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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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Gordon Merritt Shrum was born in Smithville, Ontario in 1894 and enlisted in April, 1916 while a student at The University of Toronto. He served overseas and returned to Canada to teach in 1919. The collection consists of two letters written to Helen Nickle of Smithville. Other correspondents to Davis include the Bill Grassie Collection, the Daniel Austin Lane Collection, the Fred Nickle Collection, and the William Grassie Collection.

Albert John Simpkins was born in Walthamstow, London, England in November, 1878. He was a mineral water manufacturer. Prior to the war he had travelled and worked in Canada, living for some time in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Simpkins was back in England during the war, and enlisted at Seaford Sussex in May, 1918. He served overseas with the 8th Battalion, and was killed in action on September 29, 1918, age 39. The collection currently consists of numerous letters, photographs, postcards, and digital images of his personal effects returned to the family after his death.

Harold Henry Simpson, MM, was born in March, 1897 in Bayview, Prince Edward Island. Simpson enlisted in September, 1915 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and served overseas in France, Belgium, and Germany until his return to Canada at the end of the war. The collection consists of more than one hundred forty letters from 1915 to 1919.

Sergeant Thomas Nesbit Simpson, MM, was born in Northfield (present day Nanaimo), British Columbia, on August 16, 1890, son of William and Elizabeth (neé Good) Simpson. He enlisted with the 31st Regiment British Columbia Horse on August 13, 1914, followed by a transfer that September to the 5th Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade, and three weeks later shipped for England.

The following February of 1915 he arrived in France where he continued to serve with the 5th Battalion. Simpson was awarded the Military Medal “for bravery in the field” one month prior to his being killed in action while taking part in the Somme offensive at Courcelette. The date of his death is anomalously recorded throughout official records as September 26/27, 1916. He was buried at the Courcelette British Cemetery, Courcelette, France.

Simpson’s name is listed on the Ladysmith Cenotaph along with forty other soldiers who were born, lived, or worked in Ladysmith, B.C., and who died during the First World War. Seven of these soldiers, including Simpson, had wartime letters published by The Ladysmith Chronicle newspaper (see links below).

The complete list of soldiers in the can be found in the Ladysmith and District Historical Society collection.

External links:
Sgt. Simpson’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# 13306) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format 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.
Simpson’s name is inscribed on the Ladysmith Cenotaph, Rotary Memorial Peace Garden, Ladysmith, B.C.
The awarding of Simpson’s Military Medal was published in The London Gazette on August 23, 1916 (# 29719, p. 8365).
A collection of WWI soldiers' letters published in The Ladysmith Chronicle was undertaken by the Ladysmith & District Historical Society through their work with the Ladysmith Archives.

Lawrence Charles Sinclair was born in Quebec in April, 1895.  He enlisted June 5, 1915 in Winnipeg, Manitoba with the 61st Battalion, CEF.  Sinclair served overseas with the 3rd Battalion until his death on April23, 1917 at age 22.  He is remembered on the Vimy Memorial.  The collection currently consists of more than fifty letters, photographs, postcards, and other miscellaneous items.

Frank Skeet was born in Yorkshire, England in October, 1897. Skeet enlisted with the 226th Battalion in Swan River, Manitoba in January, 1916. He served overseas with the 16th Battalion until his death in August, 1918. The collection currently consists of more than seventy letters written by Skeet.

Andrew Hurst Skidmore was born in Areola, Saskatchewan in 1894. Skidmore enlisted in September, 1914 and served overseas during the war with the 1st B.C. Regiment, being wounded several times. The collection currently consists of three newspaper clippings, three postcards, and one photograph from his time in hospital in England.

Laurence William Webster Slack was born in Kings County, Nova Scotia in February 1891.  Slack served overseas as a Lieutenant with the 60th Battalion.  The collection consists of one letter written to a Miss McCammon informing her of the death of Joseph William George Robinson, also a Lieutenant with the 60th Battalion, who was killed September 16, 1916.  Robinson is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.  See also the Joseph William George Robinson collection which contains one letter of condolence from Robinson's commanding officer to Robinson's mother.

Malcolm David Sloan was born in Norwood, Ontario in 1896 and was recruited in 1917 under the Military Service Act and served in England in 1918.  Sloan was one of the correspondents with Reverend Arthur Mansell Irwin from Norwood, Ontario whose collection is also contained in this project.  The collection currently consists of one letter.

William John Smallacombe was born in Clinton, Ontario in August 1896.  He originally enlisted with the 81st Battalion in St. Catharines, Ontario  in September of 1916, and then transferred to the 4th Machine Gun Company with whom he served with in France.  Smallacombe returned to Canada and was demobilized at the end of the war.  The collection currently consists of one photograph and one letter written April 10, 1917 at Vimy Ridge.

Arnold Smith was born in Carholm, Ontario in November, 1892.  He enlisted with the Canadian Grenadier Guards in December, 1915 in Montreal, Quebec and served overseas with the 87th Bn., and then returned to Canada at the end of the war.  The collection currently consists of several letters, postcards, and his diary from 1917.

