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Stanley Walpole Collection



PTE. F.L. Murphy
No. 453089
"D" Co'y, 58th Battalion, C.E.F.
British Expeditionary Force,
France

Dear Madam:-

It has been on my mind to write to you ever since the death of your son, Stanley, as I have felt that you would naturally be anxious to hear something concerning him beyond the bare official communication sent to you; and as we had been together since our first day in the Army-and had grown to be regular "mates" during the few months previous to his death, I have felt it my place to say a few words which will, perhaps, help a little to console in your loss and, at the same time to convey my admiration for the manly spirit, and good qualitites which I foud him to possess.

We enlisted on the same day, June 8th, 1915, in the 109th and were enrolled in the same batch. And from that day to the day he was killed we were together in the same Platoon. I was interested in him from our first meeting, and, while I admired, I could not help feeling it rather a pity that such a young lad-particularly of his stamp-should be entering upon this war business. But I would not have stopped him had I been able.

The army life affords many opportunities for the sizing-up of men, and it was not long before I saw that Stanley, while only a boy in age- and while boyish, of course, in many of his ways-had the spirit and heart of a man.

I remember when he took sick at Niagara and was operated upon for appendicitis. He was only two weeks in the Hospital, on sick furlough a week-and then back to duty. That showed his gameness, and the boys gave him great credit. And I don't think he had to be excused from duty a single day after that in Canada, England, or in the trenches.

When we got in the trenches, we were better able to pick out those who were "game"-to use the soldier's word-and those who were not quite so "game" and Stanley was one of the best. There was always hard work and dangerous work and each man had his share to do regardless of age or size, and he did his share with men twice his age and size. If it was on sentry in the trenches, he was more likely to relieve his mate a little before time than to be late. If there was on job harder or more dangerous duty than another, he did not try to evade it, but took it as it came. In many other little incidents common to the life here he displayed the same spirit. He looked for no favors, as some young lads are inclined to do, and received none. He did his "bit" all the time and made no fuss about it. Also, he was always cheerful and ready for a laugh. In fact, that was the only fault I ever had to find with him-for he sometimes got on my nerves laughing at times when I felt a good deal more like "grousing."
As the original boys of our platoon became fewer and fewer, Stanley and I were more together. He seemed to take a liking to me as I did to him (although there was seven or eight years difference in our ages) and when we were taking up our places in the trenches or billets, I usually found him next to me or thereabouts.

He was killed by shell fire during the big fighting on June 12th. I was staying in the same trench but was away at the time of his death and did not know of it until some time later. I felt particulary bad about Stanley's death and could not be contented 'till I had written this little appreciation.

I offer you my sympathy, and assure you that you have every reason to be proud of your boy-who lived and died like a man.

Sincerely,
PTE F.L. Murphy
No. 453089
"D" Co'y, 58th Battalion C.E.F.
British Expeditionary Force
France

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The following letter will server to show the sterling stuff of which even our youngest soldiers are made. This brave young fellow (an English youth) was one of 70 men from St.James' congregation who have enlisted. Five of these are killed and six wounded. He had been working for the Misses Bonis on the River Road, before he enlisted and they thought very highly of him. The letter is written by a thoughtful comrade of the deceased to his mother, who is connected with the Children's Hospital, Toronto:-

Mrs. Jane Wapole,
C.o. Sick Children's Hospital
Toronto, Canada

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The Walpole Collection

Biography | 15 June 1916 | 17 July 1916
   

 

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