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November Poppy…

Posted By on November 7, 2018

Westminster Station sign, London Underground, England.  (P. Ferguson image, 6 November 2018)

Westminster Station sign, London Underground, England.
(P. Ferguson image, 6 November 2018)

This Year…This Day

There are many ways for us to remember those who served. Equally there are many forms of reminders (poppies)…the obvious, which sometimes gather much attention, the hidden gems tucked away until we happen upon them and the November passers-by moving about their businesses with familiar red petals upon their lapels.

IWM Weeping Window

London’s Imperial War Museum featuring the ceramic poppy exhibition, Weeping Wibndow.
(P. Ferguson image, 5 November 2018)

Poppies, at this time, take on many forms…they are added to familiar logos, worn as jewels, pendants, pins and bracelets. They are paper, they are plastic. Crafted by hand with knitted fabric or as ceramic homage, all capture for a nation, Dad, Mom, Grannie, Grampa, ancestor, son, daughter, my family, our families who served.

Poppies on our collars and lapels. Pinned to our jackets and caps. Placed upon the sacred and hallowed when released from our hand to a wreath, to a place or to an unknown soldier’s grave.

Poppies on our lapels and collars this year...this day. (P. Ferguson image, 7 November, 2018)

Poppies on our lapels and collars this year…this day.
(P. Ferguson image, 7 November, 2018)

Do you rescue the ones fallen, from your collars, blowing in the wind? Do you make them whole again? Do you find a chosen place for them to bloom again this day? How do you remember? Who will you remember…this year…this day soon to come?

Belgium Remembered…

Posted By on November 6, 2018

The Nation family memorial at Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C (P. Ferguson image, December 2014)

The Nation family memorial at Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C
(P. Ferguson image, December 2014)

One suggestion…one step…and a million more followed

Sometimes when sifting through the research and images, recollections and recall, I ask myself what were the origins of a specific project? Where did it all begin?

The hours of enjoyment wandering about paths and trails, the gentle cadence through a library’s stacks, the scrambling through newspapers and periodicals and the now very welcome modern scanning technologies of OCR, have all led to happy productions. I enjoy assembling these ponderings…these musings and have grown accustomed to the clattering of the keys.

On 10 November 2018 I will be presenting Belgium Remembered in British Columbia at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele, Zonnebeke, Belgium. I am pleased to bring this project overseas to a community and landscape, of the former Belgian Western Front, that I feel has given me so very much. Most of my work and interest has delivered the Western Front (and elsewhere) to home audiences on the west coast of Canada. I am very grateful for this new opportunity.

The presentation will feature BC geographical place names, war memorials and private markers, hikes and seeking as well as the histories of seldom remembered organizations such as Toc H in Canada. Still, there is one impetus for the project’s  start.

George Walter Nation.

Lieutenant George Walter Nation. (Portrait from the Canada Illustrated Weekly).

One day, many years ago, at Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, I saw one family memorial that intrigued from the outset as I gazed upon the inscription, In Loving Memory of Abigail Geach beloved wife of Frederick Nation…and of their dear son Lieut. George Walter Nation…7th Battalion Canadian Light Infantry…Killed in Action near Zillebeke, Flanders, July 25th, 1916…

The first time I saw the Nation family memorial was during my university years when I wrote an extra essay for the late Dr. Alan Gowans. In one of Dr. Gowan’s lectures he mentioned that an essay on the then seldom examined topic of memorial architecture, specifically Ross Bay Cemetery, would be rather fascinating. That was circa 1979-1980…the topic has remained with me ever since.

Nation memorial window, Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, B.C.

The Nation family memorial window at Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, B.C. In Loving Memory of Abigail Geach Beloved wife of Frederick Nation and of their dear son George Walter Nation.
(P. Ferguson image, November 2016)

I am most grateful to Dr. Gowan’s insights and his charismatic deliveries. Methinks I learned much from him…and I gained so much more…finding a portrait of a grinning George Walter Nation, seeing the colours in the Nation family memorial window at Christ Church Cathedral, standing, in Belgium, at Lieutenant Nation’s graveside at Railway Dugouts Burial Ground (Transport Farm), being on the ground of Zillebeke…cycling along the Zillebeke lakeside…and all from one suggestion…one step…and a million more followed.

