Go Back   Canada at War Forums > General > Introductions
Register FAQ Donate Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-06-2017, 01:05 PM   #1
mike223
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Default A most special project - your help is needed

I am hoping to realize a project that means everything to me and I urgently need your help with it.

I live in Ottawa and my father was a member of the Manitoba Dragoons and was stationed in Holland. My mother was posted in Ottawa during WWII.

I have been blessed to have the complete war-time correspondence between them (as near as I can tell). It took me a long time to get up the courage to read those letters, and to be honest it was a revelation. It's like the people who wrote them, I never met. My father in particular - I knew him as guarded, angry and lonely. The man in those letters was none of those things. He was hopeful, funny and, at times, even poetic. And oh so loving.

My mission is to take that legacy and publish it - share their story with the world. To do them justice. To bring to life the youthful, hopeful selves that the War took away.

I need your help with that.

Here is one my father wrote to my mother Ė selected at random:

Sept 9/45

My Darling Ė

Well, Iím back at camp thank goodness!! Itís really good to get back. Just got back to-day at 2 oíclock. We stayed in Cologne over night again. The officer let us have a vehicle so we went up to Bonn Ė about 12 miles from Cologne. Thereís quite a few canteens there & the place isnít all flattened. Got feeling good too!! The Limeys have a wet canteen there so went there and got brewed up!! Thatís about all there is to do there Ė so we dood it!!

Darling, I didnít get a single letter from you when I got back. Got some from my mom, Uncle Joe & Snookie, but not from you. But I did get the books you sent me, darling. Thanks a million. I guess Iíll one up on you Ė I donít have to ask you for the book ďKittyĒ, cause I read that 3 months ago Ė spent half the night reading it too! Oh she was quite the gal Ė some way to get to the top eh?!!

Well I have a bit of good news Ė not donít count on it too much but it certainly looks promising. Itís about coming home. I think I may make Xmas after all. They say that all 110 point men will be leaving here the end of next month. Well, Iíve got a 100 so I should leave in Nov. Ė thatís providing they keep going the way they are. But darling, please donít count on it cause you know the army. I sure hope to God it comes true though. I guess weíll just have to keep our fingers crossed.

Thereís another big gang going to drive more vehicles to another country next week. I have a hunch Iíll be on it too. I hope not, but Iím afraid I will. I hear itís with Greece this time. Of all the places to go we get em all. At any rate Iím seeing the world. I even know what the people are like in Czechoslovakia!! It helps pass the time till Iím home with you again.

Darling, donít stop writing until you know definitely that Iím on my way, cause you canít count on any thing in the army, you know that. So just cause I said thereís a slight chance I may make Xmas, donít stop writing. Iíll let you know definitely when the time comes.

Well my Darling, I guess I better close for now. Hope I get a letter from you soon. Always remember I love you, darling, with all my heart Ė for always.

Regards to all Ė
All my love Ė

Your husband Fred
XXXXXX

I have approximately 200 letters in total. Some like that one Ė some far more emotionally charged. I have shed more tears than I can count reading them and feeling his isolation for the first time.

My dream is to do justice to this legacy Ė I donít plan on simply reprinting those letters. I want to show where my father was when he wrote them Ė what sky he saw at night. What stars did he dream on. What was my motherís world like. How very different was her world from his.

Please help me to do this.

I have set up a GoFundMe page to get things going. Any help you can offer would be so very appreciated. A percentage of the proceeds of the finished product will go to the Royal Canadian Legion, an organization very important to my father in his later years.

Please forward this to anyone who might be able to help.

My email is:

mmines01@gmail.com

The GoFundMe link is:

www.gofundme.com/hopeletters

Thank you for reading this.

Michael Mines
mike223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2017, 05:17 PM   #2
mike223
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Default

I appreciate that this must seem out of the blue - and for that I apologize.

I really wasn't planning on seeking funds for this project - but life has a funny way of working.

I will transcribe another letter shortly, but in the meantime I figured out how to attach a picture to a posting.

