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The Right Words – the Right Notes

Posted By on February 8, 2020

Concerning Hobbits
Lord of the Rings

Oneness

So far from Scotland and piping – yet the sound of a tin whistle brings the days of the Celts – Picts and Gaels to mind. The age of then is here within a much read and spoken story – time and time again. With each line by Tolkien how did he lend his mind to hand to craft the right words for the sentence…within the paragraph…for the chapter…of the books?

Each Tolkien word became an inspiration for Walsh, Boyens, Lesnie, Jackson and others…spoken by a rich cast of players across the screen. Combined together with the chosen notes from the lines and spaces of Howard Shore’s musical staff, the multitude of Tolkien’s inspiring work is delivered – multiple forms of the arts as one. It is this oneness that brings me here today.

Only after attempting to find my words, from other films, I turn again towards the trilogy. Other films have not made it through my psyche until now. There is richness here as I gather my day’s thoughts – inspired voices, images, landscapes, costumes, cuts and sounds.

I relax deep-set within my recliner… The journey has begun as the musical score provides the breath to fill my sails of this exploration, Tolkien and oneness.

The History of the Ring Theme
Lord of the Rings

Closer to the Heart

Posted By on January 10, 2020

Farewell to the King

In September 2016 a friend I had not seen since 1979 or so re-appeared.

Peter managed to track me down (after all these years) through the Pipes of War website. Back in the day -…1978 – 1979…the days of youthful university Peter and I spent considerable time listening to and analyzing the Neil Peart lyrics of Rush. To this day I recall sitting in my residence room with the tunes turned to loud (volume 11)…rocking away…reading the liner notes and album covers…time seemed endless and meditative.

At that time Mr. Lee, Mr. Lifeson and Mr. Peart were my band (our band)…the ones I had to hear…the first Rush concert I managed to get to…A Farewell To Kings (1977)…more concerts followed. But from that one concert a twirling drumstick thrown towards the audience…towards me…and with a gracious hand the stick was caught…my hand grip wrapped solid…I was thrilled.

The drumstick remains with me…so too the Rush albums…I even managed to get my father to one of the trio’s concerts in Vancouver. Dad wanted to see them…the seats were grand…not close…not near…not far…we were together…the only major rock concert Dad ever attended. It was an experience for him to be sure…through the haze, the ever-changing backdrops, the lights, the music. How can three guys make so much noise? he asked afterwards. Dad loved it.

But now today is sadder as our first snowfall covers our way…perhaps the snow dog will appear? And in this new day white covering of this land a bit of old youth has slipped away…but not nearly so much sadness as for the Peart and Rush families. Neil Peart has left our world to drink the milk of paradise. I for one see my friends (again) those who spent hours amongst the black and red vinyl to play, replay, to chord at air guitars and lift searing solos above the frozen mountaintops…to read and re-read lyrics closer to the heart.

Thank you Rush for all the music and the words. To Mr. Lee, Mr. Lifeson and the Peart family I am so sorry for your loss. To Mr. Peart…thank you for the fine drumstick…long may you drive like the wind and always begin the day with a friendly voice…the road is very much open now.

Neil Peart O.C.
12 September 1952 – 7 January 2020

Behind the Wire – 1918

Posted By on January 10, 2020

Barbed wire, familiar to all soldiers on the Western Front. The barbed wire symbol, in this instance of French origin, was sometimes used by PoW veteran's organizations.

Barbed wire, familiar to all soldiers on the Western Front. The barbed wire symbol, in this instance of French origin, was sometimes used by PoW veteran’s organizations.

16th Battalion C.E.F. Prisoners of War (Part 3)

Every two years (in January) I have returned to my 16th Canadian Infantry Battalion Prisoner of War research project. To my surprise the battalion does not appear to have had any service personnel captured during 1917. Of particular interest in this the third and final installment are the number of soldiers drafted under the Military Service Act, 1917 and soldiers captured during the 16th Battalion’s last major engagement of the Great War…1 October 1918…Cuvillers.

See also Behind the Wire 1915 and Behind the Wire 1916.

(DATES OF CAPTURE IN BOLD)

 12 April 1918
Arras – Brigade Reserve.

Lieut. Thompson No. 4 Coy. Reported that Lieut. D. Clelland M.C. and runner had left No. 4 H.Q. at 10:30 a.m. and had not yet returned. Search parties were sent out but could find no trace of them.