Headstone F.W. Nation

George Walter Nation’s marker at Railway Dugouts Cemetery, Belgium.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2005)

On the Day of Peace 11 November – Loss…

Posted By on November 5, 2018

Peace Armistice

A Souvenir of the Armistice and the Days of Peace to Come.

Great War Armistice at 100

Soon the day of the Great War Armistice will turn 100 – 11 November 2018.

Some will travel at this time to London, the Somme, the Salient. Others will remain at home in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, wherever. The ceremonies will be well attended…special events…special art installations such as Weeping Window and Wave, exhibitions and broadcasts. 

Stories will be retold to remind us of John Parr, a British soldier believed to be the first soldier of the British Commonwealth and Empire killed during the Great War (21 August 1914, Mons) and of Canadian George Lawrence Price considered to be the last soldier killed during the Great War (11 November 1918, Ville-sur-Haine, Belgium about 10 km northeast of Mons). Both Parr and Price are buried at St. Symphorien Military Cemetery, Mons, Belgium.

In Memoriam Poppy.

Haig’s Fund remembrance poppy from the In Memoriam exhibition, Imperial War Museum.
(P. Ferguson image, November 2008)

Contemplating this date of remembrance I turn to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission [CWGC] database choosing the date 11 November 1918 as a search. 908 lives are brought forward, a staggering total for this day of days, this hopeful peace of peace.

On this one day, this last day of war and peace 631 soldiers of the United Kingdom, 140 Indians, 46 Germans (in the care of the CWGC), 40 Canadians, 18 New Zealanders, 17 Australians, 15 South Africans and 1 Bulgarian (in the care of the CWGC) were lost to their families and nations. Nine-hundred and eight…How many this day from Germany, Austro-Hungarian Empire and of all nations involved?

On this day of days the following 40 Canadians soldiers are known to have lived, perhaps felt their dawn…but their sunset became eternal rest and not the rising of the early morn’.

Rusted Great War Helmet and wire

Helmet and wire from the In Memoriam exhibition, Imperial War Museum.
(P. Ferguson image, November 2008)

Buried in Canada

Private Stanley Charles Barker
3211221 (MSA)
1st Depot Battalion (Alberta)
Buried: Daysland Cemetery, Alberta, Canada
Age 26

Circumstances of Death
Influenza. Admitted at Isolation Hospital, Sarcee Camp 2 – 22 -18, disease took the usual course.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private William Frederick Forrester
3210630 (MSA)
1st Depot Battalion (Alberta)
Buried: Vulcan Cemetery, Alberta, Canada
Age 22

Circumstances of Death
Influenza. Admitted to Isolation Hospital, Sarcee Camp 4 – 11 – 18 Influenza, developed Pneumonia immediate cause of death heart failure due to toxins.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private Adam William Smart
252323
209th Canadian Infantry Battalion / 102nd Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: North Battleford Cemetery, Saskatchewan, Canada
Age 22

Circumstances of Death
This patient while an inmate of this Institution contracted Influenza which was very prevalent  in the Institution at this time and from which the patient died on November 11th [1918]. Provincial Hospital for the Insane. Battleford, Sask. death due to service.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private Louis Lanthier
268397 (MSA)
1st Depot Battalion (Saskatchewan)
Buried: Regina Cemetery, Saskatchewan, Canada
Age 25

Circumstances of Death
Admitted to Military Isolation Hosp. October 12th, 1918 with a diagnosis of Influenza, complications developed and he died of Pneumonia at 7 a.m. Nov. 11/18. (Military Isolation G. Hospital, Regina, Sask.)
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private William Nagle
3352706 (MSA)
1st Depot Battalion (Saskatchewan)
Buried: Assinboia (Mount Hope) Cemetery, Saskatchewan, Canada
Age 21

Circumstances of Death
Pneumonia.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private Robert Oxley
871354 (MSA)*
183rd Canadian Infantry Battalion & 2nd Depot Battalion (British Columbia)
Buried: Winnipeg (Brookside) Cemetery, Manitoba, Canada
Age 41

Circumstances of Death
Influenza.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

*MSA Attestation  papers “Particulars of Recruit” record 7 months prior service with the 183rd Battalion CEF. Discharged Medically Unfit August 17, 1916. Subsequently drafted May 2, 1918.

