John Moors (1876 – 1918) Recent Connections

This is a very brief post that serves only to express gratitude for the recent and generous connections I have made related to my Great Grandfather John Moors (1876 – 1918).  What a wonderful thing it is to have cousins discover my writings and research and to respond!  These Paternal relations include Charlene, Jacqueline and now, James. Thank you, for your connection. For about 15 years, I’ve been fanatically engaged in research on both my mother and father’s sides of the family.

Some would ask, “Why does it matter?…or… “What does it all mean, anyway?”…but, there is something innate within me that wants to know who my people are.  It is a weakness.

Long-story-short, I have always looked for a photograph of my Dad’s Grandfather, in uniform.  Every Remembrance Day, I was disappointed that I had only the image of his wedding day.    He died and is buried in Etaples, France.  He was lying in General Canada Hospital #51, when during the night, a bombing raid orchestrated by the Germans, decimated most of  the location and killed John Moors. I’ve thought that he should be remembered. Don’t get me wrong.  I was happy about having the wedding photograph…but, imagine my excitement when, randomly, Charlene sent a photograph over the internet from her home to mine…and to, in a flash, have my Great Grandfather’s visage appear face-to-face with me on a screen in 2018.  GAHHHHH!

Enough said…first, our family’s single archive up until now…my Great Grandmother Mary Eleanor Haddow Moors in the center front and my Great Grandfather John Moors back right.

wedding jpg best copy of Great Grandfather John Moors

I took this photograph of a photograph that my Auntie Eleanor had hanging in her home.  When it comes to gathering family history, I’m not super fussy about archival quality of images.  It’s a simple blessing to have  moments of history sustained and easily available to as many family members as is possible and as quickly as possible.  I think I’ve written about this before…that ‘in the day’ how would family members even include one another in these histories?  We are sooo blessed!

Here he is!  My Great Grandfather!  What a handsome man!  My father said he had striking red hair, much like my own Grandfather Moors did and now, my own beautiful daughter.

John Moors Great Grandfather

I’m hoping that Betty Silver’s daughter has an opportunity to see this as I know that she was on the look out for the very same image, saying (as other relations remembered) that a large framed photograph of John in uniform hung in the family dining room.

Second to this, Charlene shared what looks like a younger image of this John.

John Moors Great Grandfather 2

He looked dapper.  I try to imagine as I look at this image, that here is captured the 13 year old who came by ship, on his own…a British Home Child who worked very hard on at least three farm placements including Elora and two outside of Guelph.  This was likely taken during his Hamilton days.

And finally, a family photograph including my own Grandfather John Moors, his young brother Robert (Bob), his sister, Grace and his mother, Mary Eleanor Haddow Moors.  Mary Eleanor had striking dark eyes and hair…I see a lot of my father in her.  This would have been taken some time after the passing of their father and husband John Moors.

Grandfather John Moors

And finally, something that I just received tonight…icing on the cake!  My first cousin once-removed, James, has provided photographs of front and back of John’s military medal.  I’m so grateful that unlike so many families, this object has been cared for and cherished so that now, so many years later, all can enjoy.  Blessings on my family for their generous work.  My cousin, Teddy Witbeck, has been doing a remarkable job working on our family tree on Family Search.  As we continue to piece together our history, his work can be accessed.  Trust me, you will have a great head start that way!

Love you all.

John Moors back side medalJohn Moors medal front

I’ve written away and had much support attaining John’s military record…this medal assignment was included there.

John Moors (17)

Gestures of Love

Recently, like everyone else, I’ve been swept up in more fear and anger than usual because of the shifting tides of political, economic and philosophical posturing the world over.   We try, surrounded by the bombardment of ideas, reactions and media, to sort and sift things out, but sometimes, regardless of our efforts, cave to the tumult.

I was feeling the darkness of our times.

It seemed that last evening, there was a shift of this dark into light, as my dear cousin living in Utah, sent me a message to give him a call.  He’s known for a long time that I have a big heart for family research,  and a desire to find the pieces of our history, however narrative in nature and lacking in the documentation required to make real sense.  He and I, both, have worked on our paternal side for a very long time, in our own ways, if you count up all of the years between us.

I weep this morning, as I type here, about the lovely conversation shared between Dr. Ted (our name of affection for him) and myself.  Ted lead me through some of his research on our family.  It was like bags of sweets laid out before me. (Remember that feeling as a child?)  He guided me patiently, while the both of us logged on to a family ancestral site…this is a fan chart…click on person…click on tree…this is who this person was…and this one…here is the document…And so it went!  Any of you who do this sort of work know how generous this gesture of love is.  My grandfather, John Moors, would be so pleased.  My father, John Moors, will be, when he reads this.  Blessed!  I love you, Ted! And I will pour over every detail bit by bit and so much will be revealed to me!

