On The War Memorial Trail….. The WW1 Soldier From Tryon Buried With A Message In A Bottle

CIMG8651 Sep 9 2017 Pieter at the grave of Arthur Clinton Robinson in La Laiterie cemetery

September 2017. Pieter by the grave of Arthur Clinton Robinson, La Laiterie Military Cemetery in Belgium.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

January 10, 2023.   In 2017, we visited La Laiterie Military Cemetery in Belgium, where WW1 soldier Arthur Clinton ROBINSON is buried. Born July 20, 1896 in the USA, but moved as a child to Tryon, Prince Edward Island, Arthur enlisted in the 26th (New Brunswick) Battalion on November 20, 1914 and remained with the Regiment until his death.

…Arthur lost his life on the first day of the Actions of St Eloi Craters Battle….

On March 27, 1916, he was killed in action during the Actions of St Eloi Craters when shell fire hit the trenches southeast of Kemmel. The battle lasted from March 27 until April 16, 1916. Sint-Elooi (the French St Eloi is also used in English) is a village about 5 km (3.1 miles) south of Ypres in Belgium.

1919 photo of St Eloi Craters

The British had dug tunnels in No Man’s Land, then placed large explosive charges under the German defences, and blew them at 4:15 a.m. on March 27. The plan was for the 2nd Canadian Division, which Arthur’s Battalion was part of, to take over and hold the line.  (NOTE: ‘No Man’s Land’ was a WWI term used to describe the area between opposing armies and trench lines.)

The plan was a disaster as Canadian troops were sent to the battlefield before they had time to prepare for the attack. (For more information, see https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/battle-of-st-eloi-craters and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actions_of_St_Eloi_Craters)

St_Eloi_near_Ypres_-_mine_plan_27_March_1916

Map of St Eloi with the six mines fired on 27 March 1916. (Map Source: By ViennaUK – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53210386)

In ‘A Family Of Brothers’, author J. Brent Wilson explains that “…during the German retaliation for the attack, the 26th faced a heavy pounding that killed seven men and wounded another eighteen…”  One of these casualties was Arthur.

…. La Laiterie Military Cemetery was chosen by the Battalion…

After visiting La Laiterie Military Cemetery, it was interesting to read in ‘A Family Of Brothers’ that a section of the cemetery was chosen by soldiers in the 26th (New Brunswick) Battalion as a “…. focus for their remembrance….”  The section set aside for the Battalion’s 67 burials was “…marked by a large board bearing the battalion’s name….

The cemetery is located “…about a kilometre behind the front trenches on the road between Kemmel and Vierstraat.  The area surrounding the cemetery had once featured groves of trees and fine residences, but since had been blasted by shellfire….

…. The Battalion didn’t want the identity of a buried soldier to be lost…

One of the most intriguing things read in ‘A Family Of Brothers’ was the care taken with burials, with one soldier buried per grave, with  “…. small white crosses at the head of each burial mound…”  On each cross was “…nailed an aluminum metal plate with the name, number, and battalion…” of the deceased.

But the Battalion went further, a smart move in a war where battlefront cemeteries could come under crossfire.  “…To ensure that the identity of the soldier in the grave was not lost if something happened to the cross, the man’s name was inserted into bottles that were placed at the head of the grave and beneath the body….” It would be interesting to know if that bottle is still there!

….Previous stories about Arthur Clinton Robinson…

Arthur Clinton Robinson is one of the names listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion.  Unfortunately, a photo of him has yet to be found by either us, or his family.  Can you help put a face to this name?  Do you have a story to tell? Email Pieter at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1.

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog.

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’s book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten‘ is available in print and e-book formats.  For more information see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/

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

Happy Holidays From The Valkenburgs!

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December 24, 2022.  It’s hard to believe how quickly 2022 has raced by.  It seems like only yesterday that Pieter was preparing his research plan for the year, and I was working on the final chapters of a book. 

It’s been a busy year.  Several long-standing searches for photos were successful, meaning Pieter could complete his files for those soldiers.  New research files were added, such as the request to find photos and family for 4 soldiers of Ukrainian descent, and Pieter was able to finish his research for many of the unfinished files from 2021.  There is a lag between him completing his work and me getting a chance to document his research, but that is on my ‘to do’ list for this winter.

While we didn’t get to travel as much as we had hoped, we were able to meet several families, which we very much appreciated.  We were able to able much with the help of media, and the many families that came forward to share photos and information.  What follows in the rest of this posting is a summary of what happened in 2022 with this research project.

…Book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten’….

In February 2022 a book Daria wrote about our 2017 war memorial tour in Europe through 4 countries was published, and is available in print and e-book formats.  See www.nosoldierforgotten.com for more information.

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…Pieter Honoured With PEI Senior Islander of the Year Award….

On October 21, 2022, Pieter Valkenburg received the PEI Senior Islander of the Year Award, for his ongoing research to uncover the stories and photos of those who served in WW1 and WW2, and sharing his research findings with the public.  

The certificate was presented by the Hon. Matthew Mackay, Minister for the Department of Social Development and Housing, and Audrey Morris, Chairperson, PEI Seniors Secretariat, in a ceremony at the Loyalist Inn in Summerside.   (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/10/23/pieter-receives-pei-senior-islander-of-the-year-award/)

…. Soldiers Listed On The Cenotaph Outside Borden-Carleton Legion …….

This year we added more information on soldiers whose stories had previously been told:

  • After a 7 year search we received a photo for WWI soldier James CAIRNS of Kinkora, Prince Edward Island, who died during the Battle of Amiens and is buried in France.
  • After another 7 year search we received a photo for WWII soldier Leonard Stephen AVERY of Bedeque, Prince Edward Island, who died after he was accidentally shot through the head while examining a rifle. He’s buried on Prince Edward Island.

 … WW1 Related Stories….

  • We explained what a Field Post Card was and shared more observations from WW1 soldier Harold Keith HOWATT, giving a comparison of what went into the Field Post Card and what he actually experienced that didn’t go into the card.
  • We shared the story of how a photo of WW1 soldier Lloyd Clifford SHORTLIFF of Barton, Nova Scotia, whose named is inscribed on the Vimy Memorial in France, was saved when a Legion member bought it at an auction. A Legion in Nova Scotia will be taking possession of this picture.

 … WW2 Related Stories….

  • We shared a story about the 2021 candle lighting at graves of Canadian soldiers in The Netherlands.
  • We shared on update on a 2020 posting about Ralph Gordon MCCUTCHEON, a WW2 flight student at the No. 9 Service Flying Training School RCAF in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, who died in a plane crash in North Tryon, Prince Edward Island.
  • We shared a visit that Pieter made to Coffeen Nature Preserve in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, site of a WW2 era JB-2 missile launching test site. The JB-2 flying robot bombs were the American version of the German V1 flying bombs.
  • We shared a story about the 2022 commemoration of 8 Carleton and York Regiment soldiers who lost their lives during the liberation of the village of Posterenk in The Netherlands on April 13, 1945.
  • We shared a story about the May 6, 2022 unveiling of the Monument in Gendringen, The Netherlands to commemorate those who lost their lives, including 41 Canadian soldiers and airmen.
  • We shared the story of the successful outcome of a photo search for WW2 soldier Allan ‘Gordon’ COUTTS of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, who is buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands.
  • We shared a story of the tribute to 27 Ukrainian-Canadian soldiers at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands.
  • We shared a story about the search for WW2 soldier Wilfred GIROUX who was in Gilze Rijen, The Netherlands in December 1944 and befriended a Dutch couple, and whose daughter wished to repatriate a photo and two Christmas cards to the Giroux family.
  • We shared the heart-warming story about how WWI soldier Frank PEARCE and his friends made Christmas 1944 in England memorable for the Pearce family.

