John Lutton WWI Letter to Annie Deyell

This letter in our collection was written in 1917 in England by Sergeant John Lutton, 198th Battalion, to Annie Deyell in Toronto. It has been transcribed by museum volunteer WO Emily Kenny.


Sgt J. Lutton ##6164

D. Coy. 198th Battalion F.E.J [?]
N. Army Post Office
London Eng. May 25/17

Dear Annie,
I just received two letters from you on Wednesday last 23rd May. were dated Toronto April 23-26 [inso] was certainly glad to hear from you and being well.

I do not know why you are not receiving my letters for I have wrote as often as I can but sometimes when a letter is censored it is destroyed so one never hears anymore about it so I have been told. -That is if there is anything thats in it that should not be in it.-

Well I received that #8 letter with the money in it and also your registered letter Parcel of eats which was certainly very good cake candy socks and so forth I have been moving around some since coming to England just received your Box of Eats the night before leaving Sandling for Witley so it came in handy for a lunch on the train.

The first place was [Otterfool] to Sandling to Witly then to Mychett for a week shooting then back to Witly. So you see I have not been staying much time in one place this makes six camps in three months it was just three months on the twenty third of May since leaving Toronto but it seems more like a year.

I am starting to number my letter over again as I think I sent some without numbers I am numbering this one 1.a. so the by the time you receive this one some of the others may have been turned up.

I have got about five of six bundles of papers from you which I received at different times and also a lot of letters which I have enjoyed very much in reading specially the letters but I have only received one letter from home since coming to England.

Well I had my trip to Dear Old Ireland and believe me I had a swell time only it was to short a stay so will give you some detail of it.

Left camp for the station on a Monday morning about seven got a train for the city of London at, eight thirty arriving in London about eleven thirty, had to travell on another railroad to another station which was underground all the way was in it about half an hour so I did not see much of London going through so got a train for Liverpool at two so just had time to have my dinner at the Y.M.C.A. and cleaned up a little before starting again arrived in Liverpool at seven fifteen over five hours run and believe me the train travel like sixty in this country they are not very big but mighty left Liverpool at eleven P.M. for dear old Belfast by boat that was just as slow as the trains was fast. It is a little dangerous crossing the channel just at that time.

Arriving in Belfast at twelve noon on Tuesday had dinner went looking for my brother Samuel who works in a ships yard went to his boarding house but of course he was at work went down thinking of seeing him but the would not let me in to see him oh gee I got my Irish up and told the old office guy just what I thought of him in very few words and told him so quick that I nearly took his breath away that is just what I think of you like it or not like he said you are very sharp well I said that is way we use bull headness in Canada. ha ha so that is the way that I have been telling them of so what do you think about it. so had to beat it for the Y.M.C.A. for my bag and start for the train but seen quite a few places of interest before reaching the Station Robinson and levers which beats Eatons all hallow the town City Hall is one of the prettiest buildings that I have even seen in my life and I have quite a few views which will follow later.

Arrived in Lurgan[?] at eight twenty hired a jaunting car to start to Aunt Rennix[?] where my Brother Francis is staying but the jaunting car ride was to funny for anything. I went around by my old home where I used to live it certainly look familliar and I new nearly every house along the road even better than the driver did arriving at aunts about ten so you I had a nice drive the weather was fine for it.

There was certainly a lot of friends there to see me. Some of them had been there shortly after dinner so you see what it is to be popular. ha. ha.

I also got a surprise which I did not like Francis was sick in bed sick appendicitis waiting for an ambulance to take him to the hospital so I just had time to get a cup of tea and go with him so that give me a fit of the Blues seen him in all O.K. got back to aunts about one as they followed the ambulance in with a rig to bring me back next morning Wednesday got up early shaved and got cleaned up had breakfast went in after ten to see him he had been operated on early but he did not know it it was the nurse that told me when I was coming out. When I went in to his bed I asked him how he was feeling he said just a little pain in my side I asked him if he was operated on yet he said I do not know but they took me out of here this morning and brought me back again but what they did to me I do not know poor kid was feeling worse than he told I think so went from hospital to aunts again to tell them how he was and on the way every body was asking me well how is Francis people that I did not know from Adam I guess the head I was there and as I was the only soldier around the just guessed it was me.

I had dinner at Aunts went right after to make some calls went to my sisters as I had not seem her yet but I knew her the second I laid eyes on her and believe e she was glad to see me and I her I met her husband which I did not know before but he is nearly as tall as I am but more stouter and also [?] two children a boy and girl, the girl is the oldest which is about four years the boy is one and a half and are certainly are fine children just as fat as they can be and full of fun the girl called me a german so I had some tea and a boiled egg which went fine from there to see Uncle Thomas which I could hardly get a was from as right or wrong he wanted me to stay for tea and supper for the night but I had made arrangements to go out with a nice young lady so what do you know about that so back to aunts again cleand up and started for Uncle John for tea with a new cousin by marriage just a short time ago, it was more like a party than anything else there was about eighteen there for tea and believe me I had some time and some supper I showed them how to eat a meal and say the questions they asked me was something awful but I was right there with everything they certainly did not put anything over me as I was wide awake but [yu?] Dear I would of give anything to of had you there I bet you would of had the time of your life they certainly did their best to give me a very good time. Greta, Uncle Johns daughter had quite a few of her girls friends there colleens as they call them in Ireland the would not leave me alone as they wanted to steal my badges but all the got off my you could put in your eye, they were trying to get into my left hand upper pocket but they never mannaged to get into it as I had some snap of myself for Annie that is my sister but I certainly had a grand time. Left about nine o’clock for Aunts the whole bunch of them came down the lane which would be a distance from Wilton to Wellesley sts. Just imagine me in a bunch of girls of about ten all wanting me to show them my girls picture I said that I had not got a girl yet so my cousin said oh yes you have as Tom said you had so now come on show us that little folder you have in that Pocket but nit[?] for Willie as I know what would happen, when we arrived at the gate who should be coming up to find me but my brother who had just come down from Belfast to see me and a cousin Miss Hall it was just like a family reunion on the road side so when i got back Aunties there was a whole house full of people there to see e and find out how Francis was so it was talk talk for another hour and a half which was about eleven oclock then more eats an started for bed.