This morning, I decided to continue to focus on the unbelievable possibility of the positive.  Rolling out of bed, I stepped into my slippers and shuffled upstairs to go through my morning rituals.  As a single woman, I typically do a day’s dishes in the evening, later than you choose, I’m sure, but, just the way I do things.  Last evening, I didn’t.  I expected to bury my hands and arms into warm sudsy water while the coffee maker burbled.  I like doing these things, although when I had a partner, I was over the moon about having a cup of coffee prepared for me and delivered to the sofa, while I either read the paper or eased into the day.  Rituals change and I have become very happy about treating myself to those tender gestures of support and kindness.

But…today…

I woke to a note on my kitchen counter.

Went to
gym.
Made you
coffee.
Leave the
dishes +
garbage. Will
do when I come
home.

❤ you

My adult daughter and a gesture of love…makes everything feel different, doesn’t it?  When someone does you a kindness?  Little effort, but a whole spin that takes you to a place of reassurance and gratitude.  Thank you, Cayley.

I opened up Twitter while I sipped on this first hot cup of coffee.  This, after turning on the Tallest Man on Earth. (My cousin Peter finally showed me how to connect to those lovely speakers over there, with Bluetooth).

My friend, Wendy, had posted this…and I felt so grateful.  Something about me? Really?  The artist?  And the title of the piece, STABILITY!  Thank you, Wendy!

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I’m feeling that these three gestures of love are a small smattering that represent the possibilities that are available to me today, these and the warm nuzzle of my Max Man pushing up against my thigh, here at the computer desk.  “Let’s go, Mom!  Let’s walk!”  Today, let’s all look for the gestures of love in our lives and look away from the natural draw to worry and sadness that pull at our heart strings these days, often issues that we have no control over.  Let’s simply do what we can, with a real focus of what are the blessings of our lives.  Create!

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The Week in Review: Compassion Under Contemporary Conditions

The week began with Live Painting at Congress 2016, a huge event hosted by the University of Calgary that included ‘six interdisciplinary symposia to exhibit the university’s most compelling and leading-edge thinking and research.’  The symposia on Compassion Under Contemporary Conditions was inspired by University of Calgary assistant professors Shane Sinclair and Graham McCaffrey, ‘who share a mutual research and practical interest in the topic and in sparking conversation and debate around some of the realities of compassion.’

The topic, Compassion Under Contemporary Conditions, really inspired me and I was thrilled that I would have opportunity to hear Margaret Atwood speak as I find her very entertaining, closely linked to family and very very smart.

At home, I shot about loading easel, panel and STUFF into the car. At the U of C, I was met, early, by Allan Rosales who made the invitation for me to submit my artistic intention a week earlier.  Allan was helpful and very gracious. I also met Zareen and friend, from the University visual arts department, as they displayed a beautiful art exhibit based on compassion.  It wasn’t long and I was settled alongside artists Mark Vazquez-Mackay and  Rebecca Zai.  As the day opened up, Mark seemed to be painting the various layers and facets of compassion and his piece was breath taking.  Rebecca was working from a photo reference that she had taken while on one of her international travels, a person demonstrating care for the ordinary street cats of his village.  Again, a beautiful painting!

Photo Credit: Allan Rosales  painting by Mark Vazquez-Mackay Sunday, May 29, 2016

Photo Credit: Allan Rosales painting by Mark Vazquez-Mackay Sunday, May 29, 2016

Hmmm…doesn’t seem I have a completed painting by Rebecca in my photo archives.  I’ll grab one and post later.

It was a blessing day, as it revealed itself. I thought it was very gracious of both Shane and Graham to come and introduce themselves and chat a little about art and life.  While my painting was not completed by end of day, there were a lot of different feelings that I moved through in the process and I was very excited to begin the journey of painting a body of work based on British Home Children that I’ve been researching for probably, WAY TOO LONG.  I interviewed descendant, Janet Fair, such a long time ago. Her grandfather, Sidney Emms Prodgers, was about to become my very first subject.

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Red underpinnings…the pain of the stories.  Gold…elevating the experiences of these lost/forgotten/abandoned children.

 

Application of Collage bits to the panel...S. S. Scotsman, the ship that carried Sidney, at age of 11, to Canada...facility where Sidney was surrendered as an baby, maps.

Application of Collage bits to the panel…S. S. Scotsman, the ship that carried Sidney, at age of 11, to Canada…facility where Sidney was surrendered as a baby, maps.

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The complete biography written in gold…information received via electronic mail from descendant, Janet Fair

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Photo Credit: Allan Rosales

Photo Credit: Allan Rosales

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Photo Credit: Allan Rosales

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Photo Credit: Waqas (Rebecca….last name?)

Sidney Prodgers 4

Home!  I’ll take Sidney into the studio to complete…so happy with the process!

