July 2022
S M T W T F S
« Jun    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Great War Honours to the Canadian Scottish

Posted By on February 27, 2022

Canadian Orchards, Festubert, France. Captured by the 16th Battalion CEF, 20 May 1915. Image by Lieutenant Colonel William Rae DSO a veteran of the battle. (Canadian Scottish Museum)

Canadian Orchards near La Quinque Rue, Festubert, France. Captured by the 16th Battalion CEF, 20 May 1915.
Image by Lieutenant Colonel William Rae DSO a veteran of the battle.
(Canadian Scottish Museum)

1915 and the 16th Canadian Infantry Battalion

Distinguished Service Order

Major Gilbert Godson-Godson DSO
London Gazette: 22 June 1915
Awarded on the occasion of His Majesty’s Birthday. No citation.

Occupation: City of Vancouver. Department Head.

Prior service: Second Boer War (Corps of Guides and South African Constabulary. Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Mentioned in Despatches). Natal Rebellion 1906 (Royston’s Horse,), Canadian Militia:  72nd Regiment (Seaforth Highlanders of Canada).

Wounded: 24 April 1915. Gun shot wound face and neck.

Awarded the French Officier Ordre du Mérite Agricole (7-10-1919) and brought to notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable services rendered in connection with the war (7 August 1917). Later Lieutenant Colonel (23 January 1916). Died (7 June 1954).

Major Gilbert Godson-Godson DSO. (Imperial War Museum image, London).

Major Gilbert Godson-Godson DSO.
(Imperial War Museum image, London)

See also Godson-Godson Canadian Military Police Virtual Museum

Captain Frank Morison DSO
London Gazette: 25 August 1915

For conspicuous gallantry and ability May 20th 1915 when he commanded the leading Company in the attack on the Orchard at La Quinque Rue. He captured the enemy’s position which was of primary importance under heavy shrapnel, rifle and machine gun fire.

Occupation: Barrister at Law.

Prior Service: 91st Regiment (Canadian Highlanders “Argyles”).

Mentioned in Despatches (1 January 1916). Awarded the French Médaille d’Honneur avec glaives en Vermeil (5-11-1920). Later Major (3 November 1915) and Lieutenant Colonel (Date Unknown).

Distinguished Conduct Medal

29519 Sergeant Bernard Charles Lunn DCM
26 June 1915

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty near St. Julien on the morning of 23rd April 19115, following a night attack, in twice going out under fire and dressing a man who was badly wounded in the arm and covering him with a blanket.

Occupation: House Decorator (Painter).

Prior Service: British Army: Hants Territorials and possibly Royal Garrison Artillery. Canadian Militia.

Wounded: Shrapnel wound left foot and knee (4 September 1916).

Died: Vancouver, B.C. (27 August 1976).

28874 Company Sergeant Major John Dougall DCM
22 June 1915

For conspicuous gallantry at St. Julien on night of 22nd-23rd April 1915 during an attack on a wood – this Non-Commissioned Officer placed himself at the head of a party of men belonging to another Battalion who had no Officer or leader with them, and cleared a farm beyond the wood of greatly superior numbers of the enemy.

Occupation: Moulder.

Prior Service: British Army (1st King’s Own Scottish Borderers).

Wounded: Ypres. Shrapnel wounds (Rifle Grenade) right shoulder and neck. (19 April 1916).

Missing presumed killed 8/9 October 1916.
Medals and decorations, memorial plaque and scroll, memorial cross forwarded to wife. Mrs. Margaret Dougall, 24 Stewart Road, Falkirk, Scotland.
Commemorated on the Vimy Memorial, France.

Kitcheners' Wood 22 April 1915 Memorial to the 10th and 16th Battalions CEF. Created in 1997 by the Vrjie Basisscheool, St. Juliaan, Belgium. (P. Ferguson image, September 2013)

Kitcheners’ Wood 22 April 1915 Memorial to the 10th and 16th Battalions CEF.
Created in 1997 by the Vrjie Basisscheool, St. Juliaan, Belgium.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2013)

Mentioned in Despatches [No Citations]

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Gilmour Edwards Leckie
London Gazette: 22 June 1915

Occupation: Consulting Engineer.

