Suppose they have more nerve, or pluck, than I have. Do wish I were able to rough it more, but you cannot expect from a person what is not there. I don't know what Father would do if he could hear the people reaching their hearts of them almost, and then when you see their poor faces, well you would wonder how they could live the journey through. We have four beds in our berth. I have one on the top and Flo & B, the bottom one. On the other side is a mother and her three children, the Father and two other of the children are in another berth. They are going a long way, the other side of the Rockies. No house or anything else to go to, they have to wait at the nearest railway station, which is some 80 odd miles away from their destination - (Such a life would kill you Mother I am quite sure) - until they get a house roughly built. I shall never forget the feeling when we crossed the ferry. Oh it was awful, such a lonely feeling & then the worst part of all, crossing on the tug-boat to embark on the Empress of Ireland. But there it will be all right when I am with my Arthur & will have his care until I get stronger. All this awful dry reaching I have had, I cannot touch food, and of course have nothing to bring up, but I have reached until the water has streamed out of my eyes and it makes you feel so weak.
My Dear Mother you will be pleased to know that we are all getting better & strong enough to get out of bed & take a meal in the dining-room. We have found our sea-legs at last and able to get up on deck for a breath of fresh air. We have indeed been rocked in the cradle of the deep on this voyage, for you would imagine you were in a very high swinging boat, when you are in bed, it is a horrid swimmy feeling. You will be glad to hear that we have not had to pay excess on luggage so far. Everybody on board is exceedingly nice and kind. Nothing too much trouble. Stewards & Stewardesses very very nice. We have very good food and as much as ever you like to have - no scarcity. Last night we had a meeting in the dining room (Salvation Army). It was very nice and we had some lovely hymns. It was quite an uplift by the way. We all sleep very well, considering the boat rolls so terribly. Now we are getting well, the journey is full of interest as you can quite imagine. Such different faces and characters. There are over 900 3rd class passengers, more than 300 of the better class. She is a huge boat. Last evening Flo & I had a letter on board from A's Mother with some nice little leaflets. Must not forget to tell you Mr & Mrs Hewitt were very kind, what we should have done without them I do not know. We hope to land on Saturday. At present we are in the iceberg region, it is bitterly cold but the foam is simply lovely. I quite forgot to leave my address, 307 Percy Street, Brandon, Canada, Manitoba. We shall be pleased to reach home and see A & G as you can guess. Well I believe I have given you all details hope you received the P.O. safely. Now my Dear Mother I hope you are feeling fairly well and mind you do not do too much , do rest, if only for 10 mins every day, directly after dinner. I hope Father will take every care of you. I do wish I had your photo. It would be so nice when I am so far from home. Is Fred working up the hills? I hope not. Well now, I must close. With Fondest love & thanks to you one and all for your kindness towards me.
Ever remaining your most affectionate Daughter, Florrie.
The "Empress" arrived on schedule on April 25th, 1913 where Florrie travelled by Canadian Pacific Railway to Brandon, where she married Arthur on 30 April 1913.
Their son Kenneth, who was my Father, was born on the 28th February 1914.
Life in Canada was hard for Florrie, particularly living so far away from her family, through the anxious days of the First World War, and during that time she suffered from depression on several occasions. In 1919, and largely because of her ill-health, Florrie, Ken and Arthur moved back to Cardiff where Arthur joined the family coal business. (Godfrey and Flo remained in Canada). However Florrie never fully recovered her health and died tragically in 1920.
Arthur Baker died in Cardiff in 1969.
Kenneth Baker died in Edinburgh in 1980 and is survived by 4 children, 10 grand-children and 1 great-grandchild.
Florrie's nephew and nieces and their families live in England.
The family lost contact with Godfrey and Flo Baker and would like to hear from any of their Descendants.
GRAHAM C BAKER - EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND.
The R.M.S. Empress of Ireland Community
On the 83rd west bound voyage to St. John New Brunswick, in April 22nd, 1913 under the command of Captain Forester. Florence left her family behind, she was traveled out to Quebec to join her Fiancé, Ernest Arthur Baker and then on to Brandon, Manitoba where they were to be married. Florence was 27 years old when she sailed on the Empress of Ireland.
Florrie and Arthur, as they were known, were born in Cardiff, South Wales on 1886, where Florrie's father was a signalman on the railways and Arthur's had been a sea captain. By 1912 employment was very hard to find and along with his brother Godfrey, Arthur left to find work with The Canadian Pacific Railway. Having established themselves at 307 Percy Street, Brandon, the time was right to send for Florrie and Godfrey's fiance Flo (another Florence).
Not having traveled far from her hometown before, Florrie's journey was difficult for her but she caught the ferry from Cardiff to Bristol (Avonmouth) and then embarked on the "Empress of Ireland" for her new life in western Canada.
On April 22nd, 1913, in mid Atlantic aboard the R.M.S. Empress of Ireland, she wrote a letter to her family:-
My Dear Mother & Father, Sisters & Brothers,
I expect you are wondering how we are getting on. Well up till now we have all been terribly ill with seasickness. What an awful thing it is, you feel as though you would give the world if the boat would go down, or else that you have never started the journey. It certainly is no joke to go to Canada. How some girls can go, with no one to go to, I cannot understand.