Remember Me

Remember Me

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Vimy Oak Rings and Pins

This year, April 9th, 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

My post today is a different sort of post, however it comes directly from my passion for my Charley Bailey project.

Charley Bailey lost at least one close friend (Jim Ross) at the battle of Vimy Ridge.

Vimy is considered a defining moment in Canadian history. 
My research of these war years and Charley's life, led me to discover a Canadian project connected with the 100th anniversary of Vimy that fell perfectly in line with the work we do for a living. 

My husband David and I have been offering meticulously hand crafted, bespoke wooden rings for almost 15 years. David is the pioneer of the steam bent wood ring. Touch Wood Rings is our primary website.
In the course of my WW1 research I came across the story of the Vimy Oaks repatriation project.  

David has made hundreds of beautiful Oak wood rings over the years for our Touch Wood Ring clients. We felt it would be an honour and a privilege to offer folks a ring made of this precious Vimy Oak wood. I contacted Jeremy Diamond at the Vimy Foundation who put me in touch with Monty McDonald and the rest, as they say, is history. Learn more about the Vimy Oaks Repatriation Project here.

Vimy Oak, thanks to Monty McDonald and the late Lt. Leslie Miller, is being offered as a Limited Edition Touch Wood Ring commemorating the centenary of Vimy Ridge and the repatriation of Canada's Vimy Oak trees in France.  VIMY OAK RINGS

This is the tie clip and cuff link set David created for Monty McDonald as a thank you for providing us with branches from the Vimy Oak trees in Ontario.

 The first Vimy Oak Ring created for Monty McDonald's daughter; Heather.
It is a tapered Vimy Oak ring with a featured knot, lined with Canadian Maple.

Our Vimy Oak Branches

If you are interested in commissioning a Vimy Oak Ring or Pin, please drop us an email and visit Vimy Oak Rings

Some background on the Battle of Vimy Ridge 
BY PAUL REED Military Historian & author who works in Television: visiting & interpreting battlefields all over the world.
"The Battle of Vimy Ridge, part of the northern operations of the Battle of Arras, which took place 95 years ago today, was one of the defining moments for Canada in the Great War. Up against formidable objective, all four Canadian Divisions – men from every part of Canada – took the ridge in five days at the cost of just over 10,000 Canadian casualties. Together with success in the British sectors at Arras, the sort of advance experienced on 9th April 1917 had hitherto only rarely been experienced and reflected the change in approach to battle not only in the Canadian Corps but in the British Army on the Western Front as a whole.

For a post-war Canada coming to terms with the lost of more than 66,000 Canadian soldiers in the Great War the fighting at Vimy took on a symbolism hard for others to understand; many felt that it was almost as if Canada as a Nation had come together on the slopes of Vimy Ridge. The French government gave the battlefield to Canada who turned it into a memorial park which today is one of the most visited sites on the Western Front battlefields, and one of the largest areas of preserved WW1 battlefield.

Today’s photograph is an official photograph but taken from a special album of photographs published during the war as part of an exhibition of Canadian war photographs. The photographs were printed in landscape format in quite large scale direct from glass negatives, so the quality is very high. This dramatic image shows Canadian troops going into action 99 years ago on 9th April 1917 – they are men from the 29th Battalion Canadian Infantry who were operating on the southern end of the Vimy front."  PAUL REED

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 15, 1917 Letter #55, Folks running La Claire Hotel in Winnipeg

(March 15th, 1916)
Granville Can Host

Dear Mother
          Just received your letter this afternoon it being the first for over a month and I am sure glad to hear that the La Claire is a paying business as I had a kind of a doubt about it at first but seeing that the kid is back at school again and you are making money again and that Dad has a chance to get clear on the Banana Land it sure made me feel good and I only hope to the lord things keep on that way.  

Marmaduke Thomas Lorenzo Lloyd Proprietor La Claire Hotel

By your letter you seem to think I was just about dead well I am all O.K. and don’t worry if anything serious ever happens I won't hesitate in letting you know.
          I guess the Richmond’s are having a big time over their Grand Children I can just see old Ireland sitting quiet and laughing to himself. I sometimes wish that I could see him for a few minutes and jolly him about being a daddie.
          Yes old ‘Ross your fired’ is dead. I had a letter from him the night before he went into action wanting me to tell him what date I could get off so that he could get his leave and we would have a few days in London together. A lot of the old boys that I know quite well have gone south too.  It just makes me feel as if I want to go over there again.  It is the general belief around here that things will come to a big scrap this spring and then finish ~ but~
          Don’t be foolish about your letters being returned the same way as the one you wrote to Ross.  You always look on the blue side of things.  If I am to be boled over it is me that’s going to get it and I am darned sure I am not worrying so don’t be ridiculous I didn’t join the army to become ground fertilizer.  No chance I am not made that way. 
          I don’t understand why Mable is down for an operation and is working at the same time however it's none of my business so the less said the better.  Things here are as usual I am still in the operating room and daily sawing off legs, arms etc.  It sure is a great experience for me, I like it but most of the fellows can't stand it at all but it sure is interesting holding a leg or some limb while the doctor is taking it off.
          Well Mother I am going to close now and tell Dad that I am going to send along that letter that I promised him about six months ago.  Remember me to Dad and V-V also tell Ireland that I will wager two to one that it is a girl.

