Category Archives: General information

November 11th, a time to pause and remember

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, it is time to pause and remember those who fought on the battlefield, those who never came back and those on whom war left scars and wounds

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Pictures taken at Beechwood and Notre-Dame Cemetery in Ottawa, Canada

Warrant Officer Napoleon Barre – trial for desertion

Warrant Officer Napoléon Barre was one of the few Canadians who was accused of desertion and sentenced to be shot by a firing squad during World War One. What saved him was that he enlisted one month before his 18th birthday

You can find his small biography by clicking here

Here a transcript of his trial for desertion and the letters following the trial

Orders of operation for the 4th Canadian battalion the day Private Napoleon Barre was accused

4th Canadian Infantry Battalion

Operation order No 68

September 11th 1917

Move : The 4th Canadian Battalion will relieve the 1st Canadian Battalion in the front line, left sub sections on the night of Sept 11th/12th.

Disposition :

Right front line  – “C” Co’y          Left front line – “A” Co’y

Support – “B” Co’y                         Reserve – “D” Co’y

Time : The head on the leading company will clear FOSSE 10 by 6:45 a.m. and remaining companies will follow at 10 minutes intervals. No platoons will come into view beyond FOSSE 11 until it is sufficiently dark.

Trials details

Date of the trial : September 29th, 1917

President of the tribunal : Major Douglas Herbert Campbell Mason, D.S.O. 3rd battalion

Members of the tribunal : Capitaine Donald Stanley Montgomery 29th battalion

Lieutenant William Alexander McMaster

Lieutenant R Coke Scots Guards

Witness :  Sergeant Henry Matthews # 21955

Sergeant William Edward Goodyear # 10907

Company Quarter-Master Harry George Crawford # 23229

Private John William Drysdale Black # 142072

Private Wesley Lowe Pierson # 803203

Charge

The accused No 814027, Pte. N. Barre, 4th Canadian Battalion, a soldier of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces is charged with :

1st

Section 12 (1a) A.A. Desertion

When on active service deserting his Majesty’s active service,

in that, at FOSSE 10, on Sept. 11th 1917, when orders to proceed to the front line trenches, absented himself without leave and remained absent until he reported to Q.M Sgt. H.G. Crawford at FOSSE 10 about 11.00 a.m. on the morning of the 14th Sept. 1917.

2nd

Section 8 (2) A.A. Using insubordinate language to his superior officer

When on active service, using insubordinate language to his superior officer,

in that, at FOSSE 10, on Sept. 14th 1917, when personally order by Q.M Sgt. H.G. Crawford, 4th Canadian battalion, to prepare to go into front line that night refused, saying «even if I am absent two or three days more it won’t make any difference in my crime» or words to that effect.

Alternative

Section 40 A.A. Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline

When on active service, to the prejudice of good order and military discipline in that, at FOSSE 10, on Sept 14th 1917 when personally ordered by Q.M Sgt. H.G. Crawford, 4th battalion, to prepare to go into the front line that night, refused, saying «even if I am absent two or three days more it won’t make any difference in my crime» or words to that effect.

Testimony

Lt J.G. Roberston 4th Canadian battalion

Appears as friend of the accused

1st witness No 219555 Sergeant H Matthews 4th Canadian Battalion sworn states :

On 11th September 1917 I was a Platoon sergeant on no 10 Platoon 4th Canadian Battalion. The accused is a member on the no 10 Platoon. Between 10 am and 11 am on the date stated, C company, 4th Canadian battalion fell in at Fosse 10 for inspection. No 10 platoon is in C company. No 10 Platoon was warned at the time and date stated by the Platoon officer not to go far away, as the Platoon was going up the trenches that night. I heard the officer give this warning. The accused was present when this warning was given. I saw him there. The officer who gave the warning is sick. Before the warning was given I called roll of no 10 Platoon and the accused answered his name.

About 6 pm on the same date I heard the section commander on no 10 Platoon call the roll, I heard the accused’s name, the accused was absent. No 10 Platoon marched off the trenches at 7 pm on the date stated.

Cross examined

By the court ;

The officer when he warned the platoon did not mention the time of the parade, but said it would be sometimes that night.

