The endearment “for mother” embroidered on the front of the postcard belies the message on the back.
“It’s James Campbell writing to his mother in Oak Bay and it’s dated 1916,” said Oak Bay archivist Caroline Duncan. “Dear Mother, Just a few lines to let you know I am well and living.”
James and his brothers Raymond and Edward Campbell, all of Dunlevy Street, each fought overseas during the First World War.
James is among the Oak Bay men memorialized at Vimy Ridge.
“We’ve been researching the Oak Bay residents who served in the First world war as a general project we’ve been doing for a few years now. With the Vimy 100 years commemoration coming up, we’ve been focussing in on the men who fought at Vimy and were killed at Vimy,” said Caroline Duncan, Oak Bay archivist.
James suffered a hand injury at Vimy and was sent to England to recover. He was sent back to the front and killed the following year.
Raymond returned home after the war, as did Edward in 1919 but died shortly after.
“The niece of those three World War One solders still lives on Dunlevy and she has kindly donated a number of artifacts,” Duncan said. Those artifacts, including the postcard, newspaper clippings, photographs, service papers and the silver cross awarded his mother after he was killed, are among the itmes Oak Bay Archives plans to display during the 100th anniversary of Vimy open house Sunday in Victoria.
The free public open house is April 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bay Street Armoury and features more than 30 military and civilian displays.
“We didn’t really know anything about these three brothers from Dunlevy before the Oak Bay resident came and gave us this donation. Now we have these original artifacts, they’ll be preserved in the archives and James Campbell and Edward Campbell and Raymond Campbell of Oak Bay will be remembered for their sacrifice and for serving in the First World War.”
To discuss a donation to the Oak Bay Archives email firstname.lastname@example.org.