Wednesday, May 25, 2016

World War Wednesdays: Dear Mrs. Duncanson, Part Two: The End of WWII


     This week marks the final installment of the Letters Home to Dutton during WWII courtesy of the Canadian Letters and Images Project, as published over the past few months. As always, please feel free to share any memories you have of the people mentioned in the post-- I'm always looking to add to the stories!

July 11, 1944
Dear Mrs. Duncanson:
I am once again writing a few lines to inform you of the arrival here of the parcel sent by the Institute. It has come at a highly opportune time because I have lately been thinking that it would be nice to get something from Canada. As you notice from my address I am spending another short time in hospital, much to my dislike, because I had been looking ahead to big things. Since I am practically fit enough to be going again, that opportunity may still be at hand. I haven't met up with many Dutton fellows lately. I hope to see some of them soon. I seem to have difficulty in obtaining sufficient letter materials so thanking you and the Institute for your very good work, I will conclude for now,
Sincerely, Elgin Sutton
July 27, 1944
Much French Mud
Following is a letter from Lieut. Dorothy Godfrey, formerly of Crinan, now a nursing sister on the Western front. It describes the conditions under which these girls work:
Hearing about the mud over here doesn't sound too bad, but actually when a person has to drag one foot after the other it becomes rather a tiresome job. It rains every day here and that's one thing we definitely know for sure. This country is even worse than England for rain, so se just ignore it.
Have been to the cemetery near Dieppe for the Canadians who were killed in '40, and it's really going to be lovely for its well kept now. Have several pictures of it taken at different angles.
We were the rubber boots everywhere we go even hitch-hiking on our day off and think nothing of trapsing 150 miles or more for we usually get rides easily.
Haven't had to bad a time, but it gets very monotonous and discouraging at times to say the least its nothing new to be low in spirit for three or four days at a time. Mail is rather grim at times to say the least. Well if you want to know what is the best to come over - fruit juices, soups, canned meat or fish, cheese for we certainly aren't fussy over here. One thing surprised us was white bread and it sure seems grand to get back to it.

 July 27, 1944
Dear Mrs. Duncanson:
Received your lovely and welcome parcel on the 1st of July. Thanks a million. Was talking to Alex. Scott; he received his the same day. Also Earl Halpin. There are not many of the Dutton boys together any more. But all are fine, as far as I know. Things sure are looking up over here. We hope to be home in the next year. Thanks again for the parcel.
E. S. Killins.

October 12, 1944
Dear Mrs. Duncanson: This is my third letter to your enterprising ladies, and I hope if really indicates how much your parcels are appreciated. My parcels all seem to arrive in groups of three, so that I often have a hard time deciding which one to open first. Actually it's sort of silly when you can read what's in them on the label, but fun anyway. What I intended to say originally was that your parcels to me are almost (she may read this, so have to safeguard myself) on a par with those sent by my wife. You may consider that an extreme compliment, if slightly left-handed. Nevertheless, the boys in the front line do really appreciate the little treats and it bolsters up a fellow's morale just go get a parcel of any kind. I expect you are as disappointed as the rest of us, that the war is not over yet, however, it is merely a matter of time. There's no point in telling you what were are doing here - the newspapers are doing that. The people and homes in Belgium are something to see. The homes are the cleanest I ever want to see. They shine and sparkle. Also they are extremely modern and up-to-date. The people of course vary from one area to another, but most of them, if you are billeted near by, will give you their doorstep and pump handle. The supply of pears, apples, tomatoes, eggs and the largest grapes I've ever seen, continues good. Well, must be off again and the word thanks doesn't even scratch the surface. Very best regards to you all and the very fullest of thanks.
Al Burslem
P.S. - That honey was a knockout.

