Tag: battle of vimy ridge

Remembrance Day: A civilian’s responsibility?

Remembrance Day: A civilian’s responsibility?

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Today being Remembrance Day, I was thinking about a recent post in which I quoted an article exploring how Canadians need to do more for Remembrance Day.

Since then, while watching all the usual Remembrance Day coverage on television, I saw a news report about the increasingly troubled Canadian Legions. Several have closed or are slated to close because of low memberships and revenue.

What really surprised me, was to learn that civilians can become members and reap the same benefits enjoyed by military members and veterans.

Acccording to Toronto.com, “The legion has been losing members at a rate of about 8,000 a year. Part of that is due to death – the largest cohort of members are veterans of the Second World War, a conflict that ended more than 70 years ago – but it has been a challenge to attract and retain veterans of more recent conflicts.”

The Royal Canadian Legion was founded in 1926 to lobby for the needs of veterans returning from the first world war.  That service expanded to include other veterans, including those who’ve never been to war.

Some believe the Canadian Legion has become outdated and no longer represents the military and veterans as they exist in today’s world.

Mark and Stuart in Remembrance Day Parade.
Mark and Stuart in Remembrance Day Parade. c 2000.

A discussion on the subject between my husband, Mark and I caused me to immediately say, “Why don’t we register and get memberships for the kids as Christmas gifts?”

Mark is a veteran, but the others would be civilian memberships.

Then, while researching the subject, I discovered this Global News article about how the veterans themselves feel. I was shocked at how out of touch I have been, especially being the wife and daughter of military veterans.

According to those interviewed for the article:

One of the biggest complaints they have is the number of civilians who are now members. Though most of them mean well, they’re not making the Legion enough of a home for those who’ve served Canada because they don’t understand the military culture.

“There’s a very strict disconnect between what they do, and what we do …”

Also, because of this disconnect, they don’t always provide the services that veterans need — like enough support for those who suffer from PTSD.

Erin in her Air Cadet Uniform
Erin in her Air Cadet Uniform c 2007.

Surely there are ways to include civilians in some of the programs, increasing understanding on both sides? Although a civilian, I am a sufferer of PTSD and a program I could access that is separate from the woefully inadequate mental health system might be a place to start.

I never considered myself out of touch because of my background in the military and veteran cultures. However, as different as veterans and civilians are, there are indeed common circumstances and obstacles we all struggle with.

These articles caused me to doubt my idea of giving civilian memberships as gifts.

Then again, isn’t that a good place to start?

Civilians becoming members would enable learning more about our veterans, and increasing our understanding of each other.

At the very least, some if not all of the endangered legion branches may be saved. This could actually buy time for the legions to update and adapt to today’s veteran and their families.

My genealogy research into the extensive military history of both sides of our family has taught me a great deal and enabled me to become aware of how important it is for civilians to support our veterans – and never forget the sacrifices made in all conflicts, including World War I and World War II.

Related articles:

 


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Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery’s letter home from the WWI french front.

Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery’s letter home from the WWI french front.

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This letter was written by my great uncle Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery to his sister and brother while he was serving in France during WWI.

 

Six months later, he was killed during advance preparations for the battle of Vimy Ridge.

 

I did use Google translate, hoping to get a reasonable English translation of this letter to include below the French one. The end result, however, was very poor. I’m assuming that’s because of some transcription problems in the French text. 

If you are able to decipher missing words or errors, please do let me know. I might them be able to get a decent English translation.

