May 28, 1918
My Dear Mrs. MacDonald,
It is with the deepest sympathy that I write to you at this time of sorrow following the loss of yur daughter Katherine.
Knowing her as I did I grieve her loss to me on an equal scale and fully realize what it means to those who meant all-in-all to her.
She was a brave girl and so devoted to her duty in the cause of justice and relief to the suffering that she has made the supreme sacrifice. Her heart and soul were in her work and nothing was too extreme for her powers.
You were always her chief thought and she ever looked forward to the happy reunion, which she thought might be expected by service overseas in France.
The teachings and doctrines she received from you were ever evident and she had a sterling character and was loved by all under her care. My personal relations with her were most intimate as you no doubt know and to me she was ideal in every respect and our love meant much to us. Now that bond is severed, but her memory will always be one to inspire me to higher ideals and may I be able to avenge her loss.
News of her untimely death reached me today from Sister Forman who went overseas with Katherine. She is stationed at No. 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital and I will give you an extract from her letter. “Christy, who was in part of the hospital which was struck by a bomb during an air raid on Sunday night last, was dangerously wounded and a few hours afterwards, died of shock.” It is a brief summary but shows that she was not subjected to any long suffering. Sister Forman promises to procure other details possible and notify me.
I have just received the cable from Dr. Phillips and I will leave no stone unturned to fulfill your request. I have already written to Colonel Seaborn, who is commanding officer of her former hospital in France, stating your request and I shall take this matter up with Headquarters here tomorrow morning and find out the procedure to take even should it necessitate my obtaining permission to go to France to complete arrangements.
It is my intention to write to the proper authorities and obtain all the information possible with regard to the circumstances connected with her death and upon their receipt I shall forward them to you.
Rest assured, brave and noble mother, that I shall do all possible to comply with your wishes, for the loss of my loved one means so much to me also.
Should any other details require attention please let me know and I will gladly render any aid possible.
You may feel comforted knowing that Katherine esteemed her mother above all others and how she did adore you. No mother could have a more devoted and faithful daughter and her high ideals were alone a great inspiration to those who knew her well. Many times have I counselled her with regard going to France, but her duty was ever foremost and prevailed.
So, mother of a true and noble daughter, ever be comforted and may God be your ever present aid.
Know that my services are at your disposal and may I be of much service to you.
I remain, Yours With Sincerest Sympathy,
J.W. Ballantyne, Capt.
12th Canadian Reserve Battalion, Witley Camp.
George Metcalf Archival Collection
© Canadian War Museum