Prior Service: Royal Military College, Second Boer War (2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles), 75th Regiment (Lunenburg Regiment), 8th Hussars (Princess Louise New Brunswick Regiment of Cavalry), 72nd Regiment (Seaforth Highlanders of Canada).

Wounded: Gun shot wound both thighs (17 May 1916).

Created a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (15-June-1916) and awarded the Volunteer Officer’s Decoration (1918).  Later Brigadier General (12 August 1915), Major General. Commanded Military District 11, Victoria, B.C. Died Vancouver, B.C. (22 June 1923).

Robert Gilmour Edward Leckie holding a German pickelhaube. (Image courtesy Canadian Scottish Museum).

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Gilmour Edward Leckie holding a German pickelhaube.
(Image courtesy Canadian Scottish Museum).

Captain Cecil Mack Merritt
London Gazette: 22 June 1915

Occupation: Broker.

Prior Service: 10th Regiment (Royal Grenadiers), 72nd Regiment (Seaforth Highlanders of Canada).

Killed in Action 24 April 1915
Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.
Medals and decorations, memorial plaque and scroll, memorial cross forwarded to wife Mrs. Sophie Almon Merritt, 2050 Barclay Street, Vancouver B.C. Second memorial cross forwarded to mother Mrs. Mary B. Merritt, 8 Summer Place, London, S.W., England.

Father of Cecil Ingersoll Merritt VC.

Captain Cecil Mack Merritt. (Canadian Virtual War Memorial)

Captain Cecil Mack Merritt.
(Canadian Virtual War Memorial)

29524 Corporal Gerald Coussmaker Heath
London Gazette: 22 June 1915

Occupation: Bank Clerk.

Prior Service: Canadian Militia (Unit not known).

Education: Wellington College, Berkshire, England.

Killed in Action 22 April 1915
Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.
Son of Susan Wilhelmina Heath and the later Colonel Lewis Forbes Heath (Indian Army), “Failand”, Paignton, Devon, England.
Medals and decorations, memorial plaque and scroll, memorial cross forwarded to mother Mrs. Susan Wilhemina Heath.
Brother of Sir Lewis Macclesfield Heath KBE, CB, CIE, DSO, MC (British Indian Army).

29047 Lance Corporal Alfred William Minchin
London Gazette: 22 June 1915

Occupation: Deliveryman.

Prior Service: Nil.

Wounded: Gun shot wound thigh and leg (21 May 1915).

Awarded Military Medal (11 October 1916). Died Vancouver, B.C. (13 May 1974).

29418 Private John William Bizley
London Gazette: 22 June 1915

Occupation: Electrical Contractor.

Prior Service: British Army: 5th Battalion East Surrey Regiment. Canadian Militia: 91st Regiment (Canadian Highlanders “Argyles”).

Wounded: Hill 60 severe shrapnel wound left buttock. Severed sciatic nerve (4 August 1916).

Later Lieutenant (24 July 1916)

Foreign Awards 

Order of St. Anne (4th Class), Russia

Lieutenant Victor Alexander MacLean
25 August 1915

Occupation: Broker.

Prior Service: Six weeks civil aide force, Nanaimo, B.C. coal miners’ strike.

Wounded and Missing: Ypres right buttock (26 April 1915). Later Reported Prisoner of War at Crefeld, Strohen Kreis Sulingen, Holzminden, arrived Holland for internment, repatriated and arrived Ripon , Yorkshire 18 November 1918.

Awarded the Military Cross announced in Supplement to the London Gazette 30 January 1920, page 1219.
In recognition of gallant conduct and determination displayed in escaping or attempting to escape from captivity which services have been brought to notice in accordance with the terms of Army Order 193 of 1919. To be dated 5 May 1919. Later Captain.

Great War Canadian officers interned in Holland.

“Interned in Holland.”
Photo taken at Schevenigen of Canadian officers taken prisoner of war at the Second Battle of Ypres. Captain B.L. Johnston (3rd Battalion CEF), Major R.Y. Cory (15th Battalion CEF “48th Highlanders”), Lieutenant V.A. MacLean (16th Battalion CEF “Canadian Scottish”), Lieutenant F.W. MacDonald (15th Battalion CEF “48th Highlanders”).
From Canada Magazine, an Illustrated Weekly Journal.

