#15 Canadian Gen’l Hospital
8. Jan. 41.
Dear Ma & Junie;
Sending you herewith clippings of Elmer Belding’s letter. Is’nt he a dandy chap. I am writing him to-night.
Had another good day; My Adjutant brought me in some clothes to-day I may start getting up soon. I expect my convalescence is going to be long.
They are now talking of evacuating me home, sooner than expected. They can’t make me sore. Boy did it look like Canada here to-day, [word cut out] like blases all day. I have four windows in my room, that are rather high, but I can see the tops of the other huts covered with the [word cut out] stuff.
But after thinking I believe I’d rather be in Bermuda. You know they may not board me out of the Army in Canada. I may be granted a six months leave with pay and sent to a warm country for treatment. They are not sure what they are going to do.
I should worry, but we’ll be alright, what ever happen –
Lots of love
Yet not mail from you since Dec 1st –
8. Jan. 41
This time it’s early in the morning 8.00 am here while you’re fast asleep at home 2.00 am. Now listening to the morning news and the good news of our Army knocking hell out of the Ginnies.
I sure like FDR’s speech. I guess he means it, but now waiting for his budget for war. I bet it’ll be a hony.
What do all your pacifist friends think of the situation now. I bet Mac knows all the war news now. Wait till I get home, I’ll tell them a mouth full about war & Hitler, and all that gang of barbarians. Also about England, and how proud I am to be a British subject.?
You can’t take it away from the English folks here, they got plenty of guts, and sure are winning this war for all democraties –
I received my clothes yesterday.
I may start getting up soon. I am now waiting on my last ElectroCardiac reading to be taken this weekend. That will tell the story of me getting up, or more bed.
What’s new home. On your next, tell me about the work Warren’s done for you regarding your status home.
Take care of yourself
Lots of love
7. Jan. 41
Got a good examination to-day. Condition clearing beautifully. Should be up sooner than expected. Had a very good night & day.
I am expecting to pick up FDR’s speech about 8.00 pm (i.e. 2.00 pm in NY
Hope it’s a good one.
Yet not mail from you.
Lots of love darling
Letter #5 to June
“ #6 to Ed
This one 6a ” Ma
Just received letter from Ed Jr dated dec. 4th. card from Mrs Blochs dated dec 12. letter from Albert dec. 10. and none from you nor Junie.
I guess you both are gone on strike, or have’nt the price of stamps. Also received to-day tobacco sent by Ed from Toronto on dec 10.
Albert’s letter was very amusing, also highly intelligent. He talked about the nieces etc. but didn’t say a word about being sick. I guess he was never told.
Had a pretty good day to-day; got a bit tired towards evening, and now just waiting on Nursie to fix me up for the night.
Nothing else to report. Watch the # on my letters so you’ll know have many you missed –
A big kiss & lots of love
Ten pm. Saturday night; listening to some real sweet music from London. Had a very good day, no pains what so ever; Col Dupuis spent the afternoon with me, also plenty of the boys from Bordon called in.
Laurette L. sent me 1000 Can. Cigs just received them they just arrived on time. Didn’t have one left.
Wrote here a nice letter. Also received your 2 cables, got cables for all the folks in Thetford M. also.
Imagine the luck. The day I took sick my new uniforms boots etc. all arrived. The firm will take some back, but I have to keep the uniforms –
Things are so dear here, it’s almost a shame to buy. Imagine $100.00 for one uniform.
I am anxious to know if the Gov’t ever settled your exchange case.
Please let me know.
Not much to report, I now sit in bed part of the day. But feer my legs are going to be weak when I do get up, it won’t be for a few weeks yet. The weather’s still darn cold, but can’t complain while in bed.
Nough said. A big kiss and lots of love.
3 Jan 1941
Just finished my night supper, that consisted of soup & fruit and the cup of tea.
My doctor has just left. I am now faced with a gastrick condition, that he expect to clear for me during February. I am told not to worry about it. So that’s that.
I had a pretty good day. Had a blood count this morning, that shows perfect, this was about the fourth since I have been sick.
Received your cable at 10.00 am for which I thank you darling.
Was up after my bath, walked about 40 steps, and back to bed I went. I still have a hard time breeding when I walk, but that also will come with time. I was up this afternoon after lunch and then slept 2 hours. Then at 3.30 up a few minutes; by the end of the month I’ll be able to be up about six hours a day, and then home sweet home.
