And finally, they’re leaving. They’ve gotten their orders, they’ll be on the move tomorrow. So this truly is his last letter home before departing….its his ‘farewell letter.’
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I never knew my grandfather and my impressions of him come from these letters, things my dad told me and from what others still living have told me about him. The letter’s second paragraph tells me what kind of man he really was and I am very proud to be his grandson.
One hundred years ago today, July 11, 1918, Jay wrote to Rinda and my dad:
My Dear Rinda and Raymond –
Time has come when I must write you the farewell letter. Tomorrow we will leave this camp for where no one know but undoubtedly to port of embarkation. When you receive this letter I will be sailing no doubt on my way to no man’s land.
I want you to do no worrying about me as you plainly know its no use. I may have been a poor provider for you and Raymond and want no sympathy. If I come back all well and good and if I don’t why no one should worry. If I don’t you can tell Raymond his father died for a good cause as a soldier.
I started out to write you a long letter but was called before captain to receive some orders and they must be obeyed to a notch. Because he commands the whole outfit. You can address me here but don’t ask any war questions or anything about war tell me about you and Ray and local news
I am going to pack my barracks bag tonight it will go before we do but we carry a pack upon our back weighing 30# but will only carry it as far as the train.
I have been made mess Sergeant and you can address me as you did in your last letter only making it Sgt instead of Cpl and also mark on corner 76 Div. it will reach me sometime perhaps when I am over there. Write as you said you would because my chance to write may be very poor. Don’t be discouraged and disgusted if its weeks before you hear from me.
Gee but its warm tonight, oh so hot.
Sure would dearly love to see you and little Ray before I go but as there is no chance I must not complain. My work is hard and it will be harder over there but I care not as long as I have landed in eating end of game. I can’t write anything about our trip or where or how we go.
So good bye until I come back from over there. Cheer up Rinda I have a good job and chances of coming back are the best. So good bye and love to you and the dear little boy. Kisses to you both.
The soldier man.