You Cast Thy Shadow Upon My Head

Posted By on January 29, 2022

From the water looking towards the Siege Bell Memorial. (P. Ferguson image, April 2005)

From the water looking towards the Siege Bell Memorial.
(P. Ferguson image, March 2005)

Malta’s Siege Bell Memorial

With commanding views of the Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta’s Siege Bell Memorial is located at the lower part of St. Christopher Bastion. The Siege of Malta occurred between June 1940 to November 1942 became one of the most heavily bombed areas of the Second World War. The island of Malta was of strategic significance to the Mediterranean, being located between Italy and Africa. In recognition of the courage of its citizens and defenders the island was awarded the George Cross, now exhibited at the National War Museum, Fort St. Elmo, Valletta, Malta.

The Siege bell and resting soldier. The Grand Harbour in the background. (P. Ferguson image, April 2005)

The Siege bell and resting soldier. The Grand Harbour in the background.
(P. Ferguson image, March 2005)

In 1992 Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the memorial. The memorial’s rotunda houses a great 13-tonne bronze Santa Maria bell ornamented with the Madonna in flames. A bronze soldier rests upon another pedestal symbolizing the losses of the second great siege. Every day at noon the bell rings for two minutes in remembrance. Several commemorative plaques are also on site of which a memorial tablet in Latin references Psalm 140, You cast thy shadow upon my head during the time of war 1940-1943.

The memorial and sculpture were designed by Michael Sandle, R.A.

Projice umbram tuam super caput meum. (P. Ferguson image, April 2005)

Projice umbram tuam super caput meum.
(P. Ferguson image, March 2005)

 

Christmas Day 1918…a story

Posted By on December 24, 2021

...and three bells sounded...

…and three bells sounded…

The bells had fallen…hum, prime, tierce and quint…

It was well past Remembrance Sunday. MacKendricks sat at the small round table and reattached each medal to the fabric backing. These were his medals, each ribbon with the small brass pins his wife had sewn on many years ago. How long ago was it he thought…her face passed by his eyes again and again… the same glow, the eyes he once knew and still recognized in his memories.

First, he raised a trophy of arms with the Queen – China he mumbled – centered at the top. He raised the bronze star to its place on the left, then the silver one in the middle and next the brass angel on the right…the one whose rainbowed ribbon still held the stitch remnants that once held an oakleaf long since slipped away. MacKendricks screwed up his nose as he often did, held it there briefly and released. Finally, he raised, both medals to the bottom of the frame, the purple and white ribboned one and a cross from Belgium…oh that one…oh yes, the other one too.

MacKendricks sat back, the frame resting on its support until he stood up, picked up the frame, hand to either side, and placed them on the wall’s nail. That nail, the one slightly bent that always fell the wrong way round when he took the medals down. MacKendricks stood back, chuntering away, and drew from the pottery mug a long taste of stout…it was good.

Somewhere in Flanders…Vlamerhoek…after the barrage…a town once shaken and still vibrating to its core the bells had fallen. And it is here where MacKendricks met the church bells…fine specimens they were that once called this town’s people together. There they laid…and MacKendricks watched over them removing the litter of war from their profiles and immensity. For the while he remained in the area, he visited the bells every day. MacKendricks was a bellfounder…and these works of sound, now dormant, called to him in their mute silence. And so, each day MacKendricks found a way, he rose them from the ground to wooden supports he fabricated. He raised them as he screwed up his nose, arms in the air supporting the beam into position and once placed released his facial pressure and snorted. MacKendricks visited each day for weeks and there they stood together again…three bells. Two soldiers of the regiment assisted him…one soldier for each bell…he was pleased…an extra rum ration for good work done.

A treasured card sent to Geof from Uncle Dick, December 1918.

A treasured card sent to Geof from Uncle Dick, December 1918.

