Stearne Tighe Edwards

THE TRAGEDY OF WAR: A CANADIAN WAR HERO BURIED IN TADCASTER

By Dr. Greg Lodge, Yorkshire, UK

The following story of Captain Stearne Tighe Edwards was written by Dr. Greg Lodge, Yorkshire, UK., who contacted the library in Carleton Place a couple of weeks ago looking for more information, and especially a picture of the plaque dedicated to Stearne, which hangs in St. James Anglican Church.  Dr. Lodge had just visited Stearne’s grave in Tadcaster, Yorkshire, and is busy trying to write up biographies of the WWI Canadian soldiers buried there.  He very much hopes to contact anyone who may have more information about Stearne, and may be reached at:  greglodge68@hotmail.com.  I did manage to take a picture of the plaque, and have included it in this article, but hope someone may have a better picture that can be sent to Dr. Lodge.  Some of the details of Captain Edwards’ life are from Larry Gray’s book, ‘We Are The Dead”, which he has used with Larry’s permission.

 

“The various war memorials in and around Tadcaster bear witness to the courage of those who stepped forward to enlist when war threatened. Look at the stories of those commemorated and it is clear that people of Tadcaster and villages did not hesitate – but the war heroes commemorated in Tadcaster came from much further afield. In the town cemetery there is a memorial to Captain Stearne Tighe Edwards – a Canadian air ace who came from Ontario to answer the empire’s call and who is laid to rest here.

Fig 1: Captain Stearne Tighe Edwards

Edwards, Stearne Tighe

Edwards, Stearne Tighe

 

 

 

Captain Edwards was born in Franktown, Ontario, Canada in 1893. As a youth, he was self-reliant and quite serious for his age. He regularly attended church services with his family and was an outstanding athlete at school. He graduated with honours from high school in 1912 and became a civil engineer.

 

At the start of the Great War Stearne Edwards was working at Port Nelson, Hudson Bay from where he supposedly walked 200 miles to a railway station to get a train bound for home to enlist for military service at the age of 21. He tried to enlist with the Royal Naval Air Service in Carleton Place, Ontario, in 1914, but the RNAS only accepted men who held a private pilot’s licence. His “RNAS Application from Civilian” on August 10, 1915, listed him as age 22, 5’11” tall and weighing 163 pounds. As the Curtiss School in Toronto, Ontario was full, he was accepted into the Wright Aviation School at Dayton, Ohio, USA in August, 1915.  He obtained his licence – Aero Club of America Certificate Number 350 on 13 October, 1915.

 

Though technically part of the Navy the RNAS was engaged in both fighter and bomber operations on the Western Front.Captain Edwards did both. Hetrained in Chingford and focused on the airborne art of bomb-dropping. He was very soon flying the new Sopwith One-and-a-Half Strutter with 5 Wing. The first operational flight entry in Stearne’s logbook is dated September 1, 1916. On October 12, he was part of a flight of sixty-one French and British aircraft from Luxieul and nearby fields which attacked the Mauser small arms factory at Oberndorf.In March 1917, he was posted to 11 Squadron (RNAS) to begin a new activity – as a fighter pilot. He trained on Nieuport Babys and then was posted to Naval 6 Squadron and then 9 (Naval) Squadron near Bray Dunnes in 1917 where he flew with his great friend F/Sub-Lt. Arthur Roy Brown.

 

Captain Edwards’ flying was now primarily “offensive patrols,” airborne almost every day and sometimes going on two or three patrols a day. He flew eighty-five flights and nearly 160 hours during the last half of 1917. In August 1917, he was appointed as a flight commander of 209 Squadron. That year his service was recognised with the award of the

 

Distinguished Service Cross in 1917. The citation in the Supplement to the London Gazette, dated 2 November 1917 noted the award, “in recognition of his services on the following occasions: – On the 3rd September, 1917, with his flight he attacked a two-seater Aviatik. The enemy machine was observed to go down in a vertical nose dive, and the enemy observer was seen to collapse in the cockpit. On the 21st September, 1917, he drove a two-seater enemy machine down out of control. On the 23rd September, 1917, he attacked an Albatross scout, which crashed into the sea. On the same date he attacked three Albatross scouts. One got on the tail of another officer’s machine at very close range, shooting him up very badly. Flt. Cdr. Edwards attacked him from above, and the enemy machine turned on its back and went down in a vertical dive. He followed the enemy machine down to 8,000 feet, when its wings came off, and it fell to the ground.”