…Indigenous Soldiers….

We were able to tell the stories of the service by these WW2 Indigenous soldiers:

  • WW2 Indigenous soldier Philip LAFORTE from Manitoba, who was killed in The Netherlands.
  • WW2 Indigenous soldier John ‘Jack’ Richard MARACLE from Ontario, who was killed in Germany.
  • WW2 Indigenous soldier Stanley Owen JONES from British Columbia, who drowned on September 8, 1945 in Germany when the carrier he was in overturned in a ditch.

…. Stories About Servicemen From The Maritimes…

We also featured stories about servicemen from The Maritimes:

  • WW1 soldier Theodore (Ted) Francis ARSENAULT from Prince Edward Island, who lost his life during the Battle of Amiens in France.
  • WW2 soldier Bruce Wilbur CHURCHILL from Nova Scotia, who was accidentally killed in The Netherlands when a bullet from a Bren Gun ricocheted and hit him.
  • WW2 airman Rowan Charles ‘Bunky’ FITZGERALD from Prince Edward Island, who was on the last flight of Halifax W1175 of the 405th Squadron when it was hit by shellfire and crashed onto a sandbank in the Wadden Sea off the Dutch coast.
  • WW2 soldier Carman Edward GILLCASH from Prince Edward Island, who lost his life during the Battle of the Delfzijl Pocket in The Netherlands.
  • WW1 soldier George Stanley HENNESSEY from Prince Edward Island, who was in the 1st Canadian Engineers Battalion and survived the war.
  • WW1 soldier Chesley William HOWATT from Prince Edward Island, who was in the 50th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, and survived the war.
  • WW2 soldier Richard Lea HOWATT from Prince Edward Island, who was a despatch rider and scout and survived the war.
  • WW1 soldier John David MACDONALD from Prince Edward Island, who was in the 26th Battalion (New Brunswick Regiment) and survived the war.
  • WW2 soldier Donald Charles MACKENZIE, from Nova Scotia, who was killed in The Netherlands.
  • WW2 soldier George ‘Ivan’ MACKINNON, from Prince Edward Island, who was killed in The Netherlands during the defence of the Nijmegen Salient.
  • WW2 soldier Michael Joseph ‘Joe’ MCKENNA, from Prince Edward Island, who was killed in The Netherlands during the Battle of Rha.
  • WW2 soldier James ‘Frank’ MOSSEY, from Prince Edward Island, who was killed in The Netherlands while serving in the Carleton & York Regiment.
  • WW2 soldier Harold Gordon SABEAN, from Nova Scotia, who was killed in The Netherlands while serving in the Carleton & York Regiment.
  • WW1 soldier William ‘James’ SEAMAN from Prince Edward Island, who was in the 105th Overseas Battalion and survived the war.

…. Stories About Servicemen From Outside The Maritimes…

  • WW2 soldier Elie ANTONYSZYN, from Manitoba, who died on July 15, 1945 in The Netherlands.
  • WW2 soldier Albert Joseph COTE, born in Quebec but grew up in Ontario, who died on October 5, 1944, of wounds received during the Battle of the Leopold Canal in a prisoner of war field hospital in Germany,
  • WW2 soldier Cecil Edward GOODREAU, from Ontario, who was killed in Germany during the Battle of Keppeln on February 26, 1945.
  • WW2 soldier Andrew KERELCHUK, born in Manitoba but who moved to Ontario, and who was killed in Germany on April 19, 1945, during the Battle of the Küsten Canal.
  • WW2 soldier Sam MATVICHUK, born in Saskatchewan but lived in Alberta, who was killed in The Netherlands on April 14, 1945 during the Battle of Groningen.
  • WW2 soldier Neville William NESBIT, from Manitoba, who was killed in Germany on May 2, 1945 following the Battle for Bad Zwischenahn.
  • WW2 soldier Anthony PETTA, from Ontario, who was killed in Germany during the Battle of Hochwald Gap on March 2, 1945, but whose death is recorded as March 3, 1945.
  • WW2 soldier John RUSNAK, from Manitoba, who died in Germany on November 22, 1945 following a collision between his despatch motorcycle and a farm wagon.
  • WW2 soldier John ‘Jack’ Langford WALKER, from Ontario, who was killed in Bad Zwischenahn, Germany on May 1, 1945.

…In Conversation And More….

  • We shared a few adventures that we had in North Bay in May, including people we met, a visit to the North Bay Cenotaph, and an Author Talk at the North Bay Public Library.
  • We wrote about the Author Talk at the Victoria Playhouse in Victoria-By-The-Sea in August.
  • We wrote about the Remembrance Day ceremonies we attended in Borden-Carleton and Kinkora, two Prince Edward Island communities.

…. Interviews To Highlight Search For Photos….

Pieter did several interviews:

  • On Friday, November 11, 2022, Pieter was interviewed by Todd van der Heyden of CTV news.  You can watch Military researcher identifies 200 fallen soldiers | CTV News at https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2561931
  • Charlotte MacAulay of the Eastern Graphic wrote about the successful photo search for WW2 soldier George ‘Ivan’ MACKINNON, who is buried in The Netherlands. The article, ‘Sturgeon soldier’s photo discovered in church’, ran in the newspaper on November 9, 2022. 
  • On Monday, November 7, 2022, Pieter was interviewed by Ceilidh Millar of CTV Atlantic News At 5 about the search for 4 soldiers of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment who died during the Battle of Bienen on March 25, 2022. You can read the article and watch the video.  See P.E.I. man identifying Canadian soldiers in the Netherlands | CTV News https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/maritime-man-appealing-to-public-for-help-identifying-lost-canadian-soldiers-1.6143236
  • Kevin Rollason of the Winnipeg Free Press wrote about Pieter’s search for photos and featured the story of Indigenous soldier Thomas CHASKE, then listed the names of several other soldiers from Manitoba who are buried in The Netherlands.  The article, ‘A name without a face’, ran online on November 4, 2022 and in the print edition on November 5, 2022.  See https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/2022/11/04/a-name-without-a-face
  • Charlotte MacAulay of the Eastern Graphic wrote about the photo search for WW2 soldier George ‘Ivan’ MACKINNON, who is buried in The Netherlands. The article, Researcher seeking photo of Second World War soldier, ran in the newspaper on September 21, 2022.  This search was successful.
  • Pieter was interviewed by Charlotte MacAulay of the Eastern Graphic, about the photo search for WW2 soldier James Frank MOSSEY, who is buried in The Netherlands.  The article, Researcher seeks photo of Souris soldier from Second World War, ran in the newspaper on June 1, 2022.  This search was successful.
  • Pieter and Daria were interviewed by Peter J. Wilson of the North Bay Nugget, about their research into soldiers buried in The Netherlands.  The article Couple devoted to telling fallen soldiers’ stories | North Bay Nugget ran in the online version on May 19, 2022 and in the print version on May 20, 2022.  See https://www.nugget.ca/news/couple-devoted-to-telling-fallen-soldiers-stories 
  • Pieter was interviewed by Marcel Vink of De Telegraaf, a newspaper in The Netherlands, about his research into Canadian soldiers buried in The Netherlands.  The article Zoektocht naar gezichten (Quest For Faces) ran in the newspaper on May 4, 2022 – Remembrance Day in The Netherlands. See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/05/04/article-in-de-telegraaf-quest-for-faces-zoektocht-naar-gezichten/
  • Pieter was interviewed by Charlotte MacAulay of the Eastern Graphic, about the successful photo search for WW2 soldier Barney McGuigan, who is buried in The Netherlands.  The article Search for teen soldier’s photo is successful, ran in the newspaper on January 13, 2022.  See https://www.peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/search-for-teen-soldier-s-photo-is-successful/article_eaee52fa-72e6-11ec-b539-d33f425bb7c3.html 