2nd witness No 10907 Sergeant W.E. Goodyear 4th Canadian Battalion sworn states :

On the 11th September 1917, I was the section commander of the Platoon (cross out in the text) section No 10 Platoon to which the accused belong. About 8:20 (cross out in the text) when the platoon paraded in the morning of the date stated I heard the company officer warned the whole company including No 10 Platoon, that the company would be moving up to the trenches and everybody must stay in or around the billets.

At about 6 pm of the date stated, I called the role of No 5 section and I found that the accused was absent. I reported this to the Sergt Matthews. The company were ordered to parade at 6 pm, this order was given out early in the afternoon. I next saw the accused about 2 pm on September 24th in the orderly room.

Between 6 pm on 11th September and 2 pm on 24th September, the accused did not do any duty with No 5 section.

Cross examined

By the court ;

I saw the accused present on parade when the warning was given.

3rd witness No 23229 C.Q.M. Sergeant Crawford 4th Canadian Battalion sworn states ;

On the 14th September 1917, I was C.Q.M.S. of the accused’s company. The accused reported to me at 11 am on the date stated at the transport Lines at St……. in Gobelles. I ordered the accused to come with me and get his equipment and to stay at the company kitchen, until the rations came up. At 5:30 pm when the rations came up I ordered the accused to get his equipment and go up the lines with the rations. The accused refused to obey my orders and said “ I am not going up the lines as few more days of absence will not make any difference in my sentence either way” or words to that effect.

I then placed the accused under arrest

Cross examined

By the court ;

The accused spoke to me in English

4th witness No 142072 Private J. W. Black 4th Canadian Battalion sworn states ;

On 14th September I was assisting C.Q.M.S. Crawford. About 5:30 pm on the day stated I saw the accused, he was talking to C.Q.M.S. Crawford to whom I heard his say that he was not going up the line. I did not hear anything more

5th witness No 803203 Private W.L. Pierson 4th Canadian Battalion sworn states ;

I am in the same section as the accused. I saw the accused present when my Platoon headed on the ……….. of 11th September 1917 when the Platoon officer us to stay in billets as we going up the lines and he did not know the time of parade.

The Platoon move off at 6:15 pm on the same date, the accused was absent.

I heard the Platoon had to parade at 6 pm, about 4:30 pm the same date Sergt Matthews came around and told me.

No cross examination

By the court ;

I am not sure Sergt Matthews told me but I think he did.

Defence

The accused sworn states ;

On the afternoon of 11 September I went to estaminet about 12:30. I had some bose and I got drunk. I was into a field where I fell asleep. I woke up at 10:30 p.m. that same night and tried to find my billet. When I got my billet I found my section had gone. I then came down to Barlin. I did not know what I was doing. I then came back to Bruay where I stayed two days. I had no money. I then went and reported to the transport lines at in Gobelles. When I got there C.Q.L.S. Crawford ordered me to go up the line. I told him I was going to stay where I was. I was accused to desert and …. myself to transport Line.

No cross examination

By the court;

I heard the officer warned me of parade the morning 11th of September that we were going to the trenches and not to be far away from the billets.

I know we were shortly going up the line.

I was not drunk all the time I was away, I was sole when I was in Bruay

I did not know where I was going to. I was alright when I was at Barlin. I don’t know why I went to Bruay. I was sick when C.Q.L.S. Crawford gave me the order. I did not tell him I was sick.

Cross examination

The accused sworn in litigation

I enlisted 15th February 1916. I came to France 2nd of November 1916. I was at the battle of Vimy on April 1917. I have done by ordering tour in the trenches from time to time. I am 17 years of age. I shall be 18 on 2nd October 1917. I was at the battle of Fresnoy and hill 70 in August.

Lt Colonel V Collins 4th Canadian Battalion

… states . I produced a certified …. copy of A.7.13 122 of the accused which is marked X signed be the president and attached to the proceedings.

The accused was formerly in my Platoon fro about 4 months. I found him a good soldier. The last tour in the line, in which I was with him, I noticed that his nerves had gone.”