June 23, 1944
Dear Mrs. Duncanson:
Just a few lines to let you know that I received your parcel and was certainly glad to get it, and many thanks for it. Everything is going fine over here now. I am in the best of health once more and hope these few lines find you the same. I met an old chum, Harry Jones, over here, and we certainly had a swell visit together. He is in the best of health after a spell in the hospital. Haven't seen Lou Burns for some time. Once again wishing to thank you and the ladies of the Institute very much for the parcel. As ever.
Harold Hoffman

February 1, 1945
Flt. Lieut. A. Graham Writes From Italy
What the men who have been serving overseas for some time have been thinking about the reinforcement question and demobilization plans is indicated in the following letters from Flt. Lieut. Alex Graham, son of Mr. And Mrs. J. D. Graham, of Iona Station, now in Britain after serving in Italy. They also describe points of interest he has visited.
November 23, 1944
Dear Dad, Mum, and boys:
I am up in Italy now. I had hoped for a U.K. posting and then I have visions of getting home for a short while before going to the Far East, but nothing like that could ever come my way. As it was there were only two of us who come up here. Everyone else went back to the U.K. I suppose I can't hope to spend all my life in hot climates, but they might have let me down a little more easily, don't you think? I seem to be minding the cold pretty badly. I think it's possibly just because I'm not used to it, and I had better hurry up and get used to it, or it won't be necessary.
I have had a jaunt around Naples, and wasn't particularly impressed. I am afraid I can't quite see how the expression "see Naples and die," was born. Still, one must remember that the country has been undergoing a war for the last few years, and that the city itself was actually in enemy hands and had to be wrested from them. Since my look around the place. I have been told that I didn't see the center of the city, so I may try it again some day soon. There seems to be scarcely nothing in the shops, except shoes, and these are very very costly[...]
When we were in S.A. we used to laugh very loudly about the situation down there. They had their so-called "famous" 6th Armoured Division situated up at Cairo "in training" and howling for recruits to get its strength up and the recruits just weren't coming in, that was all. And what is more, they never will! And now I suddenly discover that things are the same way at home for the overseas army. Just what the hell is the matter with everything anyway? I was talking to some chaps before I left Cairo, who were saying that they R.C.A.F. is discharging a lot of men because they don't need them. What happens to them? Instead of discharging them, they should just transfer them to the army, the same as they did in England. These chaps were telling me that the boys who were discharged were rather upset about the whole thing. Apparently by joining the air force they thought they were in on a good thing. As any sane person would figure, by the time they had finished their training there would be nothing else doing in the war line, so they would just go back into civies having had a darn good time and worn a uniform and learned to fly at the expense of someone else. It seems they were quite put out when it didn't come off for some of them.
What is the general opinion of the plans for demobilization? I don't know a great deal about it except that every man is going to be a millionaire and be given a home and a cushy job. Somehow, or other, that doesn't sound right to me, but then I'm not genned up on these things. I'll know more about it when I get time to study it. I also got a pamphlet on the Veteran's Land Act. What is your opinion on that?
Bye now, and Merry Christmas to you all. Loads of Love.
Alex

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

World War Wednesdays: Peace for a Missing Piece of Dutton


     How could I not devote a post to this incredible story, which has made the news across Canada and sparked comments from both Minister of Veterans Affairs The Hon. Kent Hehr Canada's Defense Minister, The Hon. Harjit Sajjan?? I've tried to compile as many details as possible and add in some extra things I was able to find.

     Let's start at the beginning. Kenneth Donald Duncanson was born in Wallacetown on June 7, 1915 to parents Donald and Floretta. He graduated from Dutton High School in 1929:
The 1929 graduating class of Dutton High School
Kenneth Duncanson shown under the arrow
     If you would like a closer view of the full class photo, complete with the list of names, you can find it here: http://inmagic.elgin-county.on.ca/ask/results.aspx?AC=GET_RECORD&XC=/ask/results.aspx&BU=http%3A%2F%2Finmagic.elgin-county.on.ca%2Fask%2F&GI=&TN=Descr&SN=AUTO21254&SE=1865&RN=0&MR=10&TR=0&TX=1000&ES=0&XP=&RF=WebRelevance2013&EF=&DF=WebFull2013&RL=0&EL=0&DL=0&NP=255&ID=&MF=GENERICENGWPMSG.INI&DT=&ST=0&IR=15577&NR=0&NB=0&SV=0&SS=0&BG=&FG=&QS=