—————0—————

Private Frederick James Breckles
510203
Canadian Army Service Corps
Buried: Toronto ( St. John’s Norway) Cemetery, Ontario, Canada
Age 35

Circumstances of Death
Died at Toronto Ontario Cause Influenza Death Due to Service.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Corporal Robert Brunton
2692744 (MSA)**
2nd Battalion Canadian Garrison Regiment
Buried: Louth Township (Maple Lawn) Cemetery, Ontario, Canada
Age 29

Circumstances of Death
Broncho-Pneumonia. Admitted to Hospital November 1st.18 suffering from Influenza. On November 7th he developed definite signs of broncho-pneumonia and was very ill. Given 50 ccs of convalescent Influenza serum, but showed no improvement. His circulation failed rapidly and he died November 11th. 1918. (Toronto General Hospital)
[Canada War Graves Registers]

**Prior service 2 years, 8 months with the Welland Canal Field Force. The force provided guards at Niagara Falls for the international bridges, hydro-electric stations and the canal system.

—————0—————

Private George Frederick McKnight
3059856 (MSA)
Depot Battalion (Eastern Ontario) / 6th Reserve Battalion
Buried: Millbrook Grace Presbyterian Cemetery, Ontario, Canada
Inscription: “JUST GONE BEFORE, SOME DAY WE HOPE TO MEET AGAIN”
Age 22

Circumstances of Death
“Died” (Influenza and Labor Pneumonia) at No. 14 Canadian General Hospital, Eastbourne, England.***
[Canada War Graves Registers]

***An unusual occurrence of a Canadian soldier’s remains being returned from overseas to Canada for burial.

—————0—————

Corporal George Andrew Titus
278
Canadian Army Service Corps late 19th Battalion CEF
Buried: Toronto Necropolis, Ontario, Canada
Age 35

Circumstances of Death
Pleuro Pneumonia. Died at Kapuskasing Ontario. Death not due to service.****
[Canada War Graves Registers]

****At the time of his death, Corporal Titus was discharged from the service.

—————0—————

Sergeant William Henry Brown
458508
60th Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: Montreal (Mount Royal) Cemetery, Canada
Age 44

Circumstances of Death
Tuberculosis. (Montreal Muskoka Free Hospital)
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private John Clarence Wharrey
259768 (MSA)
1st Depot Battalion (Saskatchewan)
Buried: Shawville (Stark’s Corners) Cemetery, Quebec, Canada
Age 27

Circumstances of Death
Admitted to Grey Nun’s Hospital. Oct. 18th. 1918. with a diagnosis of Diabetes. The Board finds that Influenza developed on November 9th, 1918, and that he was removed to Parish Hall Hospital, on Nov. 1o/18 Where his condition rapidly became worse he died at 5:46 p.m. Nov 11/18.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private William Walter Riley
444580
Royal Canadian Regiment
Buried: Summerside People’s Cemetery, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Age 25

Circumstances of Death
Paralysis.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Gunner John Fred Carson
2100723
Canadian Garrison Artillery
Buried: Holtville Cameron Hill Cemetery, New Brunswick, Canada
Age 27

Circumstances of Death
Disease set in November 5th, 1918. Pneumonia. Disease took usual course. (Died at home).
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Sapper Alfred Wallace Ells
2731201
1st Company Canadian Engineers
Buried: Canning Trinity United Church Cemetery, Nova Scotia, Canada
Age 45

Circumstances of Death
Inflammation of the Brain. (Camp Hill Hospital, Halifax, Nova Scotia)
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Buried in United Kingdom

Sergeant Nels Peter Lorensen
447127
Canadian Forestry Corps
Buried: Aberdeen (Allenvale) Cemetery, Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom
Age 25

Circumstances of Death
Died. Broncho-Pneumonia. 1st Scottish General Hospital. Aberdeen, Scotland.
[Details compiled from CEF Personnel Record]

