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 →

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 →

A Fate Awaited Him at Home

On July 29, 1915, The London Advertiser reported, in one line, that Private Hugh Marshall, reg. no. 54266 had “Died of injuries sustained by motor car accident. Glasgow, July 22.” London Advertiser. July 29, 1915. Not much of an epitaph for a man and his life. Born in Glasgow on November 10, 1883, he was... Continue Reading →

“I shall miss this boy dreadfully…”

Barrington Rucker[i] appears to have had a sense of humour evident in his attestation papers when he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. Arriving from Virginia at Windsor, Ontario, he joined the 18th Battalion on February 15, 1915 and claimed his “Trade or Calling” was an “Orange Picker.” The officers assisting this man to enlist... Continue Reading →

He is Still Living

Private John Dobson (Military Medal ), reg. no. 651436. WARNING: Some details in this post may be disturbing to readers. In a news clipping titled Letters from the Soldiers in the Paisely Advocate dated October 16, 1918, Private Edgar Joseph McAfee writes in it, “Let me know in your next letter if Jack Dobson is... Continue Reading →

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