Gordon Budd Irving was born in Toronto on 16 May 1888, the only son of Mary Maude Irving and William Henry Irving, of the legal firm of Kilmer, Irving, and Davis. He worked for the National Trust Company in Toronto before joining the Royal Flying Corps in May 1917. After training at Camp Borden, Gordon Irving was sent to England in July 1917, and then to France, where he was posted to 19 Squadron. He rose to the rank of Captain, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and was credited with twelve enemy aircraft downed. On 11 August 1918, he was reported missing, believed killed in action. His body was never recovered. The correspondence consists primarily of letters from Gordon to his father and his sister Fern (Mrs. M.C. Purvis). There is also official correspondence from military authorities, and letters from one of W.H. Irving's business associates in England.