County of Brant Public Library Digital Collections
Letter, John Bialas to Mary Dancavitch, 18 September 1944
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Letter, John Bialas to Mary Dancavitch, 18 September 1944


A five-page, double-sided, handwritten letter in blue ink on white paper with a header printed in black and red ink reading: "Keep in touch with the folks back home" ON ACTIVE SERVICE with the CANADIAN FORCES", and The Salvation Army logo on the top left corner. Letter is written by John Bialas to his sister Mary Dancavitch while serving with the Westminster Regiment near Coriano, Italy on 18 September 1944. John writes that he will be resting for the next few days, and therefore has time to write. He says when they return to fighting, he doesn't expect it to be half as bad as recent events, but will wait to tell the stories in person. John writes that he received three letters from their Mother, but "had to pull some tricks with my mail to get them out of here." He discusses family and family friend affairs, of individuals home in Brantford, and friends serving overseas including a Jim, and Mr and Mrs Molineux. John tells Mary if she'd like his skates, to write to Mrs Perry in England, and she will send them home, "but I imagine I'll be returning (I hope) so when I do I'll probably pick them up." John responds that he'd like [chocolate] bars and gum for Christmas, and expects to be home by the Christmas of 1945 or May 1945. He doesn't want clothes, rum, or brandy for Christmas because he doesn't have space, and because it's easy to get a variety of wines from Naples and Rome. He continues saying grape season is almost finished, but figs and peaches are ripe, and he's looking forward to receiving parcels in the winter when they will be mainly eating meat and vegetables. John inquires about the money he sent home, and that he heard it could take three months to be delivered. He asks his family to develop the roll of film he previously sent. John describes his living condition as sleeping in fields, houses, ditches, "any where that looks good, even in wop houses with nice mattresses and spring beds some times, just goes to say where we are." This is the last letter written by John to Mary, as he was killed in action six days later on 24 September 1944.