Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WW1 Letters

by Anita Mae Draper

If my header looks familiar, it's because it's the same one on my Facebook Author page. Contrary to what it seems though, I haven't switched my Old West historical fiction for WW1 stories. I enjoy writing about the late 1800's too much.

However, on Nov 25, 2016, it will be 100 yrs to the day that Noah C. Draper answered the call and signed up as a volunteer in what would eventually be called The Great War.

Recruiting Poster, Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve. Courtesy of the George Metcalf Archival Collection CWM 19860131-059

After 2 yrs of posting the 1911 Courtship letters of Noah Draper and Ethel Nelson on my Author Memories blog, the time has come to move on to the next phase of their lives. For those of you who haven't read the letters, they are filled with local news, friends and agriculture details.

The difference between those letters and these ones will be that for the most part, these are from Noah to Ethel only although a few from other family members will be included. Ethel treasured Noah's letters as she received them, and they've lasted these 100 years. Due to ship conditions, however, Noah had problems keeping the letters Ethel sent to him - as you'll find out as he heads out to sea.

The current post shows Noah Draper's WW1 Naval Uniform in which you'll see what he wore on and off ship, and a graphic like this:

Feb 1917 - Ordinary Seaman Nelson C. Draper, RNCVR

 You'll also see the problems I had sourcing his uniform.

On December 4, I'll post the first letter as Noah leaves Ethel and the kids behind and starts his tour of duty as a Canadian serving with the British Royal Navy. If you know anyone who is interested in WW1 history, especially the naval branch, please let them know about this series. Comments on the posts are welcome.

For the writers in the bunch, I've used Noah and my genealogy research earlier in an Inkwell post, Using Genealogy for Story Realism.

I've also guest blogged at Seekerville with the informative post, Liven Up Your Writing With Dead People.

Can I just say that our own Inky Deb came up with the title for my Seekerville post, and those sweet Seekers loved it. (Although they sound similar, they are not the same posts.)

Do you know someone who served in the Great War? I'd love to honor them by having you share it in the comments section on this post.


Anita Mae Draper's historical romances are woven under the western skies of the Saskatchewan prairie where her love of research and genealogy yields fascinating truths that layer her stories with rich historical details.  Anita's short story, Here We Come A-Wassailing, was a finalist for the Word Guild's 2015 Word Awards. Her novellas are included in Austen in Austin Volume 1, and The American Heiress Brides Collection. Readers can check out Anita's Pinterest boards for a visual idea of her stories to enrich their reading experience.  Discover more at


  1. My grandpa was in the Canadian Infantry during WWI and was on occupation duty in Germany for a year after the war ended.

    1. Really DeAnna? The Canadian Infantry? That's so interesting that he volunteered. Funny, I always assumed everyone went home after the war ended. I never knew some were left behind in that capacity. Thank you so very much for sharing that.

    2. I don't know whether or not he volunteered. Did they have conscription in Canada back then? I just know he served. :)

  2. What a fascinating post. Thank you for sharing and for the amazing pics.

    My great-grandmother's brothers served, as did my husband's grandpa.

    1. You're welcome, Susie. Would love to trade stories with you. We are in danger of losing the history that affected so many generations that we need to share it so it's not forgotten.
      Thanks for letting us know about your family.


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