(1) The fighting character of the soldier in question cannot be reported upon favourably. Pte. Barre’s service with the Expeditionary Forces : 10 month having joined the 4th Battalion Dec 2nd 1916

Pte Hasleden’s service with the Expeditionary Forces : 9 months, having joined the 4th Battalion Feb 11th 1917

(2) The state of discipline of this unit has been of the unit has been maintained up to the standard demanded by the Canadian Corps

(3) It is the opinion of the CC that this particular service was deliberately avoided by these man.

(4) With reference to the extreme penalty; if the interest of discipline of the Corps require it ; the extreme penalty should be effected or such punishment on will meet the necessities of discipline.

(5) I certify that Pte. Bare and Haselden have been sent to for safe custody

________________________________________________________________

Letter of October 2nd, 1917 from  Brigadier-General William Antrobus Greisbach

2 – 10 – 17     

1st Canadian Division

F.G.C.M Proceedings in the case of No 814027 Pte N. Barre, 4th Canadian Battalion, are forwarded herewith also a letter from his commanding officer containing his recommendations. In view of the youth of the accused I recommend that the extreme penalty be not carried out.

Pte Barre has been put into the custody of the A.P.M

Brigadier-General William Antrobus Greisbach

Commanding 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade

________________________________________________________________

Letter from October 3rd, 1917 from Major-General Archibald Cameron McDonell

 1st  Canadian Division

CM 1471

We have to day wired the to have this man statement regarding his age verified, though in all probability he was a minor at the time of enlistment he gave false age.

Before recommending that the sentence be commuted in penal servitude I am the opinion that this man’s statement about his age should be verified.

If it is proved that Pte. Barre has done nearly a Year’s campaigning at the age of 17 I would recommend that steps be taken to have him remove from the line.

In the meantime Pte Bare is with the A.P.M. 1st Canadian Division for safe custody. (Certificate attached).

I will communicate the answer from the Base regarding this man age as soon as receive.

I forward herewith proceeding in the case of No 814084 Pte N. Barre, 4th Canadian Battalion charged with desertion His Majesty’s Service found guilty and sentenced to death.

The court have recommend this man to mercy on account of his age which he states is only 17 and attached herewith also please find letter from C.O.C. 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade recommending that the extreme penalty be not carried on account of Pte Barre’s youth.

The O.C. 4th Canadian Battalion, in his letter attached cannot report favourably on this man conduct from a fighting point of view. His conduct sheet however only shows two previous offence having been committed after 19 month service.

The discipline in the 4th Canadian Battalion is good and there is no need of making an example.

I therefore concur in the opinion of the C.O.C.1st Canadian Brigade that the sentence be not carried out.

It will be noticed that Lieut, Robertson, 4th Canadian Battalion on his evidence of character …tes that he is of the opinion that Pte Barre’s nerves have gone.

Major-General Archibald Cameron McDonell

1st Canadian Division

________________________________________________________________

Letter of October 6th, 1917 from Arthur Currie Lieutenant – General Commanding Canadian Corps

Canadian Corps A. 20-1-329

6 October

Proceeding of Field General Court martial in the case of N814024 Pte Napoleon Barre, 4th Canadian Battalion are forwarded herewith

I recommend

«That the sentence should be commuted, information as the age of this man will be forwarded as soon as verified»

Lieutenant – General Arthur Currie

Commanding Canadian Corps

________________________________________________________________

On October 7th his sentence was commuted in 5 years penal servitude and was returned to his battalion (4th battalion CEF) on October 8th 1917.

Canada WW1 recruitment poster – part 3

This is the third post on the subject of the propaganda campaign done during WW1 to recruit Canadian men in the army. Post number 1 was about the use of “emotions” in the posters and can be found by clicking here. Post number 2 was about the poster that targeted the french-canadian population and can be found by clicking here.

Another technique they used was to target some specific group and try to bring those men in the same battalion. This gave some results but not entirely what they expected.

Some of those recruitment posters targeted some very specific groups of individuals

Poster for the Montreal’s Jewish community

Jewish

Same poster but in Hebraic language

Jewish j

Poster for the Montreal’s Irish community

Irish Rangers

Poster for the Montreal’s Irish community but more specifically at sportmen. The “Sportmans” battalion” was the nickname of the 199 th battalion

Irish Ranger sportmen

This poster tried to find some appeal in the Scottish community

Highlanders

Poster for the recruitment of lunberjacks in the Ottawa area. A region that was well known for its forest and wood cutting industry at the time.

