WW1 1917 letter to RFC pilot in Canada from Engineer-Sapper, England #5

$25.00 CAD

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Envelope is pre-printed from Y.M.C.A. with letter inside written on Y.M.C.A. letterhead “H.M. FORCES ON ACTIVE DUTY”.

Letter from Royal Engineer - Sapper based in Kent England to pilot friend back in Canada.

Another letter for sale dated March 1918 mentions being part of the Italian Expeditionary Force.

Sent to:

Clyde Tite S.R.S. #72689 R.F.C. Leaside Camp Toronto Ont. Canada


August 26, 1917
Dear Clyde,
Received your letter today and was glad to hear from you. Was in Montreal only 3 days, got my uniform, a little drill and then embarked for here. We were in a convoy of 5 ships and had a very good trip over weather fine, and no submarines sighted. Landed here a few days ago. The trains here are quite different from America, short cars as a rule, with swell compartments seating about 8 or 10 people, and lighter engines. We transferred at a small village on the way from Liverpool, and went up to look around and see the sights. The streets are very narrow with a lot of alleys, and the stores small.
That day must have been market day, as there were a number of farmers driving sheep into the market.
Arrived at Sandwich station we were met by a bad and conducted to camp which is a couple of miles from the station out on a broad plain. We were then assigned to tents, and the next day vaccinated and inoculated so that today my arm is very sore. Expect to be here about 3 weeks to get drilled before going to Egypt, Africa, France or Italy. Well old boy I guess that I will close, write again soon
Sincerely ___ Townsend
Sapper C.G.Townsend
No. 320552
I.W.T.Co (Inland Water Transport Company)
Royal Engineer
B. Company
Stonar Camp
Kent England


Envelope bit rough on left and right edges.  Letter nice, one crease UR on last page.


During WW1 Stonar Camp was built by the army on the south side of Ramsgate Road, Ash to serve the Richborough Military Port


Development of the Q port at the Richborough site started mid-1916. It was situated on the site now known as Discovery Park (formerly Pfizer), and there are very few indications of the port visible today. The port was primarily designed to improve the movement of munitions – but also to assist with the movement of men – to the Western Front. It was a secret port and evidence of its activities is scarce. The River Stour was dredged and the railway link and port were mainly built by the Royal Engineers. Up to 5,000 men were stationed in three camps and a military hospital was based at Richborough Camp.

An important innovation which took place at the port was the development of roll-on-roll-off ferries that enabled the loading of trains directly onto the ships. This speeded up loading and unloading and allowed the movement of munitions and men by railway, rather than by heavily congested roads, to the Western Front.



Alfred Clyde Tite was born in 1892, single, and lived in Edmonton. He was a carpenter by trade. He enlisted in June 1917 in Vancouver. Appointed to Royal Flying Corps 14/8/17, then to R.A.F. on 1/7/18, discharged from 44th Wing (North Toronto) on 8/1/19. He never left Canada.

(Records on FindMyPast)


The Royal Flying Corps Canada was established by the RFC in 1917 to train aircrew in Canada. Air Stations were established in southern Ontario at the following locations:

  • Camp Borden 1917–1918
  • Armour Heights Field 1917–1918 (pilot training, School of Special Flying to train instructors)
  • Leaside Aerodrome 1917–1918 (Artillery Cooperation School)
  • Long Branch Aerodrome 1917–1918
  • Curtiss School of Aviation (flying-boat station with temporary wooden hangar on the beach at Hanlan's Point on Toronto Island 1915–1918; main school, airstrip and metal hangar facilities at Long Branch)
  • Camp Rathbun, Deseronto 1917–1918 (pilot training)
  • Camp Mohawk (now Tyendinaga (Mohawk) Airport) 1917–1918 – located at the Tyendinaga Indian Reserve (now Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory) near Belleville 1917–1918 (pilot training)
  • Hamilton (Armament School) 1917–1918
  • Beamsville Camp (School of Aerial Fighting) 1917–1918