—————0—————

Private Robert Henderson McCrae
718793
16th Canadian Infantry Battalion (“A” Company)
Buried: Seaford Cemetery, Sussex, United Kingdom
Inscription: “LOW LIES THE SOD O’ER MY LAD SO BRAVE AND TRUE”
Age 25

Circumstances of Death
Influenza and Pneumonia. Died 7:00 AM. 14 Canadian General Hospital, Eastborne, England.
[Details compiled from CEF Personnel Record]

—————0—————

Lance Sergeant James McGarry
171345
3rd Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: Bramshott (St. Mary) Churchyard, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Inscription: “TOO DEARLY LOVED TO EVER BE FORGOTTEN BY HIS LOVING WIFE & CHILD”
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
Influenza. 12th Canadian General Hospital, Bramshott, England.
[Details compiled from CEF Personnel Record]

—————0—————

Cadet Walter Scammell
2958
2nd Battalion Royal Newfoundland Regiment
Buried: Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
Died of Influenza. 1st Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge, England.
[Details complied from The Rooms Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador]

—————0—————

Sapper Patrick Wall
415716
2nd Tunneling Company, Canadian Engineers
Buried: Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey, United Kingdom
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
Seriously ill. Endell Street Military Hospital (Covent Garden, Central London), while on leave from Seaford. Nov. 8th, 1918. Died 11 November 1918.
[Details compiled from CEF Personnel Record]

—————0—————

Buried in France

Private Odilon Arel
3080523*****
1st Depot Battalion (Quebec) and 14th Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: Denain Communal Cemetery, Nord, France
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
“Died” (Pneumonia) at No. 33 Casualty Clearing Station.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

*****A Canadian recruit from the United States of America. Private Arel’s attestation papers are not of the MSA variety. However, an MSA 1917 Medical History Sheet is included in his records. Volunteered and likely not drafted.

—————0—————

Private William Stanley Holliday
622730
4th Divisional Motor Transport Company, Canadian Army Service Corps
Buried: Auberchicourt British Cemetery, Nord, France
Inscription: “UNTIL THE DAY BREAKS AND THE SHADOWS FLEE AWAY”
Age 24

Circumstances of Death
“Died” (Influenza.) At No. 6 Casualty Clearing Station.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Gunner Thomas Jenkinson
339868
8th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery
Buried: Valenciennes (St. Roch) Communal Cemetery, Nord, France
Inscription: “BROTHER TOM FELL ASLEEP IN JESUS MOTHER AND SISTER”
Age 25

Circumstances of Death
“DIED OF WOUNDS” (Gun shot wounds right arm) at No. 4 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private Frederick William Joyce
58085
20th Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: Auberchicourt British Cemetery, Nord, France
Inscription: “GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN”
Age 29

Circumstances of Death
“Died of Wounds” (Dead on Admission) at No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Corporal John G. Landsky
40069
3rd Divisional Train, Canadian Army Service Corps
Buried: Auberchicourt British Cemetery, Nord, France******
Age 26

Circumstances of Death
“Died.” (Influenza.) At No. 6 Casualty Clearing Station.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

******The Landsky CEF Personnel Record includes a 1960 letter from Matilda Landsky (sister) to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (Canadian Agency) indicating that she hoped to visit her brother’s grave.

—————0—————

Private Robert James Leach
3133054 (MSA)
1st Depot Battalion (Western Ontario) & 47th Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: Auberchicourt British Cemetery, Nord, France
Age 27

Circumstances of Death
“Died of Wounds.” While advancing under heavy enemy machine gun fire during the attack on Valenciennes, on November 1st, 1918 he was severely wounded by enemy machine gun bullets. After his comrades had rendered First Aid he was taken to a dressing station, and later evacuated to No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station where he succumbed to his wounds ten days later.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private James Mahood
132086
42nd Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: Valenciennes (St. Roch) Communal Cemetery, Nord, France
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
“Died of Wounds.” He was a member of the Transport Section of his Battalion and was billeted in the village of Jemappes on November 10th, 1918, when he was severely wounded in the left leg by shrapnel from an enemy shell which burst nearby. He was evacuated to No. 4 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station where he succumbed the following day.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private Charles Thomas McCabe
853688
18th Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: Valenciennes (St. Roch) Communal Cemetery, Nord, France
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
“DIED OF WOUNDS” (Shrapnel wounds, left leg fractured) at No. 4 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private A.A. McLellan MM
877992
Royal Canadian Regiment
Buried: Valenciennes (St. Roch) Communal Cemetery, Nord, France
Age unknown

Citation for the Award of the Military Medal
Not traced.

