Manuscript letter, dated "In the Field", September 11th, . Annotated "No 26". Cooper describes his Corps' participation in the breaking of the Hindenburg Wotan Line; describes the demoralization of the German army, indicating that only their machine gunners continue to fight; describes living in dugouts and shell holes; describes his difficulty getting matches; describes his role in reuniting a dog with its master; describes a fellow soldier recognizing a German soldier in the "prisoners cage" as someone he had known in Vancouver before the war.
Manuscript letter, dated "In the Field", September 28, . Annotated "No 27". Cooper refers to his being attached to the 13th Squadron R.A.F. during the large assault on German positions near Amiens, France, July-September, 1918; describes the disunity of the German forward lines, using the analogy of an arch that has loosened and threatens to collapse, and illustrates this with a drawing of an arch; describes sections of the Hindenburg Line overrun by allied troops, particularly its fortifications, including wire, trenches (illustrated with a cross-section drawing showing a typical trench) and 50-foot deep dugouts, which he thinks should have been impregnable if defended vigorously; explains his decision not to pursue a military commission; refers to a recent exhibition of his art work in Toronto organized by Tom Greene and Ella Lewis; includes a fanciful drawing of ladies of the Daughters of the Empire donating a billiard table to the "Blind Soldiers' Home"; describes the behind-lines canteens known as "Y.M.C.A."s, where off duty soldiers purchase small comforts, describing a queue of some 100 soldiers waiting for a chance to buy a 4 ounce packet of biscuits; refers to the 4th Division as having suffered some 3000 casualties in the past month; refers to his plans to mail a number of his sketches when he is next on leave in Paris; refers to rough living conditions on the front line, "like rats in holes in the ground", and how it is too dangerous to take shelter in deserted villages because they remain "traps for bombs"; and refers to his fellow soldiers asking him to draw caricatures.
Manuscript letter, dated "In the Field", October 22, 18. Annotated "No 28". Cooper describes the work of the Graves Registration Office, Canadian Corps, in documenting and photographing the burial sites of Canadian soldiers; describes the identification tags mounted at burial sites and illustrates with a drawing; describes his duties as a runner delivering documents along the front lines; refers to sending sketches to an agent in England who sold them on his behalf; describes examples of a lack of coordination between American and Australian troops during an assault, to illustrate what he describes as the commonly held sentiment that American troops are careless and over-eager; describes the precipitous pace of the German retreat and their seeming eagerness to be captured; describes being recruited as an operatic singer and shares his rather negative opinions regarding musicians, refers to his mother having been a "second rate professional singer", describes his taste in music, and discusses the differences between artists and musicians; refers to an outbreak of Spanish influenza.
Manuscript letter, dated "Belgium", December 3, 1918. Annotated "No 29". Cooper describes miscellaneous war souvenirs he has sent back to Canada; contradicts reports of "starving Belgium" with descriptions of relative health and prosperity, contrasted with much rougher conditions in France; describes life along the front lines for civilians in France and Belgium; refers to the Canadian Corps' imminent crossing of the Rhine into Germany; refers to terms of the armistice; refers to the Germans' use of iron tires on their vehicles and remarks on the large numbers of abandoned and deliberately destroyed vehicles along the Germans' route of retreat; refers to reports of a serious outbreak of influenza in Canada; and refers to an injury to his right elbow.
Manuscript letter, dated "Bonn Germany", December 19, . Annotated "No 30". Cooper describes Canadian Corps' headquarters in Bonn; decribes relations between allied soldiers and German civilians, and Army orders concerning such relations; discusses the likelihood of being posted to London, England; includes a sketch illustrating the appearance and manner of wearing of a German gas mask; refers to his epistolary courtship or flirtation with a "Miss A." in Canada; refers to rumours regarding the priority for re-patriating service men; describes a Major in the Canadian Corps who was injured after a drunken fall, evacuated to England and eventually returned to Winnipeg, Canada, to a hero's welcome as a decorated veteran of the battle for Vimy Ridge; describes examples of poor leadership in the 4th Division and discusses the likelihood that the truth about incompetence in the officers' ranks will be censured.
