View Full Version : WWI picture/letter thread

07-26-2014, 10:17 PM
I recently rediscovered a set of WWI books printed when that sort of thing was still current events, and finally started going through the twenty-some volumes over the last couple months. Seeing how the 100th anniversary of the declaration of war is only days away, lets see any photos you can come up with, pictures of relatives who served (on any side), letters they may have written and any Great War firearms or memorabilia you might have hiding in your collection. Anything you want to share, let's liven this forum up a bit! Dig through all those old dressers and trunks, let's see what the relatives left behind!

I'll start it off rather appropriately with some photos of the Canadians and their Rosses getting ready to go into action.

http://i1328.photobucket.com/albums/w534/kennymo81/Mobile%20Uploads/2014-07/0364BB1A-026D-45A1-A644-77F2242B3A58_zpsltwmxwjk.jpg (http://s1328.photobucket.com/user/kennymo81/media/Mobile%20Uploads/2014-07/0364BB1A-026D-45A1-A644-77F2242B3A58_zpsltwmxwjk.jpg.html)

http://i1328.photobucket.com/albums/w534/kennymo81/Mobile%20Uploads/2014-07/3F74BBC8-5ECE-426F-9871-5AFD05A42E15_zpsopwer5pd.jpg (http://s1328.photobucket.com/user/kennymo81/media/Mobile%20Uploads/2014-07/3F74BBC8-5ECE-426F-9871-5AFD05A42E15_zpsopwer5pd.jpg.html)

07-29-2014, 09:21 AM
"Fragments from France"

07-29-2014, 09:22 AM
Fragments from France

07-29-2014, 09:35 AM
Map from Belgium 1915

Mons is shown on this map. The quote below is not but is on a memorial there.



07-29-2014, 06:43 PM
I've got a few things on some of my Great Great uncles that were involved in WW1

Cecil Francis Litster


now before anyones undies get in a bunch the photos are scanned out of a old scrap book and not the originals's.

Cecil here joined the 37th Battalion CEF in March of 1915 some time between then and November 1915 he was shuffled into 15th Battalion CEF. And we pick up from there with some of the publish letters home via the Orillia Packet:

The Orillia Packet, Nov. 4, 1915- Private Cecil Litster, now with the 15th Battalion, writing to his mother recently, says: “Belgium is a very pretty country. The trees have been taken care of and trimmed till they were full grown, and now they are all the same shape and look very fine. There is a good crop of grain in the country I have passed through.

The Orillia Packet, July 6, 1916- Private Cecil Litster, who was reported wounded recently, writes to his mother from No. 4 General Hospital, France, that he is feeling fairly well. His Battalion was the first to make an attack on the Germans to retake the trenches lost several weeks ago. Private Litster managed to get through the charge, but about five hours afterwards he was knocked unconscious. When he came to he had a little shrapnel in the arm and a twisted knee. He also got the full benefit of the concussion. It left him with a cheek about twice its usual size. The swelling had gone down, leaving a black eye and some numb flesh on his face.

The Orillia Packet, Sept 20, 1917- Mrs. J.G. Litster, Colborne street, has received a letter from her son, Cecil who was wounded this summer. The letter was written on August 27th. He was then still in France but feeling better. His right side was paralysed and he had not been able to use a pencil. When he was a little stronger he expected to be moved to England. His Orillia friends will be glad to hear that his work has been rewarded by promotion. He is now a Sergeant Major.

May 30, 1918- Sergt Cecil Litster, son of Mr. H.G. (sic) Litster, Colborne street, returned last week from England. He had a fast passage, being only 11 days coming from his camp to Orillia. Sergeant Litster has been in the overseas forces for 3 years and 3 months, serving in the 15th Battalion. He was wounded twice, the second time at Hill 70 and still has some German lead in his body, and another operation will be required to remove it. He was 8 months in hospital. Two brothers also have served. Reginald is home, but Percy is still in France. Sergeant Litster has grown two inches while away and is now six feet four inches.

And now unto Percy

Percy joined No.5 Draft of the Royal Canadian Dragoons in July 1916 and ended up with the 8th Battalion CEF aka the little black devils aka the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.

and yet again he sent letters home and some were published via the Orillia Packet:

The Orillia Packet, July 6, 1916- While he was in Orillia last week Trooper Percy Litster was presented with a wrist watch by his fellow workmen in the trimming department at the Tudhope Carriage factory.

