sun of victory and peace on earth, but what of our dear comrades who have played the game and paid the price? God forbid that any one of us even forget these gallant dead! Now dear mother I cannot write more at this time but I know you must have been very happy today and you will be glad that at this time I think of the loved ones at home and look forward to the great re-unions which we all hope is not so very far distant. I hope you all are still keeping well and cheerful and that the epidemic has spent itself. Remember me kindly to all friends. I am writing Alice a wee note to-night too. With kindest regards to Bell and to yourself from Your Loving Son, Walter Meal
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