Arthur Calvin Smith was born in Dunnville, Ontario in April, 1897. Smith enlisted in February, 1916 in Dunnville, Ontario with the 114th Battalion, Brock's Rangers. While overseas he was transferred to the 19th Battalion. He was wounded in the Battle of Lens August 16, 1917 and died the same day. The collection currently consists of more than forty letters, photographs, postcards, and other miscellaneous items.

Henry Crozier Smith was born in Scotland in 1875. Sometime prior to the war he emigrated to British Columbia, Canada where he worked as a rancher. Smith enlisted in Vernon, British Columbia in May, 1915 and then served overseas in France until his death in November, 1916. The collection currently consists of seventeen letters.

Joseph Handley Smith was born in Lincoln, England in November, 1890. He emigrated to Canada prior to the war and enlisted in September, 1914. Smith served overseas until he was demobilized in 1919. The collection currently consists of his paybook, postcards, and miscellaneous personal items.

William Forder Smith was born in Bassingstoke, England in August, 1874. Prior to the war he emigrated to Armstrong, British Columbia where he was a rancher. Smith enlisted at Vernon, British Columbia in October, 1917 and served with the 29th Battalion in France. He was killed in action on September 6th, 1918. The collection consists of two personal letters, official reports and letters concerning his death, and three photographs.

Hugh Charles Sproule was born in Toronto in January, 1898, the twin brother of Noble Sproule listed below.  Sproule enlisted in September, 1914 and sailed as part of the First Contingent in October, 1914.  He served with the 3rd Battalion until his death sometime between the 22nd and 26th of April, 1915.  The collection currently consists of nine letters from Hugh, official correspondence, and one postcard.

Joseph Goulding Sproule was born in Toronto, Ontario in June, 1897, the younger brother of Hugh and Noble Sproule.  Sproule enlisted in Toronto, Ontario in October, 1915 with the 81st Battalion and served overseas in France with the 3rd Battalion Canadian Machine Gun Corps.  He was discharged at the end of the war and returned to Canada in 1919.  The collection currently consists of more than twenty five letters, as well as numerous postcards and photographs.

Noble Sproule was born in Toronto, Ontario in January, 1895, the twin brother of Hugh Sproule listed above.  Sproule enlisted in September, 1914 at Valcartier, Quebec, and sailed overseas with the First Contingent in October, 1914.  Sproule served with the 3rd Battalion until he was killed July 9, 1916.  The collection currently consists of five letters, two postcards, and several miscellanous items.

Private Percy Sprunt was born in Greenfell, Saskatchewan on February 2nd, 1893, to parents Thomas and Charlotte Sprunt. Prior to enlistment he worked in Manitoba as a clerk at the Eaton's Department Store. On May 11th, 1915, he enlisted in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with the 44th Battalion C.E.F. (having previously served with the Royal Winnipeg Riffles 90th Battalion). 

He shipped for England on October 23rd, 1915, on the troopship S.S. Lapland. He was deployed to France with the 8th Battalion Canadian Infantry, Manitoba Regiment.

Pte. Sprunt was killed in action on June 14th, 1916, and is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium.  

The collection consists of a single letter sent from Bramshott Camp, England, and two photos.

External links:
Pte. Sprunt 's Service Record (Reg/Ser# 622347) 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.
Percy Sprunt is among those commemorated on the T. Eaton Company Memorial Plaques, which currently reside at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario, and in the True North Sports' Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Nursing Sister Lucy Gertrude Squire, RRC, (known as Gertrude) was born in Wolverhampton, England, to parents James Lane Squire and Emily Pace Squire in April of 1884. The family emigrated to Canada in 1887 and settled in Norwood, Ontario. Prior to the war Squire studied nursing at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Québec.

She sailed to England in December of 1914 and attested as a Nursing Sister with the Canadian Army Medical Corps, Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.), in January of 1915 in Hampstead, England. After initially serving in England and France, in July of 1916 she was assigned to the Anglo-Russian Hospital in Petrograd, Russia, where she remained until the outbreak of the Russian Revolution forced a return to England in April of 1917. Later that same year she spent several weeks on leave back in Canada, before retuning to work in Europe.

Squire was awarded the Royal Red Cross, 2nd Class, in October of 1917. In March of 1919 she was promoted to the rank of Matron (equivalent to that of Captain) but reverted in rank back to Nursing Sister (equivalent to that of Lieutenant) on her return to Canada to work at the Dominion Orthopedic Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. In June of 1919 she was awarded the Royal Red Cross, 1st Class, (RRC).

Her wartime service with the C.E.F. officially ended on July 5, 1920, with her appointment to Canada’s reconstituted Permanent Force.

External links:

Nursing Sister Lucy Gertrude Squire’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# not assigned) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.

Squire’s appointment to rank of Nursing Sister (supernumerary) on December 21, 1914, was published in The Canada Gazette on March 6, 1915, (Vol. 48,  No. 36 , p. 2744 [p. 16 of 95 in website’s document viewer]); her promotion to Matron was published in The London Gazette on March 9, 1919, (#31546, p. 11425).
Awarding of the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) was published in The London Gazette on October 24, 1917, (#30350, p. 10983); awarding of the Royal Red Cross (1st Class) was published in The London Gazette on June 3, 1919, (#31370, p. 6839).  

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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