Gordon Brown wrote to his mother from Camp Petawawa at the end of July that rumours were “very strong that we will be going overseas about middle of August and everything seems to point to a departure in three weeks or so. Of course, there is nothing definite or official about it yet. It is also said that they will start giving final leave about 1st of August.” (1)
Percy sent Janie a postcard on Saturday, two days ago: “expect to be down on Thursday morn for last leave– Shall not know for sure until Monday morn if I don’t get down on Tues shall let you know when, by letter or car Imposs to put it off until Sept”
He signed it “Au Revoir, Percy.”
Meanwhile, the Globe reported that the Mayor of Toronto was proposing that the Board of Control of the City organize a “patriotic civic ride” to bring Toronto soldiers home from Petawawa on their least leave before going overseas.(2)
“These men deserve something from the city, and they are mostly men of small means who cannot afford to come home at their own expense.” Mayor Church had not succeeded in organizing private support for such a venture — special train for the round trip would cost, he estimated, $600. Only Torontonians serving in the Toronto batteries (47th, 48th, 53rd, 54th and 57th) would be eligible. “The Mayor added that the men could not be expected to pay the $20 out of their own small pay, and as some of them have been in camp since April it would be an appreciative thing if the city helped them.”(2) The report of the Board’s meeting the next day says nothing about a special train.
Percy’s destination, of course, was not Toronto, but Joliette.
(1) Brown, Robert Gordon. Letter to his mother, July 26, 1916. Available from the Canadian Letters and Images Project.
(2) The Globe (1844-1936). August 15, 1916. 7. Archive available from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
The photograph of the Petawawa railway station in 1905 is from Canada-Rail.
Another view, slightly later, can be seen here.
Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”