Remembering My Great Grandfather: November and Snow

John Moors Etaples Image collected from Ancestry.ca in my family research. Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948

Plot 65, Row C, Grave 6 Document retrieved from Ancestry.ca Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948

Yesterday I ended up on another tangent.  My retirement seems to be an entire series of tangents, that seem for a time to be about everything else, but always lead back to me, my identity and what my soul speaks.  My great grandfather John Moors of the 54th Battalion was in a #51 General Hospital bed near Etaples.  Out of nowhere, on the night of May 19, 1918, the enemy conducted a shameful air strike that left nurses and many patients wounded or as in my great grandfather’s case, dead.  Thanks to The Great War forum and other Canadian archives, I was able to find several artifacts, including this silent film, an actual archive of the devastation, that relay the horror of that night.  I am left to really think about the countless men and women who lost their lives in the years 1914 to 1918.  I feel the strength and courage of my family of soldiers coursing through my own blood.  It is a sacred bloodline.

A Post Card to His Son: in Possession of John Moors, his Grand Son

Map of Etaples Training Camp found on The First World War Poetry Digital Archive: Link for Site Follows.

The above map was accessed here, with the primary contributor being listed as The Great War Archive, University of Oxford.

etaples_000

Source of Image: Through These Lines Air Raids See Link Below.

Link for Through These Lines: Research Etaples Here.  Read details about the air raids and peruse various links to War Diaries.

NFB film may be viewed here.

Photo Below: No. 7 Canadian General Hospital, ca. 1917

Source: Library and Archives Canada/Album of Photographs of No.7 Canadian General Hospital, Etaples, France/C-080026

Link: http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=3194282&rec_nbr_list=3623063,3194282

Canadian General Hospital 7 Government of Canada Library and Archives: See Link Above

Photo Below: Funeral of Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe, who died of wounds received during a German air raid, May 1918

Source: Library and Archives Canada/Credit: William Rider-Rider/Department of National Defence fonds/PA-040154

Link: http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=3194234&rec_nbr_list=3623048,3194234

Sister Margaret Lowe lost her life: Funeral Procession from Government of Canada Library and Archives: See Link Above

Photo Below: Funeral of Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe, who died of wounds received during a German air raid, May 1918

Source: Library and Archives Canada/Credit: William Rider-Rider/Department of National Defence fonds/PA-040154

Link: http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=3194234&rec_nbr_list=3623048,3194234

Another Lost Life: Etaples 1918 sister G.M.M.Wake Government of Canada Library and Archives: See Link Above

I am including, here, an image of the Etaples Military Cemetery, in order to recognize the powerful image of so many lives lost.

 

Etaples Military Cemetery: Here rests my great grandfather.

Etaples

According to the War Diary of Matron-in-Chief, British Expeditionary Force, France and Flanders, Miss McCarthy…notes on May 20, 1918

“Received telephone message from A/Principal Matron, Etaples, saying that the Etaples hospitals had been severely bombed during the night.  One Sister (Nursing Sister K. Macdoneald, CAMC) had been killed and 7 wounded at No.1 Canadian Hospital, also many patients and personnel.  At No. 7 Canadian General Hospital there were no casualties among the nursing stuaff but 3 MOs were wounded and some patients killed.  The Nurses’ Club was wrecked but the two BRCS workers were not hurt.  At No. 26 General Hospital there were 2 minor casualties among the nursing staff – Miss Marshall, VAD slightly wounded on the head and admitted to hospital, and Miss Draper, VAD slightly wounded in the writst.  One patient only was killed in this unit.  Part of the Sisters’ quarters were wrecked and one or two of the rooms nearest the railway siding are unfit for use.  There were no casualties among the nursing staff at No.24 General Hospital.  This unit took in a large number of casualties from the Infantry Base Depot and the Household Calvalry Camp.  At No. 46 Stationary Hospital one VAD, Miss W.A.Brampton was somewhat shell-shocked.  A number of patients were killed and wounded.  At No.56 General Hospital there were no casualties among the nursing staff but some amongst patients and personnel.   Nos. 35, 37, 4 and 2 Ambulance Trains were in the siding at the time and were damaged, the only casualty amongst the nursing staff being S/Nurse M. de H. Smith, slightly wounded above the eye.  The Matron-in-Chief, CEF, the Matron-in-Chief, QAIMNS War Office, and DGMS were informed of all casualties.”