…. Letters To The Editor For Photo Searches….

Letters to the editor in various newspapers were written in the quest for a photo for:

… Successful Search For Photos …..

Many WW2 soldiers are buried in cemeteries in Europe.  Pieter continues to work with photo wish lists from Canadian War Cemeteries for WW2 soldiers buried in The Netherlands.  This year we also received photos and information on soldiers buried in Belgium. 

Photos of soldiers buried in Dutch cemeteries were forwarded to researchers there for their digital archive. Whenever possible, stories are featured on the blog but there is a backlog due to the success of Pieter’s research.  I can’t keep up! This year, photos were found for:

Buried in Holten Canadian War Cemetery in The Netherlands:

  1. Elie ANTONYSZYN
  2. William Eben BROWN
  3. Albert Joseph COTE
  4. John CULBERTSON
  5. Theodor ‘Ted’ HENSCHEL
  6. Andrew KERELCHUK
  7. Amil Adolph LARSON
  8. Donald Charles MACKENZIE
  9. Sam MATVICHUK
  10. Neville William NISBET
  11. Joseph Edmond ROBICHAU
  12. John RUSNAK
  13. Harold Gordon SABEAN
  14. John Langford ‘Jack’ WALKER
  15. William Henry ‘Barney’ WEBB

 Buried in Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery in The Netherlands:

  1. Clifford BATEMAN
  2. John Joseph BOHON (BOHONKO)
  3. Charles ‘Marshall’ CARSON
  4. James Edward DUFFY
  5. Cecil Edward GOODREAU
  6. James Edward ‘Eddy’ DUFFY
  7. Marven Glenroy HARVEY
  8. Kitchener ‘Kitty’ LANGILLE
  9. John Richard ‘Jack’ MARACLE
  10. George ‘Ivan’ MACKINNON
  11. Marvin William MCGREGOR
  12. Laurie Douglas PAGE
  13. Wilfred Joseph ‘Willy’ POWER
  14. Anthony PETTA
  15. Louis Allan SEXTON

 Buried in Bergen Op Zoom Canadian War Cemetery in The Netherlands:

  1. Milton Evangeline LIVINGSTONE
  2. Robert K. VIDITTO

 Buried in an unmarked grave in The Netherlands following an aircrash:

  1. Rowan Charles ‘Bunky’ FITZGERALD

 Buried in Adegem Canadian War Cemetery in Belgium:

  1. Bruce Wilbur CHURCHILL
  2. David ‘Dave’ Stinson HENDERSON
  3. Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Sidney HOOLE

The YouTube Channel….

In 2022 the following videos were posted on the YouTube channel:  On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw

  • S3E1 Book Trailer for ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten’
  • S3E2 Photo Search-WW2 Soldier Austin Havelock Munroe

…Thank you for your support and encouragement of this research project!…

As 2022 comes to an end, we would like to thank all who helped with researching these stories and contributed photos. We also thank readers of this blog, and the On The War Memorial Trail column in The County Line Courier, who suggested some of stories you’ve read.  A big thank you goes to Mike and Isabel Smith, owners of The County Line Courier. 

Thank you to all the families that contributed photos and stories. Thank you to Judie Klassen and Shawn Rainville who volunteered their time to help find families of soldiers through newspaper and online searches. Thank you to Don Smith for answering any aircraft and military flight questions we’ve had.

Thank you to the media who helped publicize the search for photos and information – Bay Today, CBC Radio’s Mainstreet PEI, CTV News, CTV Atlantic News, Dauphin Herald, De Telegraaf, Eastern Graphic, North Bay Nugget, The Guardian, and the Winnipeg Free Press.

Last, but not least, the YouTube channel and videos would not be possible without the invaluable support of post-production editor Wendy Nattress.  Wendy also designed and manages the book website.

….Happy Holidays

Pieter and I wish you all the best for the holidays and in 2023. May we never forget those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Xmas 2022 photo

Pieter’s research work continues. If you have photos or information to share, please email Pieter at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.  

© Daria Valkenburg

 

On The War Memorial Trail….. A Photo For WWI Soldier James Cairns

December 4, 2022. When Pieter began researching the names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion in 2015, he hoped to be able to put a face and story to each of the 48 names.  Over the years he was able to research each name, and we’ve told the story of each one, plus shared our visits made to the graves or memorials for many of them.

Unfortunately, up to now, photos for several have never been found.  The Cenotaph Wall of Remembrance in the Borden-Carleton Legion, which displays the photos of the men listed on the Cenotaph, has empty frames for those photos waiting to be found.

…The 7 year search for a photo of WW1 soldier James Cairns…

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Empty frame awaiting a photo of WWI soldier James Cairns.  (Photo credit: Kathy Henry)

One of those for which a photo was missing was James CAIRNS, born February 22, 1897 in Kinkora, the son of Thomas Cairns and Mary Jane MacDonald.  He later went to Manitoba to work, joining his brother Edward, a farmer, in Cartwright, Manitoba.

While living in Manitoba, WWI broke out, and James he enlisted in July 1916 with the 190th Battalion Manitoba Regiment (which later became what we know as the Royal Winnipeg Rifles). He was killed on August 9, 1918 in France during the Battle of Amiens, and is buried in Manitoba Cemetery in Caix, France.  We visited this cemetery in 2017. (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2017/09/30/the-search-for-manitoba-cemetery/)

CIMG8561 Pte James Cairns

The grave of James Cairns at Manitoba Cemetery in Caix, France. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

…Various media appeals were not successful…

Inquiries and appeals for a photo were unsuccessful. Although James had 7 siblings, Pieter ran into one dead end after another.  On October 8, 2020, Vicki Wallace, editor of the Southern Manitoba Review in Cartwright, Manitoba, published Pieter’s letter to the editor.  (Unfortunately, this publication ceased publication at the end of 2021.)

