Herbert Cunliffe was born in Lancashire, England in 1885 and his brother William was born in 1891 and both emigrated to Canada sometime prior to the war. Both brothers, Herbert and William, enlisted at Niagara, Ontario in September, 1915. Herbert was killed October 18, 1916, leaving behind a wife and infant daughter. The collection consists of more than twenty letters from Herbert to his wife, a few letters from William, and two photographs.
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.
William Cunliffe was born in Burnley, Lancashire, England in August, 1891. Prior to the war he emigrated to Canada and enlisted in September, 1915 at Niagara, Ontario with the 109th Battalion. Cunliffe served overseas with the 84th and then with the 75th Battalion until his return to Canada in 1919. The collection currentlly consists of several letters, postcards, a photograph, and miscellaneous personal items.
William Howard Curtis, MM, was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, where he served in the 57th Regiment. He was in Alberta when the war broke out and joined the 9th Battalion in Edmonton in August 1914. After brief training at Valcartier, Quebec, Curtis went to England with the 1st Contingent and shortly after arrival transferred to the 2nd Battalion. He later served in the battalion's machine gun section, was three times wounded in action, and was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field. Lance-Sergeant Curtis was killed in action on 8 October 1916 in the closing stages of the Battle of the Somme. The collection consists of eighteen letters from Curtis to his mother and sister, and three letters to the Curtis family sent after his death.
Lee Grant Darrach was born in 1882 and grew up in Clyde River, Prince Edward Island. At the start of WWI Darrach was living in Boston with his brother Jack. In 1915 he headed overseas with the intention of joining the British Army. Enlisting with the British Lancaster Fusiliers, he trained in England before being sent into combat in Egypt and France, remaining on active service until May of 1919.
The collection consists of thirty-two letters written by Lee to his brother Jack (often also to Jack's wife Beatrice, refered to as "B"), back in Boston. They are an uncommon collection within the Canadian Letters in Images Project in that they document the history of a Canadian soldier not as a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, but in the British Army with the British Expeditionary Force, which as Darrach describes it, was often a very different environment.
The letters are used with the kind permission of the Clyde River History Committee. More information on Lee Grant Darrach, as well as audio recordings of his letters read by Alan Buchanan, are available through their website at: https://clyderiverpei.com/letters-from-the-great-war.
Harold Keith Davey was born in Enterprise, Ontario in July 1897. Davey enlisted with the 4th Battalion Canadian Engineers in Toronto in June of 1916. He served in France before being discharged and returned to Canada in May 1918. This collection currently consists of one letter, two diaries, two photograhs, one postcard, two railway passes and a rest camp ticket.
Note: In the diary section of the collection, transcriptions of all entries for 1917/1918 can be read together under the respective links to "1917" and "1918". Scans of the original handwritten diaries can also be accessed here, organized by their individual dates of entry.
John (Jack) Davey was born in Somerset, England in September, 1888. He emigrated to Canada 1911-1912 and enlisted in September, 1914. Davey was wounded and taken prisoner in April, 1915. While a prisoner he had his leg amputated, and then was later returned to England during a prisoner exchange. The collection consists of more than fifty letters between himself and his wife Kate.
Victor Leslie Davidson was born in September, 1892 in Chippawa, Ontario. Davidson enlisted in November, 1914 in Toronto, Ontario and went overseas with the 20th Battalion. In 1916 he married Emelia Sears, a nurse in England. The collection currently consists of postcards and photographs, as well as an autograph book kept by Emelia Sears from the hospital in which she was working.
Private Harry Davies was born December 22, 1897, in Hamilton, Ontario to parents Fannie and William Henry Davies.
He enlisted with the 205th (Tiger) Battalion in Hamilton, Ontario on March 16, 1916, and proceeded overseas to England on the S.S. Saxonia in April of 1917. Davies was sent to France in August of 1917 where he served with the 1st Machine Gun Battalion until wounded in August, 1918. After hospitalization in France and England, he was invalided back to Canada on the S.S. Megantic in June of 1919 and then discharged in July of 1919.
Private Harry Davies’ Service Record (Serv/Reg# 240080) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
George Ansley Davis was born in Stoney Creek, Ontario in November, 1893. He served overseas with the 54th Battalion until he was demobilized and returned to Canada in the spring of 1919. The collection currently consists of six letters and one field service card.
Nursing Sister Lena Aloa Davis was born in Beamsville, Ontario, on July 30, 1885. Prior to her enlistment Davis was working as the Superintendent of Nurses at Toronto’s Hospital for the Insane (as it was then named).
She enlisted in Toronto, Ontario, on April 7, 1915, with the 2nd Stationary Hospital, Canadian Army Medical Corps (C.A.M.C.). Arriving in England in May of 1915 aboard the S.S. Corinthian, she went on to serve in France and Macedonia, initially with the 2nd Stationary Hospital and later with the No. 4 Canadian General Hospital, C.A.M.C.
Her nursing work put her in constant contact with infectious diseases. Her Service Record shows she was hospitalized with “Blackwater Fever” (malaria) in September of 1916, and contracted diphtheria the following April. Her malaria returned in early 1918 and she died in hospital in England on February 21, 1918. She was buried at the St. Andrew Churchyard, in Sherborne St. John, England.
Nursing Sister Lena Davis’ Service Record (Serv/Reg# n/a) 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 N.S. Lena Davis can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
[The materials in this collection are currently being processed and uploaded. Some items may be incomplete or inaccessible at this time.]
Lance Corporal William Worth Davis was born in Mitchell County, Ontario, on May 11, 1891, to parents Edwin Fishleigh and Mary (née Davidson) Davis. He had two younger sisters, Grace Miriam (“Mir”) and Ruth Nerta (“Nert”). He was living in Tillsonburg prior to his enlistment, where he worked as an optometrist. Davis had previously served in the 13th Royal Regiment in Hamilton, Ontario.