Friday, February 10, 2017

February 10th, 1917 Letter #54 "Getting into air raids"

FEB 10th, 1917
Granville Can Host
Ramsgate Kent

Dear Mother
            Just a line to say that I received the parcel and about 20 letters this am and say that pipe is sure a dandy looks funny to see a 20 cent a day soldier sporting a regular pipe and the fellows all kid me about it they all say I must have some wealthy widow in this country.
          We all had a medical board not long ago and the majority of us are all marked fit for service again in France.  Personally I don’t care I have been around the country for over 16 months and other poor devils have had to back long ago so if the order comes for us to go back I guess I can go and not kick either.  Say Mother I an going to write to aunt Rachie today and find out what they are talking about I never heard a word about any money I think they are trying to fool the foolish.  However if by good fortune there is such a thing as any money coming to me I am the very gink that can do with it.  More than surprised to hear of you being in the hotel again but I think it is a great deal more suitable for yourself and Dad than trying to cure horses and cows of the mange by the way did you ever get those animals cured I think the best way to cure them would have been to fix the whole lot like I fixed the dog. 
          All England is just crazy over this new war loan and it sure has been one great success.  Just imagine 3500,000,000 dollars by the people alone without the aid of the banks or anything just simply new money and they think that this loan will be the cause of bringing the war to a successful end.
          This hospital is right on the sea front directly opposite to one of the closest points of France and we are continually getting into air raids, night before last the alarm came and everybody had to stand at his post from two o’clock in the morning till seven, the guns on the battleships in the harbour were blazing away to beat the dickens just reminded me of being back in France again.  It sure is funny to see some people when they really are in danger all excited and running around like fools.  I just sat down and say to myself, well if they hit me it will either be in heaven or the other place that I am transferred to and I am getting pretty used to changes of address.
          I see by your last letter that you still address them to a {...} well I am a full grown soldier again so please forget the {...}
Remember me to Dad and VV and write soon.
Love Chas

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 31st, 1917 Letter #53 'Rumours of being wounded'

January 31, 1917
Granville Can Host

Dear Mother
          Say when are you going to write by Gosh I have not had any word from you for a month of Sundays.  What do you know about me being wounded in the naval raid, my friend in Buxton heard from London that I had been wounded and admitted to Oxford Hospital and was in the surgical ward, they were telephoning all over the country trying to find out what happened to me and all the while I was here with absolutely nothing the matter. 
Had some Murad from Canada today and believe me they are sure going fine.  Say Mother I am back on regular pay once more and take it from me “never again will I take leave without permission” That was a lesson I never again will forget.  Just wait till I tell you of some of the experiences I had financing myself but I managed to get along all right and generally had a shilling or two.  Just eleven months and two weeks on twenty cents a day.  Not much is it?
Gee the weather here is simply grand Mother it would do you good just to live by the sea such glorious weather as this.  Tell that big sister of mine she will have to come again on her French as I lived in France for nearly a year and can read it very fair.
Say mother for goodness sake don’t get mixed up with any of the family affairs of the married nieces of yours let them fight out their quarrels themselves and for Buds Mother well she is not so bad after all.
Well Mother I am going to bed now.  Tell Dad I am going to write him tomorrow without fail.  Remember me to VV and Dad with love

Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 29, 1917 Letter #52 'In the Operating Room'

Postmark Jan 29th 1917

Granville Can Hosp

Dear Mother

I have not received a word from any of you since the latter part of November. I guess there will be all your back mail arrive some of these days as you see I have been on the move constantly since leaving Buxton.

I am in the Operating room here and believe me it sure is some experience. I like it fine. The last few days have not been just as pleasant as possible as I have been getting five teeth filled and you know how nice that is but the way I look at it is that I may just as well have my mouth fixed up at the government expense as to wait till after the war and have forty or fifty dollars to pay for a dentists bill.

Dental office, Granville Canadian Special Hospital, 
Ramsgate Kent (Flicker Photo)

Granville Cdn Hospital  ukoldpostcards
This place around here is simply fine it is a big summer resort and right on the sea front, the Hospital was a big hotel and would accommodate 300 guests so it is no small concern.

I came very nearly going back to France previous to coming here. I got absolutely fed up with that Shorncliff and had made up my mind to get out and just by luck they sent me here you know I am getting to be a regular rambler can’t settle down for any length of time in no one place. Well Mother there is absolutely nothing to say only be sure and put my number on any mail you send as there are other Bailys here remember me to Dad and VV an write soon as I may never get the mail that has not been forwarded.