The following year Captain Edwards was awarded a bar to the DSC. As the Supplement to the London Gazette, dated 21 June 1918 noted, it was “for conspicuous bravery and most brilliant leadership of fighting patrols against enemy aircraft. On 2 May 1918, whilst leading a patrol of four scouts, he encountered a hostile formation of eight enemy scouts and drove down one enemy machine completely out of control. Soon afterwards, he engaged another formation of six enemy scouts, driving down one to its destruction whilst his patrol accounted for another. He only broke off the fight owing to lack of ammunition. He has destroyed or driven down out of control many enemy machines since he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, and has at all times shown the greatest gallantry and a fine offensive spirit.”

It must be said that Captain Edwards took little joy in his victories. Heregarded it as a job to be done and had a real horror of killing, even his so-called enemies. In his prayer book he once wrote a prayer asking forgiveness for taking the life an enemy, and for the safe return of himself and his men. For him, Christianity was a vital thing. His last commanding officer said of him that ‘he never judged a man by what he heard about him….he always took the part of the weak.’ Stearne Edwards had another claim to fame also. His best friend and fellow Canadian ace Arthur Roy Brown. Brown was so badly injured in a crash – the engine block of his plane smashed into his face in the crash – that he was placed in a temporary morgue to await burial. Edwards went to say goodbye but detected signs of life. Medics said he couldn’t be saved but Edwards wasn’t giving up on his friend and commandeered a motorcycle to get a civilian doctor from a nearby town. Brown survived and for many years was credited with making the most notorious “kill” of the war in shooting down the Red Baron – Count Manfred Von Richtofen. Edwards apparently acquired a piece of the Red Baron’s airplane which he sent home.

It is almost impossible for us to appreciate the courage and commitment of these early young fliers. They were virtually making up the rules and pushing themselves and their machines to, and often beyond, endurance. War took its toll on Captain Edwards. On 30 January 1918 he became a flight commander but totally exhausted he eventually suffered a nervous breakdown in May 1918, which was directly attributed to his war service, and was hospitalized. He was recommended on May 24, 1918, by his squadron commander, for promotion to the rank of major. The justification was his exceptional performance in action against the enemy in the air. But his illness, and the bureaucratic slowness of the Air Ministry, precluded the implementation of the promotion.Following his recovery he became a flight instructor and was posted to RAF Tadcaster (previously known as RFC Braham Moor – there is still an original hangar on the site, see below) where he trained pilots in Number 38 Training Squadron – notably Americans who were now in the war but suffering heavy losses in the air over the Western Front – until Armistice ended the slaughter in Europe.

Fig 2: Original Hangar

The Aerodrome

The Aerodrome

 

 

 

This is where the tragedy of war reared its head. To celebrate the end of the war Captain Edwards – who had decided to apply for a permanent commission – took up a Sopwith Pup for a celebration flight.

 

fig 3: Sopwith Pup in Flight.

Sopwith pup

Sopwith pup

 

 

 

He is reported to have flown over the airfield in a victory roll but could not pull out of a dive, hit a wing tip on the ground and crashed. He was taken to hospital in York and lingered for ten more days. His best friend Roy Brown was there trying to do for Edwards what he had done earlier for Roy Brown – coax him back to life – but to no avail. After a leg was amputated the shock was too much and Captain Edwards died in the early hours of the morning at age 25 – already an “old man” of the RAF. His personal effects including a dog-eared Bible, poker chips and a photo of an unknown girl – maybe a Tadcaster girlfriend?- were returned to his mother. He was buried in Tadcaster – though the Carleton Place Herald reported news of Captain Edwards’ death in the edition of November 26, 1918 and suggested that efforts would be made to repatriate his remains – next to Flight Cadet Charles Theobald, another Canadian who died after crashing on a training flight in October 1918.

 

 

.Fig 4: Memorial in Tadcaster Cemetery

War memorial at Tadcaster

War memorial at Tadcaster

 

 

 

In 1920 a plaque commemorating Captain Edwards was unveiled by Roy Brown at St James Anglican Church in Carleton Place, Ontario. The final words on the plaque were “Faithful even unto death”. Roy Brown was supposed to make a speech but simply cried at the loss of his best friend and the waste of war.

