Last evening I wrapped up a panel that I’ve been working on over the past few weeks. I was thinking a lot about the act of painting someone’s story and the privilege of that opportunity. I think that it’s important to be true to the story, but also to incorporate your own style and approach. It’s a balance.
The greater themes here are father and child, service to country, sacrifice, connection and transcendence. I received excellent biographical information from the little girl in this photograph…a young lady now. Her story is a potent one and initially, it brought me to tears.
Text comes from Walt Whitman’s preface to Leaves of Grass…these were adhered to the panel through transfer. As well, the words Blood and Memory. To say that Lawrence Hill did not impact this piece would be a fib. I began painting the commission after listening to him speak of universal truths…I see an artist’s images like he sees the written word and so there is a true responsibility in the marks that I make.
“But I have long loved the written word, and come to see in it the power of the sleeping lion. This is my name. This is who I am. This is how I got here. In the absence of an audience, I will write down my story so that it waits like a restful beast with lungs breathing and heart beating.”
― Lawrence Hill, Someone Knows My Name
“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem.” Whitman
My mother remembered my Great Uncle Joe to be a very kind and gentle person. Again, I am proud of him for his service during World War II. He was the only one of his brothers to be killed at war. The family always kept him close to their hearts. While I have published this post before, I have included material shared by my second cousin, once removed. With gratitude to James Perry for his inquisitive nature and his desire to track family history. His additions are found at the bottom of the post, in blue text.
Birth 1907 in Prince Edward Island
Death Monday, 17 Jan 1944 in Arielli, Ortona, Italy
June 22nd., 1944Perhaps the most poignant story of the Perth’s buried at Moro River is the death of Private C. C. Sim. In June of 1944 the Perth’s were withdrawn from the line to rest. During this time a party led by Major C. B. Arrell, and including Chaplain Capt. D. Crawford, Lieut. L.F.Jones and fourteen volunteers, including Private Sim, returned to the battlefield of January 17th, to recover those dead which could not previously be recovered.The battle lines had by this time moved on. In total 19 bodies where recovered and temporally interned at a cemetery located near the cross roads which had been the Perth’s objective in January. Several of those interned where not identifiable and their names can be found on the Casino memorial commemorating those who have no known grave. On the 22nd of June Private C.C. Sim was killed while recovering bodies when he stepped on an s-mine. Another soldier also received wounds from this incident. Private Sim was buried with those he had helped locate and bury.
B/41793 PTE. WALTER BOLTON, died on Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 24.
Son of Walter and Beatrice Bolton, of Hamilton, Ontario; husband of Ida Bolton.
Grave Reference: XI.H.12
.D/72361 PTE. ALLAN WILBERT CARTLAND,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 19.
Son of Albert Edward and Mary Ann Cartland,of Montreal, Province of Quebec.
Grave Reference: IV.B.13
.C/36822 PTE. NELSON WILLIS CLARK, diedMonday, 17th January 1944. Age 28.
Son of Norman and Agnes Madeline Clark; husband of Hazel Grace Clark,of Peterborough. Grave Reference: III.H.11.LIEUT. ALFRED JOHN CLEMENTS, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 23.
Son of Alfred and Annie Clements, of St. Thomas, Ontario.
Grave Reference: II.G.5.
L/11313 PTE. WILLIAMS COLLINS,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 34.
Son of Nickloss and Mary Collins; husband of Callie Gertrude Collins, of Big River, Saskatchewan.
Grave Reference: XI.G.3.B/1629 PTE. CECIL COOPER, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 20.
Son of Harry A. and Violet A. Cooper, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference: III.H.16.
B/64558 PTE. GLENN COPELAND, died Wednesday, 17th January 1945. Age 23.
Son of John Edward and Laurine Effie Copeland, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference: XI.H.8.
A/11663 PTE. JACK BERTRAM CRAWFORD, died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.B.5.
A/104789 PTE. GUSTAVE DE BAERE, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 23.
Son of Alfons and Emilie De Baere, of Bearline, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.D.14.
