Tag: WWI

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

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

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Although both sides of my family are ‘French Canadian,’ my mother’s ancestors are Acadians who settled in the maritime provinces and the eastern seaboard of the United States. Dad, however, is the link to our Québecois French Canadian and military heritage.
Gerard Ronald Joseph Turmaine
Gerard Ronald Joseph Turmaine at 3 circa 1938.

In earlier posts about our family’s WWI war casualties, I discussed our family’s attachment to the Canadian military. My own father, Gerard Ronald Joseph Turmaine, was an Instrument Electrical Technician in the Canadian Armed Forces for almost thirty years.

Gerard Turmaine in full pipe bank regalia playing his snare drum.
Gerard Turmaine in full pipe band regalia playing his snare drum.

Born in 1934 to Henry Joseph Turmaine and Rose Amande Emery of Quebec, he was nephew to both family members we lost in WWI, Joseph Philias Albert Emery (Rose’s brother) and Joseph Turmaine (Henry’s half-brother). (See photo at right of Gerry Turmaine at age 3.) As a new Canadian forces member, he spent some time in New Brunswick visiting the family of another recruit, Paul Melanson and met my mother, Patricia Gail Melanson – Paul’s sister.

Shortly after, he was transferred to Baden Söllingen, Germany and a long distance relationship proceeded for a while until he eventually asked my mother to go over and marry him. She traveled over on ship, they were married, and just over a year later I was born.

A year after my birth, my father was posted to Trenton, Ontario by the Canadian military, where we lived for ten years. During this time, he was a member of the national military pipe band (see photo at left) and frequently played all around the nation – and on one occasion, I can remember him traveling to Washington, DC to play.  During the ten years we lived in Trenton, my parents had three more girls, my sisters Renee, Andrea and Danielle.

We finally left Trenton when my parents’ dream came true and we were transferred to Comox, British Columbia. I can remember my parents talking about how much they’d like to live on the west coast of Canada for years. As a matter of fact, the story told ever after was that my Dad was so happy at the news of our transfer to British Columbia he wore holes in his socks dancing around the coffee table.

Their intention to remain in British Columbia was evident when my Dad told his superiors in Comox that he would rather forego any further promotions in order to remain in British Columbia until he retired. My parents lived in Comox until his death in 2005.

Turmaine Family in the late 1960's.
Turmaine family photo with Gerry in rear on the right; middle: Renee, Christine, Gail and Andrea; front: Danielle.

Twenty years ago I met my husband while he was training in Comox. He was an Aviation Technician with the Canadian Armed Forces and retired in 2006 to take a position with Marshall Aerospace in Abbotsford, British Columbia – where he could continue to work on his favorite aircraft, the CC130 Hercules.

To add to the tradition, my husband’s father, Marsh Blythe, retired in the 1980’s as a Sergeant in the Canadian army and my sister Andrea’s husband Larry Potter also retired several years ago from the Canadian army.


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Grandmère Rose – Marie Marguerite Rose Amande Emery

Grandmère Rose – Marie Marguerite Rose Amande Emery

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Being the child of a military member has one huge drawback – we didn’t have any control over where we lived, when or for how long. As a result, contact with family members was infrequent at best and I do regret not getting to know our relatives better.

My grandparents on my father’s side were Henri Joseph Turmaine (Henri) and Marie Marguerite Rose Amande Emery (Rose Amande).

Gail, Gerard, Grandma Rose and Christine (front) Turmaine
Rear l-r: Patricia-Gail (Gail), Gerard Ronald Joseph (Gerry), Rose Amande Turmaine; Front: Christine Blythe (Turmaine).

Dad, Gerard Ronald Joseph Turmaine (1934-2005) was the youngest of three children who survived infancy. Dad’s brothers and sisters included Albert Joseph Turmaine (1923-1966), Rose-Marie Azilda Thérèse Turmaine (1929-2003), and Marianne Claudette Andrea Turmaine (1937-1937).

The Turmaine Family
Turmaine Family: Theresa, Henry (Grandpère), Gerard (Dad), Rose (Grandmère), and Joseph.

Therese Paquette (Turmaine) with Christine.
Ma tante Thérèse Paquette and Christine Blythe (Turmaine) circa 1989.

I was too young to remember much about my grandfather Henri as he died in 1966 in General Hospital in Toronto. I know I saw Grandma Rose quite frequently within the first few years of my life, but again, I was too young to remember much. When I turned 10 in 1970, however, that all changed since we were transferred from Ontario to Comox, British Columbia. We took the last opportunity to visit everyone we could that summer on our trip across the country.

I can remember one particular visit where we were permitted to stay at the cottage of cousins, the Pollaris, at Loon Lake in Ontario. What a beautiful cottage it was, too. A semi-circle shape, the front circular side rested on posts in the lake shore, extending over the water. That entire side of the cottage was one big great room and standing in it felt like being in motion on the lake.

I do remember being awestruck in Grandmère’s home. She was a highly devoted Catholic and as soon as we walked in, we were overwhelmed by praying hands, her obsession. There were praying hands statues, prints, and paintings everywhere.  I can remember being told when I was young that Grandmère’s ambition was for Dad to become a Catholic priest and how disappointed she was when he opted for the military instead and married my mother. Knowing my father, he definitely chose the path that suited his own nature and ambitions, especially considering his naughty, rather raunchy sense of humor. Somehow, I don’t think it would have gone over very well as a priest.

Front: Rose Amande and her mother Émilie Labelle, Rear: Unknown Cousin
Front: Rose Armande Emery seated next to her mother, Émilie (Labelle), wife of Charles (Albert) Emery. MIddle: Betty Turmaine, daughter of Hérmènégilde and Azilda Labelle.

A couple of years later, we saw Grandmère Rose one last time in about 1972 when she came to visit us in Comox. She passed away in 1978. Tante Thérèse came out in 1987 for my sister Andréa’s wedding, in 1989 for Renée’s wedding and in 1991 for my own wedding to Mark. She passed away in 2003 in Chateaugay, Québec. It may seem odd that I haven’t mentioned Dad’s brother, my uncle Albert Joseph, but unfortunately, he had committed suicide just prior to Grandpère Henri’s death in 1966.

Grandmère Rose’s father was Charles Albert Emery, who was born in about 1870 in Vermont, United States and died in about 1915. Her mother was Émilie Labelle, born about 1870 in St. André Avellin, Ripon, Papineau County, Québec to Antoine Labelle (1820-1890) and Joséphine Périllard (born 1844), both of Québec. In addition to Grandmère Rose, they had four other children, of whom one was Pte. Joseph Philias Albert (1889-1917) who was missing in action and presumed dead at Vimy Ridge during WWII. His name is only one of many immortalized on the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France.

Oddly enough, my father’s grandfather Herménégilde (father-in-law to Grandmère Rose) took Marie Joséphine Azilda Labelle as his second wife in 1911. Azilda was sister to Joséphine (and Rose’s grandmother).