Letter to the editor re James Cairns

While no photo of James Cairns resulted from the letter, Vicki Wallace did some research on Edward Cairns, the brother of James. Edward died on June 3, 1929 in a tragic farming accident, leaving behind a widow, Lily Victoria nee McKelvey, and several children, the youngest just 16 months old at the time of Edward’s death.

On November 11, 2021, Kevin Rollason of the Winnipeg Free Press put out an appeal for a photo at the end of an article about a very successful photo search for WWII soldier Edmond Coulombe, but we weren’t lucky twice.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/12/24/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-successful-search-for-a-photo-of-ww2-soldier-edmond-coulombe/)

We even tried a YouTube video appeal.  (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2020/12/17/the-search-for-a-photo-of-james-cairns-moves-to-youtube/)

…Success when the grandchildren of Edward Cairns sent a photo…

Then, with the help of Judie Klassen, family members of Edward’s son Alvin were found.  Sisters Kelly Slade and Shannon Cairns Zemp got in contact, and Shannon sent a photo of James and their grandfather Edward.  “…Our brother Patrick had the photo…” she explained.

Her father Alvin received it from a family member on a trip made to the Island with an 18 year old Shannon in 1990. “...My dad, Alvin Walter and my Mom, Patricia, were searching for members of the Cairns Family – which is how we have the picture that we have of James and Edward. I want to thank you Pieter for remembering James and I thank you for your hard work…

Coloured photo James and Edward Cairns

James Cairns (left) with his older brother Edward. (Photo courtesy of the Cairns Family.  Photo colourization: Pieter Valkenburg)

…10 photos are still to be found for the names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion….

The photo of James Cairns will soon be in that empty frame on the Legion wall, and Pieter hopes that more of the empty frames will be filled over the coming year. “…Unfortunately, photos for 8 from WWI and 2 from WWII have yet to be found….” he said.  Can YOU help with this photo wish list?

Names still without faces from WWI

  • Leigh Hunt CAMERON, born in Albany
  • James Lymon CAMERON, born in Victoria
  • William Galen CAMPBELL, born in Wellington
  • Bazil CORMIER, born in Tignish
  • Joseph Arthur DESROCHES, born in Miscouche
  • Charles LOWTHER, born in North Carleton
  • Arthur Clinton ROBINSON, born in Tryon
  • Harry ROBINSON, born in Augustine Cove

Names still without faces from WWII

  • Leonard Stephen AVERY, born in Bedeque
  • Ernest Ramey GALLANT, born in Borden

A huge thank you goes out to Shannon Cairns Zemp for providing a photo on behalf of the family, to Vicki Wallace for publishing the letter to the editor in the Southern Manitoba Review and researching what happened to Edward Cairns, and to Judie Klassen for researching Edward’s descendants. If you can help with the photo search request or have a story to tell, please let Pieter know. Email him at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.   

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog. 

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’s book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten‘ is available in print and e-book formats.  Net proceeds of book sales help support research costs and the cost of maintaining this blog. For more information on the book, please see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/

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

 

On The War Memorial Trail….. Remembrance Day On The Island

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November 13, 2022. Remembrance Week is always busy at our place. This year was a bit different as we gave a presentation featuring a few of the names listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion, at the Legion’s Remembrance Day indoor service – prior to the placing of wreaths and crosses at the Cenotaph.

RCL Nov 11 2022 Presentation They Arent Just Names On A Cenotaph

This was the title of our presentation.

…11 photos are still to be found for the names on the Cenotaph….

There are 48 names from WWI and WWII listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion.  Unfortunately, photos for 9 from WWI and 2 from WWII have not been found.  The story of each one has been told in previous postings on this blog.

Names still without faces from WWI

  • James CAIRNS, born in Kinkora
  • Leigh Hunt CAMERON, born in Albany
  • James Lymon CAMERON, born in Victoria
  • William Galen CAMPBELL, born in Wellington
  • Bazil CORMIER, born in Tignish
  • Joseph Arthur DESROCHES, born in Miscouche
  • Charles LOWTHER, born in North Carleton
  • Arthur Clinton ROBINSON, born in Tryon
  • Harry ROBINSON, born in Augustine Cove

Names still without faces from WWII

  • Leonard Stephen AVERY, born in Bedeque
  • Ernest Ramey GALLANT, born in Borden

 … We attend Remembrance Day ceremonies in Borden-Carleton and Kinkora…..

November 11, 2022 was a cool day for the Remembrance Day service at the Legion in Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island.

CIMG6027 Nov 11 2022 Borden Carleton Legion Ceremony Pieter and Danny Bernard

Pieter and Danny Bernard walk to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Borden-Carleton on behalf of the Government of Canada. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG6028 Nov 11 2022 Borden Carleton Legion Ceremony Pieter lays wreath

Pieter placed the wreath on behalf of the Government of Canada at the Cenotaph in Borden-Carleton. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG6035 Nov 11 2022 Cenotaph at Borden Carleton Legion

Flag bearers Arthur Ranahan (left) and George Palmer (right) are flanked by representatives from the Fire Brigade and RCMP at the Cenotaph in Borden-Carleton. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

In the afternoon, members of the Legion attended the Remembrance Day ceremony in Kinkora.

CIMG6039 Nov 11 2022 Kinkora Pieter and Heath MacDonald

Pieter Valkenburg with The Honourable Heath MacDonald, MP for Malpeque after laying a wreath on behalf of the Government of Canada in Kinkora.

…Remembrance Day didn’t end with the two ceremonies!…

After we returned home in the late afternoon, cold and tired, we learned that CTV News wanted to interview Pieter during a live broadcast.  So, after a short rest, Pieter was interviewed by Todd van der Heyden of CTV news.  You can watch Military researcher identifies 200 fallen soldiers | CTV News at https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2561931

Remembrance Day may be over for another year, but Pieter’s research work continues.  If you have photos and information to share about Canadian soldiers, please contact Pieter at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog.

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’s book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten‘ is available in print and e-book formats.  Net proceeds of book sales help support research costs and the cost of maintaining this blog. For more information on the book, please see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/

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

The Author Talk At Victoria Playhouse

20220811_142252_HDR Aug 10 2022 Daria at Author Talk in Victoria

Daria onstage at the Victoria Playhouse, talking about trying to find a cemetery in Rouen.  (Photo credit: Brenda Boudreau)

August 17, 2022. When Brenda Boudreau of the Victoria Historical Society invited us to participate in the Our Island Talks lecture series, we of course said yes.  That was back in the winter and August seemed such as long time away.  Time flew by quickly and before we knew it, the date appeared.

We didn’t know what to expect as so many people had attended previous presentations or had followed the stories over the years on this blog or in the County Line Courier newspaper.

So we were delighted to see many familiar faces in the audience and to meet new people in what turned out to be a successful and enjoyable experience. 

….CBC Radio Interview….

