Friday, 17 June 2016

Surviving a century ........... the silver inscribed watch

Now it always fascinates me how cherished items end up on eBay.

The watch
Some will be family treasures passed down, while others are just a simple holiday snap and yet all of them will have once marked a significant moment in someone’s life.

And so it is with this watch which was awarded to Earl C Duffin.  I have no idea when he received it but the inscription on the back refers to a Masonic Lodge in Winnipeg.

It now belongs to David Harrop who told me that Earl C Duffin served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and with the help of that excellent site Library and Archives Canada, it has been possible to follow his army career.*

I know he was born in 1886, enlisted in  December 1914, and sailed for Europe the following August and by the April of 1916 he was in France.  He was demobbed in August 1919, having attained the rank of L. Col.

The watch and its inscribed sentiment
In time I shall try and find out more.

I know he married a Miss Shirley Calder on July 20 1921 and the Winnipeg Tribune carried a wedding picture.

It is more than likely that he will have returned to his earlier occupation as a merchant.

And he may even have revisited his old homes in Winnipeg at Harvard Avenue and later in Main Street.

All of which betokens a man with money and influence and begs the question of how his watch left Canada.

That said it will feature in David’s exhibition at Southern Cemetery commemorating the Battle of the Somme and is one of a number of items reflecting the stories of the twenty-six Canadians from the CEF who are buried in Southern Cemetery.

C H Hill of the "26"
They have become part of a research project to chronicle the lives of all the twenty six. **

So far I have discovered something on two of the men one of whom was a British Home Child, and before July 1 I hope to have found out something about them all.

Now that would be a fitting way to mark the day which was not only the first day of the Somme but also Canada Day, and this year the High Commissioner of Canada along with our Lord Mayor will be at a service of remembrance in Southern Cemetery.

Pictures; watch of Earl C Duffin, from the collection of David Harrop

*Library and Archives Canada,

**Canada's 26 of the CEF in Southern Cemetery,

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