Davis enlisted on May 16, 1916, in London, Ontario, with 10th Stationary Hospital, Canadian Army Medical Corps. He shipped for England on board the S.S. Olympic in August of 1916, where he spent the next six months attached to Moore Barracks Hospital at Shorncliffe, working as a general medical orderly. Transferred back to the 10th Stat. Hosp. at Eastbourne in January of 1917, Davis was dispatched to France with them in early December of that same year. Davis’ duties often included both general medical orderly work and providing administrative supply support. Following the Armistice agreement that brought an end to armed conflict, Davis continued to work in both France and England until his repatriation to Canada in July of 1919, where he was demobilized on July 12th, 1919.
The majority of the letters in the collection were written by Davis to his parents and sisters. Once initially received, many of the letters had additional messages added to them as they circulated within the family. Davis was prolific letter writer and his letters are rich in detail, both about his work with the C.A.M.C., and in all aspects relating to his and his father’s professions as optometrists and jewellers. Also an avid photographer, Davis received official military permission to keep and use a camera while in England, allowing him to assemble an unusually large and varied collection of photos during his time in service. His diary covers the time period of May 1916 to November of 1918; it is currently untranscribed and available as images only.
L/Cpl. Davis' service record (Reg/Ser# 534709) is available online through Library and Archives Canada.
[Editor’s note, February 2023: In Davis’ service record (Library and Archives Canada) the record card “Transferred to C.E.F. (Siberia),” found on pages 15-16, is a filing error and is a record of the service history of Captain William Wallace Davis.]
Lieutenant Coningsby William Dawson, Canadian Expeditionary Force, was the author of the 1917 book Carry On: Letters in War-Time. The book's letters, along with more information on Lt. Dawson, can be found in the Special Items Collections section of the website.
Private Thomas Day was born in Walsall, England c. 1886, and joined the British Army Reserve Forces in 1904. Day married Priscilla Anson in Chesterfield, UK in 1909 and they had a son, Bernard, born in Colorado, United States, in 1911. By 1912 he had found his way to Ladysmith, British Columbia.
Day rejoined the British Army with the 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment, at the European front in December 1914. In early 1916 he was transferred to the Mesopotamia campaign. At the Battle at Sheikh Sa’ad along the Tigris River (present day Iraq) he fell dangerously ill on December 10, 1916. A sudden onset of paralysis was diagnosed as transverse myelitis and he was transferred to the Victoria War Hospital in Bombay (present day Mumbai), India, where he died on January 7, 1917.
Day’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 Day, 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.
Pte. Day (Reg.# 9941) served as a member of the British Army; no service file information was available.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Pte. Day is commemorated on the Kirkee War Memorial in India, and on the Ladysmith Cenotaph in Ladysmith, British Columbia.
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.
Jules Julien De Cruyenaere was born in 1894 in Rollegham, Belgium. In 1912 he emigrated to Canada to join his brother Alfred, with the rest of his family arriving in 1914. He enlisted in 1916 with the Winnipeg 100th Grenadiers. He survived the war and returned to Winnipeg, where he died in 1980. The collection consists of four letters written home between 1916 and 1918, and five photographs.
Private Harold Adelbert Dean was born in New Brunswick on April 7, 1894, to parents Rufus Archibald and Sarah Eliza Dean.
Dean enlisted with the British Expeditionary Force in Vancouver, British Columbia and shipped for England on January 15, 1916. He joined in the Mechanical Transport Army Service Corps, 648 Company, as a transport driver and sailed with them for Africa in early March. He spent the next two years in the East African Campaign in British and German East Africa, often based in or near Mombasa, Nairobi or Dodoma.
He was hospitalized several times for malaria while in Africa, and was eventually sent back to England to convalesce in May of 1918. He spent the remainder of the war in England. He was demobilized back to Canada on the S.S. Scandinavian, departing from Liverpool on April 2nd, 1919.
Because he served as a member of the British Expeditionary Force, and not the Canadian Expeditionary Force, there is no Canadian Service File available for Pte. Dean.
A article about Dean’s experiences in the East African Campaign was published in the Prince George Register on November 2021, and can be read here.
Alexander Decoteau was born on the Cree Red Pheasant Indian Reserve near Battleford, Saskatchewan in November, 1887. He later moved to Edmonton, Alberta where he worked as a police officer and was champion distance runner. Decoteau also competed in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. He enlisted in Edmonton in April, 1916. Decoteau served overseas in France and Belgium, and died during the Battle of Passchendaele on October 30, 1917. The collection consists of four letters written by Decoteau.
Gordon Alexander DeGear was born in Battleford, Saskatchewan in 1891. Prior to the war DeGear had served in the Saskatchewan Light Horse and enlisted for overseas service at Battleford in May, 1915. He served in France and returned to Canada in 1919. When completed the collection will consist of more than one hundred letters from DeGear to his family.
Levi Dendoff was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia in October, 1898. Dendoff enlisted in Nanaimo with the 102nd Battalion in February, 1916 and served overseas until his return to Nanaimo at the end of the war. The collection currently consists of more than a dozen postcards, some photographs, and images of a trench art souvenier.
Wellington Murray Dennis was born in April 1894 in Maplewood, Ontario. He later moved west to Weyburn, Saskatchewan where he worked as an implement dealer. Dennis enlisted in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewa in April 1916 with the 229th Battalion. He served overseas with the 5th Battalion Canadian Infantry and was killed on August 9, 1918. The collection currently consists of more than thirty letters from Margaret Munro, his fiance, and letters from Murray to Margaret, as well as postcards and photographs.