A Window on the Great War - A Letter from the Front, March 11, 1917 France

This World War I letter was written by Hugh C. Wright of Shepody (Hopewell) Albert County on March 11, 1917 while he was in serving in the Canadian Garrison Artillery in France. Hugh had enlisted in the 26th Battalion on November 17, 1914 when he was 19 years old. He sailed with the 26th Bn from Saint John on June 13, 1915 aboard the steamship “Caledonia”. They arrived in England on June 24, 1915 where they underwent rigorous training in preparation for going to the battle front.

Hugh served in the 26th Bn, 5th Infantry Brigade in Belgium and France spending 17 months in the trenches. In February 1917, he transferred to the 4th Siege Battery, 2nd Brigade CGA and was a gunner for the remainder of the war. He was discharged on May 10, 1919...on his 24th birthday!

Hugh Wright was the youngest son of James and Jane Wright. Hugh's letters are addressed … “Dear Father” because his mother had died when he was only 7 years old.

The letter was written in pencil and the censor had cut out words that might give information of location if intercepted by the enemy. The censor also signed his name at the bottom of the last page of the letter.

“I am very fortunate to have over 50 letters that my Great Uncle Hugh wrote to his family while serving in WWI”. Great Niece Dawne McLean

With many thanks to Hugh Wright's great niece, Dawne McLean who kindly submitted the letter.

"


March 11, 1917  France

Dear Father,

I am writing tonight sitting outdoors and believe me it is one fine night, nice and warm and is really the first warm day we have had this spring so far.

It has been some time since I wrote but we are (words cut out by censor) that  a person does not get much chance to write, so I hope you don't worry much about me.

I like the Battery fine. I have had more time to myself since I came here that I had all the time I was in (words cut out by censor). Of course we are not idle all the time, we certainly have some hard work at times. 

I have not seen Clarke since I came here as he is a rear guard someplace, but I guess he is having a fairly easy time, but I imagine he would sooner be back with the boys.

I have only got one parcel since I came here and that was from Mrs. Paul Robinson. The last letter that I had from home was the  one with the clipping of Mr. McClelan in it.

I had a long letter from Uncle Silas yesterday and he said that he was sending me a box so  I hope that it soon gets here.

I saw in a Telegraph that one of the boys got where Mr. Carnwarth was running with Mr. Ryan and I hope he gets in this time. All of us are very anxious to know how the election went.

In my last letter I spoke about sending some money, it comes in very handy when we are (words cut out by censor) good little town (words cut out by censor) then is the time when a little cash comes in handy.

Well, Father I can't think of anything more tonight, in fact there is very little to write about anytime.

Well, I will close with
Love to all
Hugh

P.S. I suppose Hillman will soon be having a little colt to play with.
                                                                                        HW

(And the letter is signed at the bottom by the censor LW Bassler )
 

A Great Piece by CTV News on our Vimy Ridge Cannon!

In case you missed the news last night, CTV News did a great piece on the large K14 Cannon which was captured at Vimy Ridge. The cannon has sat in the square in Hopewell Cape since March 4, 1920! Here is the VIdeo link http://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1073720

The large 10.5 Cm K14 German Cannon was captured at Vimy Ridge, April 9, 1917, and was won by the Citizens of Albert County during the Victory Loans Campaign of 1919 for raising the greatest percentage of monies over their set goal. They raised $347,600.00 tripling their goal of $110,000.00. Pretty impressive for a county of only 8700 people!

Now that's a story worth saving!

The Victory Cannon Campaign is raising funds to restore the two captured World War One cannons situated in the square in Hopewell Cape. These cannons were captured by Canadians during the Great War, and were awarded to the people of Albert County. You can donate online to the Victory Cannon Campaign here, and best of all you'll be sent a tax receipt!  Click Here to Donate!