You know in Ireland the people eat about ten times a day and more if the feel like it.
Thursday was a very busy day went to hospital in the morning back to aunts again to let them know how Francis was then started out on a tour visiting friend I am going to tell you something had two eggs for breakfast made a call at some friends of mothers they would not let me away until I had a cup of tea and a boiled egg, So went to Uncle Sams for dinner had two frided eggs and meat so went on to Aunt Hall about a mile further on, so before leaving had tea and another boiled egg did not stay long any place as I had so many call to make so it was just a few minutes [?] here and there come into town again made two more call and had more tea and eggs boiled so by this time I was like a [poisoned pup?] I was so full. Then started out in the country made two calls at cousins of mine at different places which had to be more tea and eggs no matter what I would say I just had some and at so and so but my answer was no good so went on to a to another aunts place and it was just the same tea and more boiled egg stayed there short time then went to town again to call on some people after supper when they were home from work and had some more tea and a boiled egg at three different places then go back to aunts about midnight covering in the day about sixty miles on a wheel so that was going some in a day eating fifteen eggs gee I could not look at an egg for a few days after that. and between eating eggs and riding a wheel I was pretty tired even to my tongue was very thick answering al the questions just to me.

Friday went to hospital in the morning to see Francis which was doing fine back to Aunties for dinner and get all cleaned up to start back for Eng. went by Belfast but could not leave by this port as there no boats running so left at ten thirty at night for Dublin arriving there at six Saturday morning so got some breakfast and got cleared up and hiked it down to Sackville street to see the damage done by the Sinn Finns[?] which was simply fierce there is three figures on the post office which were not damaged at all but the building was simply shattered to pieces parts of the walls were still standing and believe me there was a lot of monuments down the centre of the streets which is a picture to look at but it was a blessing that they were not touched it was fine to drive around on a jaunting car sitting up there as large as life with my chest stuck out so had dinner got the boat about two fifteen for Eng. arriving here about seven oclock. Had to wait for a train for London to twelve thirty arriving in London at six thirty on Sunday morning had a motor ride to another station about seven miles but could not get a train to the camp to seven fifteen so went around and seen what sights we could see there was another sergt with me so we got around the best fine and seen all we could on the time we had.

So after arriving at camp starting to move from one camp to another we are in the same division as the one six one are in we are in the fifteenth brigade and we are staying as a battalion which sound good to me at first we were attached to the twelfth reserve but they I guess they thought we were to good I guess to bust up but I certainly am glad to get seeing[?] to the one six o area[?] hire two.o.eight. two twenty are here so I meet quite a few from Toronto that I know.

Well we were at church this morning the whole brigade went together four battalions and some details came back had dinner then went for a big walk with E. mun C. Wilkinson Bean. H. Tom and myself we went around a big istole[?] where they have deers by the dozens and lots of other games and they prettiest flowers you would wish to see I picked up a four leafed clover for luck which I am send you for luck.

Also a leaf of shamrock which I got growing wild and some forget me not which I got growing wild I had some primroses but the all spoiled on me so I will get some more and send you them.

Well dear I am well and getting pretty good I had some snaps taken to-day with Tom and some of the other boys will send you some as soon as the are finished.

You were asking me if there was anything that I wanted well there is nothing in particular for myself only that sumer underclothes I think that you have of mine that I left with you as the weather is pretty warm here now and any eats you like to send prepared cocoa of coffe or condensed milk any thing will do but Dear do not got to very much expense There is something I would like you to send me a few of now mind they are not for myself but for one or two of the boy in the platoon who are only defends in the family who have nearly all their money signed over and send all the send what little the can send home so smoke are very dear over so I would like you to send me or anybody else who would like to send some players cigarettes and a little old chum smoking or T. and B. [flug?] smoking now listen dear I do not want you to go to any trouble but if you meet any body that would like to send so I would like to have it now do not its understand me.

I must thank you very much again for that box you send me as I do not think there was ever anything I ever enjoyed as much

so I hardly know of anything more to tell you. You in a letter. Only I like this cap all right getting fairly good meals have hardly anything to kick about very much. Oh say when I was in Ireland I got a present of a real Black Thorn stick which I am proud of.
Hopping you are well and enjoying yourself very much.

Well I am carrying out your orders as near as possible and also remembering you in my prayers at all times and always thinking of you always. – As I know you are always praying for me dear. – I am so sorry that I did not have time to get into Robinson and Clevers when I was in Belfast but never mind I am living in hopes of getting back there again and will stay longer so I will get what I want.

Well Annie dear I must close I am starting to number my letters all over again and going to write you three or more a week but I expect of hearing from you of getting a big bunch of letters together.

All are well here Tom looks fine and has three stripes and also a bomb so he is getting along fine. Well will say good night dear hopping to hear from you soon again with best regards to every body with fondest Love to yourself dear. So By By Ever Yours Loving

Jack xxxx

[Note: In 1919 Lutton and Deyell were married and the following year had a daughter Mary.]

"In Pace Paratus – In Peace Prepared"