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Date: August 1918
Printed Matter

"Gone West"

The news from the western front is magnificent and the armies of the Allies are winning towards victory every day; but also that the advanced nearer to freedom and peace, means the aching of many hearts, the empty chair in many homes and deep sorrow in many families.

Last week Swan Lake was again saddened by the news that another of her brave boys, Bobbie Shirley, had made the great sacrifice and had been ‘killed in action'. Bobbie was an exceptionally fine, promising lad, who had no enemies and very many friends, who all deeply regret the sudden ending of a life of such bright promise. To parents who have to mourn the loss of an only son, as do Mr. and Mrs. Shirley, words are but poor comforters, yet we think that the words of the boys themselves, when they speak of a comrade whom they will not see again in this life are most beautiful and comforting. The soldier never calls it death, when he speaks of his lost chum he just says that he has "gone west", and to us it is a beautiful expression. There is no death, that we know, yet the knowledge that one we have dearly loved has gone to another world does not bring us much comfort in the early days of bereavement; the knowledge that he has just "gone west" does comfort. So many boys, especially in Canada, go west when they wish to strike out into a fuller, more responsible life for themselves, they do not forget their dear ones in the old home, and they go west with the intention of getting ready a new home where they will be joined by their friends in the near future. There is no cold farewell, they have merely started out as young adventurers who would see a bigger, wider country; they have gone without fear, almost without regret, strong in their knowledge that, as they have done their best in the old surroundings, so they will do even better in their new venture. The boys themselves have chosen the expression, and we believe that, if those who have lost their dearest and best in this terrible war can accept the boys' own foreknowledge of what their passing means, they cannot fail to be comforted. They have not left us for long, they have only gone to a new home "out west", a home in which we shall surely join them - if we make ourselves worthy.

A Union Memorial Service was held in the Presbyterian Church on Sunday last for Corp. Robert Shirley, who went from here two years ago with the 184th. Bobby had served for over a year in France and had seen a great deal of the hard fighting; he had recently been recommended for Sergeant.

Very much sympathy is felt throughout the whole neighborhood for Mr. and Mrs. Shirley and family who received the sad news on Tuesday last that Bobby had been killed in action.