I’ll be in bed at 9.30 pm and up at 7.30 am. Quite a long night. I still take the sleeping numbutol (sedative to you)
Lots of love
My dear Ma & Junie;
You talk about cold weather, Switzerland has nothing on us here. I am laying in bed with two bed jackets, one sweater, and a bed coat, 3 blankets etc. So judge for yourself what the North Pole must be.
Emile Poirier spent the afternoon with me, Brig Price just dropped in. Now I am waiting for the grub to come. I am getting my appetite back in a hurry.
My Bn doctor was telling E.P. that when I’ll get better my case will desappear altogether. It’s a funny case this Coronary Trombosis, either it kills you right out or if you give it the proper rest it disappear for good. I hope so.
But nevertheless, I’ll be sent home just the same.
Anyhow, I’d rather be home with you all.
What’s new in school. I don’t know what’s the matter with the mail, not a letter in 2 weeks, and from you not one since Nov. 20 dated Nov 4 by you. We’ll have to do better than that.
Have you joined the Red Cross as yet. What will Congress do tomorrow the 4th Jan. More help for us, or fight with us.
Love you all.
A big kiss
Jan 2. 1941
My dear Ma & Junie;
Believe it or not, a cold wave has just strucked us. I am laying in bed, all covered with bed jackets, sweaters, woolen hat etc. They say I look like grand pa, I should worry I am comfortable.
Had a fairly good night, although I tossed around quite a bit. I guess it was the cold. So right now I am having my cup of tea. 4.00 pm
What a limy I turned out to be. I just read F.D.R. speech of the other day. I guess he means business. How Musso & Hitler loved it. I don’ t think.
Well babys I am starting my 7th week on my back – I must tell you this is a slow procedure in getting better, but I am told it’s the only way. So nothing else to do. Some of the boys from the Reg’t called in yesterday. They say they missed me out there. E Poirier is now going to command soon. It is a good brake for him, and I am very glad.
How have you been.
Keep well. Write often.
Lots of love
#15 Can. Gen’l Hospital
January 1st, 1941
First letter of the year, to my sweetheart; how do you like that.
Up rather late, because the Padre was only coming at 7.30 am. Started the year right, had communion, and then breakfeast, and listened to wonderful music, all morning, while visitors dropped in at intervals. Had lot of them to-day to the horror of my doctor – as he wants me to be very quiet.
Well darling, my New Year resolution is to get better and get home to you. I really think I am on the right road now. I was worried about the 1st of the year being the third anniversary of Al’s death.
How I remembered it. I keep myself busy reading good books, and now I am smoking my pipe again. By the way, I see on our Can. Weekly that 60,000 parcels coming to the boys here, were lost at the end of Nov & beginning of dec. There went Ed’s tobacco to me; I calls it bad luck.
I hope you are getting lots of mail from me, as I write you most every day. I bet you folks were shocked at the bombing of London last Sunday, those barbarians are burning all the churches, not one military objective.
Now darling, I was planning of bringing home quite a few things but, I think it’s awfully foolish with conditions here. I hope you know what I mean, you never can tell when it’s going to be blown to pieces; however I’ll bring June a Camel’s hair coat, and skirt, may be a nice ring for you but I am trying to save a little money as I may need it later on home.
I suppose I told you I can’t do any work for one year, may be for all times, however I think I’ll be able to do some work.
Gen McN told me not to worry go home and take my pension, but I want you to be protected by this pension. On arriving in Canada, I’ll have to go to an hospital in Quebec for a month or so, to make sure I am alright to travel to the States.
Expect me home for Easter. It’s the best promiss I can make to you now.
Nough said –
Please do take it easy.
Don’t worry about me.
Keep your prayers for me.
I sure miss you a lot.
My love to you, and lots of luck for the new year.
A big kiss
Sitting up in bed, raising h after my nursie
What a funny desease I must have. Yesterday I felt in the dump. To-day I haven’t a pain or an ache. I suppose I should touch wood.
The heart specialist says that I am true with attacks now. The one two days ago was not severe – or I am stronger now, and snapping out of it faster.
Anyhow am I fed up. Now that I know my future I want to get out of here, and go home.