The 224th battalion

224

Also the 238th battalion in the Ottawa region

238th

Canada WW1 recruitment poster – part 2

This is the second post on the subject of the propaganda campaign done during WW1 to recruit Canadian men in the army. Post number 1 was about the use of “emotions” in the posters and can be found by clicking here.

This second post shows example of posters which targeted the French-Canadian minority. As we will see the “marketing” used to enroll the French-Canadian was different than the one used with English-Canadian.  The poster used French symbols and also some heroes of the French colonial who fought against the English of the time.

On the first poster you see a Canadian soldier shoulder to shoulder with a French soldier. At the bottom of the poster, it says that you must remember that you are the son soldiers of Montcalm and Levis armies (which fought against the British General James Wolfe who conquered Quebec). Personally I find that amusing that they used the name of Montcalm and Levis, who fought against the British General Wolfe, to enroll French-Canadian and fight on the British side.

Gravestone french 1

On the second poster you find the Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral, another French symbol that is under attack by the Germans. It also suggested that social and cultural institutions, such as the Church in a very catholic Quebec, were under threat from Germany.

178eOn the third poster they call the men to defend France and say that they are the son of Montcalm and Chateauguay.

Gravestone french 3

On the fourth poster you see other French symbols, the red, white and blue French flag with a rooster attacking the Prussian eagle.

Gravestone french 4

And finally on the fifth poster you see Dollard-des-Ormeaux fighting against the Indians. At the time (1915) history books taught that Dollard-des-Ormeaux and his group of men, vastly outnumbered, fought valiantly against the Indians at Long-Sault in order to defend Ville-Marie (Montréal). He was a mythologized French-Canadian hero, today the perception on “how much of a hero he was” has changed and he is now somehow contreversial.

ww1dollarddesormeaux

Canada WW1 recruitment poster – part 1

One of the things that I found interesting in my many historical discoveries over the years are the recruitment posters they used to attract young Canadians in the army during Wolrd War One. Although not called like that at the time, it was a propaganda campaign to get the Canadian men to join the Canadian Expeditionary Forces and fight against the Germans. Different posters were produced by many Canadian artists and the campaign was built around around a few themes.

Also you see a clear difference in the message used in most of the French-Canadian poster. The marketing “used” to attract the French-Canadian was clearly different than the one used to attract the English-Canadian.

This first post is a series of three posts on the subject. One of the aspect used in the campaign were the emotions. These are a few examples of poster targeting a specific emotion

Some were meant to spread fear into the Canadian population depicting Germans as children and women killer

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Here the German soldier walk over the dead body of a woman boche

This poster is reffering to the Sinking of the Hospital Ship Llandovery Castel in June 1918 by a german submarine. It was the one single event during World War One where the most Canadian women died.

Llandovery

The lovely kid with blond hair and green eyes imploring her dad

little girl

Books on the Canadian Army Medical Services and Nursing Sister

Over the years I have read many books on the Canadian Army Medical Corps and its member. These books were not meant to be read like a novel and they are not fast page turner, so sometime they are a little bit hard to read BUT they do hold very valuable information on the Canadian Medical Corps and its members who served during peacetime and wartime period.

This is the list of all the books I have read so far on the subject, if you happen to know a book that is not in this list but related to the Canadian Medical service during a war, please let me know so I can add it to this list.

Some of those are available for free and downloadable from the Internet. I have added the link to those e-book.

CORPS HISTORY

WW1

Official history of the Canadian Forces in the Great War 1914-19 – The Medical Services by Sir Andrew McPhail published in 1925. It can be read online by clicking here

The Canadian Army Medical Corps with the Canadian Corps in the last hundred days of the Great War by Colonel A. E. Snell published in 1924. It can be read online by clicking here

The First Canadians in France by F McKelvey-Bell published in 1917

The War Story of the Canadian Army Medical Corps 1914-1915 by Colonel J. G. Adami published in 1916. It can be read online by clicking here or here

Politics and the Canadian Army Medical Corps by Colonel Herbert A. Bruce published in 1919. It can be read online by clicking here

WW2

Official History of the Canadian Medical Services 1939-1945 (2 volumes) by W. R. Feasby published in 1953. You can read volume 1 by clicking here and volume 2 by clicking here

