Turning Back the Pages: Golden came together to send cigarettes to soldiers

By Colleen Palumbo

Today we have very little tolerance for people who smoke and even less for the people who provide the tobacco products. However, it wasn’t always that way.

During the war years, families and friends gathered together to try and make life as easy as possible for the troops who were serving overseas.

Golden has always had a way of banding together to get the important work done and as the number of “Golden boys” overseas started to increase, the people came together in their support.

It was decided that to ease the burden on individual organizations, a central organization would be set up to handle the distribution of cigarettes.

A committee was formed to whom all cigarette funds were given and the name “Golden District Citizens” was attached to it.

This plan was decided upon so that each of the boys would receive the same amount of cigarettes instead of one receiving them and someone else in the same unit getting none.

The following are excerpts of letters written home by soldiers overseas expressing their gratitude.

Most of these letters were written by men from the south end of the Valley.

K57832, Spr. M. Calcutt:

Would you please convey my thanks and appreciation to all the folks for their generous gift of 600 cigarettes I received last week.

I also received in a separate envelope, a Christmas card with all the names of the donors.

I notice that a few of the names are complete strangers to me. I appreciate their thoughtfulness for a person they have never seen and can only hope that I am able to thank them personally after this war is over.

K73517, Gnr. J. Thompson:

Through you, I wish to acknowledge the receipt of and to thank your organization for the 600 cigarettes that you so kindly sent to me.

It is thoughtfulness of this nature that plays such a vital part in the establishing and keeping of a high standard of morale in Canadian overseas troops.

Cigarettes are virtually indispensable and I can assure you and your organization that they are received with gratitude.

As I looked at the list of names, I could see the faces of old friends and wished we were together again.

On behalf of myself and the other boys of the district whose task has been made more bearable by your generosity and kindness, I remain yours truly.

K72784, Pte. R. Beamish:

I received your very kind gift of 600 Wings cigarettes and also a Christmas card 10-12-42 and again, I take this opportunity of thanking you all for your kindness and remembrance.

We are once more drawing very near to the close of another year and to enter upon a new year.

This year that is about to close, to most of us has not been so bright.

It will soon be past and gone; let us all look forward to the new one, take new hope and new courage and carry on.

I wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring happiness and prosperity to you all.

I still am enjoying the best of health. As ever, your friend, Bert.

K6046, Sgt. Walter Hansen:

Just a few lines to thank the people of Edgewater for the 600 cigarettes which I have received a few days ago.

Everything is lovely over here and the weather is nice.

We haven’t had any snow yet. Hardly any Christmas mail has arrived yet; we got mail today that was mailed in October. We are having turkey for Christmas and a bottle of Canadian beer. This is all for now so will close and thanks again for the cigarettes.

Will see you all next Christmas. With best wishes.

K48013, Pte. G. A. Annis:

I have just received your parcel of 600 cigarettes which was appreciated a lot and they just came when I was out so many thanks.

Here is hoping that you are all fine back there.

We are all wanting to see this thing over, for it is no fun being over here.

It is nice in the summer but not now; there is no place like the old valley. I will close, hoping this will find you all well. All the best.

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