Tomorrow the last day of the year. Where are you all going for New Year.
Hope you have a good time and enjoy yourself a bit. Gee but mail is slow coming from you. I have had two letters from Junie, she’s the life saver and none from you for one month.
How about it Ma, are all yours feeding the fishes. I guess so.
I expect to get up soon. I think once up I’ll stay up.
Now to wish you a Happy New Year, and the next one we’ll be together. Two is enough to be away.
Lots of love
Sunday 29 dec.40
#15 Can. Gen’l Hospital
My dear Ma & Junie;
Well to-day I feel in the dump. I was getting along so well, to well to be true, and yesterday out of no where, if I don’t get another attack. Mild kind although, setting me back for another month. Well Mama I think I am a sick boy, and will have to do plenty more fighting to get out of this and get to you. It’s now one and half month since I was strucked. The heart specialist is convinced I am getting much better, but it is a slow process; I have received numerous cables from America & Canada. If good wishes can cure me I am sure to get well again. I hope you are not worrying too much about me.
I am having wonderful care here – Everyone is so nice to me, but I think if I was home I’d get better quicker. Nevertheless that’s impossible as they won’t move me till I am up on my feet, and can take the trip.
The boys from the Battalion have all been here, and my boys from school come every day. However, there is a sign on my door, No Visitors Please.
It is rest and rest I must have.
After the new year I’ll not see anyone for two weeks, to see what reaction this will have.
Miss you & Junie a lot, Ma.
I guess you must keep your prayers for a while longer -
Lots of love Darling
6.15 pm here 1200 Noon in New York
Just finished by supper
This is I may say the end of a perfect day. God has been good to me to-day. I have not had a single pain all day, for that I am thankful.
Here is how I spent the day;
Woke up at 7.15. Had my morning bath, then, Holy Communion, then breakfeast. It is now 9.00 am and now a pipe of tobacco, don’t you think that’s a good sign. Turned on the wireless, and heard the most beautiful carrols, you could ever dreamed of.
10.00 am. Now comes nursie, to sleep I must go, with all the windows opened, and warm sweaters and a woollen hat on my grey head -
11.00 Too nerveous to sleep. Nursie says I can’t get up (meaning sit up, as I was a bad boy and didn’t sleep. — So, after using much complimentary language – you know (the french finesse) nursie compromised, closed the windows and opened my door.
Now noon. The doctor’s daily inspection. Instructions, regarding visitors and all. (You must not get tired, etc. Now start the list of well wishers and friends from all over England.
1.00 am. A real home cooked turkey dinner. And all the trees. The Matron Miss Neill is here herself to supervise. What wonderful girls the nurses are. My room is gay, beautifully decorated, a big table alongside my bed, filled with presents of all kinds.
Lunch was a bit heavy, must rest if only 15 minutes, but too excited and nerveous to sleep.
2.30 pm Gen McNaughton arrived, stayed about 15 minutes, and announced me that I must go home, and forget the Army and think of my health. The Gen sayed, I hate to see you go, and Blais you were the best Fr. Can. soldier under my command (what a head)? I’ll see that you don’t get evacuated till this spring, first we must put you on your feet, and then wait till the submarine menace is over, and wait till conditions are right for you to travel. Really Ma, that man cured me with his fatherly talks, and his wonderful honest friendship. Mrs McN give me a great big kiss for you, and said she will write you.
Now 4.00 pm. Getting a bit tired but won’t give in -
The King is now coming on the air. Darn it, no more ink in my pen. His talk, although slow, was straight-forward, honest and sincere. What a great man he is.
5.00 New York now on the Air. All the english kids talking to their parents over the sea. It brakes my weak and sick heart to listen so had to shut off the wireless.
Getting tired fast. One hour sleep before night concert.
We’ll carry on later
Found the ink bottle -
Now 7.00 pm. Star Variety show on the Air. My door is now closed, I am sitting in bed smoking my pipe and sipping a wee small glass of Champagne, sent to me by my room neighbour Brig. Smith, of our 1st Div.— Instructions. I am to drink it if it kills me. But took no chances, and nursie says it won’t hurt you. So to your health darling.
Will keep on thinking of you all all week.
