Alec Paterson

A Canadian soldier of The Great War

A recent web search by our curator found him something long wanted. It was documentary evidence that Lavington Manor house had been used as a military hospital by the Canadians. Oral history had said this was the case, but now one soldier’s medical record confirms it was used.

Hospital record for Alec Paterson Click it to see a much larger version of the image.

Hospital record for Alec Paterson
Click it to see a much larger version of the image.

The top entry tells us that Alec spent three days in Lavington Manor, from the ninth to the twelfth of January 1915 suffering from influenza – described as a mild attack due to wet and exposure. He made a good recovery.

Alec was an officer – a lieutenant in the 2nd battery of the Canadian Field Artillery – and had been leading his men in training across the windswept downland of Salisbury Plain through one of the wettest winters on record. Of course, we know that flu is a viral infection and is not actually due to weather conditions although it may flourish in certain environments.

Anyway, Lieutenant Paterson was able to leave Wiltshire for France on 10th February 1915. This is an extract from the Canadian war diary.

War diary for 10th February. The Canadians are off to the war. Click to enlarge.

War diary for 10th February. The Canadians are off to the war.
Click to enlarge.

By this time the HQ had moved to Market Lavington which is why the entry was made there. But we believe the trains left from Patney and Chirton station which would have offered a more direct route to Avonmouth for the strangely circuitous sea voyage to the continent.

Despite the dislocated shoulder and the effects of a gas attack mentioned in the hospital report, Alec survived the war by which time he had risen to the rank of Major. And it is in that uniform that we see him here.

Alec Paterson after his promotion to Major

Alec Paterson after his promotion to Major

Now to redirect readers to the blog produced by Alec’s grandson, Robert.

You can click here to find the post our curator discovered and from that you can navigate to all sorts of fascinating pages about the Canadians whilst still in Canada, in Wiltshire and then on to the hell of Vimy Ridge.

Many thanks to Robert for allowing us to share and use his family information.

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3 Responses to “Alec Paterson”

  1. Don Coleman Says:

    At some time during WW1 my grandmother, Alice Coleman (nee Leonard) had to take a Canadian soldier as a lodger. Despite having a son and several daughters she found she had to nurse him after he fell ill with pneumonia. He recovered and continued his duties but I have no further information about him. I believe he was a sergeant.

  2. James Perry Says:

    Patney and Chirton Junction station which was the junction for the Devizes branch had a special military platform built in 1909 and was 600 ft long. It had its own entrance and I think the platform and entrance approach were wide enough for troops to form up in columns and officers to ride their horses about. The horses would have been in horse boxes in the train. One reason for building at Patney was that the station had land available for this being in the middle of nowhere whereas the adjacent stations did not.

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