I was grateful to hear Margaret Atwood’s talk on Compassion…the humour woven throughout, colourful  experiences of nurses and health care providers, historically, leading up to contemporary issues, as well.  I thought a lot about my sister as I listened.  I’m grateful for Valerie Jean Fiset, more than she will probably ever know.  She has had a most inspiring journey and I am so proud of her.  I likely should have brought along some of my Atwood books for signatures…I’m not surprised that I forgot.

Another blessing during the course of the day was to have a visit with a dear friend, Dr. Rita Irwin.  Our friendship began while we both achieved our B. Ed degrees at the University of Lethbridge.  She wandered over to my location, along with three of her witty and smart friends, and had a short but amazing visit.  Another strong and accomplished woman; I simply loved our shared big hugs and the familiar ring of Rita’s voice and laughter.

Rita...second from left.

Rita…second from left.

Moors Family Quilt 1978

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Given that I’m a big family historian, it’s strange that my own name appears nowhere on our family quilt, presented to my grandfather and grandmother Moors in 1978.  But then, I think that my brother, Stuart, is also missing…so, that’s life. ;0)

What I dearly love is that my mother’s embroidery…her handwriting…and her wishes appear here.  It’s as though Mom made me a little visit today as I was documenting the quilt.

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I thought that if I photographed each of the squares, the family, as it was shaped in 1978 (because families change…you know it…for all sorts of different reasons), people might want to save a digital photo for their own history.  I think it’s pretty darned special.

I dug through my own personal photographs, taken with an old film camera and found these two references.  I like that my Auntie Eleanor is present in one and that my Auntie Ruth is in the other.

Grampa Moors receiving quilt Auntie Eleanor on far right

Grampa Moors with family quilt Ruth in background

I think that might be my Auntie Mary in the background here, with Laura Lee on her hip…not certain.

My own family was represented by the following squares, lovingly embroidered by Mom.  Dad’s features a big muskie he once caught…

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I hope that my family, after celebrating such a wonderful party this past weekend in Magrath, will enjoy these posts and perhaps tuck a few squares away in their files!  Play list from 1978…just let this Youtube go…

 

 

From the same reunion, my cousin, Danny…then…

Kath's Canon 1979 Family Reunion 006

…and now!

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Angels…

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Ruth Purves-Smith and David Holloway

I’ve suspended my writing for the week because I’m teaching elementary children on a month long contract and I’m focused and inspired and need to line up all my jelly beans. What I really want to sustain over this month is my time in nature because things are evolving so quickly out there…and so many new birds are on the wing.

I’m writing diligently about an art tour that I took at Pason Systems on this past Saturday…one piece at a time…it was such a fabulous experience!  I suppose I’ll publish that during the coming weekend.

But…

…here’s an exception. I felt I needed to write my gratitude for Wendy Lee’s invitations to meet and listen to the music of Ruth Purves-Smith, accompanied by the fantastic guitar player, David Holloway.  So, for Juno weekend, I ended up having time on Sunday to attend Wendy’s house concert where chili was served, chilled white wine and the most wonderful company ever!  It was a hub of Juno energy and such a down-to-earth experience.

It turns out that Ruth’s father, Bill Purves-Smith and his wife, Fen Roessingh, have a connection to my own family patriarch, John Moors…and so, Ruth and I are connected by the beautiful warm smell and coziness of wool!  My grandfather is pictured below, a young man, in the throws of excitement about wool.

John Moors Woolen Mill Magrath, Alberta

Bill Purves-Smith and a photograph that appeared on his memorial 1934-2011.

Bill Purves-Smith

This story about the collision between Ruth’s family and my own appears on the Custom Woolen Mills website…

Fen Roessingh and husband Bill Purves-Smith developed a keen interest in weaving while studying at the Leighton Centre near Calgary, Alberta in the 1970’s. After being given a truck-load of raw wool in order to pursue their weaving, they began searching to find a mill that would process it into yarn. This took them to Magrath, Alberta, to work with John Moors in his mill, Wool Carding and Spinning. John had started in the woolen mill business at the age of 12 as a bobbin boy and worked his way up to running his own mill. When Fen and Bill came to work with him, John was in his 70’s and looking for someone to take over his business. Game for a challenge and motivated by their love of fibre arts, Fen and Bill bought the mill from John and moved it to Carstairs. They then acquired a wool washing system and additional carding machines from a small mill called Custom Woolen Mills in Sifton, Manitoba. The mill was owned by Anna Weselowski who, also in her 70’s, was looking to retire. Combined, the new mill was called Custom Woolen Mills Ltd. Wool Carding and Spinning, but everyone just called it Custom Woolen Mills for short. Over 35 years later, Custom Woolen Mills is still going strong; a hub in the community, a multigenerational family enterprise, and a producer of quality, Canadian grown and manufactured wool products.  

