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Never say goodbye

Posted By on March 16, 2019

The Story of Peter Pan for Little People.

The Story of Peter Pan for Little People.
(R. Ferguson image, March 2019)

Far away in the Never-Never-Never-Land, the Lost Boys lived in a forest…
They lived like moles under the ground.
The Story of Peter Pan For Little People (A New Home, pp. 32-33)

Alone and discarded among other former memories. Spine broken – fitted with an assortment of mending tape. Once read…many times read, the life passed from its pages..now reborn by a caring hand that knew another story it could tell…of a lost boy close to author James Matthew Barrie.

George Frampton's Peter Pan statue at Kensington Gardens, London.

George Frampton’s Peter Pan statue at Kensington Gardens, London.
(P. Ferguson image, March 2017)

George Llewellyn Davies served in the Great War…a Second Lieutenant with the 6th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, attached to the Rifle Brigade. In his youth George was Barrie’s inspiration for the character of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.  One famous line, described as memorable,  To die will be an awfully big adventure succumbs to Davies’ Great War when on March 15, 1915…George joined the lost boys of many families. George Llewellyn Davies is buried at Voormezeele Enclosure No.3, Voormezeele, near Ieper (Ypres), Belgium.

The ducks at Kensington Gardens, London. (P. Ferguson image, March 2017).

The ducks in the Serpentine, Kensington Gardens, London.
(P. Ferguson image, March 2017).

Frampton’s statue was commissioned by Barrie and appeared overnight, without permissions, 30 April 1912. Barrie published the following note, There is a surprise in store for the children who go to Kensington Gardens to feed the ducks in the Serpentine this morning. Down by the little bay on the south-western side of the tail of the Serpentine they will find a May-day gift by Mr J.M. Barrie, a figure of Peter Pan blowing his pipe on the stump of a tree, with fairies and mice and squirrels all around. It is the work of Sir George Frampton, and the bronze figure of the boy who would never grow up is delightfully conceived. (The Times, 1 May 1912).

George Llewellyn Davies, Voormezeele

Alongside George Llewellyn Davies, at Voormezeele Enclosure No. 3, Belgium.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2006).

Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away, and away means forgetting.
Peter Pan
J.M. Barrie, 1904

The Lost Things

Posted By on February 24, 2019

Pipes of J.C. Richardson VC

The pipes of James Cleland Richardson…once lost…now found…the stories in reminders.
(Pipes of War image, ca. 2012).

The Reminders Before Us

And they come back to us in our dreams…in ways that reminders place themselves before us…we see them with our eyes, our hearts…hear their soft rasp beside our ears and at night with a gentle breeze across our pillow – as if their virtual hand remains there to remind us – we are safe. They are familiar – they are near and each chance when we might thank them..…it was their time that gave us ours.

I watch the Academy Awards (Oscars) each year…and listen…what do the recipients say who do they remember…who was important in their lives. Each note of the soundtrack, every lyric…what words do we find within them, where do we journey with these notes?

There is story in every step of conflict and peace, rural and urban, all peoples, all languages. Find the camera, still or motion, recorder, pen or keyboard. Find the reminders, the words, the sound. And always recall the ones who brought you here, who brought you to this place…the reminders placed before us…it was their time that gave us ours…

And all of this today because of lyrics…a new film from a reminder…of parents that took us to the pictures and pass by at night with the breeze.


From Mary Poppins Returns

Do you ever lie
Awake at night?
Just between the dark
And the morning light
Searching for the things
You used to know
Looking for the place
Where the lost things go

Do you ever dream
Or reminisce?
Wondering where to find
What you truly miss
Well maybe all those things
That you love so
Are waiting in the place
Where the lost things go

Memories you’ve shed
Gone for good you feared
They’re all around you still
Though they’ve disappeared
Nothing’s really left
Or lost without a trace
Nothing’s gone forever
Only out of place

So maybe now the dish
And my best spoon
Are playing hide and seek
Just behind the moon
Waiting there until
It’s time to show
Spring is like that now
Far beneath the snow
Hiding in the place
Where the lost things go

Time to close your eyes
So sleep…

Essex Scottish Pipe Major

Posted By on January 29, 2019

Pipe Major Jock Copland, Essex Scottish Regiment. Created a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1946.

