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Timmins history: First World War letters home

With Remembrance Day coming up, our Timmins history feature has a couple of letters home from the First World War.

At the time, our fledgling mining camp had a population of about 3,000.  Timmins Museum director-curator Karen Bachmann says between 1914 and 1918, 650 men had signed up for service.

The letters were often reprinted in The Porcupine Advance.

“It’s interesting to note that, of course, they couldn’t really say what was really going on,” Bachmann remarks, “but you really get a flavour of what was going on when you see them.”

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Here is audio of Bachmann reading a 1916 letter from Sgt. Ralph “Slim” Halliwell to his friend, local merchant Dayton Ostrosser.

Sgt. Halliwell made it home to Timmins alive.

We continue with a letter home to his mother from Lance Corporal T.A. Jamieson in May, 1915. He was a member of the 48th Highlanders, part of the first Canadian contingent to England.

He wrote it from a hospital in England, where he had been for a month since his unit had been attacked by the Germans using gas.

Bert Jamieson came home after being gassed a second time.

Lest we forget.

228th battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force.
Jack Andrews and Archie Briden of South Porcupine in photo – but unidentified. (Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Cetre)
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