Of course, as soon as I could, I grabbed onto Ruth…gave her a big hug…and we began to spill out the memories.  I loved hearing about her playing in the back of the mill and watching the old television…I could picture it all.

Thank you for the stories, Ruth…and the music…and the generous heart.  Thank you David for the absolutely amazing guitar accompaniment and the talk of clocks.  And most of all, thank you to Wendy and Dan for their hospitality and for the sharing, always, of music and art!  Good to see so many friends that we now share and for the introduction to so many more!

Kath's Canon Ruth Purves-Smith, Franks 040

There’s nothing like a bookshelf filled with interesting titles…and a guitar that’s about to be played!

Kath's Canon Ruth Purves-Smith, Franks 053Kath's Canon Ruth Purves-Smith, Franks 051Kath's Canon Ruth Purves-Smith, Franks 050Kath's Canon Ruth Purves-Smith, Franks 046Kath's Canon Ruth Purves-Smith, Franks 039Kath's Canon Ruth Purves-Smith, Franks 037Kath's Canon Ruth Purves-Smith, Franks 036

It was a wonderful experience…bought the recent CD….so should you!

 

Related Posts:

Woolen Mill

Objects of My Affection: Woolen Blanket

Of All the Places

The Sunshine of Your Smile

Leah Came to the Door

May 8, 2015

Going to the Country

Southern Alberta Roads

Wool Card and Spinning: My Grandfather’s Story

John Moors 1908-1988

Ancestry Geek

John Moors 1876-1918

John Moors 1841-1914

 

 

 

 

340 Water Street, Summerside, PEI

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Historical building, yes, but also a workplace for my Summerside family for so many years!  I can not help but keep the images of the place in my heart because it is a place that is a part of my identity, just as the woolen mill, here in the west, is.  The description and historical significance appears below in blue and was collected from this site.

DESCRIPTION OF HISTORIC PLACE

The large three-storey flat roofed warehouse at 340 Water Street is clad in white vinyl. It is located west of the Central Street intersection overlooking the harbour. It is situated between the street and the former railway line now part of the Trans Canada Trail. The registration includes the building and its lot.

HERITAGE VALUE

The large three-storey structure at 340 Water Street has been a landmark on the harbourfront of Summerside for over 130 years. It has considerable historical significance as the warehouse of the prominent Lefurgey family who shipped produce in vessels that were constructed on the land south of the building.

The plain building was built for John E. Lefurgey who purchased the lot running south to the shoreline in 1873. The date of the building’s construction is assumed to be before 1878 when its presence is marked on Ruger’s Panoramic Map. Its shape indicates that it was constructed to run adjacent to the railroad bed which was laid in the early 1870s.

Mr. Lefurgey, who had come to Green’s Shore in the 1850s as a general merchant, built many ships to use in his business of shipping oats and potatoes to markets in Great Britain. The large warehouse building provided ample space for the storage of produce. Mr. Lefurgey was active in town affairs and represented the Summerside area in the House of Assembly from 1870 to 1890.

After his death in 1891, the estate was left in the hands of his wife, the former Dorothea Read, and his son, William. When William died in 1893, his brothers, John Ephraim (J.E.) and Alexander Alfred (A.A.) took over the family business. J.E. Lefurgey was well known in the community and served for a time on the town council. In 1905, he purchased real estate in Vancouver and shortly afterwards settled there. Alfred Lefurgey, a Harvard law graduate, served in the PEI Legislature in 1897 and was elected to the House of Commons in 1900, representing East Prince until 1908.

The Lefurgey warehouse passed from family ownership in 1909. The new owner of the substantial property was William H. Edgett, a produce dealer in Moncton. He and John Grady, the accountant for the firm of David Rogers & Sons for many years, formed the Edgett Grady Company for the purpose of buying and selling local produce. The business was bought out in 1912 by the Montreal firm of Gunn Langlois, which specialized in the handling and shipping of eggs and poultry.

In 1916, during W.W. I, all three floors of the eastern portion of the building were used by the 105th Battalion for the sleeping quarters of Summerside recruits. In December of that year, after a major fire on Water Street destroyed many buildings, the firm of Sinclair & Stewart moved several of its departments into the vacated section of the building and occupied it for almost a year.

The firm of Gunn Langlois ceased operations in Summerside around 1932 and the building changed hands in 1933. Lorne MacFarlane, a partner in the MacFarlane Produce Company, became sole owner in August 1934. A month later he sold the portion of land between the building and the edge of the water to Percy Tanton and his son Ray who wanted it for a mill and lumberyard. In 1960, that land became the property of the Irving Oil Company.

Lorne MacFarlane was one of several individuals who formed the PEI Bag Company Limited, which began manufacturing jute bags for the packing and shipping of potatoes and other produce. In 1937, an addition was built on the south side of the structure and in 1941, a sprinkler system was installed. The success and expansion of the bag business eventually necessitated the use of the whole building and in 1944, the MacFarlane Produce Company moved to other premises. Some reinforcement of the building took place in 1949 when a fifteen-ton machine to cut, print, and fold bags, was installed on the third floor.