Subsequent diary entries took place when the Matron-in-Chief makes her visits.  On the 22nd…she writes.

“Left for Etaples in the afternoon, arriving at the DDMS office at 7 p.m.  Went with the A/Principal Matron, Miss Stronach, to No.1 Canadian General Hospital where I called upon the Matron, Miss Campbell, and inspected the quarters where the recent terrible raid had occurred and saw the rooms which had been absolutely destroyed, also the adjacent building of HRH Princess Victoria’s Rest Club for Nurses which is more or less in ruins.  The only thing left intact in the building was Her Royal Highness’s picture which was on a small table on the ground floor, neither table nor picture being touched.  I saw the seriously wounded Sister, Miss Lowe, CAMC who was being nursed in a hut as her condition was too serious to allow of moving her to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital.  She was just conscious but was very ill.”  Sister Lowe later succumbed to her wounds.

The Canadian Great War Project details my Great Grandfather’s military information here.

My efforts to link to the Library and Archives of Canada collections seems to be a problem when linking to my great grandfather’s attestation papers.

494073a Attestation Papers

John Moors Attestation Papers Page 2

Attestation Papers: Front and Back With gratitude for the Library and Archives Canada http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca

My great grandfather, John Moors, is mentioned and the circumstances of his final hours are described in the following documents.  The above War Diary Report was accessed here on the War Diaries of the First World War on Library and Archives Canada.

War diary, May 1918, p. 6 / e001513822

Link: http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=2005096&rec_nbr_list=2005096

 

War diary, May 1918, p. 19 / e001117835

Link: http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=2006068&rec_nbr_list=2006068

The following excerpt from this UK War Diary.

20.05.18
Sick Sisters 207
Etaples bombed: Received telephone message from A/Principal Matron, Etaples, saying that the Etaples hospitals had been severely bombed during the night. One Sister (Nursing Sister K. Macdonald, CAMC) had been killed and 7 wounded at No.1 Canadian General Hospital, also many patients and personnel. At No.7 Canadian General Hospital there were no casualties among the nursing staff but 3 MOs were wounded and some patients killed. The Nurses’ Club was wrecked but the two BRCS workers were not hurt. At No.26 General Hospital there were 2 minor casualties among the nursing staff – Miss Marshall, VAD slightly wounded on the head and admitted to hospital, and Miss Draper, VAD slightly wounded in the wrist. One patient only was killed in this unit. Part of the Sisters’ quarters were wrecked and one or two of the rooms nearest the railway siding are unfit for use. There were no casualties among the nursing staff at No.24 General Hospital. This unit took in a large number of casualties from the Infantry Base Depot and the Household Cavalry Camp. At No.46 Stationary Hospital one VAD, Miss W. A. Brampton, was somewhat shell-shocked. A number of patients were killed and wounded. At No.56 General Hospital there were no casualties among the nursing staff but some amongst patients and personnel. Nos. 35, 37, 4 and 2 Ambulance Trains were in the siding at the time and were damaged, the only casualty amongst nursing staff being S/Nurse M. de H. Smith, slightly wounded above the eye. The Matron-in-Chief, CEF, the Matron-in-Chief, QAIMNS War Office, and DGMS were informed of all casualties.”

With gratitude to the National Archives of Canada for their rich archival collection.  I intend for this information, from a wide variety of sources, to honour my grandfather and my family and to help us complete a narrative of our national history as it relates to one family.

5 thoughts on “Remembering My Great Grandfather: November and Snow

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