     In 1939 he married Mabel Lillian Haggerty, and the couple settled in Dutton. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, he enlisted with the Algonquin Regiment, R.C.I.C. on August 24, 1942 in Listowel, later serving with Headquarters Staff in Canada at Listowel and at Ipperwash. After one year of training in Canada he trained for ten months in England. Along with the regiment, he participated in the fighting at Caen, the Falaise Gap, and the Leopold Canal. The Algonquins served in the 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Armored Division in Northwest Europe.
     Pte. Duncanson was twenty-nine years old when he was killed on September 14, 1944 during an attempt by the Algonquin Regiment to establish a bridgehead crossing of the Derivation de la Lys and the Leopold Canal in Belgium. On 2 October 1944, he was reported missing in action, and on 15 June 1945, definite news was received that he had been killed in the battle of the Leopold Canal.  He was included in the Groesbeek Memorial in the Netherlands, and is commemorated on page 296 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. He also appears in the local A Tribute to Valor:




     Then, on Remembrance Day 2014, a metal detector hobbyist combing a farmer's field in Belgium discovered the remains. After combining the historical context, anthropological analysis, artifact evidence, and dental records, they were identified as Pte. Duncanson by the Raakvlak Intercommunal Archaeological Service of Belgium.

     “We are grateful for the dedication of the Raakvlak Intercommunal Archaeological Service of Belgium, and the support of our international partners, which ultimately made it possible for our officers to identify Pte. Duncanson,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Monday in a release.

     “Now, finally, he may be solemnly laid to rest with the honour and dignity he deserves,” said Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr.

     Officials say members of Duncanson's family have been notified and Veterans Affairs is providing support as the final arrangements are made. He is to be interred in the fall of 2016 at Adagem Canadian War Cemetery in Belgium by his regiment, and his next-of-kin have been invited to attend. 

     This outcome undoubtedly brings peace and closure to an incredibly painful chapter in both our history and the lives of those Pte. Duncanson left behind. The communities of Dutton and Wallacetown remain just as proud of his contributions as the day he departed to make them, and the remarkable attention the story has been paid serves as a testament to the ways in which the effects of the Second World War are still very much being felt.

     Acknowledgements as always to Elgin County Archives, as well as CTV News, The Toronto Star, and Veterans Affairs Canada, and Angela Bobier for the A Tribute to Valor material.
     Thanks for reading, 
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

World War Wednesdays: Dear Mrs. Duncanson: Letters Home to Dutton, 1943

Dutton High School ca. 1943, Elgin County Archives
     Back at it again with the still-popular Dutton letters! This bunch is from 1943 and all were published in the Dutton Advance to show local soldiers' appreciation for the gifts sent to them by Mrs. Duncanson of the the Dutton Women's Institute. I hope you'll recognize some of the names included this week, and, as always, feel free to share what you remember about them!

October 6, 1943
Dear Mrs. Duncanson:
Having received you parcel two days ago, I am sitting here trying to write an appropriate "thank you" note for your most welcome gift. It is hard to explain just how much these parcels are appreciated by Canadians over here. On behalf of myself I do thank you very much for your parcel and I appreciate just how much work goes into making these parcels the success they are. I should like to add also that the rest of our crew would like to thank you also, as they shared in the contents of your box. England appeals to me very much so far, and parts of it remind me of Southern Ontario. In a fortnight or so we expect two weeks leave so I will be able to travel around a bit. I will close this letter now, Mrs. Duncanson, and again let me tell you how very much I appreciated your box, and I do thank everyone connected with packing and sending it. Give my best regards to everyone at home, and in case you do not hear from me before the end of the year, I will take the opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.
Sincerely, Bill Johnston.

October 14, 1943
Dear Mrs. Duncanson:
I received the very welcome parcel today. It was sure good to see some of Canada again and it was very thoughtful of the Women's Institute to send it. I like it very much here. We have been very busy on bomber command. It gives a fellow a bit of satisfaction to be taking an active part in the war, and I don't mind putting in some long hours, as long as get the bombs off. The Duchess of Gloucester was visiting our station today, and inspected the WAAFS. They had quite a parade, only my section was too busy to turn out. Well, I guess this is about all for just now. Thanks a lot for the parcel,
Sincerely C.A. Milton

October 17, 1943
Dear Mrs. Duncanson:
The fine selection of appetizing and needed articles reached me yesterday in perfect condition. Kindly convey my thanks to the officers and members for the thoughtfulness in remembering me. The true value of such gifts is the conveyance of the fact that somewhere somebody has not forgotten and our thoughts return to Canada.
Sincerely, Ed Roberts