Over the years, production has expanded to include bags made from paper and polypropylene to meet the needs of customers who package various types of produce, including potatoes. The business has continued to prosper and is currently owned by descendents of its founders.

Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile

CHARACTER-DEFINING ELEMENTS

The following character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of the building:

– the three-storey massing and form of this industrial building with flat roof and large footprint that parallels the adjacent former railway line
– the placement of windows and doors representing a mainly functional purpose, on the north elevation they provide a sense of balance and are 2 over 2
– the ongoing contribution to the historic streetscape reflective of industrial commercial activities

These are my own photographs, snapped during my visit to the island in 2011.

Apparently Roger Wells had plans for the building and this article states that in 2013 the city rejected the idea of using it as storage for antique cars.  The article mentions that it was put up for sale at that time.  Now, I’m going to go digging to see what’s happened with it since.  What an amazing art gallery and studio space that would be!

I know that of my relations, my Auntie Gladys likely worked there the longest.

PEI Bag Company

 

1937 Roslyn Photo Got Noticed

The Westmount Independent, a local paper in a Montreal suburb,  ran a wee article on Tuesday, seeking out a boy in this photograph.

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Roslyn and Kath

It turns out that a friend of one of the Walls boys, might just be the candidate!  She is taking the article to Mr. Walls, who is reported as in good health, to view the image today and will get back to me. :0)  I’m pretty happy that we may have made a connection here.  Stay tuned!

Here is a link to the original blog post, written on January 2, 2016.

My other searches include the links found on my Page, Where Are You?

 

Roslyn Elementary School 1937

This is just one of those things I picked up at a second hand shop in Belleville, Ontario…just because it was beautiful, so crisp and nostalgic…a bit of a glare on the photo I’ve included.

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Upon removing the frame, I found a list of what I believe to be nicknames and first names of a group of male students Grade six, 1937.  I love to get these sorts of things back into the hands of descendants if I can, but because the details are not sufficient to do a search, I’m just landing ‘what I do know’ here, in this one place.  If you know anyone who is seeking out this archive, I’d love for it to go to a family member.

Kath's Canon January 2, 2016 New Years Tracks Salmon Sculpture 023

From what I can tell, Roslyn Elementary school was/is based in Montreal.  It seems that if this is the same school, Leonard Cohen attended Roslyn.

“Leonard Cohen, author, poet, and musician, was born on September 21, 1934 to a prosperous Jewish family in Westmount. His grandfather, Lyon Cohen, was the owner of the successful men’s clothing manufacturing firm, the Freedman Company, and was perhaps the Jewish community’s foremost leader during the early decades of the twentieth century. Leonard’s father, Nathan Cohen, died when Cohen was just nine years old, leaving him under the care of his Russian-born mother, Masha, as the family became more dependent on the support of his father’s brothers. Cohen attended Roslyn School and then Westmount High School, while also going to Hebrew school and becoming a bar mitzvah at the Shaar Hashomayim synagogue, where his family was actively involved. It was during his adolescence that he turned more and more to writing and learned to play guitar. This more introverted, artistic side of Cohen in some ways contrasted with the student who played sports and was a leader in extracurricular activities.”

Back Row: Sweezy, Romney, Schulman, Chisholm, Kosh, Evans, Gurd, Murray, Graham, Tilden

Middle Row: Cummings, Nutter, Casgrain, Williams Chodal Walker Moyle Walls Polcock Oliver

Back Row: Nicholson Bishop Burke Miller Griffith Walls Strachan Waller Cockfield Swaine

Haggett King

Grade  VI Roslyn School May 1937

To update this story, I spoke to Joanne Penhale this morning.

“I’m a Montreal-based freelance reporter and your blog post featuring the 1937 photo from Roslyn School has piqued the curiousity (sic) of my editor at the Westmount Independent – the community newspaper serving the community Roslyn is in.”
If a story does, in fact, run in a local newspaper, the chances are greater that this photo will fall into the hands of one of the boys in this photograph…or one of their descendants. I took a new set of photographs as a result of this connection.  WHOOT!
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Oranges and Sunshine

The lights are dazzling on the Christmas tree this morning.  I sip hot coffee and sort through papers and bric-a-brac on the kitchen floor.  I don’t recommend painting walls right before the season’s celebrations.  It’s taking me an endless amount of time settling back in.  Everything, I’m certain, will feel fresh once I’m settled again.

Mornings like this, though, hold their beauty.  I like the nesting experience and I like the solitary moments, hanging with the border collie.  I can sing and sometimes dance, at will.

I decided to play a CD that was sent to me by my sister-friend, Linda Barns, over in London.  Some time ago, she attended an exhibition on my behalf, On Their Own: British Child Migrants at the V&A Museum of Childhood in London.