20220727_105505_HDR Jul 27 2022 Photo op at Victoria Playhouse Daria & Pieter by Brenda Boudreau

Photo op outside the Victoria Playhouse prior to the Author Talk. (Photo credit: Brenda Boudreau)

Matt Rainnie interviewed me for CBC PEI’s Mainstreet PEI program about the Author Talk at the Victoria Playhouse on August 11, 2022, part of the Our Island Talks Series. The interview about the book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten’ aired August 5, 2022.  See https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-130-mainstreet-pei/clip/15929265-daria-valkenburgs-book

…The Author Talk allowed us to meet and greet…

Aug 11 2022 Victoria Playhouse Author Talk Presentation Slideshow

Here are photos of a few of the attendees.  We didn’t have a chance to catch everyone, unfortunately, but we would have liked to!

20220813_184440_HDR Aug 14 2022 Brenda Boudreau with book sent by herself

Brenda Boudreau with book. (Photo courtesy of Brenda Boudreau)

Brenda Boudreau, Past President of the Victoria Historical Society, has had two relatives featured on the blog – her great-uncle, WWI soldier Heath Ward MACQUARRIE (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/03/21/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-fisherman-who-lost-his-life-in-france-while-a-ww1-soldier/) and her father, Robert ‘Scott’ MACQUARRIE (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2020/12/06/the-ww2-christmas-menu/).

CIMG5756 Aug 11 2022 Pieter with Sandra Bourque Author Talk Victoria

Sandra Bourque and Pieter at the Author Talk.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

The story of Sandra Bourque’s relative, WWII soldier Barney Reuben MCGUIGAN, who is buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands, was previously told on this blog.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/12/23/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-photo-search-for-barney-mcguigan-is-successful/)

CIMG5748 Aug 7 2022 Estelle and George Dalton with book

Estelle and George Dalton with the book prior to the Author Talk.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

George Dalton had bought a book for himself and one to present to a sculptor restoring a WW1 memorial in Summerside. Some of the soldiers listed on the memorial have their stories told in the book. (See https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-summerside-ww1-sculpture-restoration-1.6543838)

CIMG5757 Aug 11 2022 Mario Henry with book

Mario Henry with book.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Mario Henry was recently featured as the veteran who rescued the photo of WWI soldier Lloyd Clifford SHORTLIFF of Nova Scotia.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/07/31/the-ww1-soldier-from-barton-whose-body-was-never-recovered/)

Pieter with Betty Jeffery photo from Brenda

Betty Jeffery with Pieter.  (Photo credit: Brenda Boudreau)

We had not previously met Betty Jeffery, whose relative, WWI soldier Joseph Arthur DESROCHES, is buried at Ligny Saint-Flochel British Cemetery in France. We’d visited his grave in 2017 and his story is told in the book.  Up to now, however, no one has been able to find a photo of him. (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2020/11/15/the-continuing-search-for-a-photo-of-ww1-soldier-joseph-arthur-desroches/)

20220811_152928_HDR Aug 11 2022 Daria with Duane and Anne MacEwen with book

Daria with Duane and Ann MacEwen. (Photo credit: Brenda Boudreau)

Duane MacEwen, Past President of PEI Command, Royal Canadian Legion, and his wife Ann, were featured in a story about the luncheon hosted for Korean War Veterans in 2021. (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/09/24/pei-korean-war-veterans-luncheon-hosted-by-the-embassy-of-the-republic-of-korea/

Duane was also part of the delegation present when the Dutch embassy presented Her Honour The Honourable Antoinette Perry, Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island, with a box of tulips at a special event at Province House in 2019. (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2019/09/17/liberation-75-commemoration-event-at-province-house/)

Thank you to Brenda Boudreau of the Victoria Historical Society, and to Emily and Pat Smith of the Victoria Playhouse for inviting us to participate in the Our Island Talks series, and for looking after the publicity and logistics.  Thank you to Matt Rainnie for taking the time to do an interview.  Pieter and I also thank all who attended the Author Talk and to those who supported our research by purchasing a book.

If you have a story to share, please let Pieter know. You can mail him at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.  

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog. 

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’s book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten‘ is available in print and e-book formats.  For more information see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/

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

On The War Memorial Trail….. The WW1 Soldier From Pisquid Who Served In The 26th Battalion

CIMG5556 May 7 2022 Pieter and Bloyce

Bloyce McLellan (left) with Pieter Valkenburg.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

August 7, 2022. We very much appreciate hearing from families whose relatives served in WW1 or WW2.  Recently, Bloyce McLellan of North Tryon contacted us about his uncle, WW1 veteran John David MACDONALD.

colorized photo McDonald

WW1 soldier John David MacDonald.  (Photo courtesy of the MacDonald Family.  Photo restoration and colourization by Pieter Valkenburg)

My Mother was Elizabeth (Eliza) Matilda MacDonald from Pisquid, Prince Edward Island. She married my father and moved to Arlington, Grand River, Prince Edward Island. I was the youngest of 11 children and brought up on a mixed farming operation there.

My mother would tell us stories about her brother John David MacDonald. As a young fellow he assisted with the farming and had some schooling.  He did a lot of hunting around the farm and became a very good marksman with a rifle. When the Germans invaded Europe, he signed up with the Canadian Military along with some of his friends….

Born January 13, 1896, John David MacDonald was the son of Allan Joseph and Annie MacDonald.  (The surname was sometimes spelled McDonald.)  When he enlisted with the 105th Overseas Battalion in Charlottetown on June 10, 1916, he stated that he had been a member of the 82nd Regiment Militia, also known as the Abegweit Light Infantry. This Militia had been on active service since August 6, 1914 for local protection. (See https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/military-history/history-heritage/official-military-history-lineages/lineages/armour-regiments/prince-edward-island-regiment.html)

After basic training, John David left Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the Empress of Britain on July 15, 1916, as part of the 105th Overseas Battalion, and arrived in Liverpool, England on July 25, 1916.  He was sent to various camps in England for training, before leaving for France on August 27, 1917.

On September 8, 1917 he was transferred to the 26th Battalion (New Brunswick Regiment) while they were near Vimy, France.  He was with the Regiment as it moved north to the Ypres Salient for the Battle of Passchendaele.  After Passchendaele, the Regiment returned to the area near Vimy, France before moving towards Lens.

Bloyce recalls his mother explaining that “because he was a highly skilled marksman, John David was chosen to be a sniper. A sniper’s prime task was to go out into No Man’s Land and take out the German Machine Gun nests particularly before the Allies launched their attacks or assaults. If he was not successful there would be a lot of Canadian lives lost as the German Machine Guns would mow down many of the Allied soldiers on their advance…

…. The role of a sniper during WW1….

During WWI, snipers and sharpshooters in World War I not only destroyed enemy positions such as machine gun nests, but also were used for psychological warfare in quieter periods.  A 9 minute YouTube video, Sharpshooters and Snipers in World War I, gives an introduction to these brave men:

Nothing in John David’s service file specifically indicated he was a sniper, but this was not unusual. Soldiers who were experienced with guns were in high demand.

…John David was wounded twice….

