April 24, 2021. One of the joys in doing research for the On The War Memorial Trail research project is the opportunity to learn more about the families of our friends and neighbours. Much of the focus is on those who served our country and lost their lives while in service.
However, the majority of military service personnel in WW1 and WW2 returned home. We don’t often know much about their time in service, or what happened afterwards. As families come forward with information, Pieter is trying to tell these stories. Recently we met with Mary Ferguson of Crapaud, who shared photos about her father.
WW1 veteran Maynard FOY of Tryon, Prince Edward Island was born December 22, 1886, the son of Theodore Seth Harding Foy and Almira Boulter. By the time he enlisted with the 105th Overseas Battalion on March 2, 1916, he already had served 8 years in the 82nd ‘Abegweit Light Infantry’ Regiment (which later became the PEI Highlanders. For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prince_Edward_Island_Highlanders).
On July 25, 1916 he arrived in England aboard the SS Empress of Britain. On March 2, 1918 he was transferred to the 13th Reserve Battalion, then a month later to the 26th Overseas (New Brunswick) Battalion.
The medical case history sheet at Camp Hill Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia noted that Maynard was admitted on July 13, 1919 – straight from the hospital ship HMHS Araguaya. (See https://wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/ships/view.php?pid=3451) His injuries had occurred during the Battle of Amiens. (See https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/battle-of-amiens)
According to the medical file, during the battle Maynard “…was carrying a smoke bomb in his left trousers pocket in the attack of August 8, 1918 when a machine gun bullet struck the bomb, causing it to explode, burning his left leg from the trochanter major to ankle, and palms of both hands…” The trochanter major is a bony prominence toward the near end of the thighbone ie the femur, the point at which the hip and thigh muscles attach.
In a report for the 2004 Foy Reunion, Maynard’s great-granddaughter, Melissa Gauthier wrote that “… As a result of the explosion, Maynard’s leg caught fire. In Maynard’s attempt to put it out with his hands, they were burnt so bad he couldn’t straighten them. They greatly resembled claws….”
The medical care history report explained that “… The bullet penetrated the thigh in upper third. Has been in hospital since that time….” Maynard had been taken to England from a hospital in Rouen, France, then returned to Canada once he was stable enough to travel, and remained in hospital quite a while longer. He wasn’t discharged until January 12, 1920.
Once back on the Island, he settled in Tryon and ran a mixed farming operation. “… He married the love of his life, Emma Howatt, then proceeded to have 11 children…” said Melissa in her report. They had married in Bedeque on September 13, 1923.
Maynard’s leg never healed properly. Melissa recounted that “…my grandfather…Ralph Foy… often took Maynard to the doctors to have the bone fragments extracted from Maynard’s leg. As painful as it sounds, Maynard didn’t feel a thing for the explosion had left his leg numb….”
Maynard died on April 18, 1957, and is buried at the Tryon People’s Cemetery in Tryon, Prince Edward Island. He’s never been forgotten by his family. Mary Ferguson recalled that “… he was a very patient guy who never got cross. Eleven kids and he never got cross!….”
Thank you to Mary Ferguson for sharing photos and information about her father. Maynard Foy was fortunate as he was able to return home from WW1. Three men from the same area were not as lucky in the Battle of Amiens, and are buried overseas:
- James CAIRNS, died August 8, 1918, buried in France (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2020/12/17/the-search-for-a-photo-of-james-cairns-moves-to-youtube/)
- Bazil CORMIER, died August 12, 1918, buried in France (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/on-the-road-to-rouen/)
- John Goodwill HOWATT, died of wounds on September 7, 1918, buried in England (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/the-archive-photo-that-put-a-face-to-a-name/)
If you have photos or information to share, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1. Please note that Pieter is still looking for a photo of James Cairns and Bazil Cormier.
You are also invited to subscribe to our YouTube Channel: On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw.
© Daria Valkenburg