October 20, 1943
Dear Mrs. Duncanson:
Just received parcel No 3, so I'm sitting here writing with a full stomach. The parcel arrived in A 1 shape and it really was swell. I also found the paper and envelopes, so I take it you never received my other letter yet. Well, it's been on the way for quite a while so you probably received it by now, at least I hope so. I guess everything is about the same around Dutton. I hope to be getting The Advance regular, so I'll be able to keep track of everyone. There doesn't seem to be many changes around here, but probably I wouldn't be allowed to know about them anyway. I spent a very enjoyable week-end in London last week. The enemy planes were over there on Saturday night, but the people there don't seem to mind very much. The weather really has been terrible here lately, its practically rained steady since Sunday morning, and it's a real cold rain which makes it very miserable. Well I will sign off for now, thanking you and the Women's Institute for the lovely parcel. I hope you are able to carry on with your wonderful work. As ever,
John Hodder
      John William Hodder of Wallacetown was the son of Frederick and Clara (Morrish) Hodder, During the Second World War, he served with the South Saskatchewan 2nd Division and returned home a highly decorated veteran, later settling in Newmarket. He later returned to Wallacetown, and recently passed away on November 17, 2015 in his 96th year. (Courtesy of the West Elgin Chronicle).


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Local West Lorne WW1 Servicemen Information Needed

In June, there will be a commemoration event on the 100th anniversary of local participation in WW1 to be held in St. Thomas (more details below).  We are assisting by compiling photographs and addresses (at the time) of those locals who served.  Could you take a moment to look through this partial list and see if you have any information, letters or artefacts of these men?  
Send anything you have, particularly photographs and their address, to Angela at info@backuspagehouse.ca  We will be putting together a slideshow and table display for the event in St. Thomas.  Watch for more blog posts with lists from different local towns.  We thank you in advance for your help.  

West Lorne
Harold Becker
Fred Becker
L.F.G. Bole
W.J. Brock
Irvine Bolsby
Ruben Byfield
Wm. Britton
Harry Buckler
Lyle Collard
Chester Danby
Fred Edwards
A.J. Everett
Roy Erskine
Boyd Erskine
Arthur Garlick
Robert Gray
George Gray
W.A. Gray
Frank Gray
Earl E. Gardner
Thomas E. Garlick
Allister Haig
Norman Haviland
Roy Henderson
Lorne Hill
John Jones
J.M. Kelly
Frank Kelly
Chas. Kelly
Earl W. Lemon
Thos. Montague
George Monteith
Rudolph E. Mehring
Norman McColl
Urban McDonald
Gordon McDonald
Lloyd McPhee
Clarence McFee
Clair McFee
Stanley McPhee
W.S. McLennan
J. McLennan
J. McIntosh
Verne McKillop
A.B. McColl
Robert McKillop
Fred McLennan
David McGill
James Penrose
Chas. Petrick
Chas. Partridge
Thos. Randall
Robert Sharratt
Harold Sharratt
Richard Skillings
R.B. Skinner
T.B. Skinner
A.A. Smith
Wm. Stormont
Bruce Streib
A.J. Templeton
Hugh Turner
Taylor Wanless
Wm. Wakeling
George Ward
Roy Wilson
Chas. Wilson
John Ward
James P. Windsor

James W. Neil

Photograph and location of their residence at time of enlistment needed.  Send this post along to family, friends, and community members who may be relations.  

