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Pre-1914

These collections contains all materials prior to World War One, including the Riel Rebellion and the South African War. It also contains materials relating to he service of Canadians outside of Canadian forces, such as the American Civil War and the Spanish-American War. External links in collection descriptions are to online attestation papers at Library and Archives Canada.

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Thomas Bertrand Day was born November 28, 1877 in Woodford County, Sydenham, Ontario, the eldest of six children of Daniel and Jean Day. He enlisted in Toronto in 1901 and was killed at the Battle of Hearts River during the South African War, April 2, 1902. The collection consists of one letter written to his father in 1902.

William Haslam Dickson was born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1873 to Canadian parents. When the Spanish-American war broke out in 1898 he volunteered with the 14th Minnesota Volunteers. The Dickson family moved back to Canada sometime after 1900. William died in Victoria, British Columbia in 1922. The collection consists of eighteen letters written during 1898.

Donald Forbes was born sometime in the 1840s, son of Dr. John Forbes and Ann Forbes of Chippawa, Canada West. He first worked in Fergus, Canada West, and later moved to Newark, New Jersey in the United States. He joined the Union Army in February, 1864 and died on June 22, 1864. The collection consists of more than two dozen letters.

Noble John Jones was born in Owen Sound, Ontario and enlisted for service in South Africa in October, 1899 at the age of 27. Jones served in South Africa until he was discharged in November, 1900 having completed his year of service. The collection consists of more than forty letters from Jones to his family members back in Canada.

Daniel Austin Lane was born in Pelham Union, Ontario in December, 1894, and enlisted in April, 1916. At the time of his enlistment he was a student at the University of Toronto and while there had studied Arabic at Victoria College. Due to his Arabic studies he was recruited to join the South Persian Rifles by the British and arrived in the Persian Gulf in August, 1917.  Lane returned to Canada and practiced law in Calgary. He died in 1966. The collection consists of more than thirty letters written to his friend Helen Davis, as well as several photographs.

William J. Macdonald, a medical student, enlisted in Toronto on December 29, 1899, with the 9th Toronto Field Battery. He was 24 years of age. Macdonald served overseas with "C" Field Battery, Royal Canadian Field Artillery until he was discharged in January, 1901.

Alexander Matier was born in 1880 and raised in New York City where in May, 1898, he enlisted in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War. He saw service in Cuba and returned to New York. In 1915 Matier enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and saw service overseas, where he was wounded in Belgium in the spring of 1916. He spent more than two years in convalescent hospitals in England and Canada before he was discharged in September, 1918. He died in Winnipeg in 1920. The collection consists of two letters written home from Cuba in 1898 and an extended eighteen page letter written in 1918 detailing his wounding and convalescence.

Robert Robinson enlisted in Toronto, Ontario in January, 1900 at the age of twenty-five and served with the Canadian Mounted Rifles during the South African War. The collection consists of three letters written back to Canada from April, 1900 to September, 1900.

Robert, Charles, and George Rooke were born in England and moved with their parents William and Hannah Rooke to Saskatchewan to homestead. Robert Percy Rooke, age twenty-two, enlisted in Winnipeg, Manitoba on February 9, 1900 with the Lord Strathcona's Horse. His brother Charles Winn, age twenty-four, also enlisted on January 9, 1900 with the Lord Stathcona's Horse. Both served in South Africa and returned to Canada early in 1901. They both re-enlisted with the Canadian Mounted Rifles, along with their brother George Cyril, age twenty, who enlisted in December, 1901, and served in South Africa until the end of the war. The original letters have been donated by the family to the National Archives in Ottawa. The collection consists of more than 40 letters written by the brothers to their family back in Canada.

David Morrison Stewart was born in Manitoba in 1881, the youngest of eight children. In 1900 Stewart joined The Lord Strathcona Horse in Winnipeg with whom he served in South Africa. Stewart returned to Manitoba and went to war again in 1915 with the 107th Battalion where he saw service in France. David Stewart Morrison died in 1929. The collection consists of his diary entries from April, 1900 to October, 1900.

Walter Stewart was a part of the military force that participated in the Riel Rebellion of 1885. The collection consists of his diary from his enlistment to his return. This diary account was first published in the Weyburn Review, Weyburn Saskatchewan, beginning in April of 1966. It was published by the Review with the kind permission of Bob Hamilton, a great-grandson of Stewart. This online version has been made possible with the assistance of Ernest Neufeld of the Weyburn Review. The original introduction to the Review is available here. A copy of this journal is also available at the Toronto Public Library.

Alfred Chapman Tresham was born on March 25, 1866 in Leamington, Warwickshire. He was trained in military music at Kneller Hall, Twickenham, and served in two English regiments, the 91st Warwickshire and the 62nd Wiltshire. In 1885, he immigrated to Canada where he served as a bandsman in the Royal Grenadiers Active Militia, the Infantry School Corp at New Fort Barracks, Toronto, and the 2nd Battalion of the Queen's Own Rifles until 1889. In 1895, Tresham resumed his military career as band leader of the 7th Fusiliers in London, Ontario. Two years later, he joined the Dufferin Rifles Active Militia (38th Regiment) in Brantford as band leader. Tresham was invited to join the 2nd Canadian Contingent, Special Services, R.C.R. in the South African War. He was deployed as the Sergeant Bugler in October 1899, and invalided due to rheumatism exactly a year later. The eight letters in this collection originally appeared in the Brantford Courier. Five were written to commissioned officers of the Dufferin Rifles, and three to the Editor of the Brantford Courier. They span, rather unevenly, the period from November 1899 to June 1900. Upon his return to Canada, Tresham remained with the Dufferin Rifles Band & Orchestra until his resignation from military life in 1911. He died in Hamilton of natural causes on August 19, 1943, and was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Brantford.

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