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WWI

These collections contains any material relating to Canada from 1914 to 1918 from either the home front or the battlefront. External links in collection descriptions are either to online attestation papers at Library and Archives Canada or casualty and burial information at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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William George Calder was born in Truro, Nova Scotia in 1898 and later lived in Ashcroft, British Columbia prior to the war.  He enlisted in Vancouver, British Columbia in May, 1916, served overseas, and returned to Canada in 1919. The collection consists of more than forty letters, extensive images, both photographs and postcards, as well as diaries and numerous miscellaneous items.

George Cameron was born in Sarnia, Ontario, in 1893 and enlisted in the artillery there in May 1917. He served in the 7th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery in France and Belgium. The diary covers his experiences in England and at the front from January 1918 to March 1919.

William Lockhard Campbell was born in 1897 in Owen Sound, Ontario. He later moved to Carleton Place, Ontario where he enlisted in September, 1914 with the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. Campbell served overseas in France and was killed in action April 22, 1915. He has no known grave. The collection consists of two letters.

Private William Nelson Campbell (known as “Nelson”) was born in Clyde, Ontario, on December 28th, 1894. He enlisted with the 1st Battalion Canadian Infantry in Valcartier, Quebec, on September 19th, 1914. Sent into action in France in February of 1915, he remained with the 1st Bn. throughout most of the war.

Campbell was killed by snipper fire during an attack on the Canal-Du-Nord, near Haynecourt, on September 27th, 1918. He is buried in the Ontario Cemetery at Sains-les-Marquion in France. 

Most of the letters in the Campbell collection were written by Nelson to his cousin Ester (Essie) Douglas. Nelson’s mother Mary Anne (Annie) Campbell (née Nelson) was the sister of Essie’s mother Ester Douglas (née Nelson). Orphaned at a young age, Nelson lived for much of his childhood with his widowed Aunt Ester and his six Douglas cousins, four girls and two boys, in Orchardville, Ontario. Essie was the youngest of the girls, and quite close in age to Nelson, being just one year his junior. The final letter in the collection was written to Essie by Corporal W.A. McArthur, a mutual friend of herself and Nelson.

External links:
Pte. Campbell's Service Record (Reg/Ser# 7224) is available online through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring him can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

Frederick Ernest Carter was born in Essex, England in 1871 and emigrated to Kamloops, British Columbia sometime prior to the war. His wife died in 1912, leaving him with two small children. Carter enlisted in May, 1915 at the age of 44. He served overseas in France where he was killed in action April 14, 1916, leaving behind two orphaned daughters in Canada. The collection consists of four letters.

Winifred Chapman was born in 1900 and worked at the Tankerton Hospital, Kent, England during the First World War. She kept an autograph book from her time there, which includes inscriptions from four Canadians. There is an incription from Bruce Nelson Sandford, 27th Battalion from September 29, 1918; an inscription from G. West, 78th Battalion, from September 29, 1918; an undated incription from Pte. Ryan, 26th Battalion; and an undated inscription from Cpl. Thomas Wells.

Wren Margaret (Peggy) Helen Chesney was born in Wolseley, Saskatchewan, on July 24th, 1922. She enlisted with the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS) in the summer of 1943. She was first posted to H.M.C.S. Conestoga in Galt, Ontario, and then in September to H.M.C.S. Cornwallis in Nova Scotia. Her final posting was in St. John’s, Newfoundland, beginning in November of 1944.

The letters in the Chesney Collection were written to her friend Miss J. Eira Williams of Regina, Saskatchewan, between September of 1943 and June of 1946.

External links:
Wren Chesney’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# W-2601) is not available through Library and Archives Canada at this time.

 George Roderick Chisholm was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia on March 15, 1897.  Chisholm enlisted  with the 78th Battalion of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in April of 1916. He served in France and was killed at Vimy Ridge April 9, 1917.This collection consists of a note written by Chisholm three days prior to the attack on Vimy Ridge and his Circumstances of Death record.

James R. Chisholm was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1885 and emigrated to Canada sometime prior to the war. He enlisted at Lethbridge, Alberta in December, 1914. James served overseas in France and was killed June 3, 1916. Alexander Chisholm was born in Inverness, Scotland in March, 1888 and emigrated to Canada prior to the war. He enlisted in Brandon, Manitoba in April, 1915. He served overseas in France and was killed October 9, 1916. The collection consists of one undated photograph of the brothers.

William Orlando Clay was born in Newmarket, Ontario in February, 1885. He enlisted in February, 1916 in Toronto with the 180th Battalion. The collection currently consists of his discharge certificate, several photos, and his diary from 1916.

George William Cochrane was born in July 1893 in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.  Cochrane enlisted in March 1916 in Winnipeg, Manitoba with the 196th Battalion.  He served overseas with the 46th Battalion and died of wounds April 14, 1917.  The collection currently consists of three letters,  three photographs, and two newspaper clippings.

Robert G. Combe was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1880. He emigrated to Moosomin, Saskatchewan where he worked as a chemist. He enlisted at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in April, 1915. [note: there is a discrepancy between his attestation papers which date his enlistment as 1915 and other records which date his enlistment as 1916] He was killed on May 3, 1917 and has no known grave. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery. The collection consists of one letter to his grammar school magazine and his citation for bravery.