Here are the letter I have - not yet fully sorted.

I just want you all to know that I am sincere - and grateful for any help or suggestion you might offer me.

Thanks again.

Michael Mines

www.gofundme.com/hopeletters
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Hope letters.jpg (116.1 KB, 5 views)
mike223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2017, 05:44 PM   #3
BFBSM
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 276
Default

Thanks Mike,

Looking forward to more posts about your Dad. Good luck with you project, and keep us informed how things are going.

Mark
BFBSM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2017, 10:37 AM   #4
mike223
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Default Another letter

Here is another letter from my father - in it he writes about reading love stories at night. I never once saw my father open a book. Now I understand why.

Holland
Oct. 17/45

My Darling –
Well, here goes another letter that I don’t know what to write about. Golly, if I’d only get some mail from you to feel great, but when I don’t hear from you I get so down in the dumps. I’ve said that in every letter, but I can’t help it darling. I’m so lonely for you, and need you so much. I hate writing you letters that sound so blue, darling. But when I don’t hear from you I get so down in the dumps & can’t seem to snap out of it. I hope it’s just the fault of the mail service, and you’re not sick or any thing.
It’s funny how Toronto mail comes through so much better than Ottawa. But I guess that’s something we’ll never figure out I guess. I just hope I’m home soon, and then we won’t be worrying about letters.

I think I’ll slip into the show in Appledorn to-night. It’ll help pass the evening. I can’t stand to stay in, and look at these four walls all night.

We get guard every other day and to-nights my night off, so that’s why I want to go out, and see a show or go to a canteen or something. I should really go to bed, cause I was up half the night on guard, but nuts going to bed.

You know what I have been doing in between guards? Reading love stories. I bet I’ve read at least a dozen different love stories in the last couple days. I shouldn’t read them either, cause it only makes me more lonesome for you. Oh what a life this is.
Well darling, I think I better close before I bore you to tears. I love you darling, more than you’ll ever know. I just hope to God we’re together soon, so I can prove it to you.
Give my regards to all, darling.

All my love

Your husband

Fred
XXXXXXX

If I do much more guard duty, I’ll be getting up in the middle of the night when I come home & standing at the front door!! Oh yeah!!
mike223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2017, 12:32 PM   #5
mike223
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Default

Today - March 9 - is the anniversary of my father's passing.

Even though Alzheimer's disease took much of him before he passed - I miss him dearly.

Frederick Wills Mines
Jan. 22/22 - March 9/14

To him and my beloved mother - may all I do bring honour to your memory.

Mike Mines
mike223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2017, 03:06 PM   #6
mike223
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Default

I talk a lot about my father - here is a picture of my mother training for her research duties in Ottawa.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg my mother.jpg (179.4 KB, 6 views)
mike223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2017, 06:43 PM   #7
mike223
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Default Letter from Oct 27 1944

Here is another letter - sometimes the emotions my father felt must have been overwhelming. As he states - "no one could ever realize what it is like till theyíve been through it themselves". So very true.

Thanks for allowing me to share these with you. I can't wait until I get the whole conversation written out -

Oct. 27/44

My Darling Ė

Sorry I havenít written the last few days, but I havenít had much time since I got this job of looking after the stores. I guess I could have got a spare minute to write a small note but I just couldnít write. Iíve been in a pretty fed up condition lately Ė known as ďWar WearyĒ!! But seriously darling a guy gets fed up at times Ė same old thing day after day, itís bound to get you down at times. Itís not so bad when weíre on the move all the time Ė when we donít even get time to wash!! Time flies then & you donít get time to sit around & think & get fed up. But when weíre in a static position like we are now it sure gets me down.

