|1912||Joseph Daniel Campbell||10-02-1945|
click on a photograph for an enlarging of it
|This is the transcription of a letter received by Mrs. Agnes Campbell of Dominion, Nova Scotia, following the death of her son, Joseph Daniel (my Dad's uncle). Joe was a Private in the Algonquin Regiment, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, and was killed in Holland on February 10, 1945, the third day of Operation Veritable, Canada's Rhineland campaign. Joe was 33, and is buried in Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, south of Nijmegen near the German border. While the letter's author has never become known to our family, it holds a special place and continues to be appreciated. It has been read on CBC Radio, been the subject of Remembrance Day play put on by students of Lockview High School in Waverly, outside of Halifax, and was read at the Remembrance Day 2000 dinner of Joe's old regiment, the Algonquin Regiment of North Bay, Ontario.|
April 4th, 1945
Dear Mrs. Campbell,
A mutual friend of your son Joe and myself wrote me from Holland giving me the sad news of your great loss; I wanted to write you and express my profound sympathy, a feeling shared by all who knew him. Never-the-less I hesitated to do so, less in my clumsy way I freshen in your mind the sorrow you have felt.
Knowing Joe so well, he was my best friend in England and Continental Europe. I feel that I must say a few words about him and some memories associated with him.
I remember our standing in line for mail from home. the expression on his face when a letter arrived, his love for things beautiful; the sound of his army boots on the stone flooring as he explained the vast ancient beauty of York Cathedral; his fondness for chocolate, yet he always gave his candy rations to the poor grimy kids of some foreign land; remarking "I love candy but they need it." That was Joe. These kids could not say thanks just nod dumbly, stuffing the unbelievable pleasure of candy in their mouths with dirty little fingers, even soap was a luxury.
The childrens shining eyes matched only by the pleasure in Joe's. The others, unknown to you, who shared his bully beef, his cigarettes, his kindness, they all send their sympathy.
If some unthinking, unknowing person should ever speak of his being in a foreign country, please remember that there his memory will be perpetuated. For these people over there above all others know he willingly paid the bitter price for their future; their right to live as God intended life should be lived is secure because men like Joe lived -- and died.
Now, and long years after this war is over, his resting place with its stiff white cross shall be sacred to Hertogenbasch and shall have its cover of flowers; this I know.
In our minds, we who knew him, shall be kept ever green his memory. In the muck and grime of war one cannot forget a life that was clean and splendid; an enspiration in good living.
When I remember Joe with his knees bent and head bowed in frequent prayer; I know he is in Good Company and may this thought comfort you in your sorrow.
Just a guy who knew Joe
For more information about Joseph Daniel Campbell can you click on this link.