Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Field Artillery’

Alec Paterson

May 5, 2015

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.

Canadian Soldiers at the Green Dragon

March 12, 2015

The powers that were may have suggested that the conflict we now call the First World War would be over by Christmas, but of course it wasn’t. That means we are still marking 100 years of the First World War now and will mark different events right through until the boys came home.

Or perhaps that should read, ‘until the boys went home’ for many of the fighting men were not UK citizens. Today we look at a photo, sadly with a bit of damage, which reminds us just how many men from Canada were involved. This is a group shot of members of the 8th Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery and it was taken at the back of The Green Dragon as the caption shows.

8th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery

8th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery

The photograph itself is fairly intact.

The men are in the yard at the back of the Green Dragon in Market Lavington

The men are in the yard at the back of the Green Dragon in Market Lavington

You can click on this picture and that of the names, below to see a much larger image.

The photographers are clearly named.

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They were Burgess Bros of Lavington.

It is the area with the names of the men that has suffered most, but even so, most are clear to read.

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The information below comes from a Libraries and Archives of Canada website at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/Documents/artillery.pdf .

8th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery

Background Information Organized in November 1914 in England under the command of Major S.B. Anderson, most of the personnel formerly belonged to the 19th Field Battery (Moncton), Non-Permanent Active Militia.

Arrived in France in February 1915. 2nd Brigade, 1st Canadian Divisional Artillery. Transferred to 12th Brigade in June 1916. One section absorbed by 5th Battery and one by 7th Battery on 21 March 1917. Battery ceased to exist 24 March 1917. Disbanded by Privy Council Order 3417 of 7 January 1918. Perpetuated by 8th (Moncton) Field Battery.

 Mascot: bear (“Winnie”) presented to London Zoo, Jan. 1915 (GAQ 11-22).

Now that last sentence fascinates, for the mascot bear was the one that a certain Christopher Robin Milne fell in love with at London Zoo and, as a result, named his Teddy Bear  ‘Winnie the Pooh’.