Must close now
Lots of love darling
Keep well, & God bless you
#15 Gen. Can. Hospital
How I wish I were home to-night, instead of this hosp. cot. I feel pretty good, but, when I think I’ll always have that draw back against me, it makes me feel a bit blue sometimes. I am realizing now how sick I have been, and how terrible I feel at times for only short periods. The M.O. tells me it will disappear with the rest, but with five weeks already, I should think I’d be much better. I always feel that slight pain on my left it annoys me at times terribly. The Nurses have decorated my room to make it cheerful – they’re wonderful.
The boys in here are planning a wee bit of a celebration but my door will be closed, so not to disturb me.
The Padre is bringing Communion at 8.00 in the morning, he is also saying Midnight Mass to-night. I wish I could be there.
Now Mommie don’t worry about me. I’ll get better, and we’ll be together soon, as I miss you a whole lot.
A big kiss to you darling
#15 Can. Gen. Hospital
My dear Ma & Junie;
Believe it or not, I am sitting in bed, what a relief; My doctor has just [??] it and I am doing fine, will be up on a rolling chair by Jan 15 and walking around by Feb’y 1st.
At that rate I ought to be home by Easter.
I am so relieved at feeling like myself again.
I see by the morning papers Lord Halifax is our new Minister in U.S.A. He is a great man and a great Diplomat. May be a bit soft, on the fighting side; however he’ll do.
My friend Mr Eden has taken another high post. But we sure hate to loose him as War Minister, he was a hony. Before I leave for home I will call on him, to see what I can do for his dep’t in America, “Foreign Affairs”. Don’t worry I’ll get something soft somewhere.
I will also see Beaverbrook “Max Aitken” one of our Canuck. I am in great spirit today. More & more gifts are pouring in from my friends here.
Will try and be cheerful for Xmas, in two days. – but miss you all a lot.
Now don’t worry about me. I’ll not be evacuated till they’re positive I can make the trip, and a reliable boat.
Got a nice letter from Nellie yesterday, also 2 from Junie.
Will write often
Lots of love
15 Gen. Hospital
Sat’y night dec 21.40
My dear Ma & Junie;
My buddie, E Poirier, was in to-day, and had tea with me. He has been here many times, and sure was anxious about me. But, to-night he went away happy, as my condition has improved 100%.
He has to travel about 70 miles, to come and see me. My Div Comdr Gen Perkes V.C. was in also, to wish me a Merry Xmas, and all; I have received already many letters & cards and presents, and good wishes from all my countless friends of the 1st Div.
It surely makes me feel good to think, that while I am down, my friends have proven the real kind.
Father McManus our Padre has been here a few minutes ago, for a few yarns, he’s a great fellow. Dr Overholt, my great friend also called.
It’s now close to 10.00 pm and nursy has started to scolled me for writing. This is one place where one has to take orders from the weak side of life (female to you) -
Well darlings, I am writing lots of letters to you. I hope they don’t all feed the fishes.
Going to sleep thinking and dreaming of my darlings
Lots of love
15 Gen. Hosp. CASF
17 Dec. 40
My dear Ma;
Now 7.00 pm listening to my Radio, right along-side my bed, to some yankee blue singer from the South, somewhere in Scotland, you’d think you were in Harlem.
I am sitting in bed, smoking a big Yankee “ceegar” that Geo. sent me from Detroit. I am quite a sight, with an hospital shirt that buttons in the back, it’s quite a rig -
A few minutes ago I just heard a real “Al Smith” speech made by Lord Beverbrook (Max Aitken) the canuck. It felt good to hear a guy talk your language.
He sure is powerful. He is our Minister of Aircraft production. He may replace Lord Lothian at home.
The O.C. of the Hosp has just been here with me. We had a long talk about my condition. For the first time, I have been told what is the matter with me.
I think it spells like this “Cornoris Thrombosis”. A clot of blood that forms around your heart, and jammed the main vain i.e. the blood vessels from your heart to all membronce of your body.
That clot when it disappears leave a scar that has to heal (I hope that’s the right way to spell it) not (eal) and form a second scar that will disappear automatically with the rest cure. i.e. laying in bed, so that no heart action takes place.
Well, the C.O. told me that I can’t go back to work till the spring, or may be never, i.e. Army work. He wouldn’t think of evacuating me to Canada for 3 or 4 months yet, if I am to be boarded out. They insist that I can be and will be cured enough to live to be an old man.