91st Battalion Anniversary Weekend
    Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 24, 25 and 26, 2016
On June 25, 1916, the 91st Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, numbering over 900 men, mostly from Elgin County and St. Thomas, marched to the MCR station on Talbot Street and departed for Halifax to fight overseas. Now exactly 100 years later the citizens of St. Thomas, the County of Elgin and the descendants of the original Battalion will again celebrate this proud moment in our history. 
Follow the 91st Battalion as we retrace their final weekend in St. Thomas!
Friday, June 24th, 2016
7-9 pm - come visit the historic encampment of the 91st Battalion set up on the grounds of the Armoury, 40 Wilson Avenue, St. Thomas. Meet with re-enactors; visit the tented camp, complete with a medical facility as it would have been in 1916. 
At sunset, 9:00 pm, plan to be at the Armoury as the re-enactors and serving members of 31 CER (The Elgins) lower the flags for the day and prepare for the evening routine. Once dark the names and stories of all 901 members of the original Battalion will be displayed on the outer wall of the Armoury – a roll call of the men who answered the call to duty 100 years ago. 
Saturday, June 25th, 2016
At 11:00, Saturday morning, the Battalion will march past City Hall on its way to the MCR station (now known as the CASO station). Be on Talbot Street to watch as the parade re-traces part of the historic march. 
Beginning at 11:30 a memorial plaque will be unveiled by descendants of the original 91st Battalion at the CASO station. Members of the community, friends and family are all welcome to attend this special event. At the conclusion of the dedication the troops will board trains, the band will play and the train will depart the station!
Join the 91st and their friends and family at a picnic at Pinafore Park. At 1:30 pm be at the band shell in the park for a 1916 picnic and music concert. Period music from the Henry Meredith Plumbing Factory Band, vintage vehicles, patriotic speeches and more! Bring a lunch and a lawn chair, no food or beverage will be provided. 
7-9 pm - come visit the historic encampment of the 91st Battalion set up on the grounds of the Armoury, 40 Wilson Avenue, St. Thomas. Meet with re-enactors; visit the tented camp, complete with a medical facility as it would have been in 1916. 
7-9 pm - Registered families and friends of the 91st Battalion will be welcomed into the recreated “Soldiers Canteen” to share stores, photographs and hear the stories of Battalion members. The Canteen, located at the Armouries is open only to registered participants. 
At sunset, 9:00 pm plan to be at the Armoury as the re-enactors and serving members of 31 CER (The Elgins) lower the flags for the day and prepare for the evening routine. Once dark the names and stories of all 901 members of the original Battalion will be displayed on the outer wall of the Armoury – a roll call of the hundreds of men who answered the call to duty 100 years ago. 
Sunday, June 26th, 2016
Trinity Anglican Church, 55 Southwick St., will again open its doors to members of the 91st Battalion as they host a memorial Church Parade and Remembrance Service starting at 10:00 am. The colours of the 91st were laid up at Trinity Anglican Church in 1935 within a chapel dedicated to the battalion and to the 173 men they lost. Everyone is welcome to the service and for a reception that will follow. 

Local Rodney WW1 Servicemen Information Needed

In June, there will be a commemoration event on the 100th anniversary of local participation in WW1 to be held in St. Thomas (more details below).  We are assisting by compiling photographs and addresses (at the time) of those locals who served.  Could you take a moment to look through this partial list and see if you have any information, letters or artefacts of these men?  
Send anything you have, particularly photographs and their address, to Angela at info@backuspagehouse.ca  We will be putting together a slideshow and table display for the event in St. Thomas.  Watch for more blog posts with lists from different local towns.  We thank you in advance for your help.  

Rodney
Leon R. Auckland
John E. Archer
Ernest Auckland
Chas. E. Bake
Arthur Burnett
Alice I. Bandeen
Albert N. Baker
John R. Bandeen
Wm. Bushie
James P. Campbell
Alex Colthart
W. Cuthbertson
Chetwynd S. Carter
Roy Carpenter
Ross E. Doyle
Nelson Doyle
James H. Gray
Malcolm G. Graham
David Gill
George E. Gillett
Robert Gray
Arch. Gray
John R. Harris
Michael I. Hanley
Orville W. Henry
Frank J. Jannaway
Robert E. Kew
Henry L. Knight
George M. Kew
James G. Knight
W.H. Katzenmier
Jos. Kearns
Thos. H. Lamb
Gerald S. Lusty
Amos Lewis
Chas. S. Meteer
David M. Meteer
Harry M. Miller
Benjamin Mann
Fred Mann
Hilton D. McNally
Albert B. McVicar
Arch. W. McVicar
Chas. E. McCallum
H.D. McKillop
John Platt
Lyle M. Purcell
Ross F. Peace
Earl R. peace
Albert Patterson
Thomas K. Raby
Fred Schell
Leslie Spiers
George H. Sayer
Arthur H. Schmidt
Jacob D. Schweitzer
Walter A. Terry
John A. Watson
Stephen West
Ezra D. Zoller
John L. Zoller
Alex G. Campbell

Atwood Gardiner

Photograph and location of their residence at time of enlistment needed.  Send this post along to family, friends, and community members who may be relations.  

