Letters Home: Tobe Weddle, Ice Bound

The Skidmore News kept up its practice of publishing letters from the area’s soldier boys.  It must have been startling to the paper’s readers to learn that Tobe Weddle was ice bound in Russia while they were feeling the July heat.  From the July 3, 1919 Skidmore News:

Ice Bound

Una, Russia, May 22, 1919.

Dear Folks: –

Just a line tonight.  We are now lying in Youcanski bay.  Our first stop from Murmansk was Komanoffski.  I was ashore here yesterday, traded a sack of Durham tobacco for a pair of reindeer moccasins with the hair on.  The country here is some different from the Murmansk district.  I seen my first reindeer here in actual use, pulling a sledge.  How is this? sleigh riding in May.  Seals are thick here sometimes see two or three riding a large piece of ice.  We have tried twice to break through the ice for Archangel, but have been unable to go through.  this is the White Sea and it is well named, white with ice and snow, about 6 feet thick without exaggerating.

A Norwegian fishing smack put in here last night with a broken propeller.  We made their repairs on the ship as it was their only chance, there being no other ships near here and of course no shipyards.  We are leaving here at 12 tonight to try the ice again.  The Norwegian captain is showing us a route we can get through.  Good luck for them, we were here and good luck for us they came.

I have some pictures ordered of the ice.  Once when we jammed in, several of the boys went over on the ice and took some good pictures.  Am sorry I haven’t them to send now.  I am depending on an eagle boat to carry this letter to Murmanski.  We expect one in at 9:00 this evening.  Also I will send some pictures taken at 12 o’clock midnight.

There is very little difference up here between night and day.

I will close for this time as I will have to get this in the mail.  I hope this finds everyone well.

With love to all,

(Tobe) Weddle.