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Preface Several voices have contributed to this book, the most important being the voices of two soldiers of the Great War, Leslie and Cecil Frost. About 170 of their letters survived the war. Another voice is that of their mother, Margaret , who wrote over a hundred letters to her two sons overseas, of which only three have survived. Then there’s the voice of another Leslie Frost, the retired premier of Ontario, who, more than half a century after the Great War, comments on the letters of two youthful brothers. A fourth voice is that of Dr. Tom Symons, founding president of Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario , who in his foreword comments on the two young soldiers and the Great War. Symons and Frost were friends and colleagues from 1967 to 1973, when Leslie Frost was chancellor of Trent. In addition, the editor’s voice, as unobtrusively as possible, comments in footnotes on the contents of the letters. He has avoided [sic] as much as possible, even when tempted to use it for a spelling error, usually minor, or for an occasional vague phrase or missing word. Leslie Frost misspelled words—“allright” for “alright,” and “staid” for “stayed.” Small errors have been corrected without comment. Other errors, such as the absence of an apostrophe in the possessive case or the elision of words like “that is” to “thats,” remain as they appear in the actual letters. The tone of the letters was usually conversational, and thus at times they read as if the brothers were talking directly to their parents, with the usual conversational ellipses and colloquialisms. Occasionally, for clarification, a comma or a question mark has been inserted. Dates are standardized in a day-month-year format. Leslie Frost’s annotations of 1971 greatly facilitated the work of the editor, who identifies Frost’s comments with “LMF 1971.” The reader is urged to consult the three appendices at the back for (1) an explanation of army units, (2) a list of politicians in two ridings, Simcoe East and Victoria, and (3) an annotated list of the scores of soldiers mentioned in these letters. xxix This page intentionally left blank ...


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