91st Battalion Anniversary Weekend
    Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 24, 25 and 26, 2016
On June 25, 1916, the 91st Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, numbering over 900 men, mostly from Elgin County and St. Thomas, marched to the MCR station on Talbot Street and departed for Halifax to fight overseas. Now exactly 100 years later the citizens of St. Thomas, the County of Elgin and the descendants of the original Battalion will again celebrate this proud moment in our history. 
Follow the 91st Battalion as we retrace their final weekend in St. Thomas!
Friday, June 24th, 2016
7-9 pm - come visit the historic encampment of the 91st Battalion set up on the grounds of the Armoury, 40 Wilson Avenue, St. Thomas. Meet with re-enactors; visit the tented camp, complete with a medical facility as it would have been in 1916. 
At sunset, 9:00 pm, plan to be at the Armoury as the re-enactors and serving members of 31 CER (The Elgins) lower the flags for the day and prepare for the evening routine. Once dark the names and stories of all 901 members of the original Battalion will be displayed on the outer wall of the Armoury – a roll call of the men who answered the call to duty 100 years ago. 
Saturday, June 25th, 2016
At 11:00, Saturday morning, the Battalion will march past City Hall on its way to the MCR station (now known as the CASO station). Be on Talbot Street to watch as the parade re-traces part of the historic march. 
Beginning at 11:30 a memorial plaque will be unveiled by descendants of the original 91st Battalion at the CASO station. Members of the community, friends and family are all welcome to attend this special event. At the conclusion of the dedication the troops will board trains, the band will play and the train will depart the station!
Join the 91st and their friends and family at a picnic at Pinafore Park. At 1:30 pm be at the band shell in the park for a 1916 picnic and music concert. Period music from the Henry Meredith Plumbing Factory Band, vintage vehicles, patriotic speeches and more! Bring a lunch and a lawn chair, no food or beverage will be provided. 
7-9 pm - come visit the historic encampment of the 91st Battalion set up on the grounds of the Armoury, 40 Wilson Avenue, St. Thomas. Meet with re-enactors; visit the tented camp, complete with a medical facility as it would have been in 1916. 
7-9 pm - Registered families and friends of the 91st Battalion will be welcomed into the recreated “Soldiers Canteen” to share stores, photographs and hear the stories of Battalion members. The Canteen, located at the Armouries is open only to registered participants. 
At sunset, 9:00 pm plan to be at the Armoury as the re-enactors and serving members of 31 CER (The Elgins) lower the flags for the day and prepare for the evening routine. Once dark the names and stories of all 901 members of the original Battalion will be displayed on the outer wall of the Armoury – a roll call of the hundreds of men who answered the call to duty 100 years ago. 
Sunday, June 26th, 2016
Trinity Anglican Church, 55 Southwick St., will again open its doors to members of the 91st Battalion as they host a memorial Church Parade and Remembrance Service starting at 10:00 am. The colours of the 91st were laid up at Trinity Anglican Church in 1935 within a chapel dedicated to the battalion and to the 173 men they lost. Everyone is welcome to the service and for a reception that will follow. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Local Eagle WW1 Servicemen Information Needed

In June, there will be a commemoration event on the 100th anniversary of local participation in WW1 to be held in St. Thomas (more details below).  We are assisting by compiling photographs and addresses (at the time) of those locals who served.  Could you take a moment to look through this partial list and see if you have any information, letters or artefacts of these men?  
Send anything you have, particularly photographs and their address, to Angela at info@backuspagehouse.ca  We will be putting together a slideshow and table display for the event in St. Thomas.  Watch for more blog posts with lists from different local towns.  We thank you in advance for your help.  