Some time before Christmas, I sat and cried through the movie, Oranges and Sunshine, a film about the migration of thousands of children from Britain to Australia.  Because I come from a family rooted in this same history, but as it is related to Canadian child immigrants, I feel a huge connection to the content of the movie.

The music I’m listening to as I write is titled The Ballads of Child Migration, songs for Britain’s Child Migrants.  They are beautiful songs written in recognition of this history.  Canadian descendants of British Home Children are continuing to look for similar accountability at every level and to see the events recognized in history classes throughout the provinces.

I try, as much as I can, to be positive when I write or engage social media.  We need, however, to be honest about our history, in order to avoid making similar mistakes again.  There are many atrocities performed by human beings upon other human beings.  This is one of those atrocities.  I suggest that my readers inform themselves on the subject, not for the purpose of blame, but for the purpose of recognition and reconciliation.

I think the movie is accurate in its portrayal of the events.

The music  that Linda has sent me is beautiful in a haunting way.  I love you, for this beautiful gift, Linda.

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Burnsland Cemetery Tour: November 11, 2015

Max and I managed to fit in a beautiful morning hike at Frank’s Flats, arriving home as the last post and the Remembrance Day observances at Parliament Hill were just beginning.  I always get quite emotional about these rituals as I am very respectful of my family’s military roots and I am flooded with love for all of my family, as well as friends who commemorate the service of their family members at this time of year.

I decided some time yesterday to attend the tour at Burnsland Cemetery this year and to learn a little about the various Regiments that served out of Calgary and the rest of Canada.

From the City of Calgary website, this…

Burnsland cemetery dates back to 1923 and includes many of Calgary’s World War I Veterans. The Calgary Heritage Authority has deemed the cemetery to be a historically significant cultural landscape that played an important part in the settlement and establishment of Calgary as a city. 

The Remembrance Day ad…

Take a free guided tour of the 13-hectare Burnsland Cemetery and learn more about some of the heroes that were laid to rest here. There are more than 22,000 buried at this cemetery, including many of Calgary’s veterans from the First World War. This tour is also an opportunity to reflect on the Canadian Military and RCMP traditions.

The tour begins at 2 p.m. and runs until 3:30 p.m.

Burnsland CemeteryInitially, there was some confusion for me about where to meet up.  I parked within the Burnsland Cemetery, got out of my vehicle and the first person I met was someone I had met years ago, when my son was just a toddler.  Brenda Driscoll is an artist who I met when grouped with nine other Canadian artists on a horse trip up the Sheep River. It was quite a journey and I really felt close to Brenda from the onset.  She was an experienced horse woman and I had zero experience.  There were some very good laughs.  I liked her so much that I painted her into one of my monumental canvases titled, So Where Do I Begin?

There she was this afternoon, all these years later, walking quietly between the rows of markers, actually seeking out her own father’s resting place.  Together, we found our way to the group.  I already knew that it would be an awesome event.

I desperately want to learn the name of the Calgary Parks staff member who led our tour this afternoon.  She was brilliant, articulate and did an awesome job personalizing the story of war…dealing honestly with the positive as well as the very dark side of war and the mistakes, as well as successes of Canadians in various periods of our war history.

We began at the Colonel James Walker’s family plot and resting place and were given a brief history of early peace keeping in the west.

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James Walker was born near Hamilton, Ontario and became one of the original commissioned officers in the North West Mounted Police in 1873, taking part in the trek West in 1874.

Walker, like all the commissioned officers of the force, faced the same hardships as the enlisted men with the added responsibility of caring for the new recruits, (most of them city boys – some as young as 15 – with little or no experience in the frontier) and assuring their safety and the success of the expedition. Walker and Col. Macleod, at one point, had to leave the expedition and travel on alone to procure extra supplies and horses to replace those which had died along the way.

Walker was promoted to superintendent in 1876 and sent back East to arrange for new recruits. While in Ottawa, he was instructed to take some of the recruits and a troop of more experienced policemen (they were two year veterans but you became “experienced” very quickly under their conditions) to Battleford to establish a Mounted Police fort and provide an escort for the treaty commissioners who were travelling in the same area.

James Walker was pressed into national service during the North West Rebellion of 1885 when he formed the Home Guard. He was a Lt. Col. in the 15th Light Horse and served overseas in WW1 as the commanding officer of the Canadian Forestry Corps.

The next historical resting place was that of Colonel David Ritchie, MC. 1924- 1941

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 062Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 065Colonel Ritchie was born in Cumberland, England in 1882 and lived in the United Kingdom until 1911. Having joined the Dumfrieshire County Police at age 17, he followed this career path in Canada by joining the Calgary Police Force (as it was known then), reaching the rank of Detective. He served with the plain clothes squad until enlisting in the CEF in 1915.
He arrived in England as a Lieutenant of the 137th Battalion, and promoted to Captain while in the UK. After transfer to a combat battalion in France, he was wounded at Amiens in August 1918, and was still in hospital with his leg wound when the Armistice was declared in November.

