The Catholic Register Archives

Chaplain's letter to bereaved wife of soldier killed in Vimy Ridge

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  • November 10, 2017
Following is from The Catholic Register, May 31, 1917, making reference to the Battle of Vimy Ridge (April 9-12, 1917), where more than 10,000 Canadians were killed or wounded.



Chaplain’s Letter to Bereaved Wife

The following letter was sent to Mrs. Gorrell, lately of Toronto, at Preston, England, where she went to be nearer her husband when he left for overseas. She was received into the Church at Holy Rosary Church, Toronto, previous to her marriage to Corporal Gorrell nearly four years ago. A little boy is proving a real consolation to the mother in her bereavement:
Dear Mrs. Gorrell, 
You must have received official notification of the death in action of your dear devoted husband, Cpl. R. Gorrell, 14th Canadian Battalion. He was instantly killed on the morning of the 9th inst. during the battle of Vimy Ridge. It is sad news for you, and I can assure you that our sympathy is real and deep. I knew Cpl. Gorrell quite well as he was a member of my congregation. He was a good soldier, devoted to duty and enjoying the full confidence of his officers and the affection of his comrades. His loss is keenly felt my us all. I especially feel his loss quite deeply, as he was one of my best parishioners and his example was of great help to me in my work among the soldiers.
It will afford you some consolation to know that he was a good Christian man, always ready to give to God what belonged to Him. He kept his soul readiness for any sacrifice that God might demand of him. He prepared himself for this great battle by a pious and worthy Holy Communion, and I feel sure that Our Saviour has accepted his sacrifice and rewarded him for that greatest of all acts of Charity, to give one's life for others. 
He was reverently laid to rest beneath the arms of a beautiful Cross erected by the Battalion. I blessed his grave and offered up the Holy Sacrifice for the eternal repose of his soul.
We have prayed for you also, that God may grant you His consoling grace in this your hour of trial.. May He give you the strength and courage to bravely accept His Divine Will and to patiently bear the heavy cross which He has allotted to you.
With deepest sympathy, 
A. J. LABOULE,
Capt. C.F.
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