Share your favorites on Show & Tell

Christmas Away From Home: A WW1 Letter

In Christmas > Show & Tell and Military and Wartime > Wartime Letters > Show & Tell.
fleafinder's loves526 of 2546St John's Cross Iona (and A Christmas Toast to Everyone)My netsuke monkeys
12
Love it
0
Like it

hunterqleehunterqlee loves this.
yougottahavestuffyougottahavestuff loves this.
SEAN68SEAN68 loves this.
Rick55Rick55 loves this.
lisalisa loves this.
fleafinderfleafinder loves this.
ttomtuckerttomtucker loves this.
vetraio50vetraio50 loves this.
KarenokeKarenoke loves this.
beyemveybeyemvey loves this.
EfesgirlEfesgirl loves this.
fortapachefortapache loves this.
See 10 more
Add to collection

    Please create an account, or Log in here

    If you don't have an account, create one here.


    Create a Show & TellReport as inappropriate


    Posted 4 years ago

    SpiritBear
    (813 items)

    A while ago I picked up a box of papers from an estate sale. While there were many good finds, including letters from a Civil War soldier and letterheads from my town, this particular and lonely letter from what I believe to be a Christian WW1 soldier (for several reasons) is probably my favourite piece.

    By the time most of you will see this, it will be exactly 98 years since this was written by a man stuck in Egypt. He hasn't gotten a letter from his family in a few months and is trying to find passage home after the war has ended. He writes to his parents on Christmas Eve, the night before he will set out for the Suez Canal to find passage.

    Albeit he does not emphasize it (and does not focus on it), the letter is not happy. He writes it more informational, though, rather than in a way to communicate his displeasure in his current state.

    Letter:

    Dec 24- 1918
    Dear [???] :
    This is Christmas Eve in Egypt. But not much here to [indicate?] that it is Christmas in this part of the world tho. I am only about 150 miles from Bethlehem. The people here pay little attention to it.
    I do not know how soon I can get a ship. I have been waiting in the [military?] for transportation now & am going to try and get passage by myself if I have to go this last 3000 miles on a tramp steamer. So I will go to Suez tomorrow and stay there until I can get out which I hope is soon.
    Naturally I think of you very frequently and wonder what you are doing and how you are. My time here is 8 hours faster than yours and when I reach Judea will be 10 hours fast.
    I can't [????] or where I wrote you last. I only know the last news I had from the family was Oct 13 and it will be more than Jan 13 before I get to my mail.
    The weather is about like May except no rain.
    Judging still warmer.
    I have had my second [????] at the blue but in quite good shape again. I expect there have been some death there. The number here is hardly believable. I counted 6 funerals pass the hotel in 50 minutes.
    I have visited all the important places of interest including the pyramids and sphynx.
    I visited a camp a few days ago where they had 3000 camel in the correll.
    The [nationals or nations or something??] are [interesting?]
    In fact the life here is very ["orential" is what it appears to be spelled].
    It is interesting examining the tombs of the ancients. They have the mummy of Phareoh of the Exedos in the measeum [the spelling there is so very butchered] here.
    There are no bees in this section of Egypt.
    I wish I had time to go up the river 1000 miles. The boats [being??] [down?] some interesting trade.
    I am securing a great many photographs along my journey which I will enjoy [sharing?] you and telling you about.
    I expect now that my return will be by the Pacific. I like that name it sounds better and I am not a good sailor as you know. I will speak to a camp service before I leave here tomorrow. May God bless you and keep you well and happy in cold old Michigan
    your Son, George.

    And that is the letter. I do not have a last name and haven't looked at the family tree of the Critchetts-- the family whose papers I have, dating back to 1863, including a very complete tree. As such, I do not know the relation of George, just as I do not know if he was a Critchett or got home or anything beyond what we see in the letter. There is nothing else in the box pertaining to him, not even the photos he was supposedly securing. There has never been another reference to a George in what I've read.
    He is a most interesting and intriguing character in the story I've been able to put together from all the documents I've read/skimmed through. But, as is usually the case with the many letters I've posted over the last year, his story is incomplete and unknown to the living.

    So, I will leave you to wonder if he ever made it home. A depressing Christmas for him. I hope yours goes much better.

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

    logo
    Christmas
    See all
    1922 VINTAGE DECORATED CHRISTMAS TREE COLORIZED 8X10 PHOTO ANTIQUE TOYS SCOOTER
    1922 VINTAGE DECORATED CHRISTMAS TR...
    $13
    LARGE MAGNIFICENT GERMAN REINDEER PULLING SANTA~SWAN SLEIGH~PLETHORA OF TOYs
    LARGE MAGNIFICENT GERMAN REINDEER P...
    $4,549
    ANTIQUE CHRISTMAS SANTA CLAUS TIN LITHO CANDY PAIL CONTAINER .PENN YAN N.Y.
    ANTIQUE CHRISTMAS SANTA CLAUS TIN L...
    $430
    9' Antique SILVER GOLD Geometric Lg Mercury Glass Bead Xmas Feather Tree Garland
    9' Antique SILVER GOLD Geometri...
    $55
    logo
    1922 VINTAGE DECORATED CHRISTMAS TREE COLORIZED 8X10 PHOTO ANTIQUE TOYS SCOOTER
    1922 VINTAGE DECORATED CHRISTMAS TR...
    $13
    See all

    Comments

    1. Efesgirl Efesgirl, 4 years ago
      Interesting letter. I wonder if the hotel is still in existence and, if so, would there still be a record of this man's stay there.
    2. Gillian, 4 years ago
      "Dear Ones:" ?
    3. SpiritBear, 4 years ago
      Efesgirl, I don't know. It would have been paid for by the government, just like the postage (no postage required) was to send his letter home. There may be no record of a George on that day.

      CindB, thank you. You as well.

      Gillian, it's possible. He was writing to his parents.
    4. GeodeJem GeodeJem, 4 years ago
      To make it more personal, take to a Document Examiner handwriting analyst and the personality and character can be analysed. It should give a better pointer to the state of mind at the time of writing.
    5. SpiritBear, 4 years ago
      GeodeJem, I'm afraid I have my doubts about them.
    6. Karenoke Karenoke, 4 years ago
      Heart wrenching.
      Merry Christmas!
    7. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
      GREAT POST !!!
    8. SpiritBear, 4 years ago
      Karenoke, Merry Christmas to you too.

      Vetraio50, thank you.

      If you like stories like these, after Christmas I will be posting a rediscovered memoir (story-form) I wrote a couple years ago. I'd post it today, but it isn't exactly happy like the season is. LOL.
    9. Celiene Celiene, 4 years ago
      "Not much here to CELEBRATE..."
    10. SpiritBear, 4 years ago
      Thank you, Celiene.
    11. Celiene Celiene, 4 years ago
      LOL! Is there a name there?
    12. SpiritBear, 4 years ago
      He signs it as George and gives no return address. The envelope itself is only partially there, and as such it holds nothing to give me clues-- I know it's for the letter only because it has the hotel's name on it.
    13. Celiene Celiene, 4 years ago
      I cannot believe families let this stuff go!
    14. SpiritBear, 4 years ago
      They do it all the time-- lucky for me when it doesn't end up in the trash. Unlucky for those in their family who might care.
    15. SpiritBear, 2 years ago
      This letter is now 100 years old.

    Want to post a comment?

    Create an account or login in order to post a comment.