The Passing of an Albert County Hero – James “Jim” West, DFC June 27, 1924 – March 4, 2017

James Watson West was born in Hopewell Hill on June 27th, 1924 the son of the late Clifford C. and Mary "May" (Archibald) West. He graduated from Riverside Consolidated School in 1941. He enlisted in Moncton in 1942 with the Royal Canadian Air Force and headed overseas in 1943. He served with the 420 Snowy Owl Squadron. In 1945 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He returned home aboard the Ile de France in 1945. 

Jim West was a well known and valuable resource for the museum sharing his love of the history of Albert County. He was involved with the Museum since it's beginning and continued over the years to support and assist in numerous projects.

His Distinguished Flying Cross citation reads: 

Award effective 8 September 1945 as per London Gazette dated 25 September 1945 and AFRO 1768/45 dated 23 November 1945.  Home in Hopewell Hill, New Brunswick; enlisted Moncton, 20 July 1942.  Trained at No.3 ITS (graduated 1 May 1943), No.4 BGS (graduated 13 November 1943) and No.4 AOS (graduated 14 January 1944.  Award sent by registered mail 28 June 1949.  No citation other than "completed...numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which [he has] invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty."  DHist file 181.009 D.1746 (PAC RG.24 Vol.20608) has recommendation dated 19 April 1945 when he had flown 29 sorties (188 hours 50 minutes); recommendation read:

"This man has proven himself a very good, resourceful and efficient bomb aimer.  His tour included the bombing of many heavily defended targets, i.e. Magdeburg, Hanover, Hamburg and Munster.  This man at all times has been a co-operative crew member and has lent his whole-hearted aid to both pilot and navigator."

 Jim flew an amazing total of 37 sorties during the war. The first 29 are as follows: 5 January 1945 - Hanover (6.00) 6 January 1945 - Hanau (7.05) 13 January 1945 - Saarbrucken (7.35) 14 January 1945 - Grevenbroich (6.35) 16 January 1945 - Magdeburg (6.30) 28 January 1945 - Stuttgart (7.00) 1 February 1945 - Mainz (7.05) 2 February 1945 - Wanne Eickel (6.10) 4 February 1945 - Bonn (6.20) 17 February 1945 - Wesel (6.35) 20 February 1945 - Monheim (6.55) 21 February 1945 - Worms (7.35) 23 February 1945 - Essen (6.05) 24 February 1945 - Kamen (6.25) 27 February 1945 - Mainz (7.15) 1 March 1945 - Mannheim (7.00) 2 March 1945 - Cologne (6.00) 5 March 1945 - Chemnitz (9.00) 7 March 1945 - Hemmingstadt (6.30) 8 March 1945 - Hamburg (6.10) 10 March 1945 - Essen (5.55) 13 March 1945 - Wuppertal (5.50) 15 March 1945 - Castrop Rauxel (6.05) 19 March 1945 - Witten (7.20) 21 March 1945 - Rheine (4.40) 24 March 1945 - Gladback (6.00) 25 March 1945 - Munster (5.35) 31 March 1945 - Hamburg (5.45) 4 April 1945 - Harburg Rhenania (5.50)

Early Photo of Vimy Ridge Cannon Discovered at Museum - The Cannon Arrived in Hopewell Cape 97 Years Ago Today

Cannon Captured at Vimy Ridge on Display at Hopewell Cape Square Circa 1920 - Sheriff Ernest W. Lynds in photo. 

We have recently uncovered what maybe the earliest photo of the First World War Trophy Cannons located in Hopewell Cape. This cannon was captured at the Battle of Vimy Ridge - April 9, 1917 by Canadian Forces. On April 11, 1917 this cannon was turned on the enemy by the Royal Field Artillery. In the fall of 1919 this cannon was awarded to the people of Albert County for raising the highest percentage of money over their set goal for any area in the province during the Victory Loans Campaign of 1919. Their set goal was $110,000.00, and the people of Albert County raised $347,600.00. Three times the goal! (In today's dollars that is equivalent to $6.2 million. Not bad for a population of 8700 people!) The cannon arrived in Hopewell Cape on March 4, 1920 by train to Cape Station, and then by horse to Cape Square.