 

 

Quelquepart en France

 

aout le 26/16

 

Bien Chère Soeur et Beaufrère

 

Cést en reponse a votre aimable letter que je viens de recevoir et qui ma fait un grand plaisir d’appres dan le vos nouvelles qui sont tres bonnes il en est de mème pour midi et j’espère que ma littre va vous trouver aussi bien qu’elle me laisse pour le manger on mange un peut mieux on a guiguer et ca fait du bien et pour les gateaux vous pouvez les envoyer

 

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dans une boite de fer-blanc et enrégistrer c’est a peut près le seul moyen qui ca se rend parce que quand le paquet est decouvert et que ce n’est pas bien envelopper il est voler. Je n’ai pas manger de vous apart de la ????? qu’ils nous donnent depuis que jus suis traverser du Canada et je n’ai pas retirer d’argent depuis le 27 Juillet. Je n’ai eu rien deguve fumer depuis 10 jours. Vous ferez des respects a Polydore pour mai j’ai bien de la peine pour lui el aurait pu avoir d’autre ouvrage que ca il a une bonne

 

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instruction. Vous ferez des respects a Fabiola ausssi et vous me derez comment elle s’arrange et si elle est bien et le petit vous me direz s’il est mieux j’aimerais bien à avoir unedent sur les tomates et les comme ????? ????? ??????? regallerais unpeu ici rien est mûr encore et on voit rien et on entend parler de rien vous savez plus long de la guerre que nous autres la dernière nouvelle qu’on a su c’est que l’Autriche donnait 30 jours a l’allenagne soit pour lui donner a manger et des hommes ou de faire la paix c’est tout le nouveau pour aujourd’hui je termine en vous souhartant bien de la chance et en embrassant tout la famille je suis pour la vie votre Frère et BeauFrère.

Albert Emery

La termperature est apeu près la même du Canada ici je ne peux pas voir pourquoi manan ne prend pas de remide.

 

 


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What we don’t hear about the battle of Vimy Ridge.

What we don’t hear about the battle of Vimy Ridge.

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In honor of today’s ceremonies for the 100th anniversary of the battle at Vimy Ridge, I am reposting several articles about my own ancestors who died in WWI. 

In my father’s French Canadian, ‘Turmaine’ branch of the family, we have two known soldiers who died in the first world war. The first was my grand uncle, Pte. Joseph Philias Albert Emery, who died at Vimy Ridge, and the second was another grand uncle, Pte. Joseph Turmaine, who died at Courcelette.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought largely by Canadian troops consisting of all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) from April 9 to 12, 1917, with the objective of gaining control of the German held high ground, ensuring that the southern flank of the forces could advance without the threat of German fire.

What we don’t hear about the battle of Vimy Ridge is how so many of our own troops lost their lives due to poor leadership in the days prior to the battle.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was the catalyst for a newly born nationalistic pride for Canadians and their achievements as part of the British forces.

Gas Attacks in March 1917 at Vimy Ridge
Gas Attacks in March 1917 at the battle of Vimy Ridge.

What we don’t hear much about, however, is the disastrous actions taken previously in preparation for the battle.

As described in my previous post ‘War Stories‘, my own great granduncle (brother to my grandmother) was Pte. Joseph Phillias Albert Emery, a soldier with the 73rd Battalion Canadian Infantry, Black Watch. He took part in operations in preparation for the advance on Vimy Ridge and was reported missing on March 1, 1917.

The majority of the losses during this operation were the result of mismanagement by the senior officers. As a result of poor planning, the gas canisters were deployed despite the winds blowing back onto the Canadians, causing mass casualties from the gas.

Below are the six pages of the war diary for the 73rd Battalion on the day my ancestor went missing. In another previous post, I’ve published full transcriptions of all the pages.

Battle of Vimy Ridge War Diary for the 73rd Battalion.

Battle of Vimy Ridge War Diary for the 73rd Battalion.

Battle of Vimy Ridge War Diary for the 73rd Battalion.

Battle of Vimy Ridge War Diary for the 73rd Battalion.

Battle of Vimy Ridge War Diary for the 73rd Battalion.

Battle of Vimy Ridge War Diary for the 73rd Battalion.

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Related articles on this site about Vimy Ridge:

Transcription: War Diary of the 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion for the Vimy Ridge Disaster of March 1-3, 1917.

WWI War Stories: Turmaine and Emery.

Transcription: Form of Will for Joseph Philias Albert Emery

Dad is the link to our French Canadian and military heritage.

We must fight for our veterans as they fought for us.

In Remembrance.


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