With orders to move to Armentières, MacKendricks visited the bells one last time – Christmas Day 1918. The war over for some five weeks and as he struck the bells to hear their sound, town folk who had only just returned heard their voice…the distinct call of bells once wounded now on the rise. Once, twice, three and four times…then five and six until folk arrived with the striking of MacKendricks last great dense pound of the swinging wooden beam. He stood unknowingly to those who stood behind. And as the bell’s hum, prime, tierce and quint began to fade, he heard their voices, the town’s folk rise in chorus…in joy…these were their bells…this was their song – for him.

Now to the Thistle he thought…it was not Christmas 1918 it was Christmas some other time or other, after another great war…great war two he felt. Could they not have learned from the other? MacKendricks closed his eyes and saw his Emily, looked at his one Christmas card from 1916…together again one day we will be. MacKendricks screwed up his nose, the memories continued…what will I do with them he wondered…these medals…where are my friends who make winter warm? He padded the weeping eye dry and closed the door stepping into the dark towards The Thistle, where his chuntering was well known to others on this, the day of days and three bells sounded in Belgium.

…to be continued…Christmas 2022…

—————◊—————

Merry Christmas to one and all.
MacKendricks and associated characters are from the imagination of the author.
See also…
MacKendricks and the Thistle
December 2017

No Flypast This Day

Posted By on November 11, 2021

Soldier's Corner...the Victoria War Memorial. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

Soldier’s Corner…the Victoria War Memorial.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

The day seems to bring few words and then…

I slip upon mon tete my hat from Juno Beach, place the camera bag over my shoulder and adjust my poppy. It is time to take up the trail.

I start the walk towards the memorial. This day it wants to rain…it wants the cold…elements I do not care for, (but others endured and so will I – this is truly not that bad – it is the years upon my person finding their edge). I continue to turn the corners towards my destination. Perching myself beside one large and familiar tree I wait…I watch…near 90 minutes as the crowd fills the view before me. Few programs, we are told, were produced…we were not expecting such a large crowd. It is with this voice I see them…on this day from before…those familiar edged faces here amongst the gathering, on these same grounds, about these same trees we stood…today…just different faces…some I will try to remember.

Sentries this day. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

Sentries this day.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

In my soft eyed way my eyes close as the black beret of a Desert Rat returns…the aged sailor whose cap of the Atlantic, like him, is no longer with us and the elder swagger of the pilot whose awards danced swing mounted from his chest. Many I knew to speak to…to share, sometimes once a year, sometimes often, tea and beverages, biscuits, kindness, laughter and heartfelt reminiscences. At our gathering this day I would welcome services canteens brimming with coffees and teas, a warm biscuit…follow the queue…wait your turnwill the rations shorten today’s supplies…I return to my perch of today.

The cold and the damp and still we came. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

The cold and the damp and still we came.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

Umbrellas break open reaching above persons, keeping mother, junior and dad dry, The leaves are my overhang for the day as solitary twigs break away finding my Juno topper on regular intervals…squirrels or birds they have voice too (hmm). The colours on my immediate horizon now mostly dark, but colour is welcome. Blooms of floral print…abstractions and single red flowers on these bumbershoots, caps and lapels and so it begins. The camera is on – the snaps will follow.

And No Birds Sang...nature's flypast. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

And No Birds Sang…nature’s flypast.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

There is no flypast this day but in the distance a gathering of birds finds flight attempting to find direction for themselves…Not so out of place methinks, as we struggle with all before us this day, and still we came. I am reminded in this flight And No Birds Sang. My eyes reopen, the birds now gone perhaps upon a perch to sit and bring birdsong…we can hope…

From my perch the camera is on...the snaps will follow. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

From my perch the camera is on…the snaps will follow.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

I listen to new homage in voice and benediction. The padre finds his words this day…ones I appreciate for the seemingly way of finding truth from caricature of words and heart. The lament , the bugle, wreath and poppies remain with me…and then…we can go.

Sentries, wreaths, poppies and memorial. The camera finds the places. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

Sentries, wreaths, poppies and memorial. The camera finds the places.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

The droplets find their way to our persons as I linger below my tree but soon advance on soldier’s corner. I feel the damp, the cold…and the ache has returned…soon I will need to find the comfort of a chair. As I return to the path, back to hearth I still think upon what words this day? Today I have felt I have not contributed as much as usual…other doors will open and I as I wander…a bit of upward lift…a passing woman smiles and provides two thumbs up…I smile as we pass…I think it’s the hat…Juno Beach…Normandy…France. What days she knows I wonder of this beach and its stories and soon words will come with this day…this fable of birds and self.