Circumstances of Death
“Died of Wounds” (Gun shot wound left side.) No. 4 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private Allan McPhie
418232
42nd Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: Valenciennes (St. Roch) Communal Cemetery, Nord, France
Age 23

Circumstances of Death
“Died of Wounds”  Whilst carrying extra magazines to the Lewis guns during the advance on Mons, on November 10th, 1918, he was wounded in the left buttock and groin by an enemy rifle bullet. He was given first aid and taken to No. 4 Canadian Casualty Station where he died the next day.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private Joseph Nedon
3320394 (MSA)
2nd Depot Battalion (Eastern Ontario) & Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry
Buried: Valenciennes (St. Roch) Communal Cemetery, Nord, France
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
“DIED OF WOUNDS” (Shrapnel Wounds Chest, Fractured Left Humerus) At No. 4 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Lieutenant G.W. Robinson

Lieutenant George Wilfred Robinson.
(The 116th Battalion in France, by the Adjutant 1921)

Lieutenant George Wilfred Robinson
116th Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Inscription: “HE DIED FOR YOU AND ME”
Age 21

Circumstances of Death
“Died, (Diphtheria), at No. 46 Stationary Hospital, ETAPLES.”
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private Harry Lawrence Rose
2688317
Canadian Army Service Corps attached H.Q. 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade
Buried: Brebieres British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Age 25

Circumstances of Death
“Died” (Influenza) at No. 23 Casualty Clearing Station.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private George Sharp
406400
25th Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
Died of Wounds (Gun Shot Wound Left Buttock) at No. 22 General Hospital CAMIERS.
[Canada War Graves Registers]. Wounded 8 November 1918.

—————0—————

Private Clarence Melvin Sholds
734528
Royal Canadian Regiment
Buried: Valenciennes (St. Roch) Communal Cemetery, Nord, France
Age 28

Circumstances of Death
Died of Wounds (gunshot wound abdomen) at No. 4 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Corporal Cyril Slade
57505
20th Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: Auberchicourt British Cemetery, Nord, France
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
Died of Wounds. 1st Canadian Casualty Clearing Station.
[Details compiled from CEF Personnel Record]

—————0—————

Private Clayton Elmer Underwood
3131734 (MSA)
1st Depot Battalion (Western Ontario) & 18th Canadian Infantry Battalion
3131734 [Military Service Act 1917]
Buried: Valenciennes (St. Roch) Communal Cemetery, Nord, France
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
Died of Wounds. Gun shot wound. Abdomen. No 4 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station.
[Details compiled from CEF Personnel Record]

—————0—————

Buried in Belgium

Private George Lawrence Price was one of 24,132 Canadians conscripted under the MSA 1917 to serve on the Western Front. (Wiki image)

Private George Lawrence Price was one of 24,132 Canadians conscripted under the MSA 1917 to serve on the Western Front. (Wiki image)

Private George Lawrence Price
256265 (MSA)
1st Depot Battalion (Saskatchewan) & 28th Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: St. Symphorien Military Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium
Original Burial: Havre Old Communal Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium

Circumstances of Death
“Killed in Action” Whilst taking part in the advance North East of HAVRE, on the morning of November 11, 1918, at three minutes to 11:00 o’clock, he was hit in the right breast by an enemy rifle bullet. Although every attention possible was given to him, he died shortly afterwards.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Buried in Russia

Gunner Walter Conville
313866
16th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery
Commemorated: Archangel Memorial, Russian Federation
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
Killed in action. (Near the village of Stepaniha, Russia)
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Corporal Stanley Belben Wareham MM
42763
16th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery
Commemorated: Archangel Memorial, Russian Federation
Age unknown

Citation for the Award of the Military Medal (4th Brigade C.F.A., 21st Howitzer Battery)
For continuous devotion to duty and splendid work of this N.C.O. since the 21st Howitzer Battery came into action in the YPRES AREA on the 16th Oct: to the 19th Oct: 1917.