Children of Antoine Labelle and Joséphine Périard (Périllard)
Children of Antoine Labelle and Joséphine Périllard.

Antoine Labelle (1820-1890) was the son of Antoine Labelle and Marie Isaac Duplanty dit Héry of Québec, and had been married twice, first to Émilie Fournelle and second on November 23, 1863 to Joséphine Périllard (my great great grandmother), born 1844 in Ste. Magdeleine Rigaud, Vaudreuil, Québec to Michel Périllard and Zoé (Madeleine, Michel) Demers. The 1852 Census of Canada East shows Joséphine Périllard with her parents, brothers and sisters living in 274 Petite Nation Parish, St-André Avellin, Ottawa County.

Antoine and Joséphine’s six children included Émilie Labelle (born 1870), Antoine Labelle (1872-1944), Célima (Délima) (born 1874), Joseph (1877-1944), Marguerite (1880-1960), Azilda (1884-1933).

During my extensive research into my French Canadian ancestry, I’ve come to realize one thing – there are no surprises. Families remained close in proximity and emotion, and marriage within the inner circle – and yes, family, according to the laws of consanguinity of the Catholic church was commonplace.

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The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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Genealogy Database

Genealogy Database

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Athelwulf, King of Wessex
Athelwulf, King of Wessex

Our Blythe Genealogy Database

After extensive work, my genealogy database is now updated and links can be found in the upper menu or in the left sidebar. There are thousands of surnames and the extensive lineages include Welsh Quaker immigrants to the USA, French Canadian, Acadian, American pioneers, Canadian pioneers, French, British, Welsh, German, Scandinavian and medieval and royal genealogies.

The database includes extensive facts, sources and some images.


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The Discovery Service at the National Archives in Great Britain

The Discovery Service at the National Archives in Great Britain

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The UK National Archives  has a free online search, but there are problems. Some knowledge has always been necessary to search the catalogue with any success.

The Discovery Service makes it easier for everyone – novice to expert – to search and use the collection.

The user is able to search the collection, explore and browse, whether for genealogy research and/or scholastic purposes.

Discovery is a digitized document delivery service that will make it easier to search for genealogy records such as wills and testaments, court proceeding transcription and order digitized genealogy records.

To experience Discovery, visit the Labs section of the National Archives website, the place they release new online services for customers for testing and to provide feedback. New features are being added to Discovery regularly and the latest release includes advanced search and fixes existing problems in previous versions.

The Discovery service will be fully tested and approved before it replaces any other services.

The National Archives holds over 22 million historical government and public records, doubling in just over two years and making it one of the largest archive collections in the world. From Domesday Book to modern government papers and digital files, the collection includes paper and parchment, electronic records and websites, photographs, posters, maps, drawings and paintings.

The old catalogue offered a free search of the collection, but had its problems. A minimum knowledge level was necessary to be able to effectively search the collection. This required level of knowledge made it difficult for new users to take advantage of the search.

The National Archives Discovery Service implemented a system that makes it easier for users of all levels.


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

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

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We must fight for our veterans.
poppy field

Remembrance Day is fast approaching and this is one very important day I always recognize with a post on this blog.

My family’s history is well-entrenched in military service.

  • My father was in the military for 30 years.
  • My father-in-law was in the military for over 30 years.
  • My husband, Mark served 20 years.

They all served tours in hostile environments.

Our family have also lost two family members in WWI, one being Pte Philias Joseph Albert Emery during advance actions at Vimy Ridge, and the other being Pte Joseph Turmaine in the Battle of Courcelette.

I have always thought that our government was not doing enough to help veterans who are disabled as a result of their duties.

I’m appalled to say that under this present Conservative government, instead of improving, the conditions and treatment of our valued veterans are much, much worse.

Reading this post at Change.org prompted me to write about his myself and I encourage everyone to go online at the Change.org site to sign the petition demanding better financial, physical and mental health care, and administrative treatment of our veterans.

This video of a rant by Rick Mercer on behalf of our veterans is a good example of just one area of concern.

Author credit: Christine Blythe, Feathering the Empty Nest Blog

photo credit: Dukas.Ju via photopin cc


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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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In their honour, we publish their names | Maclean’s

In their honour, we publish their names | Maclean’s

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Maclean’s has published more than 66,000 covers, each one dedicated to an individual Canadian who died in the First World War.

Featured image: The statue known as Mother Canada looks out over Vimy Ridge as part of the memorial commemorating Canadian war losses near Arras, France.

If you hold a paper version of Maclean’s, consider closing this issue for a moment to read the dedication on the cover. You’ll find the name of a Canadian serviceman or woman whose life was snuffed out more than a century ago in what became known as the “Great War.”

Where possible, we also list their rank, age and date of death. But even such tombstone details for thousands of soldiers were lost in the chaos of war or the mists of time.

This compounds the tragedy of Canada’s deadliest war, for surely we owe them this: respect for their courage, and remembrance for their ultimate sacrifice; lessons written in blood and, as history shows, too easily forgotten.

And so, you hold a name . . .

Read on . . .

Source: In their honour, we publish their names


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The treacherous Passchendaele ground was an enemy itself | CBC Archives

The treacherous Passchendaele ground was an enemy itself | CBC Archives

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The murderous mud of one First World War battlefield.
Passchendaele battle was a treacherous slough of mud and muck, and an enemy in itself.

This November 11, 2018, marks 100 years since the end of the First World War. The 1917 Battle of Passchendaele, which took place during the Third Battle of Ypres, was, for the Canadian Corps, one of the most bloody and destructive of the war.

With mudholes deep enough to swallow a man, the treachery of that battlefield and the futility of the achievement evokes the senselessness of the four-year war.

On Nov. 10, 1917, Canadian troops captured Belgium’s Passchendaele ridge, ending a grueling offensive that began for them 15 days earlier and ending the drive for Vimy which had begun in June.

In 1972, the CBC presented the story of the battle, as told by some of the men who were there. Here, from CBC Archives, are excerpts from that program, Their Springtime of Life.

‘The men would simply sink and disappear in that mud . . .’

Read on . . .


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In Remembrance.

In Remembrance.

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Being from a dedicated military family, this is a somber time of year for us, in remembrance of those in our families who have served, or worse yet, who we lost during military service.

 

The relationships to our children, Erin and Stuart, are in italics following the excerpt.


Remembering those we lost in battle:

 

Coon, David 1843

  • Elisha Cadwallader (1840-1862) – Civil War (4th cousin, 7x removed)
  • Private Joseph Turmaine (1889-1916) – First World War(great granduncle)
    • The 27th Battalion, Winnipeg Regiment left at 2 pm, September 14, 1916 for brigade headquarters, arriving at 5 pm. They then left brigade headquarters at 9 pm and proceeded to the front line to take up position in assembly trenches, which was delayed due to congestion of the trenches…

 

Pte Joseph Philias Albert Emery


Veterans in our family who later passed away:

 

 

Cadwalader, General John Cadwalader (Revolutionary War)

  • General John Cadwalader (1742-1785) – Revolutionary War (3rd cousin, 11x removed)
  • Nathan “Hoppity-Kickity” Porter (1742-1815) – French and Indian War (7th great grandfather)

 

Portrait of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky.