(16th Canadian Infantry Battalion War Diary, 12 April 1918)

No news of Lieut. Clelland and runner.
(16th Canadian Infantry Battalion War Diary, 13 April, 1918)

Clelland, David
Lieutenant          27265
Released             29 November 1918

Military Cross
London Gazette 26 July 1917
Date of publications suggests an award for Vimy Ridge.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He commanded his company during the attack, and though wounded consolidated his position and reorganized and protected his flank until supporting troops arrived. 

Cowx, Ernest Harold
Private                 129938
Released             2 December 1918

16 August 1918
Front Line Parvillers. Parvillers-Schwetz Wood captured.

The enemy resistance was by no means so weak as was suspected. The Alpine Corps was in the line, and its men proved themselves excellent fighters.

 The losses of the 16th Battalion in the engagement, considering it was nothing more than a patrol affair, were heavy…

(Urquhart, H.M. The History of The 16th Battalion (The Canadian Scottish), 1932, p. 282)

Carey, Patrick
Private                 736759
Released             4 December 1918

Ducharme, Harry Georges Garfield
Private                 1000906
Released             12 December 1918

Eliasson, Elias
Private                 722090
Released             12 January 1919

Howard, Albert Thomson
Private                 701154
Released             20 November 1918

Jordan, Harold John
Private                 1001191
Released             11 December 1918

O’Connor, Jeremiah J.
Private                 859397
Released             6 December 1918

Powell, Alfred Edward
Private                 1001211
Released             6 December 1918

Wade, William Casebourne
Private                 859189
Released             5 December 1918

Walls, James
Private                 114887
Released             1 December 1918

1 October 1918
Haynecourt. Cuvillers.

…before he (Lieutenant Kerans) got in touch with any of these officers (company commanders); intense machine-gun fire broke out from Abancourt ridge, directed in enfilade against the 16th outpost and resistance lines, Cuvillers, and positions in rear. Every feature on the 16th front lay open to this high ground, including the sunken roads which all ran directly towards it…

 He (Sergeant-Major Kay) was placing his men in the houses at the northerly outskirts of Cuvillers and along a road running from that village in a southwesterly direction towards Blécourt. By the time Kerans arrived it had become clear that this position was untenable, for it came under fire from the left rear, from points in or near Blécourt as well as from the Abancourt ridge.  Sniping and machine-gun fire from both these quarters were very severe.

Both Kerans (Lieutenant) and Kay (Sergeant-Major) now realized that the tactical position of the Battalion generally was little short of desperate; the troops in both the resistance and the outpost lines were in danger of being surrounded…

(Urquhart, H.M. The History of The 16th Battalion (The Canadian Scottish), 1932, p. 305)

Appel, Frank Joseph
Private                 2021790
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             3 December 1918

Bouvier, William
Private                 2129346
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             22 November 1918

Brown, Abraham
Private                 736490
Released             6 December 1918

Buckboro, Bonner Mason
Private                 622624
Released             5 December 1918

Caine, James George
Private                 29310
Released             5 December 1918

Colegrave, William Ralph (Jr.)
Private                 2021895
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             5 December 2918

Crampain, Raymond Earl
Private                 865795
Released             25 November 1918

DeSchouwer, Emiel
Private                 2380719
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             6 December 1918

Ferens, John Charles
Private                 736452
Released             13 January 1919

Gilmour, Duncan James McKenzie
Corporal              736662
Released             6 December 1918

Gray, Robert James
Private                 2379264 previously 216332
Previously volunteered with 100th Canadian Infantry Battalion.
Discharged 7 October 1916, being medically unfit for military service.
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             21 November 1918

Hanson, Henry Charles
Private                 180059
Released             18 December 1918

Henderson, Wilbert Duncan
Private                 2129280
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             22 November 1918

Hough, Norman
Private                 225886
Died of Wounds as Prisoner of War 2 October 1918
Buried Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France

He was last seen going in the direction of the Sunken Road, in front of Cuvillers, on October 1st 1918. A report was later received that he had died from the German authorities on transit from Chief Dressing Station at Estain.