In the photo is Sheriff Ernest W. Lynds, and you can prominently see the plaque on the top left of the cannon stating how the cannon arrived in Albert County.  

The Albert County Museum Appoints New Manager/Curator

The Albert County Museum and RB Bennett Commemorative Centre is pleased to announce that Melody Land, MA, CPs. has joined the museum as Manager/Curator. Melody Land comes with a wealth of experience in the non-profit sector working with various organizations over the past 10 years, including agencies like Oxfam Canada, the Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area (MAGMA) and the John Howard Society developing programming, teaching/facilitating, and working within the community to effect positive change.  During her high school and university days, she spent a number of years working as a guide, reference manager, and administrator at the William Henry Steeves House Museum, so she is no stranger to our local history. She brings a unique skill set to our mission to tell the story of the People of the Tides, the history of the people of Albert County.

Melody comments “As soon as I saw the advertisement for the position of Manager/Curator of the Albert County Museum, I immediately began working on my application. With my background in employment training and management, program development, and administration combined with my love of our home, our environment, our history, and our future, I look forward to effecting positive change here in my own backyard.” She went on to further state, “ I am honoured and humbled to have been chosen as the Storyteller at the Albert County Museum and R.B. Bennett Centre and will work diligently to provide those that live with her, and those who journey to see her, an engaging opportunity to experience, appreciate, and preserve our history for years to come.”

 Stuart Liptay, President of the Albert County Historical Society, said “Melody’s wealth of experience in the non-profit sector and previous museum experience has already made her a valuable member of the museum. We are excited about the upcoming season, and look forward to her story-telling abilities bringing the history of Albert County alive! We were very fortunate to find someone of Melody’s calibre living in Hopewell Cape. During the hiring process we were overwhelmed by the number of highly qualified applicants applying for the position, with applications from right across the country and from as far away as Egypt, and Scotland. It wasn’t an easy job narrowing the field down to one candidate, but I’m confident Melody was the right choice and will play a key role in moving the museum forward to bigger and better things.”

A big welcome to Melody! We're really looking forward to the direction she is proposing to take the museum in, and are looking forward to an amazing 2017 season!

 

We're hiring a new Manager/Curator - Spread the Word!

 This is a unique opportunity for a dynamic, self-motivated individual to be team leader of the Albert County Museum and RB Bennett Commemorative Centre, managing its artefact collection, offering educational outreach and leading a dedicated interpretive staff in telling the story of the People of the Tides and showcasing Albert County's native son, Hon. RB Bennett, 11th Prime Minister of Canada.

 The incumbent will direct the day to day museum management functions, train and supervise the summer student staff and develop interpretive programming and exhibits. Education in business management with a strong emphasis on curatorial and museum management and/or prior experience in a museum or historical property setting is preferred. Strong organizational, supervisory, interpersonal and oral/written communication skills are mandatory, as well as strong social media skills, and speaking before small and large groups. Bilingualism is an asset but not a requirement.

 This is a seasonal position. Salary to be negotiated commensurate with experience. Please submit cover letter, résumé and two reference letters.

 Applications will be accepted until Friday, January 6, 2017.

Send to: achistoricalsociety1963@gmail.com or by mail The Albert County Historical Society, 3940 Route 114, Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick, E4H 3J8

Further information on http://www.albertcountymuseum.com/were-hiring/

Look What We Just Got in the Mail!

We just received this awesome sticker in the mail to put on the door of the Library/Gift Shop. It seems like yesterday, but it was 2 seasons ago that the Museum was on the Amazing Race Canada. If you missed the show look for Season 2, episode 11 "Put the Fun Back in Fundy". The episode aired on September 16, 2014 to 3 million viewers.

