| 
  • If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Social distancing? Try a better way to work remotely on your online files. Dokkio, a new product from PBworks, can help your team find, organize, and collaborate on your Drive, Gmail, Dropbox, Box, and Slack files. Sign up for free.

View
 

Stelling-G-condolence-from-Billy

Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 5 years, 3 months ago

Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington, 1914-1918

 

Stelling-G-Pte-1960

 

 

USS Wyoming, launched in 1913.  When the USA joined in the war, the Wyoming was sent to Britain where she remained there for the rest of the war, doing training, patrols of the North Sea and convoy escort duty.  Her most notable action was when she collided with a U-boat, sinking it.   Wyoming was at Liverpool when Chief Yeoman William C Langdon succumbed to disease.  Langdon seems to have written the letter below.  Source: World of Warships Forum.

 

Dearest Vida*,

I thank you, dear child, for your short and heart-rending note of 18th November, 1916, giving me the tidings of my dear little friend's death.  I don't know how to even try to tell you how it has grieved me.  I felt as thought he had been a part of my life always, and I had never existed without knowing him.  He was such a good lad and so full of manliness and kindheartedness.  He was an exceptional lad for him to have attracted my attention and later my affection in a day or so in a far foreign land, and then to have taken such a firm hold in my heart and then remained there all these years, speaks most loudly of great worth in his character.

That I had not written him of late was more because of any lack of time for writing than for any diminution of regard for him.  I wish now, O God, how I wish I had not let business come between my real affection for the lad.  I do not even try to think of him as a man for it would be useless.  I like to regard him as a lovable, friendly, fearless boy, and I feel that the German Kaiser has murdered my little friend.  I try not to be bitter, but I am only human, and humane at that.  My heart bleeds when I think of his heart-stricken mother and father.  It will be a burden they will but hardly bear.  I have written a note which I ask you to address and post for me, as I do not know Mr Stelling's address.  I know you gave it once, but I did not put it in my address book, and now I will have to look through a lot of papers for the letter.  I hope you will try to get me a picture of dear Gus, if it be practicable.  I have his dear little-boy picture, but I would like to see him how he looked as a man and a soldier of the king.  What a lovable little chap he was, and what a beautiful face he had.  How greatly he will be missed by his people, his relatives and his friends.

2
[I] know it cuts you to the very heart, dear, for you have always been particularly fond of him.  In almost every letter you have written me in all these years, you have mentioned him.  It was good of you dear, to let me know, and I hope you will have written by now all the sad tidings.  We must mourn him, that is human nature, but we must also rise above our selfishness, and remember that his king and country needed him, and like a man he answered the call to fall, fighting gloriously for both.  What a splendid end, and what a noble cause, that of "Truth and Right".  

May God rest his ashes, rest in peace, wherever the good God see fit to let them, and may his soul find the reward given, brave true and noble natures.  I cannot write you as I would, dear, but I must let you know I sorrow with you and for myself as well, that your sister is also going to the Front is, I know, a sad blow to you all, but we must think of all the good she will be able to give the cause, and know it is as she wishes.  Give her my love when you write, and tell her I wish with my whole heart and soul, I too, were going to the war.  Inaction is terrible.  Remember me with love to all the family, and believe me, dear,
Always yours with love and appreciation
Yours,
BILLY**

 

* The identity of Vida is not know, but she must have been a friend of the Stelling family for a copy of this letter to have been included with other condolence letters to the family. 

** It seems likely that "Billy" was the William C Langdon of the USS Wyoming, who placed a long commemorative poem in the Essendon Gazette near the anniversary of his death in 1916, reproduced below: 

 

STELLING.-A tribute to the memory of my dear young friend,

Private Gus Stelling, who gave his life for his comrades at

Gallipoli. October 29th, 1915.

 

I found you in the land of golden wattle,

Where giant - gums, forever whispering, wave:

And left you in the home nest-safe from trouble,

But now you sleep in far-off alien grave: But not alone.

With you in silence waiting.

A noble host of valorous men and brave.

A few short hours we passed, my lad, together:

Though few and short, I never shall for get.

Now from the grave your voice has sought and found me

Through unmeant silence that we both regret:

Your letter, lad, renewing our old friend ship,

Cannot be answered--You'll forgive the debt.

The same bright sun that shone on me at setting

Shone but this morn upon your lonely bed;

The same red moon, now from the ocean rising,.

Last night was with you and the hallowed dead.

Sleep on, dear lad, though far from home and kindred.

The same kind heaven is always over head.

You gave your life to save the lives of others:

This deed will live-aglow with lustre bright.  

My soul took up the burden where you dropped it.

And marches with your comrades in the fight.

Sleep on, dear lad, green be with us your memory.

We'll meet again-Good night, my lad, good night.

-Wm. C. Langdon, U.S.S. Wyoming, New York. U.S.A.* 

 

Family Notices. (1916, October 26). The Essendon Gazette

and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter

 (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2 Edition: Morning.

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74594559

 

* LANGDON, WILLIAM C, Chief Yeoman, (sister, Floy I Erambert, Fayetteville, N C; enlisted Boston, Mass, October 17, 1915), USS Wyoming, dreadnought battleship (later BB-31), died at Liverpool, England, disease, October 11, 1918

http://www.naval-history.net/WW1NavyUS-CasualtiesAlphaL.htm

** Find-a-Grave has Langdon buried at Arlington Cemetery.

 

Continue to Relics of a Fallen Soldier

 

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.