Manuscript letter, dated "Bonn Germany", December 29, . Annotated "No 31". Cooper retails a racist anecdote about an African-American battalion of the U.S. Army in France; describes a drunken Christmas party at a Canadian Corps sergeants' mess; refers to sending sketches of Ypres and the Chateau at Courcellette, and a sketch of the grave of Lieutenant R.W.E. Christie of the 2nd Canadian Division, Signal Company, killed in France September 21, 1918, intended for his family; refers to a belief among German civilians, fostered by German government propoganda, that the German army returned home undefeated; refers to the on-going blockade of German ports but indicates that the civilian population in Germany appears to have plenty of food (except meat); and refers to the common practice of soldiers sharing the contents of packages from home. File also contains a clipping from the Aylmer Express, November 10, 1982 showing Cooper's drawing of Christie's grave.
Manuscript letter, dated "Bonn Germany", January 5, 1919. Annotated "No 31". Cooper refers to recent orders placing Cologne, Germany out of bounds for Canadian troops and the resulting resentment in the ranks; refers to widespread flooding along the Rhine River; refers to newspaper reports of some 2,000 American troops ostensibly suffering from shell shock who were miraculously cured by news of the armistice.
Manuscript letter, dated "Bonn Germany", January 11, 1919. Annotated "No 33". Cooper refers to his having frequently made sketches of soldiers' graves on behalf of their families; discusses aspects of compositional theory and technique, illustrated with a sketch of the infant Jesus Christ and his family; discusses at great length complaints by Canadian girls that Canadian soldiers are marrying English girls; refers to mental illness in soldiers resulting from their war experiences; describes his father's skill as an artist and his half-brother's suicide; refers to the lack of any apparent rationale behind the awarding of military decorations.
Manuscript letter, dated "Andenne Belgium", January 12, 1919. Annotated "No 34". Cooper refers to his expectation of posting to London, England; refers to the death of Ella Lewis' brother; refers again to complaints by Canadian girls that Canadian soldiers are marrying English girls; refers to the on-going post-war dispersal of the Canadian Corps; refers to the poor and insufficient rations available during the Corps' advance into Germany and complains of the incompetence of the Second Army command; refers to the Germans' killing of 400 residents of Aix la Chapelle, Belgium on August 21, 1918 and describes their mass burial site near the Meuse River; describes the defacement of a statue of German Kaiser Wilhelm I in Bonn, Germany by Canadian soldiers in the aftermath of a drunken new year's party; describes the difficulty and expense of obtaining tobacco.
Manuscript letter, dated "Jodoigne Belgium", February 7, 1919. Annotated "No 35". Cooper describes volunteering for service with the Canadian War Narrative Section in London, England, where he expects to be responsible for crafting "the official war story"; refers to the imminent departure of the Canadian Corps from continental Europe to demobilization camps in England; refers to Macleans having enquired about commissioning him for war sketches to be published in the magazine; refers to the conclusion of his long-distance relationship with a "Miss A." of Aylmer, Ontario, who has become engaged to another man; refers to his experience that the American and French military establishments award their soldiers with many more medals than their Canadian counterparts; refers to his plan to move to New York once he is demobilized; describes the town of Jodoigne, Belgium and the execution of a local alderman who collaborated with the Germans.
Manuscript letter, dated "Jodoigne Belgium", February 10, 1919. Annotated "No 36". Cooper describes a number of war souvenirs he has or will soon ship back to Canada for safe-keeping; refers to his indifference, and that of many soldiers, to most military decorations; refers to the difficulty some soldiers face in obtaining their military pensions; refers to his respect for the Victoria Cross, discusses the criteria for earning it, and refers to the pension of 50 pounds sterling attached to it; refers to an allowance given to married soldiers who saw active service in France; refers to attempts by pressure groups to eliminate or limit soldiers' access to alcohol and tobacco and the success of the temperance movement in the United States and Canada in calling for prohibition laws; refers again to the controversy surrounding Canadian soldiers and their English war brides; discusses a report that 15,000 British prisoners of war in Germany had married German women; refers to soldiers' self-protective tendency to forget fallen comrades.
