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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve written away and had much support attaining John’s military record…this medal assignment was included there.
On the recommendation of a friend back here in Calgary, one of the books I read while visiting my father in Belleville, Ontario was Deafening by Frances Itani. With a regional setting of Deseronto, Belleville, the railway and the surrounding area, upon completing the book, of course, I had to go and visit the places. Itani’s novel, placed during World War I, is exquisite. A Winner of a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, I was captivated and motored through this one at warp speed.
“A magnificent tale of love and war, Deafening is finally an ode to language-how it can console, imprison, and liberate, and how it alone can bridge vast chasms of geography and experience.”
In published reviews, it appears that a lot of readers lost interest as Grania becomes involved with Jim. I think the author is successful in steering clear of sentimentality and introduces Jim as a device to talk to the reader about war, its impact on the small community and how the concepts of lost communication express a similarity with loss of hearing.
At the conclusion of this book, I thought this was my favourite book of all time…but, you know and I know, this is just until the next one!
My father humoured me and visited the grounds of Belleville’s Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf with me and I went, on another day, to Deseronto in order to document some of the places mentioned in the book. Why? Just because I could.
The school for the deaf has a beautiful campus including several stately brick buildings and wonderfully groomed grounds.
The places of Canada…driving driving driving…remind me of the blessings of our common narratives. Everywhere, windows are boarded up, mostly in small towns and names are written, as are profanities on the baked painted surfaces of what used to be animated corner stores and bakeries and churches…places where people gathered, all working to get through hard winters and humid summers.
Deseronto captures all of it. The tea rooms and antiques, the post office, the docks…
From the McMaster site, this…”Hamiltonians had played significant roles in military activities dating back to the War of 1812, so it was not surprising that by 4 October 1915 over 10,000 Hamilton men had enlisted, a total of 10% of the population, and a record for enlistment in Canada at that time. The city centralized its recruiting drive at the James Street Armouries (built in 1908) later that year, a model later adopted throughout Canada.”
Throughout my experiences wandering the streets of Hamilton, I had chills as I knew that these were the streets where my relations had walked. I also had a very powerful feeling come over me as I stood before the Hamilton Armouries, home of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. My Great Grandparents, living on Murray Street, were in close proximity to all of the goings on. They would have been swooped up into the mindset of the community at the time. The following image was enlarged from the McMaster University Libraries article.
Copyright, public domain: McMaster University and Local History & Archives, Hamilton Public Library, jointly own the rights to the archival copy of the digital image in TIFF format. This is Tank Day – Downtown Hamilton – Victory Bonds Rally
Peeking Through Back Gates, Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors
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.
“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.
“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.