Eagle
Albert Burr
Jesse Dell                 123954
Solomon Dell             123771
George A. Doan
Irwin Doan
Melrose Frederick    182684
Walter H. Frederick  190278
Wm. Jacques            124202
Malcolm Lang
Walter Lougheed     189629
Clifford Love
Herbert J. Leith         189004
Clifford Marr
Ed. –McKillop           190062
George Pfeifer
Joseph Pfeifer
Arch. G. Robinson
Harold Ross
Wm. H. Ross             123729

Archie R. Humphries          190162

Photograph and location of their residence at time of enlistment needed.  Send this post along to family, friends, and community members who may be relations.  

91st Battalion Anniversary Weekend
    Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 24, 25 and 26, 2016
On June 25, 1916, the 91st Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, numbering over 900 men, mostly from Elgin County and St. Thomas, marched to the MCR station on Talbot Street and departed for Halifax to fight overseas. Now exactly 100 years later the citizens of St. Thomas, the County of Elgin and the descendants of the original Battalion will again celebrate this proud moment in our history. 
Follow the 91st Battalion as we retrace their final weekend in St. Thomas!
Friday, June 24th, 2016
7-9 pm - come visit the historic encampment of the 91st Battalion set up on the grounds of the Armoury, 40 Wilson Avenue, St. Thomas. Meet with re-enactors; visit the tented camp, complete with a medical facility as it would have been in 1916. 
At sunset, 9:00 pm, plan to be at the Armoury as the re-enactors and serving members of 31 CER (The Elgins) lower the flags for the day and prepare for the evening routine. Once dark the names and stories of all 901 members of the original Battalion will be displayed on the outer wall of the Armoury – a roll call of the men who answered the call to duty 100 years ago. 
Saturday, June 25th, 2016
At 11:00, Saturday morning, the Battalion will march past City Hall on its way to the MCR station (now known as the CASO station). Be on Talbot Street to watch as the parade re-traces part of the historic march. 
Beginning at 11:30 a memorial plaque will be unveiled by descendants of the original 91st Battalion at the CASO station. Members of the community, friends and family are all welcome to attend this special event. At the conclusion of the dedication the troops will board trains, the band will play and the train will depart the station!
Join the 91st and their friends and family at a picnic at Pinafore Park. At 1:30 pm be at the band shell in the park for a 1916 picnic and music concert. Period music from the Henry Meredith Plumbing Factory Band, vintage vehicles, patriotic speeches and more! Bring a lunch and a lawn chair, no food or beverage will be provided. 
7-9 pm - come visit the historic encampment of the 91st Battalion set up on the grounds of the Armoury, 40 Wilson Avenue, St. Thomas. Meet with re-enactors; visit the tented camp, complete with a medical facility as it would have been in 1916. 
7-9 pm - Registered families and friends of the 91st Battalion will be welcomed into the recreated “Soldiers Canteen” to share stores, photographs and hear the stories of Battalion members. The Canteen, located at the Armouries is open only to registered participants. 
At sunset, 9:00 pm plan to be at the Armoury as the re-enactors and serving members of 31 CER (The Elgins) lower the flags for the day and prepare for the evening routine. Once dark the names and stories of all 901 members of the original Battalion will be displayed on the outer wall of the Armoury – a roll call of the hundreds of men who answered the call to duty 100 years ago. 
Sunday, June 26th, 2016
Trinity Anglican Church, 55 Southwick St., will again open its doors to members of the 91st Battalion as they host a memorial Church Parade and Remembrance Service starting at 10:00 am. The colours of the 91st were laid up at Trinity Anglican Church in 1935 within a chapel dedicated to the battalion and to the 173 men they lost. Everyone is welcome to the service and for a reception that will follow. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Local Crinan WW1 Servicemen Information Needed

In June, there will be a commemoration event on the 100th anniversary of local participation in WW1 to be held in St. Thomas (more details below).  We are assisting by compiling photographs and addresses (at the time) of those locals who served.  Could you take a moment to look through this partial list and see if you have any information, letters or artefacts of these men?  
Send anything you have, particularly photographs and their address, to Angela at info@backuspagehouse.ca  We will be putting together a slideshow and table display for the event in St. Thomas.  Watch for more blog posts with lists from different local towns.  We thank you in advance for your help.  

Crinan
J. Campbell               
James A. Carmichael 
Ross M. Colley
J.C. Frank
Frank Logan
Thos. Logan
Duncan M. McColl

Lorne McRae

Photograph and location of their residence at time of enlistment needed.  Send this post along to family, friends, and community members who may be relations.  