On February 26, 1918 the Regiment was stationed in Lievin in northern France.  The war diary of the 26th Battalion for that day noted that a Working Party “…from ‘C’ Company working in vicinity of Junction AMULET trench and CROCODILE trench suffered some casualties….” John David was in this Working Party and was admitted to No. 6 Field Ambulance Depot for a gunshot wound to his left cheek.

On March 1, 1918 he was transferred to No. 18 General Hospital in Camiers, France for further treatment and discharged on March 14. He was based at a Casualty Clearing Station in Etaples before being sent back to the front on April 20, 1918.  The Regiment was holding the front east of Neuville Vitasse before moving to Amiens in August 1918.

The war diary for the 26th Battalion for September 21, 1918 noted that there was “…shelling during early morning in vicinity of Battalion Headquarters….. Casualties six other ranks wounded...”  John David was among those wounded as he had received bomb wounds on both legs, his face, and hands, and was sent to No. 4 Casualty Clearing Station in Poperinge, Belgium.

On September 30, 1918 he was admitted to No. 16 General Hospital in Orpington, Kent, England for treatment on his legs.  He wasn’t discharged until November 26, 1918.

In January 1919 he returned to Canada and was officially discharged in Charlottetown on April 15, 1919.  Bloyce’s mother told him that her brother returned home to Pisquid after the war “walking up the lane at home with a limp due to his injuries….

…A successful life in spite of post-traumatic stress….

Bloyce continued with his mother’s recollections.  “…John David was never the same after the war. He had been a happy go lucky boy before the war but the war really tore him apart. Not just being wounded in action twice, but mentally he had considerable pain and significant stress.  He relived the horrors of war with nightmares….

John David became a farmer and married Catherine Bernadette McKinnon on February 23, 1927. They brought up a family of 7 girls and 4 boys.

John David died in 1961, and is buried in St. Andrews Roman Catholic Cemetery in Mount Stewart, Prince Edward Island.

176995815_1488691690 grave JD MacDonald

Grave of John David MacDonald. (Photo source: http://www.findagrave.com)

… ‘This man was a hero without a doubt’ – Bloyce McLellan….

Bloyce reflected that “…in reviewing his military file I was quite shocked that John David never received any notable medal – a man that risked his life, health, and his future for his country. This man was a hero without a doubt, wounded in action and will remain in the history of our country an unsung hero.  When I heard my mother’s stories and read John David’s military file that Pieter and Daria Valkenburg were able to research for me, there was no question in my mind. Although he was a little farm boy from Pisquid, he stood tall and risked his life time and again for his countrymen and his country. No country could ask more from any man. He gave it all.…

Thank you to Bloyce McLellan for sharing his mother’s recollections about her brother and obtaining a photo.  If you have a story to share, please let Pieter know. You can email him at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.

…Previous stories of Islanders who were aboard the ‘Empress of Britain’ with John David MacDonald….

Several Islanders, whose stories have previously been told, also sailed to England on the ‘Empress of Britain’ in July 1916. Among them were:

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog.

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’s book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten‘ is available in print and e-book formats.  For more information see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/

Upcoming Author Talk: Thursday, August 11, 2022 – Victoria-By-The-Sea, Prince Edward Island, part of the ‘Our Island Talks’ series, and hosted by Victoria Playhouse and Victoria Historical Association. Time: 2:00 pm.

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

The WW1 Soldier From Barton Whose Body Was Never Recovered

July 31, 2022. Most of the time Pieter is involved in a search for photos and family of WW1 or WW2 soldiers, a task that requires a great deal of research and luck.  Sometimes, however, the opposite happens, and he’s asked to find family and a soldier for a photo that has been ‘orphaned’ for one reason or another.

For a veteran, it can be difficult to ignore a photo that has been discarded or placed for sale in an auction or secondhand shop.  That’s exactly what happened when veteran Mario Henry, Sgt At Arms at the Borden-Carleton Legion, visited a pre-auction preview recently and spotted a photo of what looked to be a WW1 soldier.

….Photo of a WW1 soldier placed for auction…

improved_photo(4) shortliff

Photo of WW1 soldier Lloyd Shortliff.  (Photo credit and restoration: Pieter Valkenburg)

It was in an antique frame and was most likely a black and white photo that had been colourized with watercolour and framed, suggesting that at one time this was a treasured piece in someone’s home.

….The back of the photo identified the soldier and his family….

CIMG5692 Jun 28 2022 back of Shortliff photo

Back of photo with identifying information.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

A quick glance at the back of the photo had identifying information, which helped to uncover a soldier’s military service.  The information on the back stated: “Lloyd Shortliff, son of Emma (Dunbar) Shortliffe and Charles Shortliffe. Sisters Minerva and Gertrude (Mrs Joseph Foster).  He was missing in action September 17, 1916 in France.

….Who was Lloyd Shortliff?….

Mario contacted Pieter, who soon determined that the photo was of Lloyd Clifford SHORTLIFF, born April 12, 1891 in Barton, Digby, Nova Scotia, son of Charles Henry and Emma (nee Dunbar) Shortliff.

A farmer before enlisting in Sussex, New Brunswick on September 20, 1915 with the 64th Battalion, Lloyd left Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the SS Adriatic on March 31, 1916, arriving in Liverpool, England on April 9, 1916.

On June 24, 1916 he was transferred to the 12th Battalion and sent to Shornecliffe Army Camp for further training. (See https://www.saltwoodkent.co.uk/the-canadian-at-shorncliffe-during-)

…Lloyd was sent to the front…..

Screenshot 2022-07-04 at 10-28-48 Vierstraat · Ypres Belgium

Blue line shows the route taken by the 24th Regiment as they moved from the Ypres area in Belgium towards France for the Battle of the Somme. (Map source: http://www.google.ca)

A few days later, on June 28, 1916, he was transferred to the 24th Battalion (Victoria Rifles of Canada) and sent to Belgium on July 12, 1916. The Regiment was part of the Canadian Corps manning the Western Front.

On August 28, 1916 the Regiment marched to Eperlecques, France for training on the new Lee-Enfield rifles, where they also trained in manoeuvres in preparation for what the troops would experience in the Battle of the Somme. (See map at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_the_Battle_of_the_Somme,_1916.svg)

On September 4, 1916, the Regiment went to Argues, France, and took a train to Conteville, before moving on towards Hérissart, and then to Albert, France, where the Regiment arrived on September 10, 1916 and were set up in tents.

The Somme front was near the village of Courcelette. Training began for an attack on the Sugar Refinery near Courcelette, which began on September 15, 1916.  By the next day, Battalion Headquarters was set up in a trench by the Sugar Refinery, in preparation for further attacks against the Germans. (See https://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/history/battles-and-fighting/land-battles/courcelette/)

Lloyd lost his life on September 17, 1916.  Unfortunately his body was never recovered and he is listed on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

….Could the photo be saved?….

Knowing that Lloyd Shortliff was listed on the Vimy Memorial was like waving a red flag at a bull for veterans Pieter and Mario.  Pieter has a special affinity for Vimy after we’d been there in 2017 to honour two soldiers from the Island that Pieter had researched.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2017/09/19/visiting-the-canadian-national-vimy-memorial/)

The photo couldn’t be resigned to the dustbin of history!  The value was in the antique frame, not the photo, and both men believed someone would buy the frame and discard the photo.