Amazing Race Canada Letter
Amazing Race Canada Sticker

Lest We Forget - George Herbert Leaman - Killed in Action 100 Years Ago 11.08.1916 (Two Days Ago)

George Herbert Leaman was from Turtle Creek, Albert Co., New Brunswick and was born July 14, 1892. He was the son of Peter James and Minnie Bell (Leaman) Leaman, of Moncton, New Brunswick. He enlisted with the 7th Bde Ammunition Column C.F.A. on September 26, 1915. He was killed in action November 8, 1916 at Courcelette, Somme, Picardie, France. He is buried at Becourt Military Cemetery, Somme, France. 

 You can find his complete service records  by clicking here.

He is listed on page 117 of Canada's Book of Remembrance.

You can view his internment records here. 

If anyone has any further information, photos or memories they would like to share please pass them along. 

PS. We would like to thank Michele Daniels who was great neice to Geroge Leaman, the only brother, of her Great grandmother Sarah Jane Leaman Price for passing along his information.

Lest We Forget - Albert County's First World War Honour Roll

Aftermath

This poem was written by Pte. Frank Walker just after the battle of the Somme 100 years ago in 1916 and was published in From a Stretcher Handle: The World War I Journal & Poems of Pte. Frank Walker.

The book is a first-person narrative centred around the life and times of Prince Edward Islander Frank Walker (1893-1977), during his service with the Canadian Field Ambulance, Canadian Medical Corps, from its inception in 1914 until 1919, after the Great War had come to a close.

With Desolation and the Stars
I lonely vigil keep,
Over the garner'd fields of Mars,
Watching the dead men sleep —
Huddled together, so silent there.
With bloodless faces and clotted hair, 
Wrapped in their long, long sleep!

By uptorn trees and crater rims
Along the Ridge they lie,
Sprawled in the mud, with out-spread limbs,
Wide staring at the sky.
Why to the sky do they always stare,
Questioning heaven in dumb despair?
Why don't they moan, or sigh?

Why do I rave, ‘neath the callous stars,
At their upturned faces white?
I, surely I, with my crimson scars
Slumber with them this night!
Death, with shadowy finger bare,
Beckons me on to — I know not where;
But, huddled together, and freed from care
We'll watch till the dawn of Light.

From the Somme,
1916

Lest We Forget - On this day 100 years ago Roy William Crossman was Killed in Action - 10.09.1916

Roy William Crossman was from Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick and was born December 7, 1894. He was the son of Mr. William D. Crossman. He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Regiment on August 22, 1915. He was first wounded April 4, 1916 with a gunshot wound to the scalp. He was Killed in Action in France at the Battle of the Somme, October 9, 1916. He is remembered on the Vimy Monument and has no known grave.

 You can find his complete service record by clicking here.

You can view his internment records here. 

You can view the Royal Canadian Regiment's War Diary Entry for that day here. 

If anyone has any further information, photos or memories they would like to share please pass them along. 

 

 

 

LEST WE FORGET - On This Day 100 Years Ago William Harvey Bannister was Killed in Action - 09.30.1916

 

 

 

William Harvey Bannister was from Forest Glen, New Brunswick and was born July 7, 1893. He was the son of Mr. William S Bannister. He was a Police Officer at the time of his enlistment. He enlisted with the 8th Battery on September 23, 1914. He was Killed in Action in France at the Somme. He is buried at the BAPAUME POST MILITARY CEMETERY, ALBERT.

 You can find his complete service record by clicking here.

You can view his internment records here. 

You can view the 2nd Canadian Field Artillery Brigade War Diary Entry for that day here. 

If anyone has any further information, photos or memories they would like to share please pass them along. 

Lest We Forget - On this day 100 years ago Ernest Stockton Jonah was Killed in Action - 09.28.1916

Ernest Stockton Jonah was from Elgin, New Brunswick and was born December 29, 1892. He was the son of Mr. Ezra Jonah. He enlisted November 29, 1914 in the 26th Battalion. He was killed at the Somme September 28, 1916.

 You can find his attestation papers by clicking here.

You can view his internment records here. 

You can view the 26th Battalions War Diary Entry for that day here. 

And Here.

And here. 

If anyone has any further information, photos or memories they would like to share please pass them along.