He personally is responsible that his batty has been kept in touch with other units.

Cpl WAREHAM has shown absolute fearlessness under intense shell fire of all calibres; has mended lines and maintained communications for his unit when to do so appeared to be an utter impossibility. This N.C.O. by his bravery and wonderful devotion to duty has in no small manner helped to maintain the high morale of the signalers of the 21st Howitzer Battery during the intense bombardment.

Circumstances of Death
Killed in Action. North Russia (Siberian) Expeditionary Force, Archangel.
[Details compiled from CEF Personnel Record]

—————0—————

 From All Canada, War Graves Registers

Iftode Boca
Rank unknown
Austrian. Petrea Aluko Boka (Father) Bottusama, Posta Comanesti, Bukowina, Austria
Prisoner of War
Buried: Camp Cemetery, Kapuskasing,Ontario, Canada
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
Died of Broncho-pneumonia following Influenza – At Temporary Hospital, KapusKasing, Ont.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private Edward Henry Charles Kensington
277428 (MSA)
1st Depot Battalion (Saskatchewan)
Buried: Churchbridge Anglican Cemetery, Churchbridge, Saskatchewan
Age unknown

Circumstances of Death
Pneumonia.
[Canada War Graves Registers]

—————0—————

Private Joseph Richard Read
781562
128th Canadian Infantry Battalion
Buried: City of Moose Jaw Cemetery, Great War Veterans Association, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Age unknown.

Circumstances of Death
Death due to service.*******
[Canada War Graves Registers]

*******Commonwealth War Graves Commission records this soldier’s death as 14 November 1918. The Recorded All Canada, War Graves Registers shows this date crossed out and 11 November 1918 recorded in its place.

—————0—————

Private Obidiiah Snowdon
4063232 (MSA)
1st Depot Battalion (New Brunswick)
Buried: West Sackville Public (Protestant) Cemetery, West Sackville, New Brunswick

Circumstances of Death
Admitted to Hospital November 11, 1918. Pneumonia. Disease took usual course. (St. John Military Hospital)********
[Canada War Graves Registers]

********Commonwealth War Graves Commission records this soldier’s death as 14 November 1918. The Recorded All Canada, War Graves Registers shows 11 November 1918 recorded with his death reported to the authorities on 14 November  1918.

—————0—————

Last Soldiers Killed Great War All Nations (Where Known)
11 November 1918

George Edwin Ellison (England) 9:30 AM
Augustin Trebuchon (France) 10:45 AM
George Lawrence Price (Canada) 10:58 AM
Henry Nicholas John Gunther (United States of America) 10:59 AM

—————0—————

Thoughts for November

Posted By on November 4, 2018

Night view of Pimlico, London.  (P. Ferguson image, 1:29 AM, November 5, 2018)

Night view of Pimlico, London.
(P. Ferguson image, 1:29 AM, November 5, 2018)

The 5th for the 11th

This day of days – peace.

Days before – rumoured endings.

Does the rumble grow quiet,

with this stoppage of time?

As we await with eagerness,

for a new tomorrow?

(12:52 AM)

Asleep at one time this evening I awaken to the repeated poppity-pop of fireworks and ‘crackers. Roman candles are in the air, a fountain of colours like flares on a dark night of the front. Pimlico is not quiet this evening.

And now the mind is turning as thought upon thought does not drift to my presence but in torrents they come. Face after face of veterans once met and their Great War’s experience as elder faces return within my frequency of this night’s forthcoming silence.

As the thoughts cascade, there is only one way to calm the tide, a baton of words to capture this time, to sway the tide in favor of my wish to dream.

(1:18 AM)

 

To Common Folks and Kings

Posted By on November 3, 2018

Irish Poet Ledwidge

Memorial to the Irish poet Francis Edward Ledwidge, near to where he fell, Boezinge, Belgium. Hark the bells on every hill.
(Songs of Peace, ca. 1916)
(P. Ferguson image, September 2004)

The Great War Poets: The Known and Unknown

Brooke, Sassoon, Owen, Ledwidge, Graves, Blunden, McCrae, Rosenberg, Kipling..names of some of the Great War’s many poets.