Exhumed from Soldier’s Cemetery, Hordain, S. Of Bouchair.

(Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948 card.)

Jackson, William Henry
Sergeant             29406
Released             5 December 1918

Jenkins, James Rodolphus
Private                  2136376
Escaped               20 November 1918

Admitted to 30 Casualty Clearing Station for treatment of scabies and boils. No details of escape reported. (Service Record)

Kirkconnell, John
Private                 150451
Released             15 December 1918

Larson, Guttorn
Private                 2129176
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             7 December 1918

Lindsay, James
Private                 721919
Released             11 December 1918

Little, Joseph
Private                 2129315
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             27 November 1918

Llewhellin, George Warren
Private                 871437
Released             12 December 1918

Lunan, George
Private                 700361
Released             5 December 1918

MacLennan, James
Private                 721823
Released             30 January 1919

MacMillan, Alexander
Acting Sergeant 29476
Released             17 December 1918

Margetts, Charles
Private                 922590
Died of Wounds as Prisoner of War 25 October 1918
Son of John Henry Margetts, of Carswell Farm, Faringdon, Berks., England
Buried Mons Communal Cemetery, Belgium

Previously unofficially reported Died of Wounds Whilst Prisoner of War now officially reported Died of Wounds Whilst Prisoner of War at Maedchenschule War Laz 27 – Mons, (Heart failure, following amputation).

(Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948 card.)

McCurdy, John
Private                 2129179
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             21 November 1918

McGurr, John
Private                 871980
Released             13 January 1919

McIsaac, Hugh Daniel
Private                 2129181
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             22 November 1918

Medlicott, Oscar Richard Reeves
Lance Corporal 701193
Released             6 December 1918

Millar, George Sinclair
Private                2128971
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             21 November 1918

Munro, George McLean
Private                429226
Released             18 December 1918

Murray, Hedley
Private                1060181
Released             1 January 1919

Murray, Thomas Alexander
Private                 257504
Released             22 November 1918

Mustard, Earnest Hugh
Private                 2129047
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             22 November 1918

Newstead, John Charles
Private                 257442
Released             22 November 1918

Ogden, James LeRoy
Acting Corporal 2379605
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             6 December 1918

Pasich, Tony
Private                 2378951
Released             7 January 1919

Patton, Royden Percival
Private                 2128826
Died of Wounds after escaping 12 October 1918
Son of Harry Patton and Margaret Ingram (formerly Patton) of Roseisle, Manitoba.
Buried Quiévrain Communal Cemetery, Belgium

Previously reported Prisoner of War at Parchim, and according to German records escaped from Field Lazaret 319, 10-10-18, now for official purposes presumed to have Died between October 10th 1918, and January 10th, 1919.

(Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948 card.)

Pearson, Karl Anton
Private                  2380890
Released             9 December 1918

Pike, Charles Edward Cyril
Private                  255341
Released             5 December 1918

Poole, Kingsley Gower
Private                  2379354
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Died of Wounds as Prisoner of War 8 October 1918
Son of Reverend Montague Gower Poole and Hannah Poole of 403, First Street East, Cornwall, Ontario.
Buried at Niederzwehren War Cemetery, Germany

Died whilst Prisoner of War now for official purposes presumed to have Died whilst Prisoner of War at Lazarette, Gottingen.

(Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948 card.)

Porter, William George
Private                2128934
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             1 January 1919

Ramsey, Westall
Private                2128921
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             1 January 1919

Reid, Robert
Private                2379629
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             6 December 1918

Roy, Aubrey Rutherford
Private                 2379366
Released             2 January 1919

Rutherford, Thomas
Private                 2129663
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             1 January 1919

Scott, John Clarence
Sergeant             28670
Died of Wounds as Prisoner of War 3 October 1918
Husband of late Mrs. H.E. Scott
Buried at Valenciennes (St. Roch) Communal Cemetery, France

Died whilst Prisoner of War, previously reported Wounded and Missing.

On October 1st, 1918, it became necessary for his platoon to retire from its objective. The Platoon Officer took part of the men, and while leading the rest, Sgt. Scott was wounded. At the time there was considerable confusion and one of the men examined him and thinking him dead, left him. Information was later received that he had died (shell wound lung) whilst prisoner of war at Military Hospital, VALENCIENNES.

