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

On The War Memorial Trail….. The WW1 Soldier Who Attended Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee

March 17, 2022. Last year, we met with Lindsay and Norma Seaman about Lindsay’s uncle, William ‘Alfred’ SEAMAN, a WW2 Chaplain who lost life in France in 1944 during the Battle of Caen. (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/06/20/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-ww2-chaplain-who-lost-his-life-in-france-on-his-wedding-anniversary/)

During our visit, Lindsay mentioned that his grandfather William ‘James’ SEAMAN, the father of Chaplain Seaman, served in WW1, and later became the postmaster in Breadalbane, Prince Edward Island.

20210616_162451 Jun 16 2021 Pieter and Seamans with photo of JAMES Seamn

Pieter (standing) with Norma and Lindsay Seaman, and a photo of Lindsay’s grandfather, William ‘James’ Seaman.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

According to his military attestation record, William ‘James’ SEAMAN was born in Wheatley River, Prince Edward Island on August 18, 1874, the son of Thomas and Sophia (nee Andrews) Seaman.

…James participated in Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897!…

In 1893 he joined the 82nd Militia Regiment.  We were intrigued to learn that four years later he was one of four chosen to represent the Regiment at Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in June 1897. (See https://www.thediamondjubilee.org/queen-victorias-diamond-jubilee and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_Jubilee_of_Queen_Victoria)

According to family records, James received a decoration from the Princess of Wales, the future Queen Alexandra and wife of the future King Edward VII, at Buckingham Palace.

20210616_160616 JAMES Seaman

William ‘James’ Seaman. (Photo courtesy of The Seaman Family)

On February 6, 1901, James married Sophia Brown and they farmed in Springfield, while raising four children: Lorne, Irene, Alfred (the WW2 Chaplain who died in France), and Cedric (Lindsay’s father).

James enlisted in Charlottetown on March 13, 1916 with the 105th Overseas Battalion. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/105th_Battalion_(Prince_Edward_Island_Highlanders),_CEF)

…Previous stories of Islanders who were aboard the ‘Empress of Britain’ with James Seaman….

In July 1916 he went overseas aboard the SS Empress of Britain. Several Islanders, whose stories have previously been told, were on that same ship.  Among them were:

The ship docked in Liverpool, England on July 25, 1916.

…James had a transport role in England…

Given that he was over 40 years old at the time of enlistment, he was not sent into battle, but was appointed Acting Transport Sergeant with the Regiment in Lower Dibgate, England on August 20, 1916.  Lower Dibgate was about 1.6 km (1 mile) west of the Shorncliffe camp outside of Folkestone and located by the English Channel.

As Transport Sergeant, James had a vital logistical role in ensuring that artillery, food and medical supplies, etc went across the English Channel to the front lines in France and Belgium.

Folkestone.8

From the area around Folkestone, where Lower Dibgate was located, transport across the English Channel was the closest to key locations in France and Belgium.  (Map source: https://www.weather-forecast.com/locationmaps/Folkestone.8.gif)

…James deemed ‘too old’ for trench warfare…

On January 20, 1917 he was transferred to the 13th Reserve Battalion in Witley Camp in Surrey.   On September 18, 1917, proceedings from the medical board indicated that he was not fit for trench warfare, given his age of 44.

A few days later, on September 22, 1917 he was transferred to the New Brunswick Regiment and based in Shoreham while awaiting transport back to Canada.  On November 6, 1917 he left from Liverpool and arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia on November 17, 1917.  On December 5, 1917 he was officially discharged due to being ‘overage’.

…James returned to civilian life…

He returned to his family and the farm.  Later, he was appointed Postmaster in Breadalbane on November 2, 1926, and served until November 3, 1932. (See https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/postal-heritage-philately/post-offices-postmasters/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=6422&)

20210616_160947 Jun 21 2021 James Seaman and wife

James and Sophia Seaman on their 50th anniversary. (Photo courtesy of The Seaman Family)

James died May 8, 1960 and is buried in the Breadalbane People’s Cemetery.