Who has not read a poem of the Great War?…In Flanders Fields the poppies blow…Some better known than others. Some poets famous for a body of work; others for a solitary poem, that, of their body of work, became chosen.

Wilfred Owen

Famed poet Wilfred Owen…What passing bells for these who die as cattle?
(Anthem for Doomed Youth, 1917).
Wiki Commons image.

Today, 4 November 2018, marks the day that famed English poet Wilfred Edward Salter Owen lost his life a hundred years ago at the Sambre-Oise Canal, France. Owen was 25 years of age, a commissioned officer in the Manchester Regiment and a recipient of the Military Cross. At one time, during his military service, Owen was diagnosed with shell shock, and was treated at Craiglockhart, a military psychiatric hospital for officers, in Edinburgh, Scotland. While in hospital Owen met another Great War poet Siegfried Sassoon. It was…a fortunate meeting.

Sassoon was commissioned into the Welch Fusiliers and, like Owen, was a recipient of the Military Cross. While at Craiglockhart, Sassoon encouraged Owen who, at times, required perseverance in order to improve his poetic work and skills. Like all of us at times, Owen needed encouragement. Thanks to the direction and lending hand of Siegfried Sassoon, who Owen much admired, Wilfred Owen became the greatest of the Great War’s poets.

Siegfried Sassoon 1915. Ring your sweet bells; but let them be farewells / To the green-vista'd gladness of the past. (Joy-Bells, 1918) Wiki Commons Image

Siegfried Sassoon 1915…Ring your sweet bells; but let them be farewells / To the green-vista’d gladness of the past. (Joy-Bells, 1918)
Wiki Commons Image

Yet there is another body of work seldom heard and seldom read. This work comes to us from the vast number of amateur poets whose lines also attempted to capture their Great War experience and thoughts. Their work is no less valuable, even when cast aside by critics or fallen to the forgetfulness boneyard of history. How many of us have ever attempted a rhyme?

One poet whose solitary work I  often return to is that of Private Harry Ayres who married Carrie Elsie Marion Mellard, daughter of Chilliwack postmaster Sam Mellard. Harry did not return from his service, overseas with the 47th Battalion CEF, being killed 11 November 1916. Shortly after Harry’s death, his wife and young daughter Edith received his last letter which included the following lines…

A blazier fire at twilight,
A thousand stars ashine,
A searchlight sweeping Heaven,
About the firing line.
The rifle bullet whistles,
The message that it brings,
Of death and desolation
To common folks and kings.
A sentry at his station,
Upon the trenches rim
Has thoughts that draw souls nearer
And you are there with him.

The work includes words I frequently choose to set a subliminal stage for my own clatterings at the keys. Words like…twilightstarsheavensouls, but two lines always recapture my imagination…To common folks and kings – as well as – And you are there with him.

The Vimy Ridge Memorial, France.

On the horizon, the Vimy Ridge War Memorial, France where the name of Harry Ayres is inscribed.
(P. Ferguson image, April 2007)

All of us find meaning in our interests…they are personal…they are spirited…they make us feel…at least something…..happiness or sadness. To Common folks and kings reminds me of the Imperial War Graves Commission’s mission, no distinction made on account of military or civil rank, race or creed. Of the line, And you are there with him, reminds me of every step I take in this research at home and abroad, finding the stories, turning the corner…the known, the unexpected, but all the while in the presence of those we seek…we just need to recognize them.

Words, observation and listening come together…the high ground, the church, the sounding of bells, especially church bells at 11:00 AM, that always take me to the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Together sight, words and sound connectively steeplechase their way through my thoughts. They remind me…..

…..It was the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that, as the church bells in Shrewsbury were heard celebrating the peace…Wilfred Owen’s loss was, at that time, learned by his mother Susan Owen…via a worded message…the telegram…Upon her son’s marker at Ors Communal Cemetery, France Wilfred’s words…Shall life renew these bodies? Of a truth all death will he annul.