Death their enemy: Canadian Medical Practitioners and War by Bill Rawling published in 2001

A History of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps: Seventy Years of Service by Colonel G.W.L. Nicholson published in 1977

Post-WW2

The Myriad Challenges of Peace : Canadian Forces Medical Practitioners Since the Second World War by Bill Rawling published in 2004

UNIT HISTORY

No 1 Canadian General Hospital by Kenneth Cameron published in 1928

No 3 Canadian General Hospital in France (author unknown)

No 3 Canadian General Hospital (McGill) 1914-1919 by R. C. Fetherstonhaugh published in 1928

No 4 Canadian Hospital: The Letters of Professor J. J. McKenzie from the Salonika Front by J. J. Mackenzie published in 1933

A history of no 7 (Queen’s) Canadian General Hospital

Battle for life by A.M. Jack Hyatt and Nancy Geddes Poole published in 2004 (history of 10th Canadian Stationary Hospital in WW1 and 10th Canadian General Hospital in WW2)

Stretcher bearer … at the Double by Frederick W. Noyes (history of the 5th Canadian Field Ambulance)

History records of number 8 Canadian Field Ambulance 1915-1913 by Lieutenant –Colonel J. N. Gunn published in 1929 (history of the 8th Canadian Field Ambulance)

Diary of the Eleventh (history of the 11th Canadian Field Ambulance)

The Military Medical Units of Hamilton, Ontario in Peace and War 1900-1990 by A.R.C. Butson published in 1990

Salute to the Air Force Medical Branch by Harold M. Wright published 1999

NURSING SISTER

Canada’s Nursing Sisters by G.W.L. Nicholson published in 1975

Sister heroines: The Roseate Glow of Wartime Nursing 1914-1918 by Marjorie Barron Norris published in 2002

An Officer and a Lady by Cynthya Toman published in 2007

Canadian Foreign Awards to Nursing Service Mentioned-in-Despatches World War I (1914-1919) edited by Jim Wallace in 2001

PERSONAL ACCOUNT – MEMOIRS – BIOGRAPHY

From a Stretcher Handle: The World War 1 Journal and Poems of Pte. Frank Walker published in 2000

Four Score and Ten – Memoirs of a Canadian Nurse (story of Nursing Sister Maude Wilkinson) published in 2003

Lights Out: A Canadian Nursing Sister’s Tale by Katherine M. Wilson-Simmie published in 1981

Nobody Ever Wins a War by Ella Mae Bongard (edited by Eric Scott) published in 1998

Our Bit: Memories of War Service by a Canadian Nursing Sister by Mabel Clint published in 1934

Agnes Warner and the Nursing Sister of the Great War by Agnes Warner (edited by Swawna M. Quinn) published in 2010

The War Diary of Clare Gass 1915-1918 by Clare Gass (edited by Susan Mann) and published in 2000

Margaret MacDonald Imperial Daughter by Susan Mann published in 2005

Never Leave Your head Uncovered: A Canadian Nursing Sister in World War Two by Doris V. Carter published in 1999

The military Nurses of Canada : Recollections of Canadian Military Nurses (3 volumes) by Edith A. Landells published in 1993

Although it was never published as a book, you can find Nursing Sister Helen L. Fowlds letters and diary on the Trent University website. Her letters can be read by clicking here and her diaries can be read by clicking here.

FRENCH BOOK

Dans la tourmente : Deux hôpitaux militaires canadiens-français (1915-1919) by Michel Litalien published in 2003

Briser les ailes de l’ange : Les infirmières militaires canadiennes (1914-1918) by Mélanie Morin-Pelletier published in 2006

Pacific Para Trooper

Pacific Para Trooper is a new blog; the author is transposing his father, Everett Smith, scrapbook into a blog. His father served with the 11th Airborne in the Pacific during WW2. His story is not just about war but life at war. His letters are very interesting and give an honest firsthand account on what was really going on there.

