“…because life in the trenches was less irksome and monotonous and no more beastly than in places like Bouvigny Huts”

Bouvigny Huts. Bouvigny Huts. Those two words may have spelled mixed feelings with the Battalion. This would be the first time they ware billeted there but other battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force reported the conditions for this facility in the rear as “…life in the trenches was less irksome and monotonous and no more … Continue reading “…because life in the trenches was less irksome and monotonous and no more beastly than in places like Bouvigny Huts”

Transcription of the 18th Battalion Diary in Process

The PDF file attached to this post is a copy of the 18th Battalion War Diary as one contiguous document. The document is comprised of the monthly diary entries as each one was written and are now combined into one document compiled from all the entries that were transcribed. There is information in the forward … Continue reading Transcription of the 18th Battalion Diary in Process

Announcement: Re-Release of Ordinary Heroes: Eastern Ontario’s 21st Battalion C.E.F. in the Great War

Having to admit a bias before I write this post... The work the people have done to preserve this history of the 21st Battalion, CEF, at their web site and Facebook Group is something I covet. The detail, depth, and consistent and unrelenting passion to insure that this part of our heritage is kept alive … Continue reading Announcement: Re-Release of Ordinary Heroes: Eastern Ontario’s 21st Battalion C.E.F. in the Great War

“Did I tell you how I got hit? “: A Letter Home to Glamis Ontario

Soldiers letters do not stand on their own. They impart small, discrete, often obscure, snippets of information that connect the writer with the people of his hometown, unit, and his social circle. They can often give clues that lead to a broader understanding of the writer and his experiences during his service. The letters also … Continue reading “Did I tell you how I got hit? “: A Letter Home to Glamis Ontario

A “Soldier of Fortune” Returns…

Private Gordon Wellington Wilder, regimental no. 54265[i] of the 18th Battalion, CEF is an enigma. From his attestation papers on his enlistment he was a 30-year old Anglo-Irish British subject that indicated prior military experience with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and had served 2-years in the Sudan; 3-years in South Africa; and 13-months in China. … Continue reading A “Soldier of Fortune” Returns…

Frontline Salute: Red Gables Hospital Part 2

Doing Our Bit

On the Terrace at Red Gables Hospital

I’m continuing my tribute to those battling COVID-19 in our hospitals, nursing homes and as first responders by digging through my archives of First World War hospital photographs.

This is the second of a two-part feature on the Red Gables Private Hospital in Bletchingley, Surrey. In addition to the photos and postcards from Private John Denholm’s scrapbook I’ve included two clippings from the Surrey Mirror. One of them provides a good overview of the facility and a photograph of Dr. Abbott, staff and patients from 1915. The scrapbook includes a real photo postcard of the same image that appeared in the newspaper and so I’ve transcribed the names included in the article to ensure they will be found by internet search engines.

Private John Denholm spent six months at Red Gables however that was only part of a long period of convalescence…

View original post 427 more words

Frontline Salute: Red Gables Hospital Part 1

Doing Our Bit

Private Denholm at Red Gables Hospital in Surrey in May 1916

I’m continuing my tribute to those battling COVID-19 in our hospitals, nursing homes and as first responders by digging through my archives of First World War hospital photographs.

This week I”m featuring a series of photos taken at the Red Gables Private Hospital in Bletchingley, Surrey. The hospital was established by Mr. F.C. Abbott in November 1914 and operated as a convalescence home until February 1919. It specialized in treating men who received fractures of major bones due to shell or gunshot fire. One such patient was Private John Denholm of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) who was admitted in April 1916 after being seriously wounded in January of that year. I’ve written a dozen articles on Private Denholm and have featured many photos from his amazing First World War scrapbook.

I have over two dozen photographs taken at…

View original post 170 more words

“…we cannot buy a candle or any thing to eat…”: Letters from Lance-Corporal Parker

On January 24, 1916 a man from Hastings, Ontario enlisted with the 93rd Battalion, so beginning his military career. We have one postcard and three letters from his overseas service, and they give us the opportunity to look a bit deeper into the war experience of Private John Edward Parker (reg. no. 195573).[i] Private Parker … Continue reading “…we cannot buy a candle or any thing to eat…”: Letters from Lance-Corporal Parker