Remembrance Day 2019: Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium

Yesterday I heard two presenters say that Remembrance Day is not to be confused with Veteran’s Day.  Armistice Day is on 11 November and is also known as Remembrance Day. It marks the day World War One ended, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918. A two-minute silence is held at 11am to remember the people who have died in wars.

Like everyone else, I am disappointed that the Don Cherry fiasco stole so much from the highlights of a beautiful day remembering those soldiers in our families and in our Nation who offered the ultimate sacrifice in past wars, Afghanistan and because of selfless service.

I was really pleased about attending the commemoration at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium this year and taking in the various rituals, but indoors, while cozy warm.  Last year, we headed to the cenotaph downtown and it got a bit cold at times, although it was also an amazing experience.  Next year, the field of crosses.

The seats were assigned, as we arrived.  This created a sense of calm and order.  Beautiful music was provided by the HMCS Tecumseh Band along with Jeanette Embree, Detachment Commander, CF Recruiting Center, Director of Music, Royal Canadian Navy Reserve.  What a lovely repertoire.

I thought about my Dad while singing this hymn.  I used to sit next to Mom in the Protestant Chapel pews while Dad directed or sang in the choir.  I felt them beside me yesterday…and I felt surrounded by my family, many who have served.  My Great Uncle Joseph Gallant gave the ultimate sacrifice, as did my Great Grandfather John Moors.  This hymn was a perfect one to bring everyone home to me.

While we were prompted to save our applause until the very end of the laying of the wreaths, two of our Veterans from the Colonel Belcher caused our hearts to stir and we broke into wild applause.  I cried my face off at these points in the service, as well as during the Last Post.  Our friend, Helena, laid a wreath on behalf of the Alberta Retired Teachers.  We were very proud of her for representing us.

After the commemorative service, and as we were leaving, I noticed that Ralph MacLean, the 97 year old Veteran who had served with Canadians in Hong Kong in 1941.  Please follow the link and listen to his story on the Memory Project.  Through various circumstances and very quickly, I connected with Ralph’s son, daughter and grandson, author of Forgiveness, author Mark Sakamoto.  

I won’t soon forget the kind hearts of Ralph’s family.

I had the opportunity to exchange quite a number of stories with Ralph and I feel that it was a huge blessing to meet him.  I will be visiting him at the Colonel Belcher.

As I took my evening walk, slow around the circle because Max is ailing badly, I took in the beauty of the day, my friendships with Janet and Pat, my children, the freedoms I enjoy.  I thought about my family and their huge military connections.  I contemplated including their photographs here…but, I’m leaving the images of their faces and my research in my heart.  I’ll leave it all up to peace…the sky…the river.  I will always Remember.

 

 

Grade Threes Consider Remembrance

I read a beautifully illustrated book to the grade threes about the meaning of the poppy.  Thank you, Wilma, for leaving that for us.  I mixed up a few shades of red during the lunch hour, deciding last minute to go ahead and use tempera with the students.  I think students are always somewhat in awe when I recite the words to the poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’, by memory.  I told the grade threes that my teacher, Miss Goodrich, had us memorize it when I was in grade three.  Once in the heart, poetry never seems to leave.

I showed them a painting I did back in 1997 and told them that I hoped to show them how to depict poppies.  On the board, I showed them a symbol for poppy…how we draw or make a poppy in a simple way.

Poppy3We talked about the organic…zig zagging…crinkly texture of the poppy flower and about the construction of the central part of the flower as well.  I told them the story of my great grandfather and about how the poppies bloom in early spring in these beautiful cemeteries of France.

While I did not use this video, I suppose you might, if you don’t feel confident about drawing.

I just drew poppies from different points of view right on the white board in the classroom.  The students, on white paper folded into four, practiced depicting poppies a number of times and put a little smiley face next to the one they would use as a reference for their large composition.

I always encourage large compositions to be planned out, using white chalk.  But these days, very few schools stalk white chalk, given new technologies.  This class pulled out a red or pink or white crayon and marked their four compass points on their paper edges.  Their mouths dropped open as they could visualize that the expectation was that their poppies would touch each of those edges and be that large!  To simplify…drawings were done and revised in wax crayon, red fill in of general shapes completed; purple, yellow and black details were added last.  The poppies were then cut out.

I didn’t archive the entire process, but these photos are pretty representative.  Thank you, Wilma for your class!  They were awesome and very receptive.

Kath's Canon, October 5, 2015 Duna Sheet Music, poppies, Frank's 007 Kath's Canon, October 5, 2015 Duna Sheet Music, poppies, Frank's 006 Kath's Canon, October 5, 2015 Duna Sheet Music, poppies, Frank's 005 Kath's Canon, October 5, 2015 Duna Sheet Music, poppies, Frank's 004 Kath's Canon, October 5, 2015 Duna Sheet Music, poppies, Frank's 003 Kath's Canon, October 5, 2015 Duna Sheet Music, poppies, Frank's 002Kath's Canon, October 5, 2015 Duna Sheet Music, poppies, Frank's 009 Kath's Canon, October 5, 2015 Duna Sheet Music, poppies, Frank's 010 Kath's Canon, October 5, 2015 Duna Sheet Music, poppies, Frank's 011 Kath's Canon, October 5, 2015 Duna Sheet Music, poppies, Frank's 012 Kath's Canon, October 5, 2015 Duna Sheet Music, poppies, Frank's 013 Kath's Canon, October 5, 2015 Duna Sheet Music, poppies, Frank's 014

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.