Mario contacted the auctioneer and asked if the seller would pull the picture out of the auction, pending further investigation.  The seller refused.

That seemed to be that ….. until Mario contacted Pieter to say that he had attended the auction and bought the picture.  Pieter went back to his research, to learn how Lloyd lost his life and to find his family.

CIMG5689 Jun 28 2022 Pieter and Mario with photo

Pieter (left) and Mario Henry (right) with the picture of WW1 soldier Lloyd Shortliff. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

….How did Lloyd Shortliff lose his life?…

Pieter wanted to know how Lloyd lost his life and why he was listed on the Vimy Memorial, since he didn’t die during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which was in April 1917.

According to the war diary for the 24th Battalion for September 17, 1916, “… at 12:30 pm, orders were received from the Brigade that the Battalion, less one Company, were to attack the German front line, with our Right resting on the Baupame Road, and our Left with the 22nd Battalion in the vicinity of the Quarries.  The attack commenced at 5 pm…..

The soldiers  of ‘D’ Company, on the extreme right, “…were unable to reach their objective, many of them killed before they got over the parapet, and the men who did advance were held up in the German wire and shot down…

‘A’ Company was in the centre, and “…obtained their objective, but after severe fighting, the enemy bombed them out, working through from his main line…

By the time the fight was over, 9 officers and 330 other ranks of the 24th Battalion were dead, wounded, or missing and presumed dead, among them Lloyd Shortliff.  As his body was never recovered it appears he was among the soldiers who were bombed.

24th battalion WW1 112

Map of the Battle of Courcelette on September 17, 1916. Red arrow shows the Sugar Refinery where Lloyd Shortliff went missing.  (Map source: The 24th Battalion, C.E.F., Victoria Rifles of Canada, 1914-1919)

…Pieter found the family of Lloyd Shortliff….

Pieter’s research next focused on Lloyd’s descendants, and led to family member Trent Whittaker, whose grandmother was Gertrude Foster, Lloyd’s sister.  After explaining about the picture that Mario had rescued, he was surprised to learn that it was Trent who had put the photo in a garage sale as part of the clear out of a 200 plus year old farmhouse.  The family had a photo of Lloyd and the one put in the garage sale was a duplicate. Several ‘pickers’ had bought the goods and that was the last he saw of the picture.

This is a story many will find familiar.  Relatives die and families are left with an accumulation of ‘stuff’ that can become overwhelming.  In the purge, photos, letters, diaries, and other memorabilia can get discarded.

…. Lloyd is remembered on the Barton War Memorial…

IMG_5558R Jul 8 2022 Barton War Memorial

Barton War Memorial.  (Photo credit: Sandra Lent)

Lloyd Shortliff was bombed to smithereens in France, his remains never recovered, but he is listed on the Vimy Memorial in France, and Pieter discovered that he is also listed on the war memorial in Barton, Nova Scotia:  https://nshdpi.ca/is/digbyco/bartonwarm.html.  The Legion in Weymouth, Nova Scotia has expressed an interest in the picture after learning of its existence.

IMG_5566R Jul 8 2022 Barton War Memorial

Lloyd Shortliff is remembered on the Barton War Memorial. (Photo credit: Sandra Lent)

Sandra Lent of the Weymouth Legion visited the memorial and explained that it was “…located in Barton, at the head of a cemetery.  There are no other markings, such as the name of the cemetery, although it is well tended, and the pillar shaped monument is helpful for identification.  It is located a short distance north of the Barton post office, on the same side of the highway...

Thank you to Mario Henry for saving the photo which gave us a chance to tell Lloyd Shortliff’s story.  Thank you as well to Sandra Lent for taking the photos of the Barton War Memorial.  If you have a story to tell, please let Pieter know. You can email him at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.

….. More stories of ‘orphan’ soldier photos and artifacts …

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog.

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’s book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten‘ is available in print and e-book formats.  For more information see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/

Upcoming Author Talk: Thursday, August 11, 2022 – Victoria-By-The-Sea, Prince Edward Island, part of the ‘Our Island Talks’ series, and hosted by Victoria Playhouse and Victoria Historical Association. Time: 2:00 pm.

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

On The War Memorial Trail….. The WW1 Soldier From Tryon Who Enlisted Twice

May 29, 2022. Some Prince Edward Island soldiers who served in WW1 seem to disappear into history, in spite of the many inter-relationships between Island families.  Chesley William HOWATT, who is buried in the North Tryon Presbyterian Church Cemetery, appears to be one of these, as up to now no surviving family member has been found.

CIMG4004 Chesley Howatt

Chesley Howatt. (Photo courtesy of South Shore United Church)

Born in Tryon, Prince Edward Island, Chesley was the son of Robert Newton and Elizabeth (nee Wilson) Howatt.  When he enlisted with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in Calgary, Alberta on June 2, 1915, he said he was born July 24, 1888.  According to his baptismal certificate, he was born in 1886, so it may be that he shaved off a few years in order to be eligible to serve.  At the time of enlistment,   he was a farmer. 

On October 24, 1915 he left Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard H.M.S. Oduna with the 50th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, and arrived in Plymouth, England on November 4, 1915.

…Wounded at Vimy Ridge….

On August 10, 1916 he was sent to France.  Troops were training and preparing for the spring offensive that began on April 9, 1917 that became known as the Battle of Vimy Ridge.  There were many skirmishes before that battle, and the artillery spent a lot of time rehearsing.  Nightly raids helped pinpoint and knock out the location of German batteries. 

On February 3, 1917 Chesley received a gunshot wound to the face at Vimy Ridge, with fine metal particles from the blast entering his eyes. 

According to the report on what happened, “… at 8:45 pm on the night of February 3, 1917….” Chesley was “…going ‘over the top’ and after arriving in the enemies trench a rifle grenade exploded near him and fragments of shrapnel entered his eyes. From then until 30 days later he was not able to use his eyes…

After initial treatment in Etaples, France, he was sent back to England for treatment and recuperation at 3rd London General Hospital.  On May 10, 1917 he was transferred to the West Cliff Canadian Eye and Ear Hospital in Folkestone, from which he was discharged from care on May 14, 1917.

For Chesley, the war in mainland Europe was over.  On May 21, 1917 he was transferred to the 21st Reserve Battalion and posted to Bramshott in England. 

…A medical discharge and reenlistment….

On February 4, 1918 he was transferred to the Canadian Discharge Depot in Buxton and was sent home to Canada via Liverpool a few weeks later. On March 31, 1918 he received his formal discharge in Halifax, Nova Scotia, due to being unfit for service due to defective vision as a result of the gunshot wound.

This wasn’t the end of Chesley’s military service, however!  On September 2, 1918, he reenlisted in Charlottetown, this time stating that he was born in 1887. He did note that he had previously served in the 50th Battalion.

By the time of his second discharge on July 17, 1919, he had married Bessie Anne Falconer on December 3, 1918, and was living in Charlottetown. 