91st Battalion Anniversary Weekend
    Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 24, 25 and 26, 2016
On June 25, 1916, the 91st Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, numbering over 900 men, mostly from Elgin County and St. Thomas, marched to the MCR station on Talbot Street and departed for Halifax to fight overseas. Now exactly 100 years later the citizens of St. Thomas, the County of Elgin and the descendants of the original Battalion will again celebrate this proud moment in our history. 
Follow the 91st Battalion as we retrace their final weekend in St. Thomas!
Friday, June 24th, 2016
7-9 pm - come visit the historic encampment of the 91st Battalion set up on the grounds of the Armoury, 40 Wilson Avenue, St. Thomas. Meet with re-enactors; visit the tented camp, complete with a medical facility as it would have been in 1916. 
At sunset, 9:00 pm, plan to be at the Armoury as the re-enactors and serving members of 31 CER (The Elgins) lower the flags for the day and prepare for the evening routine. Once dark the names and stories of all 901 members of the original Battalion will be displayed on the outer wall of the Armoury – a roll call of the men who answered the call to duty 100 years ago. 
Saturday, June 25th, 2016
At 11:00, Saturday morning, the Battalion will march past City Hall on its way to the MCR station (now known as the CASO station). Be on Talbot Street to watch as the parade re-traces part of the historic march. 
Beginning at 11:30 a memorial plaque will be unveiled by descendants of the original 91st Battalion at the CASO station. Members of the community, friends and family are all welcome to attend this special event. At the conclusion of the dedication the troops will board trains, the band will play and the train will depart the station!
Join the 91st and their friends and family at a picnic at Pinafore Park. At 1:30 pm be at the band shell in the park for a 1916 picnic and music concert. Period music from the Henry Meredith Plumbing Factory Band, vintage vehicles, patriotic speeches and more! Bring a lunch and a lawn chair, no food or beverage will be provided. 
7-9 pm - come visit the historic encampment of the 91st Battalion set up on the grounds of the Armoury, 40 Wilson Avenue, St. Thomas. Meet with re-enactors; visit the tented camp, complete with a medical facility as it would have been in 1916. 
7-9 pm - Registered families and friends of the 91st Battalion will be welcomed into the recreated “Soldiers Canteen” to share stores, photographs and hear the stories of Battalion members. The Canteen, located at the Armouries is open only to registered participants. 
At sunset, 9:00 pm plan to be at the Armoury as the re-enactors and serving members of 31 CER (The Elgins) lower the flags for the day and prepare for the evening routine. Once dark the names and stories of all 901 members of the original Battalion will be displayed on the outer wall of the Armoury – a roll call of the hundreds of men who answered the call to duty 100 years ago. 
Sunday, June 26th, 2016
Trinity Anglican Church, 55 Southwick St., will again open its doors to members of the 91st Battalion as they host a memorial Church Parade and Remembrance Service starting at 10:00 am. The colours of the 91st were laid up at Trinity Anglican Church in 1935 within a chapel dedicated to the battalion and to the 173 men they lost. Everyone is welcome to the service and for a reception that will follow. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Seedy Saturdays- The White Trillium



Happy Saturday Everyone!  Today's blog is about a flower that we should all recognize quite easily.

The Trillium is a perennial flowering plant that can be seen in early Spring throughout forests in North America and Asia.  We have them in John E. Pearce Provincial Park each year and they are always lovely to behold.  This is a delicate plant, however, as it can be killed by having parts picked off. 

In this province, it is illegal to injure the white trillium in any way, unless you are a public works employee carrying out your job on public land or a private citizen carrying out “necessary work” on land that you own or lawfully occupy.  Ontario law also protects the rare drooping trillium, because of its very small population numbers.  Humans are not the only threat to the trillium however, as high white tail deer can severely decrease or eliminate a population in an area. 


I’m sure you have come to notice that the white trillium is the official flower of the province of Ontario, as well as this provinces government.  It is also the official wildflower of Ohio and interesting enough, the Toronto and Columbus teams in the Major Soccer League compete with each other over the Trillium Cup.

Have a great rest of your weekend.