The good cap from Juno Beach. The camera bag from across Gallipoli and the Western Front. (P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

The good cap from Juno Beach. The camera bag from across Gallipoli and the Western Front.
(P. Ferguson image, 11 November 2021)

I arrive at hearth and home and remove Juno…take from my shoulder the camera bag and soon find my thumb has found the needle point of a poppy pin. A small droplet of life delivers itself to my surface…deep red in colour…and in this small bit of hurt I find the birds have sung…I have found my way this day…they gave their all…and indeed….I have remembered.

—————◊—————

Published earlier this Day Short Days Ago website.

11 November (1918)…

Posted By on November 11, 2021

Private George Edwin Ellison 11 November 1918 St. Symphorien Military Cemetery (P. Ferguson image, September 2006)

Private George Edwin Ellison
11 November 1918
St. Symphorien Military Cemetery
(P. Ferguson image, September 2006)

Private George Edwin Ellison
L/12643
5th (Royal Irish) Lancers

Son of James W. and Mary Ellison, George Ellison was born in York and raised in Leeds where today a memorial to him has been placed at Leeds Railway Station. The commemorative plaque, normally blue in colour, is olive green representing the British soldier uniform of the time. George was married to Hannah Maria Ellison and together they had one son – James Cornelius. George Ellison, age 40, is believed to be the last British battle casualty of the Great War.

Located 2 Kms east of Mons, Belgium, St. Symphorien Military Cemetery was established by the German Army for the burial of German and British troops killed during the Battle of Mons. The first British fatality of the Great War, 21 August 1914, is buried here – Private John Parr, Middlesex Regiment (grave 1.A.10) faces the grave of Private Ellison (grave 1.B.23). The cemetery remained in German hands throughout the war and it was not until after the Armistice that the burial ground was placed into the care of the Imperial War Graves Commission. St. Symphorien includes 284 German and 229 British burials, 105 are unidentified soldiers of the Great War.

George Edwin Ellison (Wiki Image)

George Edwin Ellison
(Wiki Image)

Much has been written about Private Ellison who was killed by a sniper while on patrol in a wooded area at 9:30 AM, ninety minutes before the Armistice came into effect. Private George Lawrence Price of the 46th Canadian Infantry is the last known British Empire soldier to fall at 10:58 AM. Ellison served throughout the Great War fighting at the Battle of Mons, Ypres, Armentières, La Bassée, Lens, Loos and Cambrai. Ellison’s brother, Skipper Frederick Thomas Ellison, age 40, of H.M. Trawler Towhee was killed 15 June 1917 when his vessel was lost in the English Channel and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Frederick left behind his wife Maud and two sons.

And so….

…this brings to a close this year’s inaugural November series. As I think upon all these images I have taken (and those not taken), all these wanderings – wondering …what stories remain to be told…I think one more thought about these 11 days of writing and what these soldiers endured through four years and 106 days of the Great War….Perhaps, just perhaps Ellison (11 November 1918), Wilkinson (10 November 1914), Cordner (9 November 1914), Wilcox (8 November 1915), Dolphin (7 November 1915), Merrill aka Stanley (6 November 1917), Allen (5 November 1914), Norris (4 November 1918), Davies (3 November 1915), Rogozinski aka Rosen (2 November 1914), and Foy (1 November 1914) would have me consider…all of the others…the ones I have not written about and so too the survivors but perhaps especially those soldiers whose graves are marked Known Unto God. We will remember them…we will remember them all.

This Day
11 November 1918
910 Fatalities

The Great War
21 August 1914 – 11 November 1918
994,309 Fatalities
Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

I have many times asked myself whether there can be more potent advocates of peace upon earth through the years to come, than this massed multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of war. King George V. 1922 Pilgrimage (P. Ferguson image, September 2004)

I have many times asked myself whether there can be more potent advocates of peace upon earth through the years to come, than this massed multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of war.
King George V. 1922 Pilgrimage
(P. Ferguson image, September 2004)