Stearme Edwards plaque at St. James Anlgican Church, Carleton Place, Ontario

Stearme Edwards plaque at St. James Anlgican Church, Carleton Place, Ontario

 

 

 

Fig 5: Memorials to Captain Edwards and Flight Cadet Theobald.

Monument to Captain Edwards in Tadcaster, UK

Monument to Captain Edwards in Tadcaster, UK

 

 

 

Monument to Captain Edwards-Tadcaster, UK-2

Monument to Captain Edwards-Tadcaster, UK-2

 

 

 

Notes

 

  1. I am indebted for some details of Captain Edwards’ life to Larry Gray’s book, We Are The Dead, published by General Store Publishing House, Burnstown, Ontario, Canada, K0J 1G0, in 2000. ISBN: 1894263243.
  2. I have kept the spelling Stearne which appears on the grave memorial”

 

Carleton Place War Memorial: “Our Honoured Dead”

Veteran’s Names on Left Side:

J. G. Bennett –  James Gordon Bennett, WW II

J. Borland – Joseph Borland, WW II               

D. C. Cameron – Duncan Cedric Cameron, WW II

W. A. Costello – Wilson Adison Costello, WW II

J. F. Cranston – James Francis Cranston, WW II

W. Camelon – Wilmer Camelon, WW II

F. Dray – Frederick Albert Dray (Ryan), WW II

B. H. Dunphy – Boyne Hogan Dunphy, WW II

G. A. Elliott -  G. A. Elliott, WW II

M. Fieldhouse - Maurice Fieldhouse, WW II

H. J. Findlay – Hugh John Findlay, WW II

L. G. Scott - Lloyd George Scott, WW II

M. Forbes – Harry Malcolm Forbes, WW II

A. D. Garland – Douglas Haig Armour Garland, WWII

C. G. S. Hughes – Cyril Garnet Strong Hughes, WW II

W. R. Hughes – William Robert Hughes, WW II

R. D. Irvine - Robert David Irvine, WW II

R. G. James - Russell George James, WW II

F. E. Lancaster - Earl  Franklin Lancaster, WW II

G. Lewis - Gerald Lewis, WW II                    

W. Loney – William Melville Loney, WW II

D. C. Maxwell - David Chester Maxwell, WW II

F. Cavers - Robert Franklin Cavers, WW II

H. Murfitt – Harold Murfitt, WW II

Veteran’s Names on Right Side:

G. E. Morris - George Ernest Morris, WW II

R. E. McFarlane - Ross Edward McFarlane, WW II

J. H. McKittrick  – James Herbert McKittrick, WW II

R. J. O’Leary – Robert Joseph O’Leary, WW II

K. O’Meara - Kenneth Orval O’Meara, WW II

L. Patterson - Lorne Patterson, WW II

E. E. Porteous - Earl Ernest Porteous, WW I

W. A. Porterfield - Wilbert Andrew Porterfield, WW II

A. E. Prendergast -  Albert Edward Prendergast, WW II

A. E. Prime - Arthur Esmond Prime, WW II

J. W. Pye - James William Pye, WW II

W. H. Porter - William Henry Porter, WW II

E. E. Rathwell  - Edward Earl Rathwell, WW II

W. C. J. Reynolds - William Cyril Jeffrey Reynolds, WW II

H. S. Savage - Francis Herbert Savage, WW II

R. S. Stanzel - Ross Samuel Stanzel, WW II

H. Stark - Horace Garner Stark, WW II

H. A. Stokes - Harold Allan Stokes, WW II

D. A. Turner  – Dalton Arnold Turner, WW II

W. A. Valley – William Allen Valley, WW II

J. S. Warren -  James Snedden Warren, WW II

R. W. White - Raymond Wilbert White, WW II

B. Foxton – 1952 Korea

Veteran’s Names, Middle:

L. Campbell - William Lockhard Campbell, WW I

R. Borland -  Robert John Borland, WW 1

J. Hamilton -  John (aka Joseph) Hamilton, WW 1

N. McPhee - Neil John McPhee, WW 1

A. Simons - Arthur John Simons, WW 1

T. Cummings – Thomas Cummings, WW 1

H. Eastwood - Herbert John Eastwood, WW 1

R. Flegg - Thomas Reynolds Flegg, WW 1

H. McDiarmid - Harold William McDiarmid, WW 1

V. McDiarmid - Victor Lionel McDiarmid, WW 1

A. McDiarmid - Eugene Arthur McDiarmid, WW 1

W. J. Griffith - William John Griffith, WW 1

D. O’Donovan - Daniel O’Donovan, WW 1

C. O’Donovan - Cornelius O’Donovan, WW 1

P. Moore – Percy Moore, WW 1

L. Corr – John Leo Corr, WW 1

A. Robertson – Herbert Arnold Robertson, WW 1

S. Hamilton – Sydney Hamilton, WW 1

F. Fumerton - Frank Fumerton, WW 1

G. Fanning - George Davis Fanning, WW 1

Rev. J. H. Christie – Rev. John H. H. Christie, WW 1

E. Hockenhull – Joseph Edward Hockenhull, WW 1

A. McCaw – Archibald McMorine McCaw, WW 1

A. McPhee - A. McPhee, WW 1

W. Fraser - William Fraser, WW 1

P. Hughes - Percy Grenville Hughes, WW 1

W. Lewis - Walter Lewis, WW 1

J. R. Riddell - James Ross Riddell, WW 1

N. R. McPhail – Norman McPhail, WW 1

C. Reynolds -Thomas Reynolds, WW 1

F. Trotman - Frederick Gilbert Trotman, WW 1

W. Wright – William John Wright, WW 1

Wm. Tyre – William Tyrie, WW 1

C. Bryce - Cecil Elmas Bryce, WW 1

H. Dowdall – Herbert Dowdall, WW 1

A. Tufts - Arthur Zimmerman Tufts, WW 1

S. T. Edwards - Sterne Tighe Edwards, WW 1

F. Murphy - Frances Michael Murphy, WW 1

J. H. Brown - John Horace Brown, WW 1

R. Simpson - Ralph Patterson Simpson, WW 1

W. Peever – Wesley Albert Peever, WW 1

A. Moffatt – Allan Clyde Moffatt, WW 1

R. Kellough - William Roy Kellough, WW 1

H. Utman - Henry Utman, WW 1

D. C. Humphrey - David Charles Humphrey, WW 1

A. Houston - Arthur Norman Houston, WW 1.

R. E. McEachen - Rebecca Ellen McEachen, WW 1.

Carleton Place War Memorial, 2012

Carleton Place War Memorial, 2012

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK ELEVEN

November 13th, 2012 marked the dedication ceremony for the A. Roy Brown memorial mural, at 220 Bridge Street in Carleton Place.  Funded by the Town of Carleton Place, this mural is an excellent depiction of the famous WWI battle between Captain A. Roy Brown and the famed Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen.  The original art was provided by the renowned military artist, Mr. Stephen P. Quick, from a book by Lieutenant-Colonel David L. Bashow called ‘Knights of the air”.  The mural was painted by Ottawa artist Shaun McInnis, and completed in September 2012.

Arthur Roy Brown is the WWI flying ace officially credited with shooting down German pilot Manfred von Richtohofen over France, on April 21, 1918.  The Australians have always claimed that it was their ground gunners who were responsible for downing the Red Baron, but the evidence credits Brown with the deed.  There is a new book at the library, a two volume set, written by Alan D. Bennett, called “Captain Roy Brown: a true story of the Great War, 1914-1918,” that sheds more light on the life of A. Roy Brown, and in particular, on this famous battle.

Below are some pictures of the event, and of the mural as well, which I captured on 13 November, 2012.

A. Roy Brown mural, dedication ceremony, 13 November, 2012.

Mural artist, Shaun McInnis

John Nichols, husband of Carol Brown who is the neice of A. Roy Brown

Rob Probert, President of the Roy Brown Society, and master of ceremony

Scott Reid, MP

Follow this link to read the Ottawa Citizen report on the mural : http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Dave+Brown+Great+hero+found+downing+infamous+Baron/7567574/story.html

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK NINE

With Remembrance Day just around the corner, I began to compile some information about the names appearing on the Carleton Place War Memorial, which can easily be seen from the Library windows fronting on Memorial Park.  It occured to me that there was more to know about these veterans than just their names – important stories to be shared about people in this community who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

Upon comparing the names on the cenotaph with the names in Larry Gray’s two books, “We are the Dead,” about the WWI veterans, and “Fathers, Brothers, and Sons,” about the WWII veterans, all of whom sacrificed their lives in those wars, I made the appalling discovery that some names are missing from the memorial.

