#1: The Beginning

It has been three weeks and two days since I began my role as Manager/Curator of the Albert County Museum. I fully intended on blogging sooner but time and tasks ran away with me. Over the course of this, my first year, my goal is to give you, dear reader, a look into my daily life, activities, and reflections as you would find in the journal or diary of any ship's captain. There will continue to be educational articles but, in the Captain's Log, I invite you to share with me in the ups and downs, ins and outs, successes and mistakes (!!!) of my first voyage.

If we haven't met yet, let me introduce myself. My name is Melody Land. I have a husband, a child, and a dog.

Some of my earliest memories are shaped by the land in Albert County. In my oldest memory, I am sitting on someone’s knee (my Great Grandfather Guy, a farmer) and there is well-worn brown work-pants and a hand, lined and leathery with age and hard work in the elements. He pinches the skin and it stands up! Then he wiggles his fingers and it is erased, like some form of magic.   

My family history is rooted in Albert County. Originally, my Mother’s family lived in West River where they farmed. Eventually, they moved to Hillsborough where work in the mill awaited the men and indoor plumbing awaited the women. My Father’s family hailed from Hopewell Cape. On Valentine’s Day in World War II my Great Grandfather Albert immigrated here from England – literally a person brought here by the tides. To make the long story short, a house boy fell in love, married, and ended up working for the post. Since then, the Lands have always resided in Hopewell Cape. Now I do as well, nestled in the web of generations of people whose stories and lore are as much a part of our county as our county is a part of us.

When I was young, there were a few things I could do well. I could talk the ears off anyone I met. I could tell imaginative stories. I could learn. I was intuitive. Those things, and an appreciation of local history led me into summer employment within the tourism industry, finishing at the Steeves House Museum in Hillsborough as acting Administrator. Academically, I pursued education in the Social Sciences (because “people” were my “thing”) and completed my last foray into academia when I graduated with a Master’s of Arts in Counselling Psychology. My employment history has been diverse, and my heart has been in working within non-profit 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 my community to effect positive change.

As soon as I saw the advertisement for the position of Curator/Administrator 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.

Welcome on the journey, here's to the beginning!


Excellent Time-line Photos of the Vimy Gun! Adding to the story!

We have recently received some amazing photos of the Guns in Hopewell Cape which really helps in the guns timeline! One in particular from the photo collection of Verna Beaumont shows the Vimy Gun on May 9, 1943 sporting its green coat of paint. So we know from two dated photos the cannon was painted between 1935 and 1943 from the original camouflage colors to an army green. The cannons would stay green until they were refurbished at Gagetown in 1989 when they were painted grey.  

Cyril Cook in Seaman's Uniform, May 9, 1943 with unidentified man in Air Force uniform. 

Hopewell Vimy Gun Circa 1935  - Cyril Cook is in this Photo

Early Photos Circa 1920 of the Vimy Cannon in Hopewell Cape.

Special thanks to Justin Raworth who shared the images of the cannon from 1920 and Terry Smith, who shared  the pictures of Cyril Cook from his Mother's photo collection (Verna Beaumont). Cyril Cook was her uncle. Both pictures are dated 9 May 1943.

LEST WE FORGET - On This Day 100 Years Ago Norman Yeomans was Killed in Action - 04.17.1917

Norman Yeomans was from Elgin, New Brunswick. He was born in 1891.  Son of Elias Millage and Catherine (Powers) Yeomans. He was Killed in Action in France at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. 

We were unable to find any further information on him. If anyone has any please forward it to us, so we can properly honour him. 

He is commemorated on the family tombstone in Elgin, NB.  

Amazing Photo Collection of Vimy Gun in Hopewell Cape - Circa 1935

We have just received some amazing photos of the Hopewell Cape Vimy Gun from the family photo collection of Susan Richardson. With special thanks to Kevin Snair of Creative Imagery for scanning and sending them to us! Five are from the 1930s and one from the 1960s. The photo of the five boys on the Hopewell Cape Vimy Ridge Gun is from 1935 and shows Douglas Higgins, Burton Fownes, Vernon Fownes, Cyril Cook and Harold Bishop on the gun. Isn't the camouflage paint job amazing!

Douglas Higgins, Burton Fownes, Vernon Fownes, Cyril Cook and Harold Bishop Circa 1935

Douglas Higgins, Burton Fownes, Vernon Fownes, Cyril Cook and Harold Bishop Circa 1935

Lest We Forget - Charles Lawson Fenton - Killed in Action 100 Years Ago Today 04.12.1917

Charles Lawson Fenton, 817985 was from Hillsborough, Albert Co., New Brunswick and was born September 3, 1893. He was the son of Lawson Fenton and Ruth Fenton of Edgett's Landing, New Brunswick. He enlisted with the 140th Battalion on March 22, 1916. His occupation was listed as quarryman. He served overseas with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regt.). He died as a result of wounds April 12, 1917 at Vimy Ridge, France. He is buried at LAPUGNOY MILITARY CEMETERY, Pas de Calais, France. 

 You can find his complete service records  by clicking here.

He is listed on page 236 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. 

LEST WE FORGET - On This Day 100 Years Ago James Harold Beck was Killed in Action - 04.09.1917

James Harold Beck was from Elgin, New Brunswick and was born August 13, 1896. He was the son of Mr. James Beck. He was a farmer at the time of his enlistment. He enlisted with the 104th Battalion on September 24, 1915. He was Killed in Action in France at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Vimy Memorial.

 You can find his complete service record by clicking here.

You can view his name on Canada's Book of Remembrance page 198 here.  

His page on the Canadian Virtual memorial here.

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

Come join us LIVE tomorrow on Facebook as we walk through the capture of our Vimy Ridge Gun at 12 Noon

Come join us LIVE tomorrow April 9, 2017 on Facebook as we walk through the capture of our Vimy Ridge Gun at 12 Noon. We will discuss the capture and how the gun arrived in Hopewell Cape, and the amazing story behind it. The Hopewell Cape Vimy Ridge Victory Cannon is one amazing story, don't miss it!

Lest We Forget - David Johnson Kane - Killed in Action 100 Years Ago Today 03.27.1917

David Johnson Kane was from Parkindale, Albert Co., New Brunswick and was born October 2, 1894. He was the son of George Johnston Kane and Naomi Kane, of Parkindale, New Brunswick. He enlisted with the 145th Battalion on August 11, 1916. He served overseas with 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion. He was killed in action March 27, 1917 at Neuville St. Vaast, France. His death was recorded as being caused by a direct hit on a dugout. Sixteen other men died along with him. He is buried at Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. 

 You can find his complete service records  by clicking here.

He is listed on page 266 of Canada's Book of Remembrance.

You can view his internment records here. 

You can view the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion War Dairy entry for that day here. 

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

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

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

(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.