  • Governor Isaac Shelby (1750-1826) – Revolutionary War, War of 1812 (1st cousin, 8x removed)
    • With a sword presented to him by Henry Clay as voted by the legislature of North Carolina for his gallantry at King’s Mountain 32 years before, Shelby assembled and personally led 4,000 Kentucky volunteers to join General Harrison in the Northwest for the invasion of Canada
  • Private John Jaquish (1753-1845) – War of 1812 (6th great grandfather)
  • Quartermaster Joseph Shelby (1787-1846) – Indian Wars (5th great grandfather)
  • James Shreve (rank unknown) (1754-1839) – War of 1812 (6th great grandfather)

 

Cadwalader, Gen. Thomas.jpg

  • General Thomas Cadwalader (1779-1841) – War of 1812. (3rd cousin 10x removed)

 

Jaques, William H

  • William Henry Jaques (1820-1913) – Civil War (4th great granduncle)
  • Laurent Jude Melanson (1820-1914) – Fenian Raids (3rd great grandfather)
  • Alfred E. Melanson (c. 1847-?) – Fenian Raids (2nd great granduncle)
  • Private Robinson Coke “Boby” Jones (1822-1897) – Mexican War (4th great grandfather)
  • Private William Seth Cadwallader (1825-    ) – Civil War (4th cousin, 7x removed)
  • John Mumby Blythe (1831-    ) – Civil War (3rd great granduncle)
  • Private Francis Elmer Keefer (1839-1863) – Civil War (3rd great granduncle)
  • Charles George Blythe (1840-1914) – Civil War(3rd great grandfather)
    • …his descendants remained in the Louth and Somercotes areas of Lincolnshire until the emigration of his great grandson Thomas Blyth and Thomas’  sons Charles George (3rd great grandfather to Erin and Stuart), John Mumby and Robert to America…

 

Keefer, Lenard Scott 2 (maybe) proof needed

  • Leonard Scott Keefer (1841-1916) – Civil War (3rd great granduncle)

 

Wedding of Elam Dennis Matthews St.

  • William Dennis Matthews (1875-1940) – Spanish American War(2nd great grandfather)
    • Bip, Fred, White and I went down to the armory this evening The Governor’s (Tanner) order, for all Illinois regiments to move to Springfield was read and great applause followed. Came home about 9 o’clock and packed up my belongings…
  • Clayton William Blythe (1883-1943) – First World War (2nd great grandfather)
    • The following men, registered with Selective Service Local Board No. 1, are classified as suspected delinquents. Any person whose name appears upon the list should report immediately to this board, for correction of records.
  • Wesley Elmer Blythe (1890-1977) – First World War (2nd great granduncle)
  • Hervé “Hervey” Turmel (1894-    ) – First World War (4th cousin, 3x removed)

 

Luther Gummeson

  • Private Luther Gummeson (1895-1934) – First World War (great granduncle)
    • Before enlisting for military service on December 10, 1917, he was a Lutheran and a farmer in Vancouver, BC. Rumour had it that his early death was attributed to being gassed during WWI. Before his death, Luther was living in the Peace River area…
  • Joseph Antonio Tumel (1896-    ) – First World War (2nd cousin, 4x removed)
  • Alfred Turmel (1896-    ) – First World War (2nd cousin, 4x removed)
  • Chester C. Blythe (1908-1995) – General Service (great grandfather)
  • Doyle Clement Cadwallader (1925-1944) (6th cousin, 5x removed)
    • “In the midst of life we are in death.
      In the moment that ye think not,
      In the twinkling of an eye,
      The Angel of Death may appear.”
    • The foregoing quotation seems to me very fitting for Doyle Clement Cadwallader, whose death was caused by an automobile accident while he was returning home on September 30, 1944…

 

Dad, c. 1955.


Veterans in our family who are still living:

 

Marsh-at-Night-at-Cabin-Small.jpg

 

Mark and I with my Mom and Dad at our wedding.

 

For more facts and dates about the above mentioned individuals, check out our family’s extensive genealogy database linked in the menu bar above.


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Let’s all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.

Let’s all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.

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I have been researching my family’s genealogy for over twenty years and my appreciation of the tireless and volunteer contributions in the pursuit of genealogy is endless.

 

All of our continuing efforts to expand our own genealogies do contribute to the cumulative effort of us all to save and expand our genealogical resources.

 

At one time, the only options for researching outside one’s own community were to depend on the mail system at the time or to travel to the location involved.

Although mail was relatively inexpensive, the flexibility of performing research oneself was lost. There was no opportunity to just dive right in and pursue a lead found in the return information. One would then have to mail another request, and then another, and then another – making this process time-consuming.

Submit Hall
Submit Hall

Travel to the location(s) in question could be very expensive, but resulted in the opportunity to pursue leads found while on site. If new information led to other organizations, agencies, museums, archives, etc. within the area, it was possible to also visit and do further research. This option provided a much more timely method of researching.

Genealogy has evolved considerably with the advent of the personal computer. Now, one can travel the world, visit museums and historical sites, communicate with organizations virtually, as well as doing research using free and paid sites online. The immediacy and flexibility of researching genealogy is something to be marveled at.

How was this possible?

This evolution started with passionate and dedicated volunteers and individuals who began transcribing physical records, collecting photos and images of documents, and placing them in online archives, databases and in specialty archive sites. For the most part, these resources were free and available to everyone.

With some sadness, I have watched a major shift take place in the short time since I began. As the popularity of genealogy became evident, commercial sites and paid services suddenly appeared online – the most noted of which being Ancestry.com .

Barker, William Sr. - Accused in Salem Witch Trials
Barker, William Sr. – Accused in Salem Witch Trials

It was still possible to find considerable free information and resources online, but those who had the funds and wanted to save time and effort could pay for subscriptions to make their search easier. Those of us with limited funds began setting up our own sites posting tips and information for other genealogists.

The newest shift I’ve been seeing is the trend for paid services and sites to ‘buy out’ free resources and add them to their paid catalog, leaving paid sites as the only option.

I still consider genealogy as a historical ‘treasure hunt’, one which I pursue with great effort and pleasure. I love nothing better than to discover an obscure site offering valuable information and this blog has provided the venue for me to post this information and assist others.

All links I find to valuable sites can be found in the ‘Genealogy Links’ tab above. Another update with dozens of new links will be completed soon.

Ambler, Joseph and Williams, Ann Wedding Certificate. Let's all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.
Ambler, Joseph and Williams, Ann Wedding Certificate.  Let’s all work to save and expand our genealogical resources.