While nothing can make up for this oversight, except having their names inscribed thereon, I feel very fortunate that Larry Gray wrote both of his books about the Carleton Place men and women who died during those wars.  How else would anyone know about our ‘unknown soldiers,’ or the battles they fought in?

In light of this discovery, I will now tell you about the men, the ‘unknown soldiers’, whose names you do not see on the town cenotaph, but whose names and stories we now know - thanks to Larry Gray.  Hopefully the names will be added to the memorial in the future, and hopefully Larry Gray will not mind me using the information from his books to honour these particular people here.

Colin Duncan P. Sinclair

Colin was born June 2, 1897 at Oliver’s Ferry (Rideau Ferry, Ontario).  He was the eldest son of Rev. R. C. H. Sinclair.  When he enlisted with the 3rd University Company in Montreal in June 1915, he was an 18 year old student, having just graduated from the high school in Carleton Place.  He was 5’5” tall and weighed 122 pounds.

After a short training session in Canada, he sailed to England, arriving September 14, 1915. On November 30th he was transferred to the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and joined them in the trenches in France on February 12, 1916.  Colin observed his 19th birthday in the trenches during the Battle of Mount Sorrel, which occurred in the Ypres Salient in Sanctuary Wood, June 2-13.  Four Hundred Patricia’s lost their lives in this battle.

By September 15, 1916, the PPCLI’s were in the Somme at Fabeck Graben.  During the battle for Flers Courcelette, Colin would have seen the British-invented tank used in warfare for the first time.

Colin distinguished himself in the assault on Vimy Ridge, and considered himself lucky to have survived this harrowing battle.  After fighting with the Patricia’s for a year and four months in France, he applied for his commission as an infantry officer.  On April 17, 1917, he was transferred to England to the Eastern Ontario Regiment depot in Seaford, where he completed his officer training and was made a temporary lieutant.

However, Colin had his sights set on flying and on October 30 was sent to the Royal Flying Corps School of Aeronautics at Reading for flight training as a pilot.  It was at the advanced training school at Stamford that his career in the air ended.  On March 17, 1918, at age 20, Colin Sinclair was accidentally killed at Bickers Fen, Donnington, Lincolnshire, as a result of an aeroplane crash.  He is buried in Stamford Cemetery, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom.

Facts from “We Are The Dead”, by Larry Gray.  Post by Shirley Jones-Wellman

Ralph Patterson Simpson

While there is an R. Simpson engraved on the Carleton Place cenotaph, there were really two Simpson brothers using that initial.  I assume the R. Simpson on the memorial refers to Charles Ross Simpson, who was always referred to as Ross, and who died from his wounds on January 13th, 1921, at the Euclid Hall Hospital in Toronto.

I believe that it is his brother, Ralph Patterson Simpson, whose name does not appear on the cenotaph, as he didn’t die from his wounds until 1932, by which time all of the names had more than likely been engraved thereon.

The following is Ralph’s story:

Ralph was born in Carleton Place on April 10, 1895, the eldest son of William and Minnie Simpson.  When he joined the 42nd Regiment on March 6, 1915, he was twenty-one years old, 5’11” tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair.

Relatively soon, he was transferred to the 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion in Ottawa.  He arrived overseas at Shorncliffe, England on July 4, 1915.  On August 25 he was drafted to France and the 2nd Battalion, which was already in the field.

On September 12, 1915, as the 2nd Battalion was marching into position for the attack on Courcelette, Ralph was wounded by a rifle bullet hitting his right thigh.  After convalescing in England he rejoined his Battalion in the field on November 17, 1917.

Ralph survived the rest of the war unscathed, and left for Canada on February 8, 1919, and was discharged from the army on March 3, 1919.  He lived out the rest of his short life in Carleton Place, dying at the age of thirty-six years, eleven months on March 5, 1932.  His death was deemed by military authorities to have been attributable to his war wound.

From “We Are The Dead” by Larry Gray.  Post by Shirley Jones-Wellman

Robert Franklyn Preston Abbott

Franklyn was born the only son and child of Mr. & Mrs. Charles H. Abbott in Carleton Place on May 14, 1897.

In June 1916, he went to Toronto to the Curtiss Flying School, obtaining his pilot’s certificate on November 7, 1916.  The very same day he was enrolled in the Royal Navy Air Service as a probationary flight officer. 

