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 →

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 →

La morti a tutti trova e lu munnu s’arrinova.

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 →

Tanner’s Letter: Death of a Comrade

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 →

Bombers of the 18th

A photograph from the Toronto Telegram entitled "OUT OF SOMME BATTLE" shows 6 men who are bombers with the 18th Battalion. The photograph bears a caption and identifies the men by their initials and last name. Taking this source one can get excited that these men can be identified and connected to their service numbers.... Continue Reading →

Coincidence on a Train

Coincidence. What series of events need to come together to create one? Many people attribute unseen forces to coincidence, and some dismiss that, by chance alone, there is no way a series of events or connections can occur without some unseen force conspiring to create the event that seems but impossible to have occurred. There... Continue Reading →

Three Men Stand Together

The three men stand together. Their faces are such that one cannot define emotion. Two of the men are not stoic as much, it seems, attempting to suppress laughter while being serious soldiers. The man on the left has his eyes fixed at the photographer is there is no hint of a smile, unlike the... Continue Reading →

Finances and the Private

On October 29, 1914, a 27-year-old labourer[i] enlisted with the 18th Battalion. He had 1-year experience with the 30th Wellington Rifles. He had previously enlisted with the 6th London Battery (Independent), Canadian Field Artillery (CFA), but that enlistment, for some reason, only lasted from August 12 to 29 of 1914. Now, he had permission to... Continue Reading →

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