After return to Calgary in 1919, he was presented with his Military Cross by the Prince of Wales who visited the city in September of that year. He rejoined the Calgary Police Force, becoming Chief Constable (the highest rank on the Force) on 15 September 1919. Ritchie’s impact on the Force was notable, for such things as the introduction of parking tickets and the School Safety Patrol in 1921, to the first installation of radios in police cars and motorcycles.

While Chief of Police, he enlisted in The Calgary Highlanders in 1922 as a Captain, with promotion to Major following in short order. In 1924, he was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel and made Commanding Officer of the Regiment. His command lasted from 1924 to 1929, during which time he was promoted to Colonel.

After retirement from the Highlanders, became president of the Alberta Military Institute in 1930 and president of the Alberta Infantry Association the next year. His interest in sports, despite his injured leg, led to presidency of the Alberta Highland Games Association.
Colonel Ritchie died in 1941 aged 39, after having been Chief of the Calgary Police Force for 22 years. sic

While his age is recorded as 39 on the Calgary Highlander’s website, the Lieutenant Colonel would have been 59 when he passed away in 1941.

Next, to the Cowe family plot.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 061 At the Cowe family plot, we learned about the ‘Victorian’ ways of the community at the time, very hierarchical in its ways and temperament.  Colonization was just like that, wasn’t it?  We learned that a huge segment of the Calgary population was from Scotland.  This is exemplified in the Scottish thistle that appears on the decorated stone.  We focused on John who was killed in action in Gallipoli in Turkey.  Right away I thought about Russell Crowe’s most recent movie, The Water Diviner. We were told, if you went to Gallipoli, you didn’t come home…it was just that horrific.  Canadian troops were there to support the British.

Out of the narratives at this stone, I learned a brief history of our ‘Blue Puttees’, our brave soldiers, eventually to be given the title, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

“The losses sustained by the 1st Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont-Hamel on July 1, 1916, were staggering. Of the 801 Newfoundlanders who went into battle that morning, only 68 were able to answer the roll call the next day, with 255 dead, 386 wounded and 91 missing. The dead included 14 sets of brothers, including four lieutenants from the Ayre family of St. John’s.”

The tour group was absolutely silent; some of us, crying.

May they rest in peace.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 066At the resting place of Catherine de Bellefeville, I learned that those who served as nursing sisters, were immediately given the rank of Lieutenant.  During this part of the presentation I learned that just over 50 nursing sisters lost their lives in the Great War, some working in hospitals where injured men were being cared for.  It was under this circumstance that my own great grandfather, John Moors, died, along with some of his caregivers on May 19, 1918.

The most painful history that was shared with me about the nursing sisters who served the allies in World War I was the story of the HMHS Llandovery Castle.  This is a story I encourage all of my readers to contemplate.  Very few people know of this horrific event.  This was a ‘floating’ hospital, required to have all lights on…a cross marking…it was required to sail apart from all participating sea vessels.  And yet, on a voyage from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England, the ship was torpedoed off southern Ireland on 27 June 1918 by the enemy.  Accounts and descriptions of this disaster are heart wrenching. 

May they rest in peace.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 067At the resting place of Major Reverend Canon William H. Morgan, we learned that there was dispute over how many chaplains should be engaged for the purpose of battle.  Sir Samuel Hughes, deemed both energetic and controversial, seemed to be the person with the power to decide.  There were 527 chaplains recruited in World War I, with a very small number of Catholic chaplains, given his particular bias.

One chaplain was mentioned specifically as we stood at this stone…John Weir Foote, awarded the Victory Cross after the war.

From Wikipedia, a further explanation of the circumstances of his loss, as explained by our tour guide…

On August 19, 1942 at Dieppe, France, Captain Foote coolly and calmly during the eight hours of the battle walked about collecting the wounded. His gallant actions saved many lives and inspired those around him by his example. At the end of this grueling time, he climbed from the landing craft that was to have taken him to safety and deliberately walked into the German position in order to be taken prisoner, so that he could be of help to those men who would be in captivity until May 5, 1945.

May he rest in peace.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 068Here, at the resting place of Pte. George Stewart, we were given a brief background on the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.  We learned that Canadians were viewed as the work horses…the strong arm…by the British.  Our soldiers earned the respect of all for their courage and determination.  I hope that my readers will follow my link, studying the role that the PPCLI played in world conflict, with some very specific events and citations in the Korean and Afghanistan conflicts.

