KARL GEORGE LEES 1918 NEW YEAR'S EVE AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED [ALS] HANDWRITTEN BY A CANADIAN SOLDIER VETERAN OF VIMY RIDGE AND PASSCHENDAELE ON BLIGHTY LEAVE COMPLAINING TO HIS GIRLFRIEND OF THE HIGH AND MIGHTY 'YANKS' AND MORE
LONDON, ENGLAND 1918 Very Good Autograph Letter Signed [ALS]
On offer is a super, original manuscript relic of World War I, being an autograph letter handwritten by Karl George Lees a Canadian soldier [L/Cpl 769012] while he was on "Blighty leave", in England, New Year's Eve 1918. There is some very interesting content in this letter, including some strong criticism of the American contingent: the "Yanks." Lees arrived in France in March 1917 with the 124th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Pioneer); The Governor General's Body Guard. He served at the Western Front in March 1918 in the 124th until that battalion was absorbed into the Canadian Engineers on 25th May 1918. He spent the remainder of the war in France and Belgium. He was present at the victories at Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, and others, including the "Hundred Days" in 1918. This letter is addressed to his girlfriend, Miss L[ucy] Routledge of Oak Ridges, Ontario, who was a student nurse at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Originally from England Lees was spending his leave at the home of his family in London. His brother had been killed in action shortly before the armistice, leaving behind a widow and two young children. This five  page letter perfectly exemplifies the attitude that Karl had become, like many Canadian, British, French, and other allied soldiers, perturbed by the perception that the American army had been the decisive element in achieving final victory. In this letter he writes: "We got to London about 14:30 and were in time to see a naval squad coming from Buckingham Palace way with fixed bayonets, and on making enquiries found out that President Wilson was visiting and passing through Trafalgar Square. We got over to the Square as soon as possible but were too late, but the crowds were enormous and the Strand was decorated up, mainly with 'Old Glory'. It gets my nanny to see and hear nothing but 'the Yanks' and 'the States.' Why, when I was in Brussels they showed on the screen at one of the theatres the King of the Belgians, naturally they clapped. Then King George and there was hardly a stir, and then Wilson was put up and the house nearly went crazy, made even more ovation than for King Albert. Why, I could hardly have expected more if my portrait had been shown. The Yanks certainly think it pays to advertise." Aside from this, this entire letter is about his journey through Belgium to the Channel and then to England. He writes in some detail about his frantic attempt to reach London by Christmas. He departed from his unit on December 23rd, rode to Gembloux by saddle horse, took a train to Namur, then Mons to Boulogne, grabbing rations whenever the opportunity arose: "They had a great way, too, of serving out the meals on the way down. Just before we reached Mons we were told that if an N.C.O. sent to the car a chit stating number of car and the number of men it contained we could draw breakfast. So I made it out, and naturally added four more to the list, and next morning I thought that we'd be getting breakfast about 8:00, but we finally got it at 11:30... We got the old reliable, five to a tin of McConichie, five to a loaf, and go easy with the tea." There is more along these lines, followed by his trip across the Channel to Folkestone, and then to London in a First Class coach. This is quite an interesting letter. Overall VG.