I think it is important for us to try and preserve the free resources that remain, and possibly add new ones. This is only possible through the efforts of volunteers and the willingness of those of us researching to share information for free. I have made all information from my research available in the ‘Blythe Database’ in the tab above, including sources. Unfortunately, in order to include photos and images, I would have to start my own server. I do wish I could though, because the gold in the genealogy treasure for me has always been photos and images of documents, etc. I will say, though, that the images in my articles are either owned by me, credited to the rightful owner or under free commons license (credit requirements). Feel free to use any images on my site, but please be sure to include the photo credit. A credit to this site on the ones I own (uncredited) would be appreciated.

How can we all help to encourage and preserve free information?

Here are just a few ideas.

  • Start a website of your own and freely post any information you are willing to share.
  • Donate physical items to genealogical and historical societies, museums, libraries and archives that provide free services to the field.
  • Start a newsletter or contribute to existing newsletters to collect and provide information to other researchers.
  • Offer your services to anyone researching in your area through services such as RAOGK (Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness), which has since shut down indefinitely due to the illness and death of its Administrator, Bridgett Schneider.
  • Volunteer in ways to add to or improve what is available. Examples include transcription of documents, taking and submitting photographs of historical and/or genealogical importance, voluntary work at a location providing free services and resources, and conducting and documenting interviews for first hand accounts.

I am still actively pursuing my research and operating my sites, Empty Nest Ancestry and Blythe Genealogy. All data I’ve accumulated, including images, documents, links and sources is available for free access and download on Blythe Genealogy. Feel free to check it out by searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the upper drop down menu.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

If you have new information of relevance to genealogy, or are willing to volunteer your services to provide research in your area on behalf of others and would like to spread the word about your own efforts in this regard, or just plain news of interest, please let me know and I’d be glad to post it here.

Guest posts are welcomed but are subject to Editor review and may not be accepted. If accepted, the author will be given credit for the article and can include two nofollow links.

Please consider making information you have available to others in any way possible and for as little cost as possible and volunteer and/or donate to those who do if you can. Let’s keep our voluntary and free networks operating and providing for researchers in the future.


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

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

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In honor of today’s ceremonies in honor of 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 following is my full transcription of photocopies of the handwritten pages of the war diary of the 73rd Canadian Infantry Battalion for the Vimy Ridge Disaster of March 1-3, 1917, during which my great uncle Joseph Philias Albert Emery went missing in action.

 

1917    

 

Vol. VIII, Page I

  • March 1st
73rd Battalion War Diary
73rd Battalion War Diary – page 1.

Battalion in the lines on its regular frontage.
At 12.05 AM code message was received from the 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade to the effect that the Gas Attack and consequent Infantry Attack, which had been postponed for several days, would take place that morning. This was immediately communicated to the Companies also in code, and preparation for the assembly commenced. At 2.00 am Battalion Headquarters moved to Advanced Battalion Headquarters off UHLAN C.T. where comunication was established with Advanced Brigade Headquarters, and with both points of assembly. “B” and “D” Companies moved up from ARRAS ALLEY and asembled in dugouts in LIME STREET, dugouts on TUNNELLERS RIDGE, and in COBURG NO I TUNNEL, Major Brown 2nd in Command, being in charge of these two Companies which occupied the left half of the Battalion frontage. “A” and “C” Companies, forming the right half of the attack, moved out of the front line to the right where they assembled in BLUE BULL TUNNEL, Major H [P] Stanley being in charge of these two Companies for assembly. The dispositions for the attack were as follows :-
Right Half 1st Wave “A” Coy under Captain B. Simpson and Lieut D. H. Farnori.
Left Half 1st Wave “B” Coy under Captain H H Patch, and Lieuts G.H.H. Eadie and P.G. Hawkins.

VOL VIII, Page II

  • March 1st
73rd Battalion War Diary
73rd Battalion War Diary – page 2.

 

2nd Wave, “C” Coy under Lieut G. S. McLennan, Major Munroe and Lieut J. Norsworthy.

No. 1 Patrol, 1 Platoon of “D” Coy under Lieut. Griffiths.
No. 2 Patrol, 1 Platoon of “D” Coy under Lieut. Lester.
No. 3 Patrol, 1 Platoon of “B” Coy under Lieut Hutchinson.

At 2.55 a.m. messages were received from all Companies that they were in position.
At 3 am the first gas cloud, known as the “White Star Gas” was released. Within a few minutes after the release of the gas very heavy rifles and machine gun fires opened upo from the German front and support lines, and the sky was lit upo by hundreds of flares sent up by the Boche; this fire and the sending up of the flares continued for 36 minutes, showing that the gas was not effective. At about 3.06 am the Germans opened heavy Artillery fire across our whole front, which continued tunil 4.00 am at which time it died down and shortly afterwards the situation became almost normal. Soon after 4 o’clock the direction of the wind commenced to change, and by 5 am, which was the time for liberation of the 2nd Gas Wave, it was coming from almost due [North], so that it was decided

VOL VIII, Page III

  • March 1st
73rd Battalion War Diary
73rd Battalion War Diary – page 3.

 

that the gas could not be let off. The Infantry Attack was to commence at 5.40 AM. About 5.20 a message was received from Advanced Brigade Headquarters to the effect that there remained considerable gas in our front line trench for a distance extending 300 yard north of [C]RANBY C.T. This interfered with the assembly of our right attacking parties and instructions were immediately sent to Major Stanley to have “A” and “C” Companies assemble in front and behind the front line trench, and to proceed overland instead of assembling in the trench; this complicated the assembly of these two Companies very much, but the situation was admirably handled by Major Stanley. At 5.32 a.m. while the assembly across our whole front was in progress, heavy artillery fire was opened on our front and support lines and on ZOUAVE VALLEY by the Germans. It transpired that the Brigade on our right had commenced to get out over the parapet and form a line in front of our wire at 5.30 instead of waiting for our barrage which was to commence at 5.40 am; this was noticed by the Germans, who immediately sent up their “S.O.S.” with the foregoing result. This meant that the last 5 minutes of the assembly of our parties had to be completed under fire, and a number of casualties occurred before our men got out of our own trenches. On the righ casualties began to come into BLUE BULL

VOL VIII, Page IV

  • March 1st
73rd Battalion War Diary
73rd Battalion War Diary – page 4.