Horace Kelvin Conners was born in May 1893 in Montreal, Quebec.  Conners enlisted in Montreal in June 1915 and served overseas with the 60th Battalion until he was demobilized and returned to Canada in 1919.  The collection currently consists of five letters, as well as numerous postcards and photographs.  See also the collection of his brother, Robert John Conners.

Robert John Conners was born in Montreal, Quebec in October 1890.  Conners enlisted in Montreal in January 1917 and served in France with the Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company.  He was demobilized and returned to Canada in 1919.  The collection currently consists of one letter and two photographs.  See also the collection of his brother, Horace Kelvin Conners.

Allan Matheson Conquergood was born in Kincardine, Ontario in May, 1872. He enlisted in July, 1916 in Winnipeg with the 239th Battalion, the Railway Construction Corps and served overseas. The collection currently consists of his diary from 1917.

Alfred Frank Cook was born in Midland, Ontario in August, 1894.  Cook was a law student who enlisted in August, 1915 in Niagara, Ontario with the 58th Battalion.  He served overseas with the 58th Battalion until 1918 when he transferred to the RAF as a flight cadet.  He was found to be medically unfit and was discharged and returned to Canada at the end of the war.  The collection currently consists of thirty eight letters.

Arthur John Cook was born in Chelmsford, England in 1892 and emigrated to Canada prior to the war. Cook enlisted in Edmonton, Alberta in November, 1914. He served overseas until the end of the war. The collection currently consists of his 1918 diary and one photograph.

Lieutenant Arthur Harold Madill Copeland was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on August 27, 1889. Prior to his enlistment in WWI he was a Lieutenant with the Militia’s No. 6 Canadian Army Service Corps (C.A.S.C.), Winnipeg. He enlisted for Overseas Service with the C.A.S.C. on March 8, 1915.

Beginning in March of 1916, Copeland served in France with the C.A.S.C. in the 1st & 3rd Canadian Cavalry Brigade Ammunition Supply Parks. In August of 1916 he was “attached” to the Royal Flying Corps (R.F.C.) (technically remaining a Canadian officer, but working as a member of the British R.F.C.).

While serving as a gunner Copeland’s plane was shot down after returning from a bombing raid; he was wounded and captured as a Prisoner of War on October 10, 1916. After a period of hospitalization to recover from gunshot wounds to his arm and leg he was transferred to the German P.O.W. Camp at Douai. Over the following two years he was moved frequently, first to Wahn bei Coln, then to Stettin, Stralsund Danholme Pommern, Augustabad bei Neubrandenburg, Schweidnitz Selesia, Holzminden, Mainz, and finally to Holzminden again.

While in captivity he was appointed to the temporary rank of Captain (a rank he kept until the end of his service). He was later “Mentioned in Reports for valuable services while in captivity, and noted accordingly in the Official Records of the Air Ministry" in The London Gazette on December 12, 1919 (see external links below). Copeland had escaped and been recaptured twice while a P.O.W. and the “valuable services” mentioned in reports may have been related to either his own escape attempts or for providing assistance to similar attempts by others.

Following his release and repatriation to England on December 14, 1918, Copeland returned to Canada and was demobilized on March 23, 1919.

The letters in the Copeland Collection were all written to Hilda R. Lailey of Toronto while Copeland was held as a German P.O.W. (following the war she became his wife; they were married for sixty-four years). With the exception of the last letter, which was written after the Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, the letters and envelopes bear a variety of P.O.W.-related stamps indicating the content of the letters was monitored by the Germans (e.g. the first page of the letter of Nov. 14, 1916, bearing the red stamp “Geprüft. Kommandantur Wahn-Lager 63,” which roughly translates as “Checked. Headquarters Wahn-Camp 63.” The “London F.S. PAID” postmarks on the envelopes are those of the London Foreign Service.

Included in the collections “Other” contents listed below are two German documents; titled “Gefangenenlifte des Lagers” these are pages from Prisoner Lists of the Camps, one for Wahn (western base) in January of 1917, and one for Holzminden in April of 1918.

The newspaper article is from the Y.M.C.A.’s wartime publication Canadian Manhood, of Jan/Feb 1917.

External links:
Lt. Copeland’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# not assigned) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Copeland’s commission as a Lieutenant was published in The London Gazette on February 2, 1916 (#29480, p. 1897), and he was “Mentioned in Reports” on December 12, 1919 (#31691, p. 15613).

Ernest Corbett was born in Orangeville, Ontario in February, 1893 and later resided in Wellington, British Columbia.  He enlisted in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in March, 1916 and served overseas with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles.  Corbett was killed August 21, 1917.  The collection currently consists of one letter and one photograph.

John Andrew Corcoran was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in August, 1886.  Corcoran enlisted in Vancouver in January, 1916 with the 102nd Battalion.  He served overseas, was wounded in August, 1918 and was demobilized back to Canada in 1919.  The collection currently consists of twenty-seven letters as well as photographs and miscellaneous items related to his servce.

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Latest Readings from World War One collections

James Moore

Reads a 09/21/1916 Letter by Drader, Eugene Robert from World War One collections. View full Letter

RH Thomson

Reads a 07/06/1917 Letter by Mayse, Amos William (Will) from World War One collections. View full Letter

RH Thomson

Reads a 07/05/1917 Letter by Mayse, Amos William (Will) from World War One collections. View full Letter