Exhumed from Military Cemetery at Valenciennes, Grave No. 1928.

(Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948 card.)

An article about Sergeant John Clarence Scott entitled, Tells of Stirring Incidents at Front, appears in the Daily Colonist 16 June 1915, page 7.

Smith, John
Private                 871049
Released             3 December 1918

Smith, Robert James
Private                 2129308
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             22 November 1918

Smith, Sidney James
Private                 2379862
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Died of Wounds as Prisoner of War 13 October 1918
Buried at Niederzwehren War Cemetery, Germany

Reported Prisoner of War and Wounded in Hospital @ Gottingen, Hann.
Now Reported Died Whilst Pris of War
At Lazerett (sic) Gottingen, Hann. (Letter from British Help Commission D/16-10-18)
Presumed Died of Wounds whilst P. of W . (____) Lazarett at Gottingen 13-10-18

(Service Record)

Strange, Archibald
Private                 2380132
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             1 January 1918

Stretch, Joseph Buxley
Private                 1263521
Released             4 December 1918

Stroud, John Clarence
Private                 2129654
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             25 November 1918

Stubblefield, Robert Westley
Private                 1069931
Released             1 December 1918

Previously served 3 1/2 years in United States navy. (Service Record)

Troke, John Joseph
Private                  258517
Released             22 November 1918

Vandal, Gabriel
Private                 258198
Released             10 January 1919

Voorhis, Robert B.
Private                 872085
Died of Wounds as Prisoner of War 12 November 1918
Son of Milton T. Voorhies and his wife Mary L. Brown Husband of Mary McGill Voorhies.
Buried at Niederzwehren War Cemetery, Germany

Reported missing Oct. 1st 1918.
Rept. miss. is P of W at Gottingen
Nov. 14th 1918.
D. whilst P of W Gottingen
Correct date of death Presumed dead 13-12-18 (sic)
Alternate spelling of surname given as Voorhies. Soldier signed as Voorhis.

(Service Record)

Waldie, Walter
Private                 257979
Released             3 December 1918

Whiffin, Thomas Alfred
Private                 2128924
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             7 December 1918

White, Earl Leslie
Private                 256326
Released             29 November 1918

Whittick, Thomas William
Private                 512164
Released             2 December 1918

Willes, Frederick Charles
Private                 624339
Released             13 January 1919

Wilson, Stanley
Private                 2115180
Released             13 January 1919

Wood, Frank
Private                 1072122
Released             6 December 1918

Woods, Alfred Robert
Private                 258016
Released             16 December 1918

Wrench, Harold
Private                 257962
Released             24 November 1918

Yarrington, Everett
Private                 722273
Released             27 November 1918

Zerbin, Gustaf
Private                 2129268
Drafted under Military Service Act, 1917
Released             22 November 1918

Zimmerman, William George
Private                 693086
Released             1 December 1918

At four a.m., October 2nd, the remnant of the Battalion – three officers and seventy-five other ranks – were relieved; the 16th had fought its last major engagement of the War;…

(Urquhart, H.M. The History of The 16th Battalion (The Canadian Scottish), 1932, p. 311)

8/9 October 1918
Brigade Support

Burt, Frederick Audry
Private                 199110
Released             2 December 1918

———-0———-

List of Prisoners of War (16th Battalion CEF) compiled from:
Wigney, Edward H. “Guests of the Kaiser; Prisoners-of-War of the Canadian Expeditionary force 1915-1918”, (CEF Books, 2008)

Structure, Skirt and Wheel

Posted By on January 4, 2020

From Peter Weir's Gallipoli (1981). Archie Lascelles triumphs in achieving a racing record.

From Peter Weir’s Gallipoli (1981). Archy  Hamilton triumphs in achieving a racing record.

Reoccurring Imagery in Film

Near the start of this New Year I turn again to films whose peninsular lands I have wandered. From Peter Weir’s Gallipoli, that galvanized my interest in film-making, to Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner whose pilgrim father is a character to whom I relate. In Weir’s Gallipoli it is the runner, within Mark Lee’s Archy, at the distance finish line and at life’s ending…the similar film sequences that remain within my person…evoking the cycle of life from triumph to disaster…a life won…a life lost.