Manuscript letter, dated "Jodoigne Belgium", February 19, 1919. Annotated "No 37". Cooper describes a number of war souvenirs he will be sending to Canada for safe-keeping, some of which are illustrated with rough sketches; he particularly describes a device called a "caltrop" used by retreating German armies to puncture rubber tires and lame horses to slow pursuit.
Manuscript letter dated "Jodoigne Belgium", February 25, 1919. Annotated "No 38". Cooper describes travelling to Brussels and Bruges, Belgium, particularly an encounter with a man from Scotland operating a "Y.M.C.A." canteen in Bruges; includes a sketch of two newlywed partygoers; expresses contempt for the Belgian army.
Manuscript letter, dated "Jodoigne Belgium", March 22, . Annotated "No 39". Cooper describes receiving orders to report to the Canadian War Narrative Section at General Headquarters in London, England; refers to the U.S. government providing American troops with a university education in France; refers to rumours that many British naval personnel during the war were released into that service from naval prisons.
Manuscript letter, dated "Canadian War Narrative Section, Canadian Corps Camp, Bramshott, Hants, England", April 6, . Annotated "No 39½". Cooper describes his journey from Jodoigne, Belgium to join up with his new assignment at the Canadian War Narrative Section stationed in England; describes the officers commanding the Section; describes Bramshott, England and indicates that it also serves as a demobilization camp for the 1st Division; expresses negative opinions about the temperance movement and prohibition laws; describes his frustration at being kept in ignorance about the timing of his demobilization; includes a detailed sketch showing himself returning from leave in Paris with a gift for the daughter of the people he billeted with in Jodoigne, Belgium, along with a sketch of the girl playing with her gift, a doll.
Manuscript letter, dated "Canadian War Narrative Section, Canadian Corps Camp, Bramshott, Hants, England", April 12, . Misdated "1918". Annotated "No 40". Cooper describes a dispute between General Arthur Currie, Commander, C.E.F., and Cyrus W. Peck, Commander, 16th Battalion, C.E.F., regarding the deployment of the battalion during the Battle of the Somme (1916); describes the 3rd Canadian Division's role in the Battle of Cambrai (October 1918) and discusses the contest between the British and Canadian armies for supremacy in press reports of various battles; discusses the extent of Canadian casualties during the war.
Manuscript letter, dated "Canadian War Narrative Section, Canadian Corps Camp, Bramshott, Hants, [England]", April 25, . Annotated "No 41". Cooper describes the "farcical" inactivity of his unit and complains of the poor quality of its work; refers to rumours that the Section will be transferred to Ottawa, Canada; describes widespread frustration regarding the bureaucracy and slow pace of demobilization and repatriation; describes war souvenirs he plans to send to Canada for safe-keeping.
Manuscript letter, dated "Canadian War Narrative Section, Canadian Corps Camp, Bramshott, Hants, [England]", May 6, . Annotated "No 42". Cooper refers to ladies in Canada putting tobacco in socks knitted for and sent to soldiers, and how officials with the Y.W.C.A. confiscated the tobacco before sending on the socks; discusses food rationing and rumours of profiteering in England; remarks again on how little work his unit does and how often its members are on leave; describes a typical work day in his unit; remarks ironically that despite his lack of production he is classified as indispensable and therefore ineligible for demobilization; includes a sketch of a German bayonet he plans to send to Canada as a war souvenir; refers to potential trouble in the demobilization camp if the pace of repatriation is not increased; refers to the 9th Battalion American Legion's reputation for having "deserted as fast as they could be enlisted"; compares the character of soldiers from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
Manuscript letter, dated "Canadian War Narrative Section, Canadian Corps Camp, Bramshott, Hants, [England]", May 18, . Annotated "No 43". Cooper refers to Ella Lewis' decision to leave the Aylmer Travel Club; refers to some soldiers' difficulty adjusting to civilian life; refers to persistent problems in the demobilization camp as a result of delays in repatriating soldiers who are officially discharged and therefore ineligible for further pay; describes as confirmed rumours that the Canadian War Narrative Section is to be transferred to Ottawa, Canada.