 

TUNNEL before much more than half of our attacking parties were out of the Tunnels. A few men were affected by gas on this front. Promptly at 5.40 AM our barrage opened up, and our attacking parties got over the parapet and went forward. On our extreme left our barrage was short, and some casualties were caused to our men by our own fire particularly among the party going out by way of Sap B6. A full account of the action of all attacking paties and the results obtained is attached hereto. Casualties soon began to come back to our lines, about 6.20 Lieut. Eadie reached Advanced Battalion Headquarters and about 6.50 Captain Patch also returned, both wounded slightly. Wounded came in steadily but it was a considerable time before it was possible to even approximately check up casualties. By 8 a.m. the situation had quieted down, except that several of our wounded accompanied by Lieut Hutchison were still out in shellholes beyond Sap B6. The artillery was called upon for a barrage on the German front line to enable these men to be got in, their fire however was short, and word was sent to have it stopped. During this fire Battalion Headquarters moved to the normal position in ZOUAVE VALEY and our own shells lit jut behind the personnel of Battalion Headquarters while moving down UHLAN C.T. It was for a time thought the Germans would counter attack, and this impression was increased by the fact that a German

VOL VIII Page V

  • March 1st
73rd-Battalion-War-Diary-5-1024x6561.jpg
73rd Battalion War Diary – page 5.

 

aeroplane made several flights along our line net over 100 yards in the air, evidently observing the number of men in our line and their movements; all precautions were taken to beat off a counter attack, and it did not develope. During the day there continued a certain amount of enemy artillery activity, which, however, did not do any particular harm. That night it was decided to keep the whole Battalion on the eastern side of ZOUAVE VALLEY in case of attack, and the men of the Support Companies were accomodated in tunnels and dugouts on the Wester slope of the Ridge. The night, however, passed quietly. Many individual cases of outstanding bravery were noted during the action, especially Sgt. Millar and Sgt Holmden. During the attack 22 prisoners were taken by this Battalion, 19 of them being taken by Sgt Hannaford and Pte McLachlan. Officers and men without exception fought magnificently. Casualties during the action were as follow :-

Lieuts H P MacGregor, J W Lester, D A Farnori and [P] G Hawkins, Missing
Lieut J W. Griffiths – Died of Wounds
Capt. B Simpson, Capt. H H Patch and Lieuts G H H Eadie and G S McLennan – Wounded
26 OR Killed, 99 OR Wounded 27 OR Missing Total Casualties 161.

As a result of the operation two Officers were recommended for the D.S.O. four Officers for the M.C.

VOL VIII Page VI

  • March 1st
73rd Battalion War Diary
73rd Battalion War Diary – page 6.

 

…four OR’s for the D.C.M. and twelve OR’s for the M.M.
Notice received from Brigade that Lieuts. H [S] MacGregor and J H Christie ahd been awarded the Military Cross for their work in connection with the previous raid.

  • March 2nd

During the night a number of parties were sent out into “NO MAN’S LAND” to bring in dead and wounded, and a number of bodies were recovered, these were all sent out and buried in VILLERS and BOIS Cemetery.
The day was fairly quiet, only the usual artillery and trench mortor activity. Large parties of men were employed carrying out empty gas cylinders, as well as those full ones which had not been let off on the 1st Mar. A great deal of work was also necessary, and was sone on those trenches which had been damaged by the enemy’s fire on the 1st. In the afternoon word was received that Hunt Griffiths had died of his wounds, and arrangements were made for representatives of the Battalion to attend his funeral on the 3rd.

  • March 3rd

The early hours of the morning passed fairly quietly, but at 3 am the enemy opened up a heavy artillery and trench mortar fire on our front and support lines, doiing considerable damage. Our artillery retaliation was both slow and ineffective. The German fire caused no casualties, one OR Killed and one OR Wounded by our own Artillery.

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More posts about WWI.

WWI War Stories
What We Don’t Hear About Vimy Ridge
UK National Archives treasures: WWI war diaries now online

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The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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WWI War Stories: Turmaine and Emery.

WWI War Stories: Turmaine and Emery.

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In honor of today’s ceremonies in honor of 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, and the second was another grand uncle, Pte. Joseph Turmaine – and here are their WWI war stories.

 

Pte. Joseph Philias Albert Emery
Pte Joseph Philias Albert Emery – just one of many WWI war stories.

PTE. JOSEPH PHILIAS ALBERT EMERY, the son of Albert Emery and Émilie Labelle was born in Saint-André Avellin, Ripon Township, Papineau County, Québec, Canada. At 5’6″, he had a fair complexion, brown hair and grey eyes and he was a papermaker at the time of his enlistment in the 77th Canadian Battalion, Governor General’s Foot Guards.

Having later been reassigned to the 73rd Battalion Canadian Infantry, Black Watch of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, he was engaged in the preparations for the advance on Vimy Ridge. He was reported missing on March 1, 1917, about a month prior to the capture of the ridge. His remains were never found and he was memorialized at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez in Pas de Calais, France.

Gas Attacks in March 1917 at Vimy Ridge - war stories
Of many WWI war stories, this one included deadly gas attacks in March 1917 at Vimy Ridge. Image of a gas cloud being released fromm canisters on the Western Front circ 1916.

During gas and artillery attacks planned for that day, the troops came under fire from the Germans.

An excerpt from the war diary of the 73rd Battalion dated March 1, 1917 reads, “Officers and men without exception fought magnificently. Casualties during the attack were as follows: 26 OR killed, 99 OR wounded, 27 OR missing.”

 

 

Preserved WWI tunnel at Vimy Ridge
Preserved WWI fighting tunnel at Vimy Ridge.

Pte. Emery was among those missing and was never recovered.

A very detailed and well-researched account entitled, “A Proper Slaughter: The March 1917 Gas Raid on Vimy Ridge”, written by Tim Cook contains some great photos and makes great reading.

Another account of the incident taken from the ‘ Canadian Battlefields ‘ website is as follows:

   “Thirty-nine days before the Canadians infamous and victorious attack on Vimy Ridge from April 9-12, 1917 there was a disastrous reconnaissance raid.   On March 1, 1917 at 3:00 am the gas sergeants took their positions to release the phosgene gas from the hundreds of gas canisters, referred to as “rats”, they had placed prior to the scheduled raid date. Every night they had lugged the heavy, poisonous gas canisters four miles to the front lines. They dug holes in the ground, nicknamed “rat traps” where the canisters were carefully placed and held in position with dirt and sandbags. A rubber hose connected to the canister would be maneuvered away from the trench, into No Man’s Land towards the enemy. The Canadians knew all too well what poisonous gas did to the human body from their experience at the Ypres Salient in 1915 when they were hit with gas for the first time.

    At 5:00 am the gas sergeants were to release the chlorine gas and 45-minutes later the 1,700 troops assigned to the raid were to go “over the top”. Of course things didn’t work out. For a gas attack, the velocity and direction of the wind is crucial. Secondly, gas is heavier then air. This meant that even if the gas sergeants managed to release the gas from the canisters and through the hose into No Man’s Land, the gas then had to travel up the hill to kill the Germans. (I shake my head at this, as I’m sure you are too). Gas is heavier than air, therefore it is logically impossible for it to flow up hill. Rather, they would find that the gas would settle in the pot-marked landscape and trenches, the very places our soldiers would seek protection from German fire. The idea was that the first gas release would kill most of the Germans. The second release, of chlorine gas, would surely finish off the Germans. 45-minutes after the chlorine gas release, a proposed sufficient amount of time for the gas to dissipate, our soldiers would walk in, finish off the few struggling Germans, collect the information they were sent for and then return. If I, a civilian, can see flaws in this plan, I cannot help but question, almost scream, “How did anyone ever let this plan go further than its first mentioning?!”