Thank you to to Lindsay and Norma Seaman for sharing photos and information on William ‘James’ Seaman. If you have photos or information to share, please let Pieter know. Email him 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 OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEurope

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898Daria’s book No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten is now available.  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 Abrams Village Buried In Manitoba Cemetery in France

March 6, 2022.  In 2017, we visited Manitoba Cemetery outside Caix, France, to place flags by the grave of WW1 soldier James CAIRNS of Kinkora, Prince Edward Island, who lost his life on August 9, 1918 during the Battle of Amiens. (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2017/09/30/the-search-for-manitoba-cemetery/)

When we signed the Guest Register Book, we were astonished to find that the previous visitors had come to honour their great-uncle and great-great uncle Theodore (Ted) Francis ARSENAULT from Abrams Village, Prince Edward Island.

Pte Theodore Arsenault (Great great uncle)

Theodore Arsenault. (Photo submitted by Stephen Arsenault)

In November 2021 Colleen Arsenault shared a photo of her great-great-uncle, explaining that her mother and sister had signed the guest book in that far away cemetery. (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/11/10/on-the-war-memorial-trail-linking-the-past-with-the-present/)

…4 generations of the Arsenault family have served in the military….

Shortly after this, Stephen Arsenault sent us research on Ted Arsenault, and explained that 4 generations of his family served in the military.  “Theodore and his brother Camille were both from Abrams Village. Further descriptions as follows:

Gnr Camille Arsenault (Great Grandfather, Theodore's Brother)

Camille Arsenault. (Photo submitted by Stephen Arsenault)

  • Gnr Camille J Arsenault, 2nd Canadian (Overseas) Siege Artillery Battery CEF. Saw action at Vimy Ridge. Survived the war and re-enlisted during WW2 serving with the Canadian Army Service Corps at a POW camp in New Brunswick at the time. Camille was born August 22, 1895.

    Sgt Francis Arsenault (Grandfather)

    Francis Arsenault. (Photo submitted by Stephen Arsenault)

  • Stephen’s grandfather: Sgt Francis J Arsenault, served with 2 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.

Portrait

Edgar Arsenault. (Photo submitted by Stephen Arsenault)

  • Stephen’s father: LCol Edgar F Arsenault, Logistics Officer, Royal Canadian Air Force. Later Honorary Colonel of 14 Mission Support Squadron, 14 Wing CFB Greenwood.  

He went on to say that “…Interestingly, in my (limited) spare time, I am an Artillery Officer serving in the Primary Reserves with 1st (Halifax-Dartmouth) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, which makes 4 consecutive generations of military service to Canada spanning over 100 years. …

… Ted Arsenault enlisted in the 105th Overseas Battalion….

Ted Arsenault was born May 14, 1897 in Egmont Bay, Prince Edward Island, the son of François (Frank) and Adeline (nee Gallant) Arsenault.  When he enlisted with the 105th Overseas Battalion in Summerside, Prince Edward Island on May 1, 1916 he listed his occupation as farmer.

In June 1916, Ted travelled to Valcartier, Quebec with the Regiment for training prior to sailing to England from Halifax a month later aboard ‘Empress of Britain’.

…Previous stories of Islanders who were aboard the ‘Empress of Britain’ with Ted Arsenault….

Several Islanders, whose stories have previously been told, were on that same ship.  Among them were:

The ship docked in Liverpool, England on July 25, 1916.  The troops were sent to Shorncliffe and attached to the 1st Training Brigade.  They were later transferred to different training brigades in Surrey.

…Ted was gassed at Passchendaele….

In November 1916, Ted was sent to France as part of the 14th Battalion (Royal Montreal Regiment).  A year later, on November 5, 1917, during the Second Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium, Ted was poisoned by a mustard gas shell that exploded.  (For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_Passchendaele)

He was invalided to England and sent to the King George Hospital in London for treatment. According to his medical file, he …had a sore throat and loss of voice for a month… and …breathing was difficult at night…” until January 13, 1918.

