Not that parcels were only for Christmas – they came as often as families and sweethearts could assemble and mail them, and they contained socks and gloves, photographs and little books of poetry, magazines and local newspapers, writing paper and soap, tobacco for chewing and smoking, raisins and gum, candies and – again, not only at Christmas – fruitcakes.

“We are really a bunch of babies the way we stick around when anyone gets a parcel,” John MacArthur told Hazel. “Red Stuart has just a bunch of candy from someone so am preparing my mouth for a little. He may not pass it around but I think he will as he is right across the table from me.”(1)

Before he finished the letter, he was able to report “Red has just come across with some of his candy so I am happy now. It is good stuff too.”(1)


Not all parcels reached their destination. At least one, addressed to “my dearest Teddy from your loving wife, Nellie,” ended up at the Canadian Field Comforts Commission in Shorncliffe, England. The parcel contained a cake and a note: “If you don’t get this cake write and let me know.” The Field Comforts Commission “much regretted that [they] were unable to forward it.”(2)

(1) McArthur, John Alexander. Letter to Hazel Challoner. November 12, 1916. Available from the Canadian Letters and Images Project.
(2) Canadian Field Comforts Commission. Field Comforts. 3 (October 1916): 6.

The postcard is from the site dedicated to the 202nd  (Sportsmen’s) Battalion from Edmonton , Alberta.

Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”

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