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Personal Treasures

These are the stories and photographs that evoke memories of our military experience.

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Artifact PW1-06: Manitoba First Nations Members of the 1884-85 Nile Expedition

The Nile Expedition of 1884–85 was a British mission to relieve Major-General Charles George Gordon at Khartoum, Sudan, who was besieged by the forces of the Mahdi. Many references to the Nile Expedition mention the almost 400 Canadian Voyageurs who paddled the canoes on the Nile. While most of the Voyageurs were First Nations people and loggers from eastern Canada, there were also First Nations Voyageurs from Manitoba.

Artifact W1-13: Vimy Memories

Commemorative medal issued by the Canadian Legion to all returning veterans of the battle of Vimy Ridge at the 1936 opening of the Vimy MemorialAt 0530 on 9 April 1917, the Canadian Corps launched its attack against the previously impregnable Vimy Ridge. Three days later, as a result of meticulous preparation and planning, but at the cost of 10,602 casualties, four Divisions of the Canadian Corps had advanced along a front of 7,000 yards for…

Artifact W2-16: Memories of a Canadian Driver

My father, Walter Chapman, was in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) during the war, having joined as a reservist in February 1939. He was commissioned in 1940 and was sent to North Africa. Towards the end of that campaign he achieved the rank of Major (in Tripoli – January 1943) and was transferred to X Corps (attached to US Fifth Army under General Mark Clark) in preparation for the Salerno landings in September of…

Artifact W2-15: Nursing Sister Served as Model for Canadian Volunteer Service Medal

Ethel Mae Lowe was born in Lindsay, Ontario on 24 November 1911. She graduated from the Ross Memorial Hospital, Lindsay, Ontario, in 1933. Prior to her appointment to the Nursing Service of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps on 25 May 1942, she did private duty nursing and had four months postgraduate work in psychiatry at the Ontario Hospital, Whitby. After her appointment to the Nursing Service she received basic training at Kingston Military Hospital,…

Artifact PW1-05: A Soldier of the Queen

Inheriting family medals can provide a lead-in to an exercise in historical research at the personal level – something that genealogists do all the time. Medals can be particularly handy if one knows the rules for their award and (with the exception of British Commonwealth WWII campaign medals) can follow up the inscription information on the rim with official histories and personal military files. It can be even more rewarding if more than one family…

Artifact W1-12: The Sinking of the City of Vienna and My Father’s Razor

On June 28, 1918 the City of Vienna departed Montreal carrying 1400 Canadian troops en route to England via Halifax.  She also carried over 1000 metric tons of munitions. My father, Horace Patrick Nugent, was one of the soldiers. On July 2, 1918, the ship ran aground and was stranded and sinking on the Sambro Island ledges near the entrance to Halifax harbour.  All 1400 troops and the crew were rescued by a flotilla of…

Artifact W1-11: Private JOSEPH LEROUX, 660756, Canadian Infantry CEF – First World War

1660756 Pte Joseph Leroux, CEFMy grand-mother Anna Guttadauria (née Leroux) had never talked about the brother she had lost.  I learned of my great-uncle’s First World War service while visiting her daughter, my aunt on Remembrance Day.  That day on her table were arranged as a display the following items: a photo of Joseph in his uniform, his memorial cross, the letter from the King, the disk shaped bronze plaque showing Britannia standing with a…

Artifact W2-12: A Remarkable Discovery and an Act of Kindness

My father, Captain Harry Marantz, was felled by a German .88 on August 14th 1944 in the fighting to cross the bridge at Clare Tizon in Normandy, one of the many battles to close on Falaise. A doctor, he was detached from the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps to the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Winnipeg. In my desire to know more about my father, I have worked assiduously to learn everything I can. I…

Artifact W1-10: James Stoddart, 835505 Canadian Army

James StoddartJuly 19th, 1898 – April 9th, 1917 On April 4th, 1908, at the age of 9, James departed Glasgow, Scotland, on the ship, SS Grampian, and arrived in the port of Halifax on April 14, 1908.  He came to Canada by himself as a Quarrier’s Boy, (orphan), and therefore he would have been sent to the Fairnowe Home in Brockville.  From there he went to Croydon, Ontario where he stayed on the Samuel Doupe…