The Artist and the Pacifist — Two brothers’ WW1 stories

I love such in-depth biographical work. Each story is unique and important.

Dig Up Your Ancestors

Last year I wrote about the WW1 experiences of my great grandfather Harry Underwood, a POW, and his older brother Harold, a recipient of the Military Medal who was killed in action in 1918.

In honour of Remembrance Day 2022, I’d like to tell the WW1 stories of two of my husband’s great uncles, brothers Algernon and Sidney Saword. Their experiences couldn’t be more different from each other: Born in England, they were recent immigrants to Canada when war broke out; Algernon (‘Algy’) was quick to sign up with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) and soon found himself back in Britain and on the battlefields of Europe, while Sidney, whose religious beliefs made him a non-combatant, served with the CEF in Canada on the railways.

Growing up in Southend

Sidney James Saword (b. 1894) and Algernon Leslie Saword (b. 1895) were the two oldest surviving sons of James Saword…

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The Bricklayer from London Ontario

Each soldier in the Canadian Expeditionary Force had their own unique experience. When one watches a battalion marching during a parade there is a perception of one-mindedness and that the military ethos involves the sublimation of the individual and their unique personality and experiences. But, no matter how hard an army tries to forge individuals... Continue Reading →

The “Rawleigh Man”

Witley Camp. January 1918. It had just snowed 4 inches and Private Charles Arthur Reed (reg. no. 651593), formerly of Eden Grove, Ontario was responding to a letter from his mother. Letter dates 14 January 1918 from Private Reed to his mother, Isabella Ann (McNaugthon) Reed (1871-1953) His primary concern at the beginning of the... Continue Reading →

Private Sherwood’s Loss

This is the first of a series of blog posts investigating the service and experiences of 18th Battalion soldiers from the Maritmes. As the 18th Battalion was a Western Ontario battalion it generally received replacements from battalions raised in the same geographic region. The author is presently visiting such graves of the men he has... Continue Reading →

Playing Games with the Hun

A soldier’s letter published in the London Advertiser in November of 1915 gives a glimpse of the perspective of a new soldier to his introduction to combat conditions. It was written at the end of October or early November by a Welshman serving with the 18th Battalion to a friend residing in the Iroquois Hotel... Continue Reading →

Is this Corporal Kelley of the 18th?

Tracking down information relating to the 18th Battalion can be challenging. There are some consistent sources of information, but when you are dealing with the service of up to 5,000 men who served in the Battalion during its existence from October 1914 to May 1919 that has no official war history and has all the... Continue Reading →

A Druggist from Hamilton

On March 30, 1916, at Hamilton, Ontario George Reginald Parke, a 27-year-old druggist, enlisted as a lieutenant with the 173rd Overseas Battalion. He had all of 4-months experience with the 91st Canadian Highlanders. Lieutenant G R Parke (HU 116591) Lieutenant G R Parke. Unit: 173rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry, Canadian Expeditionary Force. Copyright: © IWM. Original... Continue Reading →

Lt. Col. Lochead

World War Graphic History

Lieutenant Colonel W.M.O. Lochead
118th (North Waterloo) Battalion

Give us leaders! Men of ability. Soldiers who know what soldiering is. We deem it unwise to hand our bodies over to the keeping of a four-month recruit. If you want to accomplish results in recruiting, get a competent soldier at the head of the regiment.

(Berlin Trade and Labour Council, 1915)

William Merton Overton Lochead was a leading figure in the Berlin business community and insurance firm manger. He was born on 10 January 1874 in Camden Township, Ontario and graduated from Queen’s University. Although he had limited experience in the militia, Lochead was selected to raise the 118th Battalion due to his reputation for business management and organization.

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