From the hospital in London he was sent to Manor War Hospital, a convalescent facility in Epsom.  It wasn’t until March 4, 1918 that the medical staff declared his chest was clear, and he was discharged 4 days later.  On May 16, 1918 he returned to France and the 14th Battalion.

….The Battle of Amiens…

The Battle of Amiens, also known as the Third Battle of Picardy, was the opening phase of the Allied offensive.  It began on August 8, 1918 and ended on August 18.  Later known as the Hundred Days Offensive, this was the battle that ultimately led to the end of the First World War.  (For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Amiens_(1918) and a short video clip at https://finance.yahoo.com/video/battle-amiens-started-century-ago-173913821.html)

A few years ago, a short video onThe 100th anniversary of the Battle of Amiens and Canada’s Hundred Dayswas prepared and is available on YouTube:

…Two Islanders lost their lives on August 9, 1918…

Byce.Amiens.map_.04

Battle of Amiens.  (Map source: http://www.rememberourvets.ca)

According to the war diary of the 14th Battalion, on the morning of August 9, 1918, the Regiment was ordered to “…march towards Cayeux, the headquarters of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade.  The march was very difficult owing to the congested traffic on the road. The Battalion was ordered to support the 8th Canadian Battalion and moved to assembly positions….

By 11:40 am they were in position, for the expected attack at 1 pm.  “… The attack was made over very flat ground and many casualties were caused by the intense machine gun fire…”  Among the casualties killed in action that day was Ted Arsenault.

As mentioned at the beginning of this posting, James CAIRNS, who served with the 8th Canadian Battalion, also lost his life that afternoon.

…Buried at Manitoba Cemetery outside Caix…

CIMG8555 Sep 6 2017 Pieter at entrance to Manitoba Cemetery

Pieter at the entrance to Manitoba Cemetery just outside Caix. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Like so many WW1 cemeteries in France, Manitoba Cemetery, where both James Cairns and Theodore (Ted) Francis Arsenault are buried, is in a rural location, surrounded by farmers’ fields.  It was fitting that during our visit in September 2017, bales of hay, a familiar site on Prince Edward Island during this period, surrounded the cemetery.

CIMG8558 Sep 6 2017 Manitoba Cemetery by hay bales

Bales of hay surround Manitoba Cemetery outside Caix.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

IMG_20170906_152615630 Sep 6 2017 grave of Ted Arsenault in Manitoba Cemetery in Caix

Grave of Theodore Francis Arsenault of Abrams Village. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

Thank you to Colleen Arsenault and Steven Arsenault for sharing information on their great-uncle and their family’s ongoing military service.  If you have photos or information to share, please let Pieter know. Email him 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.

OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEurope_Barcode

Daria’s bookNo Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgottenis now available.  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

New Book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten’

February 19, 2022. As the pandemic and social distancing measures continued into 2021, Pieter and I spent months going through my diary to decide which stories to include for a book about our European war memorial tour in 2017.

…New book is now available…

The result?  ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten….on the war memorial trail in Europe with Pieter and Daria Valkenburg

OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEurope_Barcode

The title was inspired by a comment Pieter has made since this research project first began.

No soldier buried overseas should be forgotten

Many of the stories in the book were previously posted on this blog and published in the County Line Courier newspaper, but are now in one book, complete with colour photos.  Readers can be armchair travellers as we visit cemeteries and memorials in 4 European countries – France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany – on this very personal war memorial tour to commemorate names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion in Prince Edward Island, Canada.  This was Pieter’s first research project to be documented on our research blog.

IMG_20220126_171542 Jan 27 2022 A celebratory moment with book proof copy

With our pandemic project completed, we took a brief moment to celebrate receiving the first copy.  (Photo Valkenburg family collection)

…Book trailer and website….

Thanks to the amazing talents of Wendy Nattress, who does the post-production editing for the On The War Memorial Trail YouTube Channel, we have a book website: see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/.  The website has a book description, preview pages, and ordering information.

Wendy also prepared a short book trailer….