By January 14, 1917, he was overseas and training at Chingford, England.  On June 21 he went to France and joined No. 3 Squadron at Dunkirk, where he most likely flew Scouts, and then Sopwith Camels, in support of the ground war.

On August 16, 1917, Franklyn was flying on patrol when he initiated a strafing attack on the German airdrome at Uytkerke.   According to The Almonte Gazette of October 5, 1917, “Flight Lieutenant Franklyn Abbott, who was wounded in the upper thigh….received his wound in the air, after dispatching some …. (enemy) planes).”  Franklyn spent time in hospitals in England before being sent home to Canada for rehabilitation.

As of April 15, 1918, Franklyn had returned to the war with No. 4 Squadron in Dunkirk, providing ground support and antisubmarine defence patrols.  By September, Franklyn was admitted to hospital in England suffering from tuberculosis.  He relinquished his commission due to ill health, going back to Canada to recuperate in April of 1919.

Franklyn Abbott died in the Kingston, Ontario, isolation hospital on March 25, 1932, from tuberculous meningitis, the effect of war service.

From “We Are The Dead”, by Larry Gray.  Post by Shirley Jones Wellman

William Andrew Fanning

William Andrew Fanning was born in Carleton Place on November 23, 1889, and was the son of Edward and Eliza Ann Fanning. 

When he enlisted with the Active Force on December 15, 1915, he already had six months service with the Composite Battalion of the 1st Regiment, Grenadier Guards of Canada, which became officially known as the 87th Canadian Infantry Battalion.  At that time he was twenty-six years old and stood 5’10” tall.

On April 23rd he sailed upon the Empress of Britain from Halifax to Liverpool, England, where he was transferred to the 11th Brigade, landing at Le Havre in France on August 12, 1916.

On June 26, 1917, William Fanning was confirmed in the permanent rank of lance corporal, and that same day was wounded by artillery shrapnel.  On June 29 he arrived at No. 35 General Hospital in Calaise where he was admitted “with a gunshot would (shrapnel) to the right thigh causing a compound fracture of the lower third of the femur (just above the knee).”

Arriving by ship at the Queen’s Military Hospital in Kingston on March 26, he was treated and declared “medically unfit for further service arising from wounds.”

He died on May 12, 1931, at the age of forty-one years.  His death was deemed, by the government, as “attributable to military service.”

 

Thomas James Gorrod

 Thomas Gorrod was overage when he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force on October 19, 1915, at Kingston, Ontario.  He was born, educated, and married  in London, England, emigrating to Canada around 1902.  It is thought that his real birth date was sometime around 1865, making him actually fifty years old in 1915.  He was sent to the 80th Battalion, and was described as 5’4” tall, with a fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.

 Thomas was part of the 80th Battalion, which embarked aboard the S.S. Baltic for England and arrived in Liverpool on May 29, 1916. 

 On May 23, 1917, Thomas was transferred to the Canadian Railway Troops at Purfleet in Essex, and finally, on June 19, 1917, he landed in France with the 10th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops.  They labored under the dreadful conditions of the Ypres Salient before Passchendaele, and carried out their work with remarkable speed.

 On August 17, 1917, Thomas Gorrod was promoted to the rank of corporal, but began to have trouble with his eyes.  During hospitalization for a corneal ulcer, his true age was discovered, and he was discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force as overage and medically unfit on November 8, 1918.

 Thomas lived out the rest of his life in Carleton Place, and died on December 16, 1933.  In the edition of December 20, the Herald reported that:  “Thomas Gorrod, for many years an employee of the Findlay Stove foundry died in the hospital in Ottawa on Saturday, following a lengthy illness.”

SHARING MEMORIES, WEEK SEVEN

THE LAST TRAIN

It’s just a matter of time before the last train whistle blows in Carleton Place.  The end of an era is at hand, and the following is an historical retrospective of how the railway affected the economic and cultural development of Carleton Place.

One hundred and fifty-nine years ago, James C. Poole, editor of the Carleton Place Herald, announced the coming of the railroad in the July 21st, 1853 edition of his newspaper:

“We rejoice to be able to announce that the By-law of the County Council, loaning the credit of the County to the Brockville and Ottawa Railway Company, has been heartily supported by the people in the different municipalities. 

The inhabitants of this ‘city’, elated at the success which had attended the railroad scheme thus far, turned out en masse and had a regular rejoicing.

