Newspaper History presents media sourced from a United States newspaper dating back 108 years.

  • Lines written by a young British Columbia forester—Private Eric G. McDougall, University Corps, Canada Oversea Contingent—in reply to brother-in-law’s advice not to enlist.

    From the New York Tribune, August 7, 1915. By Eric G. McDougall.

    You are going , you say, in the Medical Corps,
    You leave wife and children behind.
    They need men like you at the seat of the war,
    And they’re not always easy to find.
    You’re high in the service, you couldn’t hold back,
    Promotion for you won’t be slow,
    But when I suggest that I take the same track
    You hasten to tell me, “Don’t go.”

    The points that you make in your kindly advice,
    For which please accept my best thanks,
    Are, I’m not good enough for an officer’s job,
    And somewhat too good for the ranks.
    My job is important, my place can’t be filled,
    My health isn’t up to the test,
    There are plenty of men to be wounded or killed,
    To stick where I am would be best.

    I answer: The Country is calling for men
    To battle for Freedom and Right.
    That isn’t “Hot Air” from an editor’s pen;
    We know why we’re into this fight.
    They all give up something from comfort to lives,
    I’ve no one depending on me,
    Let those stop at home who have children and wives,
    Just now—it’s worthwhile to be free.

    I’ve climbed a few hills since the last time we met,
    I’ve hike many miles through the woods;
    The Chief sent me out information to get,
    And he says I’ve delivered the goods.
    My wind is as long as the snow peak is high,
    What I shoot at I frequently hit.
    I think I agree with the medical guy
    Who said, “Put your shirt on—You’re fit!”

    My job is important; I gave it its due,
    I let my two mates go ahead.
    There’s one who will sail in a fortnight or two,
    And one, by this time, may be dead.
    I wound up the contract, it looks like my turn,
    My chance for returning is fair,
    And from me and my comrades old England may learn
    The West raises more than “Hot Air.”