   The Germans realized a gas attack has been launched. They sounded the alarms, and released hell on No Man’s Land. A German artillery barrage and a steady pumping of rifle and machine gun fire rained down on the Canadians. The shells smashed into buried gas cylinders, causing our own trench to instantly fill with poison gas. With a tremendous rupture a wave of yellow gas plummeted from our trenches. The chlorine gas cylinders had been hit. “Making matters worse, the wind had changed direction. The release of the second wave of gas to supposedly finish off the German defenders began blowing back in the faces of the Canadian brigades.” (Barris, 2008: 13).
   In about 5 minutes we lost 190 men and two company commanders. It total, there were 687 casualties. Only 5 men actually reached the German trenches. Those that somehow managed to stay alive in No Man’s Land, were captured and spent around 21-months in a German prison camp
   On March 3 an extraordinary event took place. No Man’s Land had been eerily silent after the attack, but out of the mist a German officer carrying a Red Cross flag walked out into No Man’s Land in front of Hill 145. He called for and was met by a Canadian officer to discuss a two-hour truce ‘from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon’ during which time Canadian stretcher bearers and medical staff could carry back casualties and remains. What seemed even more remarkable [was] “the Germans said they would assist by bringing Canadian casualties halfway.”

 

PTE. JOSEPH TURMAINE, son of Herménégilde Turmaine and Virginia Perrault, was born in 1891 at Lac Mégantic, Québec, Canada. He was 5’7 1/2″ tall, had a dark complexion, blue eyes and very dark hair. He was a Private in the 27th Battalion Infantry, Winnipeg Regiment and took part in action against the Germans in Courcelette. He was reported ‘missing in action’ and was never recovered.

I have summarized the account of his Battalion’s war diary for the date he went missing below:

The 27th Battalion, Winnipeg Regiment left at 2 pm, September 14, 1916 for brigade headquarters, arriving at 5 pm. They then left brigade headquarters at 9 pm and proceeded to the front line to take up position in assembly trenches, which was delayed due to congestion of the trenches and was completed just after 4 am.

At 6:20 am, the artillery barrage opened 50 yards ahead of the German trench and the first wave started crawling over. As the barrage lifted, the Battalion advanced to the first German line and were met with heavy rifle and machine gun fire. As soon as the Canadian troops reached the trench, the Germans threw up their hands and surrendered. The Battalion followed up the barrage closely and met very little resistance at Sunken Road, the Germans surrendering in large numbers. By this time, the first wave was nearly wiped out and the second wave took their place. Owing to casualties, reinforcements were sent to hold the line at Sunken Road. The Germans attempted to advance but were driven back by Canadian fire. A large number also advanced and started sniping the Canadian front only to also be driven back by Canadian fire.

Two Canadian patrols pushed on toward Courcelette, but were forced to return to the line due to barrage fire. The German artillery fire was very intense for 48 hours on the front line.

A few troops dashed forward under cover of Canadian machine guns and captured a German Maxim. Approximately 22 Germans surrendered.

The Germans had thrown away the feed block of the captured gun but after considerable searching it was located and the gun was turned on German snipers, causing considerable damage. After the Battalion returned to the Brigade Reserve it was reported that there were 72 killed, 250 wounded and 72 missing (including Joseph Turmaine).

photo credit: Wikipedia.org

Sources for WWI War Stories: Turmaine and Emery:

  1. Cook, Tim (1999) ““A Proper Slaughter”: The March 1917 Gas Raid at Vimy Ridge,” Canadian Military History: Vol. 8: Iss. 2, Article 1. Available at: (http://scholars.wlu.ca/cmh/vol8/iss2/1).
  2. Books of Remembrance, Veterans Affairs Canada, (http://www.veterans.gc.ca/images/collections/books/bww1/ww1234.jpg).
  3. Pas de Calais, France, “XIV. F. 25.,” database, Commonwealth War Graves Commission (http://www.cwgc.org/search/cemetery_details.aspx?cemetery=64600&mode=1) . Attestation Papers – Archives of Canada, digital images.
  4. Certificate of Memorial; Private Joseph Phillias Albert Emery (SN: 144880), 73rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry; Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France.
  5. Casualty Form – Active Service; Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery.
  6. Form of Will; Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery.
  7. Medals, Decorations, Promotions and Transfers Record; Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery.
  8. War Service Gratuity Form; Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery.
  9. Provencher, Gérard and Blue Jeans, George, Pontbriand, B.; ” Marriages of Outaouais (Theft. I-II) 1815-1970 “, *86-87, Québec, 1971, S.G.C.F. * S.G.L. (Directory); French Title: Mariages de l’Outaouais (Vol. I-II) 1815-1970.
  10. Canadian Battlefields; Vimy Ridge: Before the Gas at Hill 145 (website: http://www.canadianbattlefields.ca/?cat=32)
  11. Les Labelles, Daniel Labelle online (www.leslabelle.org), accessed.1901 Canadian Census – St. André Avelin, Labelle District, Québec; Émerie Family: Charles, Émelie, Alice, Albert, Clarinda, Émeralda, Rose A. (Amande).
  12. Wikipedia.org
  13. Personal knowledge and interviews with family.



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Transcription: Attestation papers of Pte. J. P. Albert Emery, C.E.F.

Transcription: Attestation papers of Pte. J. P. Albert Emery, C.E.F.

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 Following is my transcription of the form or the Attestation Papers of Pte. J. P. Albert Emery, Canadian Expeditionary Forces, WWI.

 

Attestation Papers - Pt. J. P. Albert Emery.
Attestation Papers for Pte. J. P. Albert Emery.

ATTESTATION PAPERS OF J.P. ALBERT EMERY

FRONT

Stamp in upper left corner:  Triplicate
Stamp in upper right corner:  Triplicate

G.G.E.G.
militia unit (handwritten under heading)
No. 144880
Folio. 26

CANADIAN OVER-SEAS EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
77TH, OVERSEAS BATTALION, C.E.F.

