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 →
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 →
The weather a West Sandling Camp on May 7, 1915, was in the full throws of spring. The famous Kent countryside resplendent with verdant greens and the soft waving grass as the winds from the English Channel played over the lush meadows near Tolsford Hill. The land was being transformed into a camp for the... Continue Reading →
On February 21, 1906, a couple married at Sparkbrook, Warwichshire in England. The groom was 27 years old and his bride one year younger. He was a returned army veteran with experience in South Africa and would post 8-years of military experience with the 3rd and 4th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade attaining the position... Continue Reading →
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 →
A recent post at the 18th Battalion Facebook Group pointed to a Vimeo video “The Crucified Soldier” was posted in the context that it “may be offensive and can be reported as such.” The concern, one can surmise, that the content of this video was not related to the subject matter the Facebook Group focuses... Continue Reading →
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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Patrick Parnell Welsh was a 34-year-old clerk when he enlisted with the 186th Overseas Battalion at London, Ontario in June of 1916. A little older than average for a soldier of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, he felt the need to leave the security of his job and join the army to be of service to... Continue Reading →
After years of reading numerous books and hundreds of scholarly articles finding snippets and treasures in these sources about the 18th Battalion can be hit and miss. Sometimes they can only mystify. Sometimes, like this find, it can illuminate the lives of the soldiers involved and add an intimacy that can often be unexpected and,... Continue Reading →
On August 16, 1918, a Canadian soldier arrived at Southwark Military Hospital at East Dulwich Grove with a compound fracture of the right humerus. He had received these wounds just 8-days earlier as the Battalion stepped off on an attack at 4:20 AM for an objective 200 yards east of Marcelcave, France. During that operation... Continue Reading →
La morti a tutti trova e lu munnu s'arrinova. Sicilian Proverb. English: Death finds everyone and the world gets renewed. Acknowledgement With acknowledgement to Patrick M. Dennis who brought the role of conscripts and conscription into a sharper realistic relief with his presentations and excellent book, Reluctant Warriors: Canadian Conscripts in the Great War. I... Continue Reading →
Lieutenant Colonel Arthur C. Pratt, MPP
133rd (Norfolk’s Own) Battalion
One of my sergeants put it cleverly when he said that, while the Canadians make the best fighting men in the world, they are not soldiers, and he was right when he said it. The Canadian fighters are citizens. The war was merely an interlude in their citizenry. During the fighting they bore all manner of hardship because they were part of the fighting but when the fighting had ended they unconsciously became citizens again and not amendable to the strict discipline of military life. They wanted to get back to the life to which they belonged.
(Pratt, Toronto Star, 19 March 1919)
Arthur Clarence Pratt was a Conservative member of the Ontario legislature for Norfolk South from 1905 to 1919. He was born 6 February 1871 in Lynedoch, Ontario. In November 1915, he joined with Hal B…
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One of the problems with history and the study of it is there can be a very subjective aspect to the analysis of the past. Information may not be accurate. Sources may be in error, and other myriad of issues can impinge on one’s understanding of history. Due to the subjective nature of history another... Continue Reading →
On August 28, 1918, the following was making news in the town of Peterborough, Ontario. The news would be of interest as this town of approximately 20,00 people had, as had many other Canadian communities big and small, given freely of its sons to the war that was currently encompassing the globe. Sergeant Percy Bertrand... Continue Reading →
May 26th, 1918. The 18th Battalion was, as part of the 4th Canadian Brigade, 2nd Division, located in the line left of Neuville Vitasse. The 18th Battalion had moved into the line 4-days previous, and this day was “Fine and warm,” according to the 4th Brigade’s War Diary. German artillery was more active than usual... Continue Reading →
Our conception of trench life is shaped by the various descriptions of it from historiographies, eyewitness accounts, and popular media such as the excellent documentary They Shall Not Grow Old gives us but a glimpse into the tough and horrible life in the trenches. Some of the men mentioned in Captain Carlisle's letter. To the... Continue Reading →
On my first visit to the Canadian War Museum when it was located at the Dominion Archives building there was a large artillery piece at the entrance. My recollection is this gun was placarded as having been captured by the 18th Battalion. I made note of this as this was the battalion that my grandfather... Continue Reading →
The 18th Battalion experienced Christmas as a unit from 1914 to 1918. Each Christmas was a different experience for each year. The first Christmas was a gala event in London, Ontario and hosted by The Women’s Canadian Club replete with boiled ham, mashed potatoes, and green peas. The following Christmases would not be the same... Continue Reading →
On May 13, 1916, a shell landed in a trench bay killing two men of the 18th Battalion. The Circumstances of Death Card for one of the men, Private John Humphreys, relates ‘“Killed in Action” He was with two comrades sitting in the bay of a trench in front of St. Eloi about 1 a.m.... Continue Reading →
Some family backround to one of the 18th Battalion officers, Lieutenant Charles Edward Bernard Corbould.
Grace (left) & Claire (right) Corbould, New Westminster. ca 1905 (?) Note: Grace’s portrait was made by New West Japanese photographer, Paul L. Okamura, Each portrait is identified with handwritten notes – Grace’s apparently by herself on the face of the card; Claire’s on verso.
I recently came across the cabinet card of Grace Milwood Corbould (1886-1969) at Vancouver’s History Store. A week later, upon returning to the shop, I found the smaller card of her elder sister, (Marion) Claire Corbould (1884-1966).¹
These girls were two daughters of legendary New Westminster figure Gordon Edward Corbould (1847-1926) and his wife, Arabella Almond Down (ca1853-94), whom Gordon married in 1877. Sadly, Arabella died in 1894 at the relatively young age of 41. GEC married widow Charlotte M. E. Wright in 1901.
The G. E. Corboulds were a large family: Gordon Bruce, Lillie May (who predeceased her father in 1922)², Nella Alma, Grace Milwood…
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