Postcards recall Kaslo soldier’s war service
Part of an ongoing series about local historical items on eBay.
Three postcards mailed from Kaslo in the 1910s that sold last month were as notable for their recipients as for their images.
The first, a fairly beat up bird’s-eye-view of the town, went for $13 US.
Although the stamp had been removed and the postmark obscured, it was dated at Kaslo, January 12, 1917 and addressed to Pte. Frank H. Abey, No. 442319 of the
54th Kootenay Battalion, London, England. Someone amended the address to read France.
The message said: “Dear Frank, Just a card to let you now I’m off to the coast in the morning. The weather has just turned lovely now. Suppose you are in England by this time. Hope you are enjoying yourself. Best love from all the folks. Will write you a long letter as soon as I get down to Vancouver. Love, from Lola”
(It’s not clear who Lola was.)
The second card, a beautiful picture of the SS Kokanee, sold for $65 US.
It was also mailed to Frank Abey of the CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force) at London, but the address was scratched out and replaced with BEF (British Expeditionary Force) and France.
This one was dated January 24, 1917 and read: “Dear Boy, Wishing you a Happy New Year. All well and send their love. No letters from you for three week[s]. Yours Dad”
Despite the impatient and somewhat ominous tone of the message, Frank made it home safely. The son of Frank T. Abey and Kate Kelly, he enlisted at Vernon in 1915 at age 20 and spent four years overseas.
Frank married Myrtle Lingard in 1920 and ran a dairy ranch seven miles out of Kaslo.
According to the book Pioneer Families of Kaslo, Frank’s brother Harry joined the British Air Force and was shot down in Belgium eight days before the armistice. He also survived and came home.
The third card, a 1918 view of the lake taken from behind the Kaslo Hotel, went for $18.50 US.
It was addressed to Hazel Fleener of 1780 Bryant Ave. S, Minneapolis, and postmarked September 17, 1918. The message reads in part: “Sent a box of plums, peaches and apples this morning, Tuesday 17th.”
Fleener was raised in Kaslo in the 1890s, the only daughter of a miner-turned-dairy operator and dressmaker.
Hazel studied music at conservatories in Berlin and Minneapolis. Pioneer Families of Kaslo says she had a “beautiful contralto voice” and periodically returned home to perform benefit concerts. She married Donald B. Loye and gave birth to a daughter, Joan, in Kaslo in 1926.
Hazel Fleener died in California in 1983.
This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on November 8.