You can read his blog by clicking here

Nurse Gabrielle Morin

May 16th, 1940 : Graduated from Hopital Ste – Justine Nursing School in Montreal, Quebec

From the Montreal Lovell’s directory

– Not listed in the directory before 1929

– In 1929 her father arrived with her at the address 5940 De Lorimier

– May 16th, 1940 : Graduated as a nurse from the Ste-Justine Hospital in Montreal

– From 1941 until 1945 she is living at the 5940 De Lorimier avenue and listed as a graduated nurse

– Not listed in the directory in after 1946

September 23rd, 1950 : information from a website “Morin, Gabrielle, and Gordon Richardson are wed”

If you know more information on this lady, please leave me message so I can add it to her small biography.

Gabrielle Morin nursing school graduation pin Hôpital Ste – Justine Montréal

Obverse engraved : Mlle Gabrielle Morin 16 – 5 – 40

Reuben Traveller, British Royal Navy Ship Boy serving Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar – Urban Legend or not

The St-James Cemetery in Hull, Quebec (now Gatineau) is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city and has many of its founders buried there. One of its residents is Reuben Traveller. The local oral history mentions him as sailor in Admiral Horatio Nelson fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar. His story has been repeated many times in the local media, each time with a different twist.

A few years ago, as curiosity, I decided to inquire a little more about this man and see if he was really at Trafalgar. As an amateur historian I know it is very easy to distort the truth when it comes to history and it is often hard to come with hard evidence to prove a fact. In this situation, I think a small interpretation gave birth to a story that is getting away from what is the real story. Sometime if you repeat something many times, it does become the “real” story in the minds of the people even if it’s not the real truth.

Reuben Traveller was born February 20th 1788 in England and died February 14th, 1861 in Otawa, Ontario.

The local legend around him probably started about the interpretation of the inscription on his gravestone. The first sentence read like this “When Nelson fought at Trafalgar and fell, this Ship Boy was afloat in active service”

Picture of the inscription on Reuben Traveller gravestone and his gravestone.

The poem on the stone never mentions that he was at Trafalgar but what it most probably means is that he was serving in the British Royal Navy somewhere else at the time of the Battle of Trafalgar.

The second argument in favor Mr. Traveller not being at Trafalgar is; members of the British Royal Navy who served there received the Naval General Service medal with the clasp “Trafalgar”. A medals roll of every medals recipient’s name was produced at that time. That roll still exists today and modern paper copies are available. I did ask some medals collector who do have copy of that roll if Reuben Traveller name was on that roll and the answer was, NO.

So with these facts in mind, I doubt very much that Reuben Traveller was with the British Royal Navy at the Battle of Trafalgar. He probably did serve in the Royal Navy but during that famous battle.

If you want to know more information on Reuben Traveller life, click here 

The Canadian Letters and Images Project

The Canadian Letters and Images Project, I remember discovering that website when it started a few years ago and I’ve recently revisited it. It is a really interesting website that does put online transcription of letters of Canadian soldiers

“The Canadian Letters and Images Project is an online archive of the Canadian war experience, from any war, as told through the letters and images of Canadians themselves.”

It’s the largest collection of that type of material online.

So instead of collecting dust in an attic or a desk drawer, those letters can be seen by everyone who has access to internet.

You can get to the website by clicking here

Transporting the patient – Mechanical means of transport – part 2

The real challenge for the Canadian Army Medical Corps during WW1 was to get the wounded as fast as possible to the medical unit behind the line where he would be able to receive the appropriate medical treatment. Once stabilized, the soldier was then moved to another medical unit further down the line or sent back to the front. To do that different methods of transportation were used.

This is post 2 of two posts on the topic of the way injured soldiers were moved from the battlefield to the appropriate medical station. It will show mechanical means of transport. Post 1 is on human means of transport and can be read by clicking here.

Mechanical means of transport the wounded to the Medical unit

Light railway system

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Light and standard  gauge railway system

This You Tube video show the use of train (US troops). Although it is not Canadian troops it does give you a good idea on how trains were used to transport patients.

Click on the link

Motor ambulance

During WW1 the use of motor vehicule for war was really in its first step. These motor ambulances was such a valuable and rare ressource that they were never sent near the front during the day but only at night. If someone was caught misusing or using those vehicules without permission , they were automatically cour martialed. Warrant Officer Gordon Howard is an example of somone who was reverted to the rank of private after commiting such an infraction. His story can be read by clicking here.