The windows were illuminated.  The old cannon was placed on the bridge and several shots fired by ways of introduction.  The party formed a procession, led by the music of two drums and the Highland Bagpipes, with several flags floating in the breeze, and marched round the town.  It stopped occasionally to let off some pent up gas in the shape of hearty cheers for Jackson & Company, the Brockville & Ottawa Railway Company, the Directors, the County Council, the Press, and several private individuals whose efforts were not wanting in bringing about the final results.  About 9 o’clock the demonstration was wound up by several tremendous shots from the cannon, accompanied by a number of smaller guns, after which all went quietly to their homes.”

With the advent of the railway, and the establishment of industries like Findlay Foundry, Carleton Place saw major expansion in the 1860’s. Some ads in the Carleton Place Herald of 1859 reveal the sudden realization by local merchants and men of industry of the commercial advantages of using rail service to both obtain and deliver their goods:

“First Arrival by Railway Direct to Carleton Place!  Teas, Teas, part of the Cargo of the Ship ‘Gauntlet’, from China, 112 Boxes and 48 Catties – Also a large stock of Harvest Tools – Also by the same conveyance a further supply of fancy and staple Dry Goods and a very full assortment of Shelf Hardware, Crockery, etc. – A. McArthur, June 30, 1859.”

Beginning in 1859 with a railway link established between Brockville and Carleton Place, and again in 1870 with a link from Ottawa, the town and surrounding area was becoming an attractive and cheap recreational destination:

“Cheap Excursion to Brockville on Thursday August 25th.  Fare from Almonte, Carleton Place, Franktown, and back, only One Dollar! Leave Almonte 7:30 a.m., Carleton Place 8:00 a.m., Smiths Falls 9:15 a.m., arriving at Brockville 11 a.m. Returning will leave Brockville at 4:45 p.m., reaching Almonte at 8 p.m. – Robert Watson, Managing Director, Brockville & Ottawa Railway, Brockville, August 16, 1859.”

Several years later, in response to the possibility of war between the British and American governments, the Carleton Place Rifle Company was formed.  On June 3rd, 1866, the Company was called upon to help defend the riverfront and railway communications at Brockville from Fenian raiders.  According to Captain James Poole’s newspaper report: 

“After having been on the alert for about twenty-four hours awaiting an order to proceed to the frontier, a hurried dispatch was received about midnight on Sunday that the volunteer companies of Carleton Place and Almonte should be ready in about an hour to repair to Brockville by a special train……It was a solemn and moving sight, the moonlight giving a dim view of the outline of the ranks and the friends and relatives moving to and fro as they took leave of those near and dear to them, discharging their duty to defend our hearths and homes against the invasion of a lawless band of marauders.  As the train left the station three hearty cheers from the citizens rang the air, lustily reechoed by the true men whom we hope to welcome soon again.”

More wars followed, with the train station once again becoming the arena of emotional departures and farewells:

“The August 1914 civic farewell to the town’s first dozen war volunteers under Captain W. H. Hooper was attended at the railway station by hundreds of citizens and the town officials and two bands, with choruses of Auld Lang Syne joining the noise of the departing train of Lanark and Renfrew county volunteers.”

Founded Upon A Rock by Howard Morton Brown.

It’s easy to understand how the train became integral to the uniting & defending of the country, as well as contributing to the monetary and cultural prosperity of every community it travelled through.  Carleton Place was no exception, and benefited greatly from it stopping here, for about 130 years.

As well, as evidenced in most of Mr. Poole’s newspaper stories about the railway, there has always been an emotional impact associated with the railway, or more specifically, with the coming and going of loved ones on the train.  After all, many people used the train to leave Carleton Place permanently, some as part of the great economic migration of the 1870’s, others due to the ultimate sacrifice of war.   

The love affair with trains in this community continued unabated until the late 1980’s, when it was no longer economically feasible to retain the line running between Ottawa and Carleton Place, at which time the tracks were torn out, making the disconnection final. Only the north-south CPR tracks remain, and even though no trains on that line stop here either, the familiar whistle blowing and clickity-clack of trains on track have allowed us to pretend that the railway is still important to Carleton Place.

And now, for the great departure.  No more trains.  No more train whistles.  No more illusions.  All aboard!  It’s the end of the line for Carleton Place.

If you have any memories about the trains that run through Carleton Place, now would be a good time to write them down so that future generations will know what the time of trains was like for people in this community.