Love Chas


Postscript from Nicola; Charley's biographer.  While Charley is working in a WW1 operating room in 1917, I had an operation early in 2017 at our excellent local hospital here in Williams Lake, BC Canada. Hence my delay with posting Charley's latest letters.  I am happy to report that my surgery was a success however the recovery has slowed me down a little.  Thanks for your patience with these latest posts.  I just know Charley would understand.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

December 18, 1916 Letter #51 "The Joke's on Me"

C.A.M.C Training School
Dibgate Camp
Shorncliff England

Envelope Dec 18th, 1916

Dear Mother

I am just awaiting orders to transfer to a medical depot to dispense and expect to leave here in the course of the next day or so it will be a decent climate but I cant say if it will be as good a job as I left but a fellow can always transfer back here if he does not like it. If I keep on transferring from one place to another I will get a name of being a kind of a wandering Jew but by gosh I am going to keep on moving till I get a place that I like and then I will stay there till duration of the war.

Things in general are just as usual; drafts are coming in and going out every day some to France and others to various Hospitals etc. in England. Some of the fellows that are just coming over from Canada are not getting any leave here at all but are rushed right over to France so I guess by Spring there will be one awful host of men across the channel and the big event is expected.

Now that Lloyd George has the prime ministers job the English people expect something great to take place in the Spring or as soon as the weather over there is permissible.

You remember that last letter I wrote you about having one more week to put in on twenty cents a day. Well I loused it that very afternoon I was doing (piquet) duty on a hut that was Quarantined for measles. Some of the boys I knew very well and of course when they asked me if they could run up to the corner and get some eatables I said “Yes”. They were seen by one of our Officers and I got five days confined to Barracks the result being “Bang went my twenty cents a day for another 6 months.

Gee the fellows are sticking there heads in the door about every three or four minutes laughing and kidding me about it. It sure is some joke but sorry to say the joke is on me that’s what I don’t like about it. It simply means that I wont be able to afford a day or so pass for six months however it sure is a great way to save money but most inconvenient.

A couple of the boys that I chum around with here are going out to a hospital as orderlies. They were just told they had to go a few minutes ago Gee they are running around here swearing like the devil, mad as wet hens, you see if you are not an x-ray man, a dispenser or something like that they shift you out of here to any old place but if you are connected with either of those lines they try to place you as such as there is such a big demand for us fellows.
Well Mother remember me to Dad and V-V and write to the above address.
Love Chas
PS: I will let you know my new address the very first day I get there. Chas.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

December 11, 1916 Letter #50 from Shorncliff, England

C.A.M.C Training School
Dibgate Camp
Shorncliff England

Dec 11th 1916

Dear Mother
Just received your letter this a.m. and needless to say I was delighted to hear from you.  You were asking me about this money too, well I have had several letters from different people in Winnipeg all congratulating me on my good fortune but funny to say I have heard nothing about it from anybody who seems to know where it is coming from and when I get it.  Personally I think they are trying to kid me.
          As you see by the above address I at last made the move and am certainly glad to get away from there.  I think if I had the choice between there and the pole I would take the North Pole.  As yet you have not sent me V-V’s address and I can’t write her till I know where she lives.
This camp is situated not far from where I was stationed when I came back from Canada.  It is a great deal nicer climate and it certainly is not so cold and wet.  They tell me that Jim Ross was killed the other day, just imagine the last letter he wrote me he was trying to arrange to meet me in London when he came over on leave. 
          You said dad was figuring on joining the army when he gets here they won’t let him to France as forty three is the age limit and they are returning a bunch from here that are older than that.  As yet I cannot say where or when I am leaving here but I guess it will be in the near future.
So Richmond’s wife only stopped a few days, maybe if it was just in time to get married you know there is something strange between those two and long long while ago I formed my own conclusions on very good authority but it's none of our business and we should worry and they tell me that Ireland is the Candi Kid now.  Well if words could kill a man Ireland would have been dead long ago.  What do you think.
Did I tell you that I got mad one day and took the afternoon off so they put me on twenty cents a day for three months and it is up in about one week.  Gee just imagine me living on twenty cents a day never the less I did and made out all right.  You see after three months good conduct they release you.  So just one more week.  Mother this sure has been one great old experience and one that will be remembered to the end of my days.
Well Mother remember me to V-V and Dad and write when you can.

Charley's friend, Jim ( James Ross ) is the family friend Charley's been looking forward to visiting with. Jim had been employed by Charley's mom and dad when they owned hotels back in Saskatchewan before the war. Like Charley, Jim signed up in 1914 and was serving as a Sergeant with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles, Saskatchewan Regiment.

I'm sorry we don't know more about Jim Ross. I have no photograph of him. It would be wonderful to connect with any of his descendants. Jim was killed in action at Thiepval Ridge on September 28th 1916 and is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.

Bill Barry and the Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial Project Inc share an online tribute "In memory of Sergeant James Ross " 

The Vimy Memorial in France remembers those Canadians who lost their lives and have no known graves. Inscription – Jim's name as it is inscribed on the Vimy Memorial. Over 11,000 fallen Canadians having no known place of burial in France, are honoured on this Memorial. May they never be forgotten.