Oscar's Letters

On this page I am posting letters from my Uncle Oscar French as sent to his mother (my grandmother), Mrs. Samuel French of Waverley, Ontario, a village in northern Simcoe County. Letters will be posted here on or about the one-hundredth anniversary of their being written. These letters will also appear in their entirety in my book, Letters to Vimy, in which I respond to his letters a century later as if he were still alive. Publication is coming very soon.


This letter from January, 1917, acknowledges Christmas presents from home.

Private Oscar French


France Jan. 11th, 1917

Dear Mother –

Just a few lines to-night to let you know that I am quite well and am getting along first class. I received your letter dated December 18th the other night and was so very pleased to hear from you again. I hope that you and Dad are not suffering from the cold weather this winter but I suppose the severest part of that is to come. Maybe you will be taking that long talked of trip out West next spring, it certainly would be fine for you and Dad both to go. Well I am doing another turn in the trenches at present but may go out soon. The weather has been rather rotten just lately but I am getting now so it is a great disappointment to me if it doesn’t rain at least once a day. Well I suppose you all by now have recovered from the Xmas festivities. Tell Elmer that Santa Claus got around the trenches this year as well as at home, we got Xmas stockings filled up with stuff. I think they were sent over by the Daughters of the Empire. Holidays come rather fast for me at this time of year, Xmas, my birthday and New Years all in the same week. I am going to try and send get some pictures of myself some of these days. I think there is a place near here where they take small snap shots. I wonder if you would know me when we get all rigged out in goatskin coat, equipment and steel helmet. It certainly will seem funny to me again when we get back and start wearing civvies after being in uniform so long. I have been in khaki just about two years now. The time has gone fast especially since coming to France. I had a small parcel the other day from Bessie Hodges and a short letter, the first that I have heard from her for a long time. She has left Southampton now and is staying at home. I certainly will be disappointed if I do not get leave to go and see them before going back to Canada. In her letter Winnie said that Ed Norton tried to look them up but for some reason did not get to the right place. Roy is sending me the Free Press for the coming year and it is so good to get a home paper out here. I got one to-night. There was a letter in it written by Captain Finlayson from Bramshott Camp and a list of the names of the boys of “D” Company, 157th battalion.

I haven’t had a line from Owen now for a long time and I wonder if you couldn’t jog his memory and see whether he or I wrote last but I suppose he has all he can do this winter. Well Mother this must do for this time. Hoping that you are all well and with best love to all I remain

                        Your loving son





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