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The horse drawn ambulance

Those ambulances were used to get the wounded from near to front lines to medical units further back the lines when roads conditions permitted their usage. Motor ambulances were never sent close to the front during the day but horse drawn ambulance were.

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When the distance to the next unit down the line of evacuation was too far, they would put the “walking wounded” in buses and send them further down the line.

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Hospital ship were used to take patients to United Kingdom or Canada

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Transporting the patient – Human means of transport – part 1

The real challenge for the Canadian Army Medical Corps during WW1 was to get the wounded as fast as possible to the nearest medical unit where the wounded soldier received the appropriate medical treatment. Once stabilized, the soldier was then moved to another medical unit further down the line or sent back to the front. To do that different methods of transportation were used.

This is post 1 of two post on the topic of the way wounded soldiers were moved from the battlefield to the appropriate medical station. Post 2  look at the mechanical means of transport and and can be read by clicking here.

When a soldier was wounded, the first way they used to transport him to the medical unit was a party of men carrying him on a stretcher. This is a picture of a typical stretcher bearers party in the field (probably moving from the Advance Dressing Station to the Field Ambulance)

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Sometine when the weather conditions worsen, they needed more men to complete the same task, like in Passchendaele where knee-deep mud conditions was a daily reality. With limited resources, it meant that the waiting time to get to the nearest Field Ambulance was longer.

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At the hospital where the ground conditions were much better and the distance to transport the patient much shorter, they would used a smaller party to carry the person . Picture of a stretcher bearer party (two men) at a hospital far the front line

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Sometime they had to improvise a stretcher because the number of casualties outnumbered the available resources.

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Picture (below) of a German stretcher bearer squad transporting a Canadian soldier with a Canadian soldier escorting them. The Geneva Convention allowed the use of prisonners of war for transportation of wounded soldiers.

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If the wounded soldier was still able to walk, then they were asked to go to the medical by foot. They were called the “walking wounded”

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WW1 Canadian Nursing Sister uniform – part 3 – How to wear the uniform

This is part of a serie of 4 posts on the uniform of the WW1 Canadian Nursing Sister. Post 1 can is on the subject of the Service Dress and can be read by clicking here. Post 2 is on the subject of the Ceremonial Dress and can be read by clicking here. Post 4 shows other uniforms for WW1 Female Medical personnel from other Commenwealth Forces and can be read by clicking here.

I do not pretend that this text is the definitive source of information but rather some observations made after looking at many WW1 Canadian Nursing Sisters pictures. I was never able to find the official Dress Regulations for the WW1 Canadian Nursing Sisters so these posts are the starting point to something that could evolve as I get new information on the subject.

Nursing Sisters just before an operation – no Service Dress here but still wearing their veil

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Trench coat – It seems like there was no official trench coat with the uniform. These two pictures show very diffent types of trench coat worn by Nursing Sisters. Both pictures were taken after a medals ceremony at Buckingham Palace

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Another model of trench coat worn by a Nursing Sister. On the picture Nursing Sister Guillbride and McLeod

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Although the cape was the same color of the Ceremonial Dress, it was often worn with the Service Dress (see picture above) Nursing Sister McLeod wearing her cape at her Royal Red Cross investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Canadian Nursing Sisters at Nursing Sister Margaret Lowe grave (see picture below).

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One of the dress regulations that Nursing Sisters had to follow was that they had to wear their complete uniform including the veil on the base at all time, even if they were off duty.

Sometime they would organise sporting competition (picture below) Nursing Sisters running a sprint race for fun with the full Service Dress including the veil

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Picture of Nursing Sisters playing tennis, although on this picture the Nursing Sister at the back took off her veil, she was not supposed to. If the Matron had seen her, she would have most certainly been reprimanded.

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Another picture showing Nursing Sister at rest after a tennis match

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Pictures sources Library and Archives Canada and Canadian War Museum.

WW1 Canadian Nursing Sister uniform – part 2 – Ceremonial Dress

This is part of a serie of 4 posts on the subject of WW1 Canadian Nursing Sister uniform.

I do not pretend that these texts are the definitive source of information on the subject but rather some educated observations made after looking at several pictures of WW1 Canadian Nursing Sisters .

