Friday, 3 June 2016

Remembering our British Home Child who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force

Now over the last few days I have been reflecting on my great uncle’s involvement in the First World War.

Canada in Khaki, 1917
He arrived in Canada in the May of 1914 with the Middlemore organisation, spent just over one unhappy year on three farms in NS and NB before running away in the summer of 1915 to enlist in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Nothing unusual in that, after all many British Home Children did the same although I am not sure of his motives and suspect for him it was more to do with the adventure and possibly the escape from farm life.

And once again I have been drawn back to thinking of him because of this book which I am looking at as I write.

Canada in Khaki cost 2/6d with the profits going to the Canadian War Memorials Fund.

It was published in 1917 for the Canadian War Records Office and was “a tribute to the Officers and Men now serving in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.”

In time I think I will delve deep into the book and share some of the stories and pictures.

But for now I would just like to thank David Harrop who saw it on EBay and purchased it before showing it to me.

For the Canadian War Memorials Fund
Regular readers of the blog will know that David has an extensive collection of memorabilia from both world wars along with some pretty impressive items from the history of the postal service.

And I have to say without his help and his collection I doubt that I could have sourced the images I needed to write the book on Manchester and the Great War.*

David also manages a unique exhibition in the Remembrance Lodge at Southern Cemetery which includes the medals, letters and person effects of many who lived through the Great War.

What perhaps makes his exhibition just that bit different is that some of the items on display are linked to service men that are either buried in the cemetery or are commemorated there.

Just a few minutes’ walk away was the big military hospital and those who died there are buried in the cemetery, including a number of Canadian soldiers.

And with this mind David has decided at include in his new exhibition to mark the start of the Battle of the Somme a tribute to the men from the CEF who are buried here.**

This will have a special significance this year given that there will also be a ceremony in Southern Cemetery to mark Canada Day.

Grave of T Williams, 4th Canadian Mounted Reifles
Now my great uncle came through the war as did his two brothers, one of whom was my grandfather as well as two of my uncles.

And on the “other side” some at least of my German family also survived, leaving only our great grandfather as the one who failed to make it.

His war grave is in Kent

Sadly we don’t know where great uncle Roger is buried.

After the war he returned to Canada and disappeared in the West sometime after 1925.

So on July 1 I will be at Southern Cemetery standing in front of the memorial to the those from Canada who died here in Britain.

Location; Southern Cemetery

Pictures; Canada in Khaki and the grave of T Williams of the 4th Canadian Rifles courtesy of David Harrop

*A new book on Manchester and the Great War,

**Coming Soon ......... an exhibition in Southern Cemetery ........... remembering the Battle of the Somme,

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