Aug 4, 1916- FROM TROOPER PERCY LITSTER- Writing from Shorncliffe, to his sister, Miss Ethel Litster, Trooper Percy Litster says: I arrived safely and met Bill Ritchie, Victor Draper, Russell Birchard, Mac McKensie, Captain Charters Sharpe and other Orillians. I can’t say that I like the barracks, but it is nice to get down town with the boys from home. The aeorplanes are with us all the time and we are now close enough to hear the guns at the front. I hear that Jim Woon has gone home. He and Percy Coates were quartered about a hundred yards from where we are. It took us seven days to cross. There was some excitement occasionally. The scenery on the St. Lawrence and in England is worth seeing and I hope someday to make the journey again. We sailed down the Irish coast and passed the Olympic, which is a monster.

The Orillia Packet, Dec 7, 1916- FROM PRIVATE PERCY LITSTER- Private Percy Litster has been transferred from the Royal Dragoons to the 8th Battalion in France. He writes his mother on November 6th:- I received your most welcome letter today, and tonight as we are resting I am taking the opportunity to write, as the opportunities are very scarce when in the trenches. I was in the first line trenches on sentry looking through a periscope at Fritz’s trenches, when our platoon Corporal came along and handed me twelve letters, and believe me, mother, I was tickled to death to get them. You can tell-- I will answer his letter as I am tired tonight, for we marched six miles with full pack to our billets. A fellow realises now what a home is and a good bed. I suppose everybody is well and you are happy. Well, I can’t share on any of the melons, tomatoes, grapes, corn, apples &c., but I hope you will send at least two boxes a month to me containing smokes, socks, and good substantial cakes or cake. Be sure to send them in tin boxes. I haven’t seen Cecil yet, but he is in my division, and I’ll soon meet him. It appears by my letters that nobody knows I am in France and in the trenches. I’m now with the 8th Battalion, Winnipeg Rifles, known as the “little Black Devils,” but I think there are a lot of big ones. I’ll send you some of our badges as soon as I can get them. I often wish the cavalry could get in action for I long for a good gallop, and to wield my sword, but I don’t think they need the cavalry, so that is why I got in the infantry. So Reggie is in England, Eh? Well, they can’t say the Litsters aren’t doing their bit. Say, I wish you would let the Packet know my address, as I like to read it very much. Well, it appears I won’t be home for Christmas, but I think the war will be over by next summer, that is, if we still keep on as we are doing now. I must close, as I need sleep, for I’ve been on the go day and night for the last four days. Remember me to my friends and neighbours. My address is No. 550,208, Private Percy Litster, 8th Batallion, B Company, 7th Platoon, Canadian Contingent, B.E.F., France.

The Orillia Packet, Feb 8, 1917- FROM PRIVATE PERCY LITSTER- Writing from France on January 4th to his mother, Private Percy Litster says: I received your welcome letter a few days ago. I also got the papers and noticed that there were two births and seven deaths recorded. I thought that was fairly good for Orillia. But Orillia is the best town in the world- nearly, as old Sol Robbins. I received your welcome parcel and some others and managed to put in Christmas all right. The last Orillians I came across were the 40th Battery boys , about three weeks ago. Ken Macnab was on duty and the others were on the horse lines when I was over. We have a number of new dances over here: “ The whiz-bang Duck,” “The 58th Battalion Dug-our Double,” “ The Machine Gun Trot,” “The shell hole Dive,” “The Winnewafer side step,” “The sniper’s Delight,” and others. I suppose hockey is in full swing at home, but Orillia will not have a chance as all the stars are over in this beloved country.

The Orillia Packet, Feb 21, 1918- SERGT. PERCY A. LITSTER- Son of Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Litster, Orillia, who has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, for “rushing two machine guns in a fortified shell hole, killing the gunners.
TOP, Sept 19, 1918- LOCAL ASPECTS OF THE WAR- Percy Litster of the 8th Battalion is now a Sergeant Major.

The Orillia Packet & Times, Nov 19, 1942- TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO- An Orillia boy, Sergeant Percy Litster has been recommended to receive the Victoria Cross and has received the Distinguished Conduct Medal, which he is now wearing. Sergeant Litster, who is only 19 years old is a son of Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Litster, Colborne street. He enlisted in Toronto with the Dragoons, and went overseas over two years ago.

^ there is the sheet detailing the Award.

now the funny thing with Percy is he ended up as Temporary Lt. in December of 1918 and the London Gazette states:
The undermentioned to be temp.
Lts.: —
No. 550208 Actg. Co. Serjt.-Maj. P. A.
Litster, D.C.M.

The third of the litster clan a Reginald Ernest Litster joined underage in Feb 1916 with 157 Battalion, On 8 December 1916 he was transferred to 116 Battalion, on the 27th of November 1917 Reginald is taken on strength with #2 Central Ontario Regt. Depot , then a day later the Canadian Discharge Depot takes him on strength. On the 23rd of December 1917 Reginald is sent back to Canada and finally discharged for being underage on the 4th of February 1918. (17 yrs 1 Month)

Sorry no picture of Reggie yet but I'm looking.

07-29-2014, 11:27 PM
I went a big World War I Museum and Battlefield Tour when I was 17, and I saw some of this stuff:

One of the most notable things during that tour in my mind were these French uniforms. Hard to believe that these French Zouaves went over the top in these colours. Seen at the Ypres Museum

There is no way of romanticizing it. The First World War, as with all wars was savage and brought out the inner demons of every soldier, sailor and airmen who fought in it. Seen at the Ottawa War Museum

WWI Belgium Victory Medal. From my personal collection

Amazing diorama of life at on the front lines. Seen at the Ottawa War Museum

In my cadet uniform saluting at the grave of Private William Gamache, 95th Highlanders. Killed in action aged 25 on March 15th, 1917 near Arras, France. He was killed while a member of a section of infantrymen searching for comrades that had been wounded by friendly fire, when the Germans began firing their artillery guns according to what I gathered from the 73rd Battalion diary record of that day.

At the 95th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, on location of the battle. On the day of the battle, the troops on the ground complained of snow and the worst we got was heavy rain. No umbrellas for us!

07-30-2014, 10:28 AM
Interesting stuff guys! I'm trying to dig up a couple if my own Great Grandfather's letters I still know to exist. He speaks briefly of the fighting at Paschendale in one of them, from a convalescent hospital in England after he was gassed. Coming soon! The Legion has been renovating, they have the relative's military portraits in storage at the moment, I hope to be able to get my hands on them soon.

07-30-2014, 05:16 PM
Those Lister boys are quite the bunch!!

The map and comic book in my earlier post were my father's, he was a veteran of Vimy and the Somme among others.

09-10-2014, 09:52 PM
Afraid I've been neglecting this thread, but hey, a seven week old in the house is a good excuse...
Trying to keep up with the reading in between bottles and diaper changes and I've made it to the opening chapters on the Serbian/Austrian front, which I'm finding fairly interesting. Not the battles (or armies) I'm used to learning about!

Serbian artillery
http://i1328.photobucket.com/albums/w534/kennymo81/Mobile%20Uploads/CFDB73B2-6774-43E4-896B-AEF3B1C03D0B_zpshigjuaqf.jpg (http://s1328.photobucket.com/user/kennymo81/media/Mobile%20Uploads/CFDB73B2-6774-43E4-896B-AEF3B1C03D0B_zpshigjuaqf.jpg.html)
And an interesting one, the Times correspondent for the Serbian army having his car unstuck by Austrian POW's
http://i1328.photobucket.com/albums/w534/kennymo81/Mobile%20Uploads/8836EAEE-F46C-457D-BDFA-75C8933020EA_zpscvauk68b.jpg (http://s1328.photobucket.com/user/kennymo81/media/Mobile%20Uploads/8836EAEE-F46C-457D-BDFA-75C8933020EA_zpscvauk68b.jpg.html)

09-10-2014, 10:03 PM
Shelling at Scarborough England by the German Navy
http://i1328.photobucket.com/albums/w534/kennymo81/Mobile%20Uploads/F62C1C79-566F-495E-992D-207039B92D1F_zpsnlldpd1d.jpg (http://s1328.photobucket.com/user/kennymo81/media/Mobile%20Uploads/F62C1C79-566F-495E-992D-207039B92D1F_zpsnlldpd1d.jpg.html)

07-30-2019, 12:47 AM
Hey, Im not sure how were connected/related but maybe we can piece it together here. My great grandfather is Percy Litster. His name changed later after the war to Jon Litster and he moved to West Chicago, which is where my grandmother was born. My mom was born there too, then moved to Vancouver BC. Which is where I live now (actually Surrey), and grew up.