A/23090 PTE. JACK WILBERT DURHAM, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 23.
Son of William Alonzo and Melissa Anne Durham, of Windsor, Ontario. Grave Reference: X.D.3.
B/130724 PTE. JAMES BANNERMAN ELLWOOD, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 27.
Son of A. Ralph and Sybil L. Ellwood; husband of Edith Mary Ellwood, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference: III.H.12.
H/1561 PTE. PATRICK GALLAGHER , died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.B.11.
F/60174 L Cpl. JOSEPH EMANUEL GALLANT , died Monday, 17th January 1944. Grave Reference: X.A.1.
A/102600 PTE. ANDREW GIBEL, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 24.
Son of Joseph Gibel, and of Mary Gibel, of Windsor, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.16.
A/49891 PTE. NORMAN LLOYD HURRELL,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 25.
Son of William and Elizabeth Hurrell; husband of Grace Olive Hurrell, of Chatham, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.12.
L/104669 PTE. JOSEPH LEO KOSTENLY , died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: X.H.6.
C/21739 PTE. AMBROSE LATOUR, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 21.
Son of Alexander and Marceline Latour, of Mattawa,Ontario.
Grave Reference: II.H.15.
C/34908 PTE. VIATEUR LAVALLIE, diedMonday, 17th January 1944. Age 28.
Son of Mary Lavallie; husband of Rose Lavallie, of Joliette, Province of Quebec.
Grave Reference: III.H.13.
B/46946 PTE. JOHN DAVID LAWSON, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 21.
Son of Frank and Mary K. Lawson, of Rosseau Road,Ontario.
Grave Reference: XI.H.11.
A/11490 L/CPL. THOMAS LITTLEJOHN,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 21.
Son of Harry and Margaret Littlejohn; husband of Rose Ellen Nora Littlejohn, of London, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VI.G.10
B/46937 PTE. SINCLAIR LUDWIG, died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.B.14.
MAJOR ROBERT ARCHIBALD MACDOUGALL, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 35.
Son of Duncan and Flora MacDougall; husband of Helen M. MacDougall (nee Porter), of Westport, Ontario. B.A. (Queen’s University).
Grave Reference: X.H.7.
A/11527 PTE. ALFRED JOSEPH McLEOD, died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: VI.G.13.
A/11142 PTE. ARTHUR WILLIAM PRIOR , died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 28.
Son of William Henry and Catherine Prior; husband of Muriel Prior, of St. Catharines, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.3.
LIEUT. LAURENT JOSEPH WILFRID ROCHON,died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Son of Joseph Wilfrid Rochon and of Henedine Rochon (nee Lortie), of Sturgeon Falls, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.7.
A/11684 C.S.M. JOHN KERR ROSS, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 29.
Son of John and Jane Ross, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VI.G.15.
A/103220 PTE. DONALD WILLIAM SCHMIDT, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 22.
Son of Arthur C. and Mabel Schmidt, of Harriston, Ontario.
Grave Reference: III.H.14.
B/46934 PTE. DOUGLAS WARD SMITH, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 22.
Son of Ernest Ingham Smith, and of Beatrice May Smith, of North Lindsay, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.6.
A/67826 CPL. WILFRED JAMES SMITH , died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 24.
Son of Thomas and Emily Smith, of Stratford, Ontario.
Grave Reference: X.G.14.
A/11256 PTE. WILLIAM RUSSELL STEWART , died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.B.2.
A/58052 L/CPL STEWART WILLIAM TILLEY,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 24.
Son of William John and Violet Tilley, of Wiarton, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.8.
A/11832 PTE. FREDERICK ARTHUR WILLMORE,died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.D.15.
B/134857 PTE. HOWARD WILLIAM WOODCOCK, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 21.
Son of Joel and Manetta A. Woodcock, of Newmarket, Ontario.
Grave Reference: X.G.7.
