A Window on the Great War - Training, December 5, 1914 Saint John, New Brunswick

One Hundred years ago, Hugh C. Wright from Shepody, Albert County, NB was busy training with the 26th New Brunswick battalion in Saint John. He was only 19 years old. This was his second letter home and was written December 5 & 6, 1914.  

Hugh was one of the hundreds of Albert County men who volunteered for the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), the majority joining the New Brunswick 26th Battalion. It was because of their sacrifices that Albert County was awarded the 77mm field cannon which sits in the square in Hopewell Cape. The museum is in process of restoring this cannon to help preserve their stories.  If you have not done so, please donate to the Victory Cannon Campaign. You can donate online here. 

(Notes from the letter: Clarke was Hugh's brother who was working at a bank in St.John,  he joined the 26th Battalion on Oct 19, 1915 and went overseas. Colonel McAvity was commanding officer of the 62nd Fusiliers Regiment, McAvity organized the 26th Battalion from New Brunswick in spring 1915. The 26th deployed to France in 1915 as part of the 5th Infantry Brigade in the 2nd Division. On May 29 1916, Lieutenant Colonel A. E. G. McKenzie took over the 26th and McAvity returned home that summer.)

With many thanks to Hugh Wright's great niece, Dawne McLean who kindly submitted the letter.

Saturday, December 5, 1914
St. John Armory, St. John, NB

Dear Father,

I received your letter a few nights ago and was very glad to hear from you. This is Saturday night but I didn’t feel like going out as we did some pretty stiff marching today. We left here a little after two o’clock and got back at five and did about 10 miles. So you see we went quite a distance and I was nearly played out when we got in. Colonel McAvity and Captain Brown were on horseback and we followed them all the way. Yesterday we marched out to Rockwood Park in the forenoon and away round to Carleton in the afternoon and across the ferry last night. Tonight the muscles in my legs are so sore I can hardly walk. I have just had a good shower bath and changed my clothes as one week is enough to wear these heavy woollen underwear. Most of the men have a terrible cold and me in the bargain. We get colds by laying down on the damp ground shooting.
I must stop writing now and clean my boots for church tomorrow. I will finish the letter Sunday pm.

Sunday, December 6
We marched to church this morning and heard the Chaplin of the Second Contingent preach. This afternoon Clarke said he was coming down but has not showed up yet. Today right after dinner a large box of cake came to our room for some boys from McAdam, sent by the women from there. So we had a good feed of cake.
Must close as I can’t think of anything more. Will write again as soon as I can.