Kenneth Dean Marlatt left a comfortable life, made possible by his family’s successful tannery business in Oakville, to join the fighting during the First World War. Initially with the 9th Mississauga Horse, Marlatt later went to France with the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles on 24 October 1915. While in France he carried out administrative duties as Quarter Master, where his combined business and engineering experience were likely welcomed. In 1917 Marlatt was sent to the United States where he worked to recruit soldiers with the Canadian Recruiting Mission.
As an officer, Marlatt would have been required to report on everything from small purchases to war casualties. The Correspondence Books issued for this purpose were ruled in ¼ inch squares to aid with map drawing. Copies of the reports remained in the Correspondence Book. Reading Marlatt’s correspondence gives us a sense of the great tragedies of the war – a man presumed missing is confirmed dead – as well as the overwhelming organization and detailed administration required to keep a large army functioning – finding cod-liver oil for a sick man, or tallying the amount spent on supplies.