—————–

QUESTIONS TO BE PUT BEFORE ATTESTATION.
(ANSWERS)

  1. What is your name?                J.P.Albert Emery
  2. In what Town, Townhip or Parish, and in what Country were you born?            St.Andre Avelin, P.Q.
  3. What is the name of your next-of-kin?        Emelie Emery (mother)
  4. What is the address of your next-of-kin?    9 Caron Ave., Wrightsville, Hull, Queb
  5. What is the date of your birth?            23 January, 1895.
  6. What is your Trade or Calling?            Paper-maker
  7. Are you married?                No
  8. Are you willing to be vaccinated or re-vaccinated?                    Yes
  9. Do you now belong to the Active Militia?    Yes
  10. Have you ever served in any Militia Force?    G.G.F.G.
    • If so, state particulars of former Service.
  11. Do you understand the nature and terms of your engagement?    Yes
  12. Are you willing to be attested to serve in the CANADIAN OVER-SEAS EXPEDITIONARY FORCE?    Yes

Albert Emery (Signature of Man).
A.H. Thoburn, Capt (Signature of Witness)

——————–

DECLARATION TO BE MADE BY MAN ON ATTESTATION.

I, Albert Emery, do solemnly declare that the above answers made by me to the above questions are true, and that I am willing to fulfil the engagements by me now made, and I hereby engage and agree to serve in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force, and to be attached to any arm of the service therein, for the term of one year, or during the war now existing between Great Britain and Germany should that war last longer than one year, and for six months after the termination of that war provided His Majesty should so long require my services, or until legally discharged.

Albert Emery (Signature of Recruit)
Date:  Ottawa, Aug. 20th., 1915;       A.H. Thoburn, Capt (Signature of Witness)

———————-

OATH TO BE TAKEN BY MAN ON ATTESTATION.

I, Albert Emery, do make Oath, that I will be faithful and bear true Allegiance to His Majesty King George the Fifth, His Heirs and Successors, and that I will as in duty bound honestly and faithfully defend His Majesty, is Heirs and Successors, in Person, Crown and Dignity, against all enemies, and will observe and obey all orders of His Majesty, His Heirs and Successors, and of all the Generals and Officers set over me. So help me God.

Albert Emery (Signature of Recruit)
Date:  Ottawa, Aug. 20th., 1915;       A.H. Thoburn, Capt (Signature of Witness)

———————-

CERTIFICATE OF MAGISTRATE.

The Recruit above-named was cautioned by me that if he made any false answer to any of the above questions he would be liable to be punished as provided in the Army Act.
The above questions were then read to the Recruit in my presence.

I have taken care that he understands each question, and that his answer to each question has been duly entered as replied to, and the said Recruit has made and signed the declaration and taken the oath before me, at Ottawa Ontario this 20th. day of August 1915.

Hickland (Signature of Justice)
Date:  Ottawa, Aug. 20th., 1915;       A.H. Thoburn, Capt (Signature of Witness)

———————-
I certify that the above is a true copy of the Attestation of the above-named Recruit.

D.R. Street (Approving Officer)
Lieut. Col.
O. C. 77th Overseas Battalion, C. E. F.
Date:  Ottawa, Aug. 20th., 1915;       A.H. Thoburn, Capt (Signature of Witness)

———————-

Fine print in lower left corner of form:
M. F. W. 23.
200 M.–5-15.

BACK

Descripton of ALBERT EMERY. on Enlistment.

Left column:

Apparent Age            20 years    10 months.
(To be determined according to the instructions given in the Regulations for Army Medical Services.)
Height                           5’6″
Chest Measurement:
Girth when fully expanded    34 1/2 ins.
Range of expansion                   3 1/2 ins.
Complexion                Fair
Eyes                               Grey
Hair                                L.Brown
Religious Denominations:
Church of England
Presbyterian
Wesleyan
Baptist or Congregationalist
Other Protestants (Denomination to be stated.)
Roman Catholic                           X
Jewish

Right Column:

Distinctive marks, and marks indicating congenital peculiarities or previous disease.
Should the Medical Officer be of opinion that the recruit has served before, he will, unless the man acknowledgs to any previous services, attach a slip to that effect, for the information of the Approving Officer.)
None

———————-

CERTIFICATE OF MEDICAL EXAMINATION

I have examined the above-named Recruit and find that he does not present any of the causes of rejection specified in the Regulations for Army Medical Services.
He can see at the required distance with either eye ; his heart and lungs are healthy ; he has the free use of his joints and limbs, and he declares that he is not subject to fits of any description.

I consider him* Fit for the Canadian Over-Sears Expeditionary Force.

Date    August 20th., 195 .    [?]askey
Place    Ottawa, Ont.        Maj. [Awg], Medical Officer
*Insert here “fit” or “unfit.”

Norm – Should the Medical Officer consider the Recruit unfit, he will fill in the foregoing Certificate only in the case of those who have been attested, and will briefly state below the cause of unfitness:–
[Blank lines]

CERTIFICATE OF OFFICE COMMANDING UNIT.

A. Emery, having been finally approved and inspected by me this day, and his Name, Age, Date of Attestation, and every prescribed particular having been recorded, I certify that I am satisfied with the correctness of this Attestation.

D.R. Street (Signature of Officer)
O. C. 77th Overseas Battalion, C. E. F.
Date    March 28    1916

_____________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

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War Diary of September 15-16, 1916 at Courcelette for Pte. Joseph Turmaine

War Diary of September 15-16, 1916 at Courcelette for Pte. Joseph Turmaine

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War Diary of September 15-16, 1916 at Courcelette for Pte. Joseph Turmaine.

 

Report on the Operation by 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion, on the morning of September 15th 1916.

____________

28

Reference Sheets COURCELETTE and LE MOUQUET 1/5,000.

__________________________________________________

Turmaine, Joseph - War Diary - September 15, 1916 - 1
Turmaine, Joseph – War Diary – September 15, 1916 – pg 1.