After many years of reading of Nursing sisters, I was never able to find the official Dress Regulations or official information produced by the Canadian Government on the subject of the uniform of WW1 Canadian Nursing Sisters. These 4 posts are the starting point to something that could evolve as I get new information on the subject.

Post 1 is on the Service Dress and can be read by clicking here. Post 3 will cover some aspects on how was worn the uniform and can be read by clicking here. Post 4 shows other uniform for WW1 Women Medical personnel from other Commenwealth Forces. It can be read by clicking here.

This text present the Ceremonial Dress for the WW1 Canadian Nursing Sister.

Nursing Sister Christina Campbell wearing the Ceremonial Dress uniform with the winter hat but without the cape

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Nursing Sister James (right) wearing the Ceremonial Dress with the cape and the summer hat. Note the chain close to the neck to hold the cape. The Nursing Sister on the left is Mary Catherine English click here to see her small biography ( source McMaster University)

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An unknown Nursing Sister with the Ceremonial Dress but this time note the front straps in a X shape but no chain at the neck to hold the cape.

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Another picture of two Nursing Sisters wearing the cape and with the front X straps.  The Nursing Sister on the left is wearing the Service Dress and the one on the right is wearing the Ceremonial Dress. This make me think that the cape could be worn with either dress although its color was really identical to the one of Ceremonial Dress.

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Picture of Nursing Sister Cecile Leonore McKibben showing how the cape was supposed to be worn, the straps under the collar of the Service Dress and the neck chain attached. This is most certainly the way the cape was supposed to be worn. (source Rick Streifel (Nursing Sister McKibben family) and Debbie Marshall)

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Picture of Nursing Sister Louise A Spry showing details of the winter hat with the CAMC hat badge (source University of Toronto website)

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Picture of an unknown Nursing Sister with the Ceremonial Dress, white gloves and also showing details of the belt buckle (Picture source City of Vancouver Archives website)

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unknown Gloves

Picture of a complete Ceremonial Dress with the felt hat

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Pictures sources Library and Archives Canada and Canadian War Museum

WW1 Canadian Nursing Sister uniform – part 1 – Service Dress

The next posts will be a serie of 4 texts on the subject WW1 Canadian Nursing Sister uniform. I do not pretend that these texts are the definitive source of information on the subject but rather some educated observations made after looking at several pictures of WW1 Canadian Nursing Sisters .

After many years of reading on the subject of Nursing sisters, I was never able to find the official Dress Regulations or any official information produced by the Canadian Government on the subject of the uniform of WW1 Canadian Nursing Sisters. These 4 posts are the starting point to something that could evolve as I get new information on the subject.

Post 2 will cover the Ceremonial Dress and can be read by clicking here. Post 3 will cover some aspects on how the uniform was worn (or supposed to) and can be read by clicking here, post 4 covers the subject other uniforms that were worn by WW1 woman medical personel from Commenwealth Forces. It can be read by clicking here.

This first post present a summary of what was the work uniform for the Canadian Nursing Sister during WW1, the Service Dress.

Pictures of a WW1 Canadian Army Medical Corps Matron (left) with the Service Dress and Nursing Sister (right). Matron had three brass ranks on the shoulder strap and Nursing Sister had only two. Matron had the rank of Captain and Nursing Sister had the rank of Lieutenant.

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Picture of Nursing Sisters Corelli (left) and Stronach (right)  after their Royal Red Coss investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. They were wearing their Service Dress. Although it was considered the work uniform, the Service Dress could also be worn for ceremonial purpose. If you look on the right sleeve of Nursing Sister Corelli (left), you can see near the cuff, three V shape stripes, these are chevrons and each one denoting one year of good conduct service overseas.

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Left on picture, Nursing Sister Ruby Peterkin in the field wearing the Service Dress but with a white apron over it. She is also wearing the leather boots. Right on picture, Nursing Sister Gertrude Ellinor Halpenny wearing the Service Dress with white shoes and the summer hat.

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Picture showing a group of Nursing Sisters wearing the Service Dress with apron except one who is not wearing the apron over her Service Dress.

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 Picture of the top of the Service Dress. This blouse has been stripped of all its brass buttons and ranks on the shoulder straps.

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Pictures sources Library and Archives Canada and Canadian War Museum (last picture).