CPR Tracks – September 2012

Story of The Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment, by Howard Morton Brown, 14 Sept. 1961

Some 13 years ago The Canadian prepared an article on the history of the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment which has a company stationed at Carleton Place.  Here is the story recalled.

Lanark and Renfrew Regiment, July 22, 1948

Glorious pages of history, full of stirring accounts of hard fought battles on the field of honor, of meritorious commendation for efficiency and service, could be unfolded if the complete history on the Lanark and Renfrew, Scottish Regiment, was available.

One of Canada’s oldest and most famous military units at present under command of Lieut. Col. W. K. McGregor, Pembroke, the regiment, since organization in 1862 as a volunteer militia company has aided in the suppression of the Fenian Raids of 1886, contributed 2,956 men to the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the Great War, won five battle honors, and finally recruited 73 officers and over 2,000 men who served in active units in the present war.  How the regiment was organized is told in an abridged copy of its activities which have been notated from time to time through the years.

Early settlement of the Ottawa Valley started with the disbanding of the British regiments after the war of 1812.  Conditions in England and Scotland at this time were such that men discharged from the army were unable to find employment and so came to Canada.

Although the 42nd Brockville battalion of infantry (the “Old 42nd”) as it was formerly known, was not formed until 1866, the early settlers belonged to several units which were established at that time.  The Militia Act of 1855 authorized the formation of volunteer militia companies and the following were formed in Lanark and Renfrew counties :   Infantry company at Almonte, Dec. 5, 1862 ; at Brockville, Dec. 11, 1862 ; at Perth and Fitzroy, Jan. 16, 1863 ; at Lansdowne, June 15, 1866 ;  and Smiths Falls, June 22, 1866.

Units Are Concentrated

On October 5, 1866, these independent units were concentrated into one unit “the 42nd Brockville Battalion of Infantry.”  When the regimental command was given to Lieut. Col. Jacob D. Buell in the same year, the unit became known as the Lanark and Renfrew Regiment.  Another unit, an infantry company at Pembroke, was attached and absorbed as No. 7 company in 1871.

In 1866, the militia received training under active service conditions.  When the threat of Fenian raids assumed serious proportions in 1870, contingents from the companies stationed in the two counties were detailed for duty at Brockville, Prescott, Cornwall and along the shores of the St. Lawrence River.  In the same year, a small detachment led by Capt. Thomas Scott, was sent with the Red River Expedition to the Canadian West to help crush the Riel Rebellion.

Drill sheds (as they were then called) were under construction for the battalion in 1868 at Lansdowne, Almonte, Carleton Place, Smiths Falls and Perth.

During the succeeding five years, activities of the unit were comparatively quiet although it is said the camp of 1875, was the first “dry” one since its formation.  The original historian facetiously remarks on this point.  “The matter has since been rectified and great improvement noted in the orderly conduct of the men.”  In 1877, the Pembroke company commanded by Lieut. Moffatt was called out to aid the local civil authorities in repressing riotous raftsmen.  This occurred during the great lumbering days.

Col. Buell retired in 1896, after 20 years continuous service and was succeeded by Lieut. Co. Arthur J. Matheson.  The new commanding officer approached his task under difficult circumstances as many of the officers had reached the age of retirement, but under his direction, the regiment was able to go to camp near Prescott with a strength of 15 officers and 185 other ranks.  It is noteworthy the regiment was highly complimented on its showing during an inspection. 

For the next nine years, training was reduced to a minimum due to a reduction in militia grants but the battalion was kept together through voluntary training at local headquarters.  A brief scare in 1895 due to differences between Great Britain and America over the Venezuela boundary, (which was finally settled by arbitration) helped arouse interest in the militia and the strengthening of Canadian defences.

In 1898, Lieut. Col. J. McKay succeeded Col Matheson.  Three years later he in turn was succeeded by Lieut. Col. Lennox Irving.  During his tenure of office the 42nd was selected the rural unit to take part in the ceremony and review on the occasion of the visit of Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of York.  After the march past, General Otter addresses the regiment stating, “Well done 42nd.  It was simply splendid.”

In 1906, Lieut. Col. H. J. Mackie succeeded to the command.  During his tenure of office an amusing incident took place at the camp.

Lost Spur is Found

One of the staff officers was fond of brilliant dress.  He wore a pair of brilliant golden spurs.  One day camp orders reported the loss of a spur.  A soldier found it and brought