From Peter Weir's Gallipoli (1981). Archie Lascelles loss at Gallipoli...the reoccurring image

From Peter Weir’s Gallipoli (1981). Archy Hamilton aka Lascelles loss at Gallipoli…the reoccurring image.

Similarly there are many themes to choose from in Crowe’s The Water Diviner. Perhaps the reoccurring touch of a caring hand, the symbolism of wells and water…discovery or escape as birth and rebirth? There are magic carpets and Arabian Knights, scenes of earth, wind and sun and so too homage to Crowe’s Gladiator as rider along the road or kneeling with earth in hand.

We have seen similar things in our own realities – images of memory that we carry for our cycle on this earth. Perhaps it is as witnesses to the elder who touches drum to earth before the rhythm of the heart begins to beat or to the Sensei whose belt touches cheek and temple before the belt is tied? These observations remain within us for some purpose…they can be effective teachings…but how to place them in story…where to use them…as reoccurring imagery or as symbols in our presentations. They are here for a purpose…finding their place can be significant as the journey they explore rather than their ultimate definition.

Today I turn to whirling motion in The Water Diviner...the cyclical energy that appears and reappears throughout the film as structure, skirt and wheel. This reoccurring theme places itself as backdrop and main sequence to Russell Crowe’s Joshua Connor as father and Ryan Corr’s Arthur Connor as son. Windmill, whirling Dervish and locomotive…I see these motions as the cycle of Crowe’s story…symbolic kinetics that subliminally move the Connor story along. Background or passing actions, symbols perhaps missed when we become mesmerized with the front of house large screen.

In particular I use these, my meditations, to critique film reviews. As historian I applaud historical accuracy but I also applaud the film-maker’s art. Perhaps history has not recorded an Australian Gallipoli soldier swirling with the Sufis but look for meaning within the whirling Dervish scenes of Arthur Connor and relate theme to the torment of his Gallipoli. Perhaps Arthur dances to be closer to God…to be closer to the mystical rather than the reality he has faced, setting himself apart from earthly things.

My one only hope for Ryan Corr’s character…that Arthur Connor continues to dance upon his return home.

Whirling Dervish scene from  The Water Diviner (2014) featuring Arthur Connor.

Whirling Dervish scene from The Water Diviner (2014) featuring Arthur Connor.

A secret turning in us makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet, and feet of head. Neither cares.
They keep turning.
(
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī 1207 – 1273).

Video: Step Inside the Mind of a Whirling Dervish.
TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation)

Wantmore

Posted By on December 22, 2019

IMG_5899 - Copy

The goodly Mouse Wantmore – of mice and non-mice!

Wantmore was a mouse…

That his presence was known was not known unto him. His life was his attic. Here within the trunk he lived in the leather boot from Waterloo. That more than 200 years of history was its continuim, Wantmore did not mind…the boot was home.  Within the trunk the medal lay…as to its significance – of no concern to this mouse. He liked it…for Wantmore it was shiny. A mameluke amidst these olden things would be desired by many, but in Wantmore’s space it hurt…it was sharp. Best to stay away.

Wantmore seldom chewed through the wool of the tunics. They were warm as they were…though the papers of the time suffered as Wantmore enjoyed scruffling through newsprint…he enjoyed the sound, shredding and texture. Wantmore however, left alone the images of the aged soldiers. These non-mice were his gallery…portraits of lost experience with which he could arrange to his liking…sideways, this way up, that way round.

At Christmas each year, the non-mice family returned to the low gables of the attic in search of tree and ornaments. It was a noisy time. Wantmore watched and waited…soon there would be green, red and blue glowing crystal lights – crumbs of cakes and cheeses, sugary things and goodness to chew.

It was Christmas…temptation this time of year would take him downstairs after their feast. In the dark Wantmore would clean up after the non-mice and then in his fullness would return to his attic.

Though Wantmore did not know this day as Christmas, he enjoyed the day as one of seemingly goodly things and kindness. Within his boot from Waterloo, Wantmore cuddled within his shreddings…drifting off to sleep, never knowing that more than most he knew Christmas well…not one of wanting, but just having the day itself.

Merry Christmas to one and all…mouse and non-mice!