Cpl. Joseph Gallant
This is a man who I would love to be able to speak with. I’ve watched a NFB silent black and white film about the battles in December 1943 -January 1944 in Ortona and it saddens me to think about the pain/misery/cold/fear and darkness that these young boys must have experienced. It saddens me that Joseph lost his life nearing the conclusion to this particular battle, on January 17, 1944.
In June 2001, our dear family friend, Padre Stan Self, traveled back to Europe, to revisit and pay respects to the many fallen Canadian soldiers who had lost their lives. My parents had shared the name of our uncle and so Stan visited Joseph’s final resting place. Here, I will publish the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Details as they refer to my great uncle.
Initials J E Joseph Emmanuel Gallant
Regiment: Perth Regiment RC.L.I
Service #: F60174
Date of Death – January 17 1944
Commemoration – Moro River Cemetery, Italy, Plot 10 Row A Grave 1
Directions for driving to Great Uncle Joseph’s resting place. San Donoto-commune of Ortona, Province of Chreti, east of the main Adriatic coast Road SS16, autostrada A25-A14
Thank You, dear angel, Stan.
From the Moro river canadian cemetery site, the following context
On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Allied objectives were to draw German troops from the Russian front and more particularly from France, where an offensive was planned for the following year.
Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but by the end of October, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line, which stretched from the river Garigliano in the west to the Sangro in the east. The Allied force that had fought its way up the Adriatic took the Sangro river positions by 30 November. The 1st Canadian Division went on to cross the Moro river on 6 December against stiff opposition, and to take Ortona on the 28th, after a week of bitter street fighting. The 2nd New Zealand division made some advances further inland but thereafter, there was virtually no movement east of the Appennines until after the fall of Rome.
The site of the cemetery was chosen by the Canadian Corps in January 1944. It contains the graves of those who died during that fighting at Moro river and Ortona, and during the weeks that preceded and followed it. In December 1943 alone, the 1st Canadian Division suffered over 500 fatal battle casualties. Burials other than those of members of the Canadian forces are almost all in plots 12, 13 and 16.
Moro River Canadian War Cemetery contains 1,615 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.
Information received from my second cousin, by marriage, James Perry, regarding medals.
Your uncle Joe’s widow would of recieved this medal for him
Terms The star was awarded for one day operational service in Sicily or Italy between 11 June 1943 and 08 May 1945.
“Please note that the above is only a summary outline of the conditions that apply to this medal. Additional information and a list of qualifing areas of service are available from the Honours and Awards Section, Veterans Affairs Canada, 66 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P4″
Bar There was no bar to this medal
The ribbon consists of equal stripes of red, white, green, white, and red. The
colours represent the colours of the Italian flag.
Also, received from James Perry of Summerside, PE are the following notes and references. Thank you for sharing these with our family. 1.Joseph E. served with the PEI Highlanders in Canada, United Kingdom and Italy. He enlisted on the 4th of June 1940, but unlike his brothers, did not return home. He was killed in Italy on the 17th of January 1944. He was 33 years of age when he enlisted. Service # F/60174. Listed as a Private in the Perth Regiment RCIC Listed as a Lance Corporal on his Gravestone. He was killed in the battle Arielli, Italy. Killed by mortar fire while carrying D.Coy’s Wireless radio. Recognized on Internet Last Soldier Memorial. On 17th Jan 1944, The Perth Regiment saw its first action at the Battle of The Arielli River.[See Map 1: The Attack Towards the Arielli – 17th January 1944 <Maps/mapb1.jpg>] On the night of 17th-18th Jan. 1944, after a day long battle against great odds, the Regiment was withdrawn to an area near Lanciano, and from there, took up a sector of the winter line opposite Orsogna.
2.Research of John C. Gallant
3.Journal Pioneer. Saturday, November 18, 2000, page 26
4.The Island Magzine, #24, Fall-Winter 1988, page 42, E.Phillips, T.McNeill
5.Gravestone Memorial Reference X.A.1. Moro River Canadian War Cemetary
6.Les Acadiens et la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, R.Cormier, page 132