A print copy is available internationally on a print on demand basis. See https://www.blurb.ca/bookstore/invited/9477349/b624aaedfdfdd9965cb5053d8f15aa341049af59  If you live outside Canada, simply click on the flag at the top right on the webpage, look for a flag that represents your country, and you will see the price in that country’s currency.

We hope to have an e-book available in the near future.

….CBC Radio Interview…

On February 17, 2022, a radio interview with Angela Walker ran on CBC PEI’s Mainstreet PEI program about the book No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten.

A six week tour of war cemeteries in Europe looking for the graves of Island soldiers is chronicled in a new book called “No Soldier Buried overseas should ever be forgotten”. We speak with the author Daria Valkenburg.

Here is the link if you wish to listen to it…..

Daria Valkenburg’s new book | Mainstreet PEI with Matt Rainnie | Live Radio | CBC Listen

…The first book signing…..

Pieter and I are heartened by the interest in the book, and thank all who have contacted us.  Recently, a book was signed for fellow author Sandra Wallis, of Sarnia, Ontario.  Sandra’s book ‘Not What I Bargained For’ is a memoir about raising 4 children, 2 of them with medical conditions. (See https://www.amazon.ca/Not-What-Bargained-Incredible-Conditions/dp/1486619347)

CIMG5499 Feb 13 2022 Daria signs the book for Sandra cropped  Daria with Sandra Wallis, who wanted to have her book signed by the author!  (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)CIMG5500 Feb 13 2022 Daria and Sandra with book

…Thank yous!….

Heartfelt thanks go to Wendy Nattress, who prepared the book trailer and set up the website for the book.  Thank you to Angela Walker of CBC Radio for interviewing me about the book.

Thank you to everyone who contacted us about the book, shared photos, and questions.  To answer one question about whether the research is finished, I’m happy to let you know that Pieter’s research continues and there are many more stories coming up on this project blog.

Do you have photos or stories 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.

Daria’s bookNo Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgottenis now available.  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 Who Served In The 1st Canadian Engineers Battalion

February 14, 2022.  Every fall, veterans from the Borden-Carleton Legion volunteer to place flags at the graves of veterans buried in cemeteries in the area covered by this Legion Branch on Prince Edward Island.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/11/04/borden-carleton-legion-honours-veterans-by-placing-flags-at-their-graves/)

One of the graves for which a flag is placed annually at the Tryon People’s Cemetery is for WW1 veteran George Stanley HENNESSEY.

CIMG4008 George Hennessey

George Stanley Hennessey.  (Photo courtesy of South Shore United Church in Tryon.)

George was born July 20, 1887 in Cape Traverse, the son of Lawrence and Margaret (nee Muttart) Hennessey.  On November 4, 1910 he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he married Eliza May Thomas, a fellow Islander, on April 15, 1912.  At the time of his marriage he was employed as a machinist and Eliza as a housekeeper.

When WW1 broke out, George and Eliza were back in Prince Edward Island and living in North Tryon.  George enlisted with the 105th Battalion in Charlottetown on November 17, 1915.  His attestation paper recorded that he had been in the Militia, a member of the 82nd Regiment.

On July 15, 1916 he sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the SS Empress of Britain, arriving in England on July 25, 1916.  On January 26, 1917, he was transferred to the 104th Battalion.

On February 26, 1918 he was transferred to the 124th Pioneer Battalion, which became known as the 124 Pioneer Battalion Canadian Engineers in March 1918. He was sent to continental Europe and on March 3, 1918 was despatched to a Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp (CCRC).

….George joins the 1st Canadian Engineers Battalion…

On April 19, 1918 he was transferred to the Canadian Engineers Reinforcement Pool (CERP).  On May 31, 1918 he was transferred to the 1st Canadian Engineers Battalion.  This corps built bridges, railway depots, camps, bases, and other military installations used during the war.

George joined them while the Battalion was undergoing training in Gauchin-Légal, France, a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Hauts-de-France region of France.

