A treasured letter home penned by Capt. Albert James Pequegnat
An excerpt from a letter home to Stratford penned by Capt. Albert James Pequegnat during the First World War. Stratford-Perth Archives
Albert James Pequegnat served as a captain in the 1st Canadian Field Ambulance Corp during the First World War. When he died in 1959, his obituary reported that “after 1917… he became an ambassador of goodwill to American troops in the U.S. and Honolulu.” His brothers George and Nelson also served in the war and got home safely. Their father, James, had a well-known jewelry store in Stratford and the family lived on 109 Cobourg Street for many years (see Cobourg Street).
This treasure from Stratford-Perth Archives is a letter that Albert Pequegnat wrote home soon after arriving in France in the spring of 1915. It is one of many such letters preserved in the family’s papers at the archives. In this particular one, Albert described “the queer sensation” of a bomb landing near him and enclosed “a piece” of it with his letter.
109 Cobourg Street Photo: Fred Gonder
This is a fairly large city, but not a very beautiful place, and until last week was within the range of the big German guns but now all we fear are the aircrafts… The other morning I sure did dress in a hurry, for I thought the house was going to cave in. What a noise. On looking out the window I saw the people all rushing towards their houses while a few of the braver were looking Heavenward. I readily understood the cause of the trouble. One of their [?] was overhead and dropped two bombs. The one landing in the cemetery while the other just about a hundred yards from yours truly. It did give me a queer sensation for a while, but it soon passed and I braved the elements and went out to see the extent of the damage. No one hurt, for it dropped in an open field not 25 yards from our transport and making a hole about the size of our sitting room. A rather close call for #1 Field Amb…I have a piece of the shell and will send it home. The Stratford boys weren’t within three miles of the scene and they didn’t know that anything like that had happened…
Gurkha Khukuri Blade