May they rest in peace.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 069 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 070 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 072 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 073Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 074At the resting place of Pte. William J. Ware, son of black cowboy, John Ware, we learned of some of the disturbing inconsistencies in the day, due to race.  If you were black, you had to enlist directly with a battalion.  Procedures could not be the same.  Once enlisted, a black man was moved into a Construction battalion, assigned to heavy labour and often going ahead of armed battalions with lumber and other burdens.  There was even a resistance to taking black soldiers when recruitment offices were in dyer need of numbers.  Ware was a member of the No. 2 Construction Battalion (an all Black battalion) serving in France, with the majority of the men being assigned to the No. 5 Canadian Forestry Corps (Jura Group).

Dissimilarly, First Nations men were welcomed with open arms because, again, for stereotypical reasons, they were viewed as hunters, strong men, survivors.  The sad part of the story took place when they returned home.  Soldiers were promised a land grant when they returned home.  It was only our First Nations who were refused these grants upon their return.  Sadly, along with this, because they had served their country, their status was taken away.  I don’t know if Canadians know these things.  I didn’t.  A book recommendation on this subject is Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden.  From the Canadian War Museum, this…

A Record of Accomplishment

First Peoples troops left a remarkable record of wartime accomplishment. Several were commissioned as officers, and many served as battle-hardened platoon leaders and combat instructors. At least 50 were decorated for bravery on the battlefield. Many acquired near-legendary status as scouts and snipers, drawing on pre-war hunting skills and wilderness experience. The most decorated, Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow, an Ojibwa from the Parry Island Band near Parry Sound, Ontario, received the Military Medal and two bars for his bravery and effectiveness as a sniper. Former rodeo performer Henry Norwest, a Metis, was credited with 115 kills before his death. Alexander Smith, Jr. and his brother Charles, the sons of Six Nations Cayuga chief Alexander G. Smith, were both awarded the Military Cross.

May they rest in peace…

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 076I had just recently learned about Mary Dover, and today, I found myself standing before her resting place.  Please read about the Women’s Army Corp of Canada.

May they rest in peace…

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 075A tour of Calgary’s Burnsland cemetery would not be complete without thinking about the members of the Lord Strathcona Horse (Royal Canadians).  Again, a very amazing history.  It is quite an accomplishment when a regiment receives the title Royal.  The more personal narrative shared was about Gordon Muriel Flowerdew VC (2 January 1885 – 31 March 1918)

For most conspicuous bravery and dash when in command of a squadron detailed for “special services of a very important nature. On reaching his first objective, Lieutenant Flowerdew saw two lines of enemy, each about sixty strong, with machine guns in the centre and flanks; one line being about two hundred yards behind the other. Realizing the critical nature of the operation and how much depended on it, Lieut. Flowerdew ordered a troop under Lieut. Harvey, VC, to dismount and carry out a special movement, while he led the remaining three troops to the charge. The squadron (less one troop) passed over both lines, killing many of the enemy with the sword; and wheeling about galloping on them again. Although the squadron had then lost about 70 per cent of its members, killed and wounded from rifle and machine gun fire directed on it from the front and both flanks, the enemy broke and retired. The survivors of the squadron then established themselves in a position where they were joined, after much hand-to-hand fighting, by Lieut. Harvey’s part. Lieut. Flowerdew was dangerously wounded through both thighs during the operation, but continued to cheer his men. There can be no doubt that this officer’s great valour was the prime factor in the capture of the position.”

His Victoria Cross was one of twenty awarded during the battles of the German and Allied Offensives in the Amiens Area in 1918.

Today, we remember…

Well…this has been quite the post.  Can you tell that I am absolutely amazed by military history?

I missed the last two or three parts of the tour, because the story at the very next sight sent Brenda and I off, in search of her father.  At the age of one, her father died in a training accident as he was a pilot in the forces.

Our tour guide explained that typically if a plane went down at one of the many Alberta training centers, two men lost their lives, as confirmed by the matching dates on their stones.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 080We were also told that it was a very sad thing that soldiers from New Zealand and far parts of Canada came to Alberta for their training.  When a soldier died, he was buried in the country where he lost his life.  With so many pilots lost in training, this made it tremendously sad for grieving families living so far away, but it has been the way. As the group moved along, Brenda and I remained behind.  She knew only that her father had died in October, 1943 and that he was resting in Burnsland Cemetery.

After a very short time, Brenda was reunited with her father.  What an amazing experience!  May he rest in peace.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 082 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 084 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 085 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 086 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 087 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 089We spent some time there…chatting…noticing the flower that was set before his stone.  As we left to walk back to our cars…I felt very grateful for the afternoon and for the opportunity to remember.

There, a short distance from my car, was my son-in-law’s friend, Brad.  Brenda and I said our good-byes, with promises to connect and I was able to take a photo of Brad along side his great grandfather’s resting place.  Such an amazing day!

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 090 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 091 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 092 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 093 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 094It turned out to be quite a day for the lady with the camera…a very beautiful day!