On July 12, 1918, the Battalion moved to Arras, France.  The war diary for that day reported that “…No enemy shelling in Arras; our guns active.  Enemy low flying planes came over Arras twice and were heavily shelled by ‘Archies’…” ‘Archies’ refers to anti-aircraft guns.   (Source: Library and Archives Canada. War diary 1st Battalion, Canadian Engineers, 1918/05/01-1919/04/25, Reference: RG9-III-D-3. Volume/box number: 4993)

…What did the Canadian Engineers do?….

Screenshot 2022-02-13 at 18-26-27 ViaMichelin Route planner, Maps, Traffic info, Hotels

A modern day map, showing the location of Gauchin-Légal, France, identified as A, and Seilles, Belgium, identified as B.  (Map source: https://www.viamichelin.com)

Under attack or not, work for the Battalion included …pontoon bridging and trestle framings, sandbagging, patrolling water supply systems…

The war diary for August 1, 1918 recorded the Battalion in Dainville, France.  “…Many enemy aeroplanes up and a great deal of bombing during night…”  The Battalion moved on to Gouy-en-Ternois, France, some marching by foot, others travelling by train.

On August 7, 1918, they received orders to “…fill shell holes…in the area around Gentelles Wood, France.  Work stopped a few days later due to heavy bombing, but was soon resumed.  The Battalion moved towards working on roads “…forward of Cayeux…” which is still in France.

By mid-August 1918 they were tasked with “…salvaging tools from old ‘No Man’s Land’ and old front lines….” and “…burying enemy dead…

At the beginning of September 1918 the Battalion moved on to Villers-les-Cagnicourt, France, repairing roads and railway tracks.  The end of September found them in Inchy-en-Artois, repairing the access to the Canal du Nord bridge.

In October 1918 they moved to Ecourt St. Quentin, France tasked with constructing bridges over La Sensee River.  The end of the month found them in Écaillon, France, doing roadwork and constructing a bathhouse.

In November 1918 they moved to La Sentinelle, France and worked on “…roads, bridges, and investigation of traps…”  The end of the month found them in Seilles, Belgium.

On December 31, 1918, George was admitted to the 7th Canadian General Hospital in Etaples, France, with an ear infection that caused pain and deafness.  The ear infection was preceded by influenza, and he ended up being invalided back to England on January 25, 1919.  Luckily the condition was cleared up and his hearing restored.

George was discharged from hospital on February 19, 1919, but remained in England, where he was transferred to the Canadian Engineer Reinforcement Depot (CERD) in Seaford, a Canadian military training base in Sussex, England. On February 25, 1919 he was transferred to the Canadian Engineer Railway Battalion (CERB).

On April 3, 1919 he left Liverpool, England aboard the SS Lapland, bound for Canada.  On April 18, 1919 he was officially discharged in Charlottetown.

On July 3, 1919, he was awarded the “…Military Medal for bravery in the field” by King George V.  (Source: Canada Gazette, 1867-1946 (Dominion of Canada), vol. 53, Supplement, August 30, 1919, Volume: 53, Issue type: Supplement)

…Back to civilian life….

CIMG5355 Oct 4 2021 Pieter with David & Pam Ing at Tim Hortons in Charlottetown

Pam Ing, centre, with husband David on left, and Pieter on the right. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

His granddaughter, Pam Ing, whose father Harry Raymond ‘Ray’ was a WW2 veteran, told us that her grandfather “…moved to Charlottetown after being discharged and worked for the railway.  He died three months before I was born, so I never knew him….

George worked as a brakeman on CNR (Canadian National Railway) and later was a conductor for a number of years before retirement.  He and Eliza had 4 sons, one of whom, William Thomas, died of illness shortly after enlistment in WW2.

George died at his home in Charlottetown on October 17, 1946 following a long illness, and is buried in the Tryon People’s Cemetery in Tryon, Prince Edward Island.

CIMG5341 Sep 27 2021 Pieter & George by George Hennessey grave Tryon Peoples Cemetery

Pieter with George Palmer by the grave of WW1 veteran George Hennessey at the Tryon People’s Cemetery in Tryon. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Thank you to Pam and David Ing for sharing recollections with us.  If you have photos or information to share, please let Pieter know. Email him 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.

Screenshot_2021-02-27 On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg

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