Today's letter was written on the verge of Noah Draper's journey to Chatham, England after being attached to HMCS Niobe for 3 weeks while awaiting orders to go overseas. The route I've drawn is direct from Halifax to Chatham as per Noah's letter here.
Dated: Dec. 19, 1916
Mailed from: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Attached to: HMCS Niobe
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 most of his previously posted courtship letters to Ethel, where his first page is the outside, then he's opened it and written on the right side, then moved over to the left side 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, Ethel Isabel Nelson Draper
Percy* - Noah's older brother, lives near Adams, Saskatchewan
Sadie* - Ethel's sister, Sadie Nelson Prosser, 21, Grandview Farm, Belhaven, Ont
Cecil* - Sadie's husband, Cecil Prosser, 24, farmer, Grandview Farm, Belhaven
mother - Noah's mother, Sarah Sophia Deverell* Draper, widow of David Draper
Louie* Coventry - Noah's sister, Sarah Louisa Draper Coventry, 37, lives in Kelowna
- Mildred* aka Midge, 3 yrs old
- James David* aka Jay, 6 months (later called JD)
Places/things mentioned in this letter:
- Keswick - where Noah's family lives (the ones who didn't move west)
- Halifax - historic, protected harbor on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia
- Regina - in Saskatchewan, closest city to Noah's farm at Adams
- Kelowna - city in British Columbia where Noah's sister, "Louie" Coventry, lives
- England - a country in the United Kingdom
- Chatam/Chatham - Royal Naval Barracks in Chatham, England
- London - London, England
- the Thames - the Thames River runs west from coast, past London
- The Olimpic - HMT Olympic* - Dec 13, 1916 post
- quarenteen - under quarantine**
- proofs - photographs
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 Genealogy Notes below
Halifax, Dec. 19/16.
Mrs. N. C. Draper,
Well I am told off in
a draft for Chatam and we
expect to leave to night or
tomorrow morning but
do not know for shure our
leave is stoped & we have
been ordered to be ready
to leave at a moments notice
so am writing to night
for we have no time
after we are told to get
ready I wrote a card to one
fellows sister in Regina
for him after he left telling
her he had gone but he
is still in Harbour on the
Olimpic I heard she is in
quarenteen but do not
know for shure.
Well there is to much
excitement on board to
write much so you will
have to excuse me if I
write down something
they are saying and it would
shock a deaf man. HaHa.
Well Ethel I dont know
what money you mean for
Percy to send down but if
it was for that life insurance
I dont think I would pay it.
Say tell Sadie I started
to write her that letter she
spokeabout Sunday, but my
pen went dry so I did'nt
finish it but will try &
do so in old England if
Cecil does'nt object. Ha Ha.
Chatham is about 24 miles
from London on the Thames
I guess so will see part of the
old historic river any way.
Well I guess I will have
to close as we have to fall
in on deck in a minute
so you write to mother
at Kelowna and tell her I
did not have a chance after
I found out. I sent her a card
yesteraday. Say Ethel if
them proofs are better than
the ones you sent they must
Well I guess this will be
the last letter for a couple
of weeks but will write whenever
possible. so good bye Oceans of love
to you and the kiddies. N. C. Draper
I did some digging and although this isn't definitive, I found a possible reason in the book, RMS Olympic: Titanic's Sister, by Mark Chirnside.
The Olympic's surgeon hadn't been aware that one of the crewmates was found suffering from venereal disease. When it was discovered, the man left the ship. The director of transports then advised stricter inspections to avoid putting the onboard troops at risk.
According to the book, one young soldier said the Olympic pulled away from the dock on the day after 15 December 1916, and anchored in the bay. There, they took on more troops and provisions. Then came 2 days of laying about, sleeping in hammocks, and eating in what used to be the Olympic's sun parlor, except it was now closed off to outside light.
I suspect the medical examinations were being carried out at this time.
Noah's letter was written on Dec 19th, where he confirms the Olympic was still in the bay.
The book continues with, "Olympic left Halifax...at 4.41 pm on 20 December 1916, drawing 34ft 9in, and she arrived in Liverpool six days later..."
And speaking of the RMS Olympic, here's a diagram that explains the reasoning behind the dazzle paint camouflage shown in my Dec 13 post. I found it on the article Whatever Happened to Olympic, Titanic's Sister? written by Jason Ponic, at Owlcation.