Letters from the Front

Pte. Richard Basil McPherson, 29th Battalion CEF

Letter Home from a former Shoeman - gives talks on footwear to his comrades on the front lines

Shoe and Leather Journal, Acton Publishing Co., Toronto, Ontario published Wednesday, December 15, 1915

Wednesday, December 01, 1915

Transcribed by: Marika I. Pirie

The Shoe and Leather journal was an industry  magazine that was published twice each month.  The full publication for 1915 is digitized and available online.  The magazine reported on the shoe industry across Canada, and often featured details about men who had been with the shoe industry and had enlisted for military service. Also covered were many topics about footwear production for military use, and other subjects connected to the war.

The letter that was published is not actually dated, but this web page requires a date to be entered, so it has been estimated to be around December 1915. 
The soldier who wrote this letter appears to be Pte. Richard Basil McPherson of the 29th Battalion CEF whose occupation on his attestation was described as "salesman".   A soldier named "R. B. McPherson" had written another letter published in the September 15th, 1915 edition with his photograph, and he was described as being in the 29th Battalion.  This soldier had 12 years of experience in the shoe industry.  


Editor, Shoe and Leather Journal:

Sir,--Although the weather is wintry, very cold and muddy and wet, we are all O.K.  Everything is looking more than favorable, with the artillery constantly pouring over the shells on the Huns' lines, making one continual rumble and deafening noise. After hearing from several of my dear friends, all telling of the better conditions of business, especially in my own game (shoes), I would like to express my wishes through the medium of your journal for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to my shoe acquaintances and to the SHOE AND LEATHER JOURNAL, which is always boosting the Canadian shoes.  I seemed to have established a reputation for talks on footwear while under fire in the trenches, dugouts or at rest camp, with interrupting others; hence this piece of poetry was handed to me from one of my spring poet friends, who became slightly effected by a mild change in the wintry weather, had an inspiration, but got it mixed up with one of my talks on shoes.  The following is the result:--


A nine-point-two let loose a roar,
Our hearts towards our throat began to soar,
The loud clear voice ne'er ceased to ring,
The Goodyear Welt is just the thing.

A shrapnel rent the sky o'er head,
We though for sure we all were dead,
The voice continued loud and clear,
Leckies's are good, but rather dear.

A whiz-bang blew our dugout in,
Tearing things up with a fearful din.
We all came out without a bruise;
And Mac continued his talk on shoes.

Give us the shoe with a lasting last,
And a shape that has others far surpassed
With a heel and sole that will help us walk,
Then we'll listen forever to your shoe talks.

- - - - - - - - 

Thanking you for inserting this rhyme and wishing you continued prosperity during the coming year, I remain,

Yours respectfully,
R. B. MacPherson.
"Somewhere in France."