The soldiers at war
Elmo Albert Sully, “E.A.S.” (145855), born January 7, 1898, near Metcalfe, Ontario. Elmo has six older sisters who live on the family farm on the 6th Line (Grey’s Creek Road) west of Metcalfe. In 1915 he is studying in the Continuation Class attached to the Metcalfe Public School. He writes to Fannie every week.
David Ross Campbell (145853), born February 6, 1899, near Springhill, Ontario. He is the second oldest of four sons. His family are farmers. Elmo and Ross are classmates and best friends in the Continuation Class at the Metcalfe Public School.
Gilbert Duff Crerar (145854), born November 13, 1896, near Vernon, Ontario. He is the youngest of four children in a farming family. His older brother has been serving with the Canadian army in France since 1914. Duff is fond of Hilda Rolston.
Charles Allen Goodwillie, “C.A.G.” (145716), born October 29, 1891, near Springhill, Ontario. Charlie is the only surviving child of his father, who is a grocer and the Presbyterian minister in Metcalfe. In 1914-15 Charlie taught the Junior Class at the Metcalfe Public School.
The women at home
Frances Maud Iveson, “F.M.I.”, born November 19, 1899, in Metcalfe. She is the youngest of eight Iveson children and is the only child still living with her parents at their home on Victoria Street in Metcalfe. Her father is a harness maker and the Township Treasurer. Fannie is studying in the Continuation Class. Fannie exchanges letters with Elmo, Ross and Duff, but mainly Elmo
Caroline Hilda Rolston, born November 11, 1899, in Metcalfe. She has been one of Fannie’s best friends since childhood. Hilda is in the Continuation Class, and lives over the family store on Victoria Street in Metcalfe. Hilda and Duff are exchanging letters.
Mabel Rae White, born March 26, 1891, near Spencerville, Ontario. She teaches the Continuation Class at the Metcalfe Public School. In 1915 she taught with Charles Goodwillie and she takes a particular interest in news about him. Her brother is also a Canadian soldier in France.
Sarah ‘Sadie’ Elizabeth Iveson, born September 30, 1884 in Metcalfe, is Fannie’s older sister. She has a university degree and used to be the Principal of the Metcalfe Public School. In 1916 she is teaching in Maxville, Ontario. Elmo, Duff and Ross write to her sometimes.
Songs Mentioned in the Letters
Like students today, Elmo liked to quote lyrics from popular songs. Here are four songs which feature in his letters. Fannie and Elmo probably listened to these songs on Gramophone records in Metcalfe homes when they were class mates.
Part 1, page 3,
The Seventy-Seventh’s Tipperary was a recruiting song, sung to the tune of “It’s a long way to Tipperary”.
Part 4, Letter 2, July 9, 1916
“There is a [church] service going on in the other end of this building; they are singing ‘When the roll is called up yonder’ now.”
“When the roll is called up yonder” was a popular 1893 Methodist hymn that Elmo and Fannie would have known well from church.
Part 6, Letter 5, January 28, 1917
“As to the pretty nurses, they are very nice and all that but ‘take me back to Canada’.”
“Take me back to Canada” was a popular patriotic song recorded in 1915.
Part 7, Letter 3, July 11, 1918
“If you only knew how welcome your letters were in this desolate country you’d be surprised for after all there’s nothing more welcome than a line from ‘A pal that’s true’.”
‘A pal that’s true’ is a line from the song, “When you’re a long, long way from home” by Lewis and Meyer, a popular 1914 Gramophone record.