Well I must admit, although I am in good spirits and all, this sickness has made me ten years older, for a thing my hairs are turning completely white, and talk about losing weight. I bet I have lost 20 pounds already.
For that I am thankful. Good Jewish expression ain’t it. The only thing I am sorry about is that although Gen McN has not replaced me as yet, he’ll have to do it soon.
The way I feel now I think I’d just as well go home, and take my pension as Lt. Col. about $50.00 a week. And may be hold a diplomatic position later on in Washington say as Military Attaché. If I can work the Gov’t won’t let me out on a/c of my rank.
Let’s wait and see -
Nough said for now.
Keep well & lots of love
15 Gen. Can. Hospital
My dear Ma & kids;
Well up to yesterday I guess I was getting along to good. Yesterday morning I got another darn attack, that lasted about one hour.
My doctor thinks it’s the last one as my heart, circulation blood pressure & pulse are extraordinary good.
I believe it was a slight indigestion from something I ate Saturday night.
It’s going to set me back as I was going to sit up by new year. Now it means a few more weeks in bed, how I am fed up. This last attack I guess will sure send me to Canada.
It cleared quite easy – and I was ok last night.
Just received your letter of Nov. 22. Glad to see you went to Nellie’s for Thanksgiving. I sent Nellie, Warren & you each a nice english calender with my regimental Xmas card. Did you get it. I mailed most of my Xmas cards before I took sick -
Do you tell how you made out regarding your status in USA. And when will Ed Jr have to register for service.
Did you get the extra allowance i.e. $60.00 instead of 55.00 for you – you are intitled from Oct 2. 1940 thats the date of my promotion. Your extra allowance of $33.00 was deducted from me since August last ck up and see if you got it all -
Are you getting gov’t exchange on your cks now. The board has advised me that it was ok from Oct. on – See that you get it.
What do you think of the licking the Ginnies are getting. I guess they are just about ready to fold up and go home.
This writing in bed is awful. I hope you can read it -
Where are you going for Xmas & NY dinners -
You can join me in this here hospital. Good meals but I am only getting about 6 ounces per day, all liquid.
Not so good when your hungry.
Do write often.
Lots of love to all of you
Be seeing you may be sooner than I think
15 Gen. Can. Hospital
Friday the 13th
Dear Ma & kids;
Started to write yesterday but quit in the attempt when saw the date Fri 13.
So this is Saty the 14th.
Feeling quite good this morning had a very good night, and proceeding rapidly to a quick recovery.
It’s now I realize how many good friends I have in this here little army of ours. I think every one who is somebody has called in to see my. It’s most to know, specially when knocked out in bed.
Had an important visitor yesterday Our A.D.M.S. Colonel McKusker our our 1st Div. He will cable you to-day and write you about my condition -
See that you answer him and my personal physician Dr Overholt, the man that took the great decision the morning of Nov. 20 when I had the attack.
You know when I start to think do you remember about two years ago one morning my fainting in the wash room. Well this attack had absolutely the same simptoms, but was more severe, as it quite paralysed my left arm at once, my left leg was also temporary affected, but now everything has cleared beautifully.
Now I know my condition, re my heart, and will have to act accordingly -
By way of things happening now I may stay here after all and carry on with my school in the spring.
I may be granted a three months furlong home. Gen McN. sure is a father to me.
Already there are so many senior officers looking for my job. You know I rate much higher than a Reg’t Commander, and there will be extra pay, for educational and instructional work, also University Commandant.
I’d like if I could improve myself so much so as to be able to carry on, at a Military school home later. Maybe my dreams will all be shattered when the Med. Faculty boards me.
Anyway (I ain’t worrying) how’s this for Yankee slang.
Must tell you right now, my English accent has quite improved; by fact the Gen says I am the best Eng speaker of the Fr. Can. in England – quite a compliment, don’t you think.
Nough of this junk. Hope you can read this cause writing while laying down is not so easy.
Do write & write. Gee but the Ginnies are catching hell now.
It’s only beginning -
How dreadful the death of Lord Lothian
Lots of love darlings
A letter a day
Welcome! This site posts the Second World War letters of Brigadier Edmond Blais to his wife Laurette. One letter will be posted every day, in chronological order. The letters begin with then-Major Blais' Atlantic crossing in December, 1939.
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