Pipe Major Jock Copland, Essex Scottish Regiment.
(Image from The War Illustrated, August 16, 1940)

“Jock” Copland – Always Ready

A return to the stacks at the University of Victoria Library provided a hidden gem amongst familiar pages that, this day, I turn a little slower finding clues within the pictorial offerings. This one image here – records the familiar collar badges of a Canadian regiment – The Essex Scottish Regiment, and a name Jock Copeland [sic].

Apart from the collar insignia the bass drum provides a clue with its painted image of the unit’s cap insignia. The image detail is slight but there is enough to affirm a day in the life of this Scottish regiment from Canada. So what was this day and who was Jock Copland (correct spelling) that brought Canada to the front cover of The War Illustrated in 1940?

John “Jock” Copland was born in Shettleston, Lanarkshire, Scotland 27 January 1880 and previously served for seven years as a piper with a unit of the Royal Engineers (Territorials). In 1911 Copland immigrated arriving in Galt, Ontario and worked as a mechanic. In his spare hours Copland founded a pipe band that became the pipe band of another Canadian Regiment, the Highland Light Infantry.

During the Great War Copland joined the 241st Battalion CEF (The Canadian Scottish Borderers). With the 241st Battalion CEF, based at Windsor, Ontario, Copland was asked to form a pipe band and went overseas with them but was unable to join them on the Western Front being found medically unfit for service.

Returning to Canada, Copland and later returning pipers of the 241st formed the Border Cities Pipe Band which, in 1927, formed the nucleus of the Essex Scottish Pipe Band. Copland taught several aspiring pipers to play and his son James later became Pipe Sergeant of the regiment, and a second son, Robert, their Drum Major.

During the Second World War Jock Copland, aged 60, lied about his age and proceeded overseas with the Essex Scottish. Upon the regiment’s arrival in Aldershot, England, 3 August 1940 the British newspapers, having learned of the arrival of the Second Canadian Infantry Division, appeared in the historic military town. It is on this day that The War Illustrated image of Pipe Major Jock Copland was taken.

Like his regiment’s motto Semper Paratus (Always Ready) Jock was always ready to serve. However, though on a very active British home front during the Battle of Britain, once again Jock’s chance to serve in a theatre of war on continental Europe would be denied. Being 15 years over the age for active service, Jock was returned to Canada, whereupon he became Pipe Major for the 2nd Battalion Essex Scottish of the Canadian Reserve.

With over twenty-five years service in the Essex Scottish Regiment (1929 – 1958) Copland’s devotion was recognized in 1946 when he was created a Member of the Order of the British Empire (Civil Division).

Jock Copland of the Essex Scottish Regiment passed away 29 April 1966.

And Danced the Skies

Posted By on December 29, 2018

High Flight poem by John Gillespie Magee Jr.

Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth.
The sky above Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
(P. Ferguson image, July 2006)

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Poem by John Gillespie Magee Jr.


Such words these are – of sun-split clouds and tumbling mirth, laughter-silvered wings – the shouting wind along.

But this day, as rain pelts down and into my being I seek a horizon blue with its drifting clouds of design white…reshaping across this globe before my eyes. I have lingered skyward towards these halls of air from Kamloops to Malta to Hawaii too…and the sky places in between. As water tramples my ground, I find my time… to reach skyward towards the mosaic, push clouds aside and find the blue amongst God’s heaven. Always finding – always thinking with silent lifting mind.

That Rich Earth a Richer Dust

Posted By on December 28, 2018

Valley Cemetery, France.

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed.
On the way to Valley Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2010)

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Poem by Rupert Brooke


Time and time again I return to these words…In that rich earth….a richer dust concealed…and time and time again these few, these lone few words remain with me a day or more. Is it for Richards or Stevens, Smith or Talbot, Hoskins or Thompson…its for them all. Either England…or Scotland, Ireland or Wales. Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada and others. French, Belgian, American, Austrian, German. Across the fields we see them all, across the towns…names and sorrow here within the ground…a tide of humanity reaching ever skyward under an Earthen heaven.