The Battalion left the BRICKFIELDS at 2.00p.m. on 14th Sept. and proceeded to Brigade Headquarters at X.ii.a.2.2. arriving there at 5.00p.m. Two platoons of D Coy. relieved the right Company of the 29th Battn. in front line by 6.30.p.m. The Battn. left Brigade H.Q. at 9.00p.m. and proceeded to the front line to take up position in Assembly Trenches. Owing to congestion of trenches this was not completed till 4.25a.m. The Battn. frontage extended from R.35.c.2.9 1/2 to R.35.c.6.5. Battn.H.Q. were located at R.35.c.4.3. At 6.20a.m. the artillery barrage opened, 50 yards in advance of German trench and the first wave commenced crawling over. As the barrage lifted the Battn. advanced on to the  first German Line and reached the trench, the Germans threw up their hands and surrendered. At least 70 dead Germans were counted in this trench This objective was reported to Battn.H.Q. as being taken at 6.27a.m. The Battn. followed up the barrage closely andmet very little opposition at SUNKEN ROAD, Germans surrendering in large numbers. By this time the first wave was nearly wiped out and the second wave took its place. A Company then swung to the left and captured its last objective with one Corpl. and 15 O.R. C and D Coys. reached their objectives and immediately commenced to dig in. This was reported to Battn. H.Q. at 7.40a.m. The line held ran from R.35.b.5. ? 1/2 on SUNKEN ROAD, through R.30.c.0.2. to R.30.c.5.2. Garrison holding this line consisted of 120 all ranks and 4 Lewis Guns located in advance posts at R.30.c.0.2 – 1.2. – 3.2. – 5.3. Owing to casualties the following reinforcements were sent up from B Coy.: – 1 platton to A Coy. on the left and 2 platoons to D Coy. on the right. 4 Officers only were left. Lieuts. McElligott, Holdsworth, Hamilton and Terndrup. Lieut Holdsworth showed great courage and devotion to duty until killed by an enemy sniper. Lieut. Hamilton n the left flank carried on under most trying conditions even after being buried by shells. He was eventually severely wounded on the afternoon of the 16th inst. Enemy attempted to advance up SUNKEN ROAD but were driven off by our Lewis Gun fire. A large number also advanced into a field South West of COURCELETTE and commenced sniping our frontage from this flank. Our Colt and Lewis Guns dealt with the satisfactorily. Two patrols of 1 Lewis gun and 30 men each from the 31st Battn. pushed on towards COURCELETTE but were forced to return to our line owing to the barrage fire. At 11.25p.m. 15th Sept. Lieut. McElligott took command of the whole of our frontage of 3 Coys. and showed great courage and ability in the organizing and consolidation work. The enemy artillery fire was very intense for 48 hours on our front line.
Colt Machine Guns.
Colt machine guns followed behind the third wave and took up positions as follows :-
No. 1 gun at R.30.c.5.1.
No. 2 gun at protecting gap at R.29.d.10.? 1.2.
No. 3 gun at R.35.b.6.7. This gun did excellent work on small parties of Huns who persisted in creeping up towards our new front line.
No. 4 gun was located on a knoll in rear of SUNKEN ROAD and covered our left frontage. When No. 2 gun had established themselves Sergt. F.W.Haines pointed out a German machine gun and crew with a number of snipers dug in in a shell hole 200 yards away. Pte. Stewart opened up with a belt knocking out a number of the party. Sgt.Haines, Corpl. Hancock and Pte.Stewart dashed forward under cover of our machine guns and captured a new model German Maxim. Germans to the number of 6 Officers and 16O.R. surrendered. Sergt.Haines, waving his revolver, motioned them to evacuate in pairs. They filed out and were marched to the  Field Ambulance party near by where they were used as stretcher bearers. The enemy hadthrown away the feed block of the captured gun but after considerable careful searching this was located in a shell hole. The gun was then mounted and turned on enemy snipers, causing considerable casualties.

2.

29

Turmaine, Joseph - War Diary - September 15, 1916 - 2
Turmaine, Joseph – War Diary – September 15, 1916 – pg. 2.

Communication. Our Signallers advanced behind the fourth wave and ran three separate lines to the final objective. These were joined up laterally in the front line, SUNKEN ROAD and the German front line. Communication, however, could not be kept as all the wires were broken by shell fire.
Battalion Scouts were utilized in the following manner :-
Two Scouts each to the following tasks :-
1. The taking of the German front line.
2. The taking of SUNKEN ROAD.
3. The taking of the left Coy.objective.
4. The taking and sonsolidation of the final objective by all Coys. All these Scouts reported successfully yo Battn.H.Q. on the completion of their observation.
Runners were employed continuously and although 75 per cent became casualties, a good number of messages were got through.
Visual Signalling was attempted with flags and flappers but this drew the enemy’s fire and could not be carried on.
Carrying Parties. During the first 24 hours, owing to the intense barrage it was only possible to get through very limited supplies. Coys. and Sections were instructed to collect water, ammunition, bombs and rations from the dead. Our stretcher bearers worked unceasingly carrying out the wounded. The following day, 16th Sept., 7 parties were organized and succeeded in getting through to the front line with tea, mulligan, rations, water, ammunition and bombs. These parties, under Lieut.Coombes and Reg.Sgt.-Mjr.Underwood also succeededin evacuating the wounded, burying the dead and cleared up the battle field. A salvage dump was established at SUNKEN ROAD. A good supply dump was also established in the old German front line. Great credit is due to Reg.S.M. Underwood for the success of this work.
The Battn. evacuated the trenches at 2.00a.m. 17th Sept. 1916 and proceeded to Brigade Reserve (5th Cdn.Inf.Bde.) at X.ii.a.2.2.
Our casualties amounted to Killed 5 officers,   67   O.R. –
Wounded 7  do. 243   do.
Missing     1  do.   71   do.
Total All Ranks 394.
At 8.00p.m. 17th Sept. 1916 the Battn. was relieved by the 1st Cdn.Battn. and proceeded to bivouacs at the BRICKFIELDS near ALBERT.
Prisoners captured by the Battalion amounted to 200.

[Signature of Officer Here]
Lieut. Col.
Commanding 27th (C.of W.)Battn.
6th Inf.Bde., 2nd Canadian Div.

19.9.16

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.



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Unknown Soldiers: DNA technology makes it possible for their remains to be identified.

Unknown Soldiers: DNA technology makes it possible for their remains to be identified.

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Albert-Joseph-Philias-Emery-237x3001.jpg

Unknown soldiers can be identified!

More than 83,000 US service members lost since the start of WWII are still missing, according to a representative of the Department of Defence. Several lie in forgotten graves on the battlefield and below memorials offering no clue to their identities.

New techniques in DNA technology may mean we have seen the last burial of an unknown soldier. In offices and laboratories across the country and archaeological sites scattered across continents, groups of investigators and scientists comb the remains of the past for lost defenders.

In the US, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and also the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), based in Arlington, Virginia keep case files on each missing sailor, soldier, Marine and airman.

Researchers at JPAC and DPMO establish possible sites of remains. A team of archaelogists visited North Korea in 2004 and located skeletal remains of thirty individuals tossed haphazardly into a mass grave close to Chosin Reservoir. They shipped the bones to JPAC in Honolulu, where the bones were used to find gender, age, ancestry, and distinguishing marks. The process can take anywhere from two weeks to one year, depending on the existing backlog. Frustratingly, the original sample may not be enough and in that case, they must restart from the beginning.

For the remains whose DNA is successfully processed, the researchers will try and match them with DNA samples taken from thousands of possible family members.

Two of my great uncles, Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery and Private Joseph Turmaine, were reported missing in action in WWI and I would be thrilled to have their remains recovered.


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Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions to 30 Apr 2015.

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions to 30 Apr 2015.

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Following are the recent Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions to 30 Apr 2015.

 

FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions.

 

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Ancestry.com Updates and Additions.

 

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photo credit: Vogan via photopin (license)


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Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions to 23 Mar 2015.

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions to 23 Mar 2015.

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Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions to 23 Mar 2015.

 

FamilySearch.org Updates

 

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Recently Added and Updated Collections on FamilySearch.org and <a href=
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Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions to 10 Feb 2015

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions to 10 Feb 2015

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Following are the most recent Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions to 10 Feb 2015.

 

<a href=
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FamilySearch.org Updates and Additions

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Ancestry.com