The family moved to Tryon following his second discharge.  Sadly, their only son, Alexander ‘Falconer’ Howatt, who had been born September 4, 1919, died on July 23, 1934 at the age of 14. Chesley died a few years later, on January 22, 1938, in Tryon.

CIMG5626 May 29 2022 Pieter by the grave of Chesley Howatt

Pieter beside the grave of Chesley Howatt at the North Tryon Presbyterian Cemetery in North Tryon, Prince Edward Island.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Do you have photos or information to share? Email Pieter at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog. 

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’s book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten‘ is available in print and e-book formats.  For more information see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/

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

More Feedback On ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten’

CIMG5559 May 7 2022 Bloyce and Daria with book

Bloyce McLellan and Daria with book.  (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

May 10, 2022. We very much appreciate the feedback from ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten’, and love seeing the photos sent in and having the opportunity to meet some of you. 

…Some additional feedback we’ve received….

IMG_0348 Burnie Reynaert with book

Burnie Reynaert with book.  (Photo courtesy of B.  Reynaert)

Burnie Reynaert wrote that “… I always feel comforted when I read what you have both accomplished. Wishing you success on your European memorial tour book. I did buy your book, and liked it very much. It sits on my coffee table...” 

Bloyce McLellan wrote “...I really have my nose into your book. You both did a real wonderful job and what a gift to all the families of these Veterans. Both of you deserve enormous credit and need to take a bow.  Awesome work….

Susan Choi wrote us to say “Just finished your book!  It was a great read. Thank you both for what you have done to honor and remember the Canadian soldiers and the sacrifices they made for all of us in WWI and WWII.  Your book was particularly special to me because of the personal friendship I have with both of you. Daria, you have a gift for writing.  You write the way you speak.  As I read your book, it was as though you were sitting next to me, telling me about this wonderful war memorial trip.  Your wit and humor were intact and offered a much needed relief to a serious and somber subject. Thank you both again for all that you have done and continue to do in the name of the fallen soldiers who gave up everything for all of us…

…Media Interview…

Cody McEachern of Saltwire interviewed us for The Guardian. The interview was posted online on April 25, 2022 and ran in The Guardian’s print edition on April 26, 2022. See P.E.I. author highlights 6-week war memorial tour through Europe in new book | SaltWire https://www.saltwire.com/prince-edward-island/news/pei-author-highlights-6-week-war-memorial-tour-through-europe-in-new-book-100721970/

Thank you to Susan Choi, Bloyce McLellan, and Burnie Reynaert for taking the time to send in comments and photos in support of this research project.  Thank you also to Cody McEachern for the interview in The Guardian.

Photos or information to share? Email Pieter at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog. 

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’s book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten‘ is now available.  For more information seehttps://nosoldierforgotten.com/

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

On The War Memorial Trail….. Staying In Touch During WW1 With Field Post Cards

May 5, 2022. Those of us of a certain age…. pre-internet days… may remember the admonition when travelling to ‘send us a postcard’.  This request came particularly from parents and grandparents.  If you were having a good time, writing out cards was the last thing on your mind. 

But there was a solution – pre-filled postcards where all you had to do was check the appropriate boxes and fill in the address the card should be sent to.  It let the receiver know you had safely arrived, and gave a chance to make a few comments or observations by ticking a series of boxes.  During a trip to New Zealand, I remember ticking a box that said ‘there are more sheep here than people’.  At the time there were 3 million people and 9 million sheep!

…A Field Post Card was an easy way to say I’m still alive….

During WWI, soldiers were kept busy trying to stay alive.  Not all had the time or inclination to write extensive letters, and so the Field Post Card came in handy, especially to let loved ones know when a letter or parcel arrived, or to give a brief update on the soldier’s well-being.

The Field Post Card, known as an f.s.p. or a ‘whizz bang’, allowed soldiers to strike out messages that didn’t apply.  No extra notes were allowed, except for dates, or the card would be destroyed.

CIMG4001 Harold Howatt

Harold Keith Howatt.  (Photo courtesy of South Shore United Church)

Even WW1 soldier Harold Keith HOWATT of Augustine Cove, an active correspondent, sent these Field Post Cards when he received a letter or parcel while serving with the 8th Canadian Siege Battery.

Field post card back dated Oct 18 1917 from Harold Howatt

Field post card dated October 18, 1917 from Harold Howatt, advising he received a parcel. (Courtesy of the H. Howatt collection)


Field post card front mailed Oct 19 1917 from Harold Howatt

The Field Post Card of October 18, 1917 from Harold Howatt was mailed a day later. (Courtesy of the H. Howatt collection)

Harold Howatt noted in his October 18, 1917 Field Post Card that he had received a parcel that had been sent a month earlier, that a letter would be coming soon, and that he was ‘quite well’.

…What Harold Howatt couldn’t say in his Field Post Card….

What he wasn’t able to say was where his unit was stationed – La Bassée, France, located southwest of Lille and about 16 km (ten miles) from the Belgian border.

La Bassee Google Maps

Map showing La Bassée, where the 8th Siege Battery was located at the time Harold Howatt send his Field Post Card.  (Map source: http://www.google.ca)

In ‘The Secret History Of Soldiers’ historian Tim Cook noted that the Field Post Cards allowed soldiers to communicate at a time when it was difficult to explain the horrors that they were experiencing.  A prewritten card with no information that might help the enemy, such as location, was also quicker than regular mail as it bypassed censors.  “… The cards were a stopgap measure in between letters and they were commonly sent after a battle by exhausted soldiers...

…The phrase ‘I am quite well’ serves as an ironic comment on the difficulty soldiers had in finding the words to describe their unique experiences...

Howatt recorded in his notes what he didn’t include in his Field Post Card….

On Monday, September 24, 1917 he wrote “…Slept in a straw loft last night, did not sleep very well as there was a rat running around through the straw all night…” 

After this sleepless night he wrote that they “…. started to shoot at 2:30 pm.  Ranged in 12 rounds, then we stopped firing until aviator ranged another battery. Started in again and fired pretty steady until 9:50 pm….

On Tuesday, October 2, 1917 he noted that they had been woken up at midnight.  “…All of a sudden, a terrific racket started.  The Germans were pouring H. E. and gas shells into the village in front of the Fosse.  About a thousand shells came in altogether….We did not bother putting our gas masks on as we were so high up.  The bombardment lasted about one hour…”  H.E. referred to high explosives.

On Thursday, October 18, 1917, Howatt recorded that “… we expect to hand over guns, stories, and everything to another battery…..” 

On October 30, 1917 he wrote it was “…the date of leaving for the real war…” Indeed they did.  They set up base in Poperinghe, Belgium, to participate in the latter part of the Third Battle of Ypres – which we know as the Battle of Passchendaele – a battle that ended on November 17, 1917. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Passchendaele)

So, if you have WW1 postcards in your possession take a look and see if you have any Field Post Cards! Photos or information to share? Email Pieter at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1

…Previous stories about Harold Howatt’s WW1 observations….

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog. 

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’s book No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten is available in print and e-book formats.  For more information see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/

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