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Arthur Leighton was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England in 1880, and later moved to Manitoba where he found work as a farmhand. In 1901 he enlisted in the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles and saw action in South Africa during the Boer War. Following the war he attended the University of Manitoba and was called to the Bar in 1908. In 1908 he married Alice Sophia Wright, born in Brittania Ontario in 1887. In 1912 they moved to Nanaimo where he practised law. In 1915 Arthur joined the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders in the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade as a commissioned lieutenant and was later promoted to captain. Alice followed Arthur to Europe, arriving in England in 1916, where she became a volunteer at St. Dunstan's Hostel for Blind Soldiers and Sailors. Arthur was wounded in the knee and spent some time in England recovering before returning to France. They returned to Nanaimo in 1919 where Arthur continued to practise law and Alice became involved in many charitable societies. The collection consists of 125 letters, a large proportion of which are letters from Alice to Arthur. References in Alice's letters indicate that Arthur wrote to her everyday while in France from 1916 to 1918, but unfortunately that portion of the correspondence has not survived. Included as well are many non-correspondence items such as receipts and certificates directly related to their wartime experience.

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