Part Two: A WW1 Barnardo’s Boy

Part 2. Kristen Den Hartog expands on the life and experience of this soldier with additional research and insight.

The Cowkeeper's Wish

“It seems a person is in danger wherever he is.”

Last time, I told you about the early years of Hugh Willis Russell, who came to Canada at age 11 with the Barnardo’s organization, and landed in Wingham, Ontario, only to cross the ocean again in 1915 as a soldier. In January 1916, in a letter to young Graham Wray, the son of the farmer Hugh worked for, Hugh claimed war was “a great life,” and that soon he’d be able to “kill a lot of Germans.” But his enthusiasm for war quickly diminished.

It’s interesting to note that when Hugh first enlisted, he was described as having no distinguishing marks or tattoos, but at some point overseas, he had a horse’s head and a horseshoe tattooed on his forearm. His love of horses is evident in his letters home to Graham, some of which were published in the

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Part 1: A WW1 Barnardo’s Boy

Kristen Den Hartog expands on the life and experience of this soldier with additional research and insight.

The Cowkeeper's Wish

Wingham, Ontario, around 1910, courtesy McCord Museum

I’ve mentioned before that I’m currently working on a new book about WW1 soldiers and medical staff returning to Canada after the war. The book is non-fiction, though not family-related this time, however the research chops Tracy and I acquired writing The Cowkeeper’s Wish have come in extremely handy for this new project. Sometimes the stories are so fascinating I go down rabbit holes and disappear for great lengths of time.

So it went when I came across an article about a man named Hugh Russell. I was on a mission to find out more about shell shock — what we would now call PTSD — and how men grappled with it for years after the war was over. In a newspaper archive, I found a 1937 article about a veteran having gone missing from the farm he was working on near Wingham…

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Mute But Not Retarded: The Case of Private Russell

With special thanks to Kristen Den Hartog who made me aware of this soldier. She is currently researching this soldier. Please reach out to her if you can assist her. The impact of physical and psychological injuries to the soldiers that served with the 18th Battalion will never be fully understood. These injuries were, however, … Continue reading Mute But Not Retarded: The Case of Private Russell

Pte. Albert Newman, a British Home Child, who gave his life in the CEF

Submitted by Dawn Hueston in memory of one of our valiant soldiers... 101 years ago this soldier perished for his country. Albert Newman, by all accounts (through research) was an orphan boarded out at least by the age of two to family(s) in England. He would eventually be shipped to Canada in 1907, by Dr … Continue reading Pte. Albert Newman, a British Home Child, who gave his life in the CEF

Captain Ed Shuttleworth’s Recollections (1969)

Introduction One of the challenges about researching the men of the 18th Battalion is that the information on hand, though very valuable, in the form of their individual service records at the Library and Archives Canada gives a snap shot of that person’s war experience. This is more of a “photograph” of time. Each page … Continue reading Captain Ed Shuttleworth’s Recollections (1969)

The McDermids/MacDermids of Glammis Ontario

In a letter written in the fall by Private Joseph Edgar McAfee, regimental number 651738 the news that Neil McDermid[i] late of Glamis [Glammis], Ontario was wounded made its way across the Atlantic to find its way into the Paisley Advocate as “news from the front.” In the letter, Private McAfee relates that a fellow … Continue reading The McDermids/MacDermids of Glammis Ontario