To top it all off the mail is coming terrible. I only get half your letters, and God knows what happens to the rest. I still havenít gotten Sept. letters or the first part of Octobers. I hate to talk like this darling But I canít help it. I try to keep it out of my letters but it keeps cropping up again. I was never so fed up with anything in my life, as I am this army. I guess I shouldnít talk like that cause Iíve been very fortunate. Iím actually never bad at all compared to some poor devils. But this being away from you is enough for me Ė itís enough torture in itself. This business of being in a foreign country isnít cracked up to what itís to be. What I wouldnít give to bump into somebody I really know from home, somebody that really speaks the same language. They can have their French man, Belgian and the whole rest, just give me home!! I guess you think Iím taking crazy, darling, but no one could ever realize what it is like till theyíve been through it themselves. Itís different with you, cause at least once in a while you can get home to see your folks, but I canít even do that. The only thing we can do I s go to a show, when there is one, and thatís only when weíre in our rests. Ah, I better shut up. Iím only making you feel bad. Bit I hope to God itís over shortly.

I got a couple of letters from you the other day 208 and 209. You always seem to have tough luck on Friday the 13th eh? Never mind darling, weíll be sharing your unlucky days together one of these days. Thatís the only thing that keeps me young is you. I know one day sooner or later weíll be together again & it sure cheers me up when I think of it. Youíre all Iím living for, darling, nothing else matters, just you. If I didnít have your love I wouldnít want to live. I love you darling with all my heart and regardless how fed up I get at times, it could never change my love for you.
Just keep loving me, darling Ė never stop, cause without you I wouldnít want to live.

Well darling, I better close for now, and go to bed and dream about you. I only do 2 things, and thatís go to bed early, and go to the show Ė some life, eh?

Give my regards to all darling.
Always remember I love you.

Hope to be with you soon.

All my love,

Your husband
Fred
XXXXXXXXXX

Please excuse the writing, darling, but Iím so cold I can hardly write.
mike223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2017, 12:52 AM   #8
Swamprat
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Brandon, MB
Posts: 1
Default

Mike,

I am a volunteer with the 12th Manitoba Dragoons Museum.
Do let me know if I can be of any help at all as these letters are a fantastic and utterly fascinating read.

And if you do not mind a February 1945 Nominal Roll has your father listed with C Squadron and his trade as a Driver.
Swamprat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2017, 08:00 AM   #9
mike223
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Default

That is fantastic! Thank you so much for posting this.

I am sure you will be an invaluable resource. I would love to know to learn more about his squadron and the other men he served with.

I am truly grateful for your post.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Swamprat View Post
Mike,

I am a volunteer with the 12th Manitoba Dragoons Museum.
Do let me know if I can be of any help at all as these letters are a fantastic and utterly fascinating read.

And if you do not mind a February 1945 Nominal Roll has your father listed with C Squadron and his trade as a Driver.
mike223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2017, 06:36 PM   #10
mike223
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Default

In late October, 1944 - my father received an anonymous typed letter telling him that my mother was having an affair with the Sargent Major of her outfit.

This was the one war story I was aware of growing up - true or otherwise my mother never got over the guilt of it, and my father never truly forgave her.

Here is a transcript of an "Air Mail" letter he sent to her - with the belief that it would reach her faster than all other forms of communication available to him at the time.

Oct. 31 Ė 1944

Dear Bea! Ė

Iím writing this letter just in case you donít get the other one. But I hope youíre not running around with this Sargent Major from your outfit. But if you are be honest with me, darling, and tell me the truth. Itís pretty hard to take when you get news like that from some stranger. Itís up to you, darling, if you want it that way okay, but donít look for me after this warís over, cause youíll never see me. Iíve never been with a woman since I left you & I figured youíd do the same. I hope to God that this letter I got that who ever wrote it dies a horrible death. Iíd like the pleasure of killing him or her which ever the case is. But if itís true well, itís just as well, but itís an awful hard knock to take.

I donít know long this has been going on, but I hope itís stopped very shortly.

Oh nuts Ė I better close for now. I canít write anymore to-night. I know what itís like to have a broken heart now.

Cherrio for now
Fred
Attached Images
File Type: jpg EPSON034.JPG (276.7 KB, 2 views)
mike223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:10 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.