Dated: Undated (Contents show letter should be dated Jan 7, 1917)
Mailed from: Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham, England
Attached to: HMS Pembroke
Profession: Farmer, Temporary Sailor
Rank: Ordinary Seaman
Addressed to: Mrs. N. C. Draper, Keswick, Ont.
Writing instrument: Fountain Pen with Black Ink
Writing Paper: 10" x 6.5" medium weight, semi-rough, folded into booklet form. Noah hasn't numbered the pages, but he's using the same technique he used for some of his previously posted courtship letters to Ethel, where his first page is the front "cover", then he's opened it and written on the right side, then moved over to the left side - turned the page sideways - and written there, and finally, he's closed it and written on the back. For clarity, I'm posting the pages in the order they were meant to be read.
People mentioned in this letter:
Ethel* - Noah's wife of 5 yrs, 26 yr old Ethel Isabel Nelson Draper
Eva* - Eva Amelia Draper Perrault, 40 yrs (Noah's sister, married to Joe)
- Mildred* aka Midge, 3 yrs old
- James David* aka Jay, 7 months old (later called JD)
Places/things mentioned in this letter:
- *Royal Navel/Naval Barracks Chatham - aka HMS Pembroke
- Chatham - town outside the Naval Barracks yard
- hut - barrack building
- *Keswick - where Ethel is visiting for the winter
- 6th Anniversary - see Noah & Ethel's 1912 wedding post
- anchor - suspect a jewelry piece for anniversary gift
- registered - postal method ensuring security of delivery to Ethel only
- **English Church - Church of England
- Presbyterian - Noah & Ethel are Presbyterian in 1916 Canada census
- **double-decked street cars
- Y.M.C.A - Young Men's Christian Association
Word or Phrase Use:
* Look under the Categories/Labels in the right side column for more posts on this
person/place/thing, or use the search box in the header at the top of this page
** see History Notes below
P.S. this is my 4th since I landed have you got them all. N.C.D.
16 hut East Camp,
Royal Navel Barracks,
Mrs. N. C. Draper,
Dear Ethel; -
Well I am still alive and able
to eat my allowance so am not
run down much yet, hope you
are all well, say I posted you
an anchor yesteraday you may
get it when you get this it is
registered so you will have to
signe for it. hope you like it
did not know what else to get
you, will send the kiddies
something next week if I get
out. I can go out every other
night from 4 30 pm untill 8 next
morning but have only been out
Sat. after noon as the town is
in darkness & there is not much to
see worth seeing after dark.
We were lined up and marched
down to the English church this
morning. could have went to
the Presbyterian but did not,
know it in time but will go
there next Sunday if I can.
Was out in Chatham from
2 P.M. untill about 7 30/xx last night
was in 3 stores & a tea room,
We have heard described so
often, of course not one of the swell
Well we will be married 6 years
on the 10 of Jan. we are getting old
eh. the first anniversary to be
spent apart & I hope we may be
togeather for the next but we can
never tell that far ahead.
Chatham is quite a town narrow streets
& double decked street cars. they are like
riding on a boat swaying sideways.
There is a Navel Y M.C.A. here but I have
not been in it yet but want to hunt it
up next week. they have lectures here
every night or so & I guess they are
pretty good. altho. they must sound
dissagreeable to some men who do not
do as they should, morally I mean. There
is a number of new recrutes comes in
here every day altho. I think we are
the last Canadians to arrive here &
we have a great deal to learn about
every thing. English, even their money
bothers us at first but we will
soon get used to that I guess.
There is a Canadian mail in here
now but it has not been sorted yet
so am expecting a letter or two
Well I have only been on as cook.here
once so far but will have another
turn soon I expect. I dont mind
much for if we are doing that
we are not doing any thing
else. have just finished a
letter to Eva was afraid if I wrote
to you first she would not get a
letter, ha ha. I like writing
just as well as ever.
Well I guess I will have to
close kiss the babies for me
Love to all, from your loving Hubby
N. C. Draper
History Note 1 - Y.M.C.A
Begun in 1844 England, the Y.M.C.A. was a social club which served as a home away from home for male travelers as well as soldiers, sailors, and airmen. The facilities were similar as present day with some including a gymnasium and swimming pool, as well as game room, reading room, and a place to partake in wholesome food and refreshments.
I've found "English Church" on Upper Canada and Canada West census records and understand it to mean the Church of England. In Noah's case, he means St George's Church aka the Naval Barracks Church, which was part of HMS Pembroke. The church was built in 1906 and is shown in the next two photos.
History Note 3 - Double Decked Street Cars
To continue from the top of this post, the bbc.co.uk post, How did people travel? goes on to say that in 1900 most vehicles on the Britain's streets were horse-drawn, but by 1914 motor buses and electric trams were more popular for public transportation.
Next to the Royal Naval Barracks was the Pembroke Gate to the Chatham Dockyards where civilian workers and longshoremen worked and maintained the ships. I found this photo at Chatham & District Traction Company which shows double decked trams waiting for the workers at the Pembroke Gate.
The Friends of Chatham Traction are in the process of restoring, exhibiting and operating the sole surviving Chatham Traction bus, GKE 68, and although it ran 20 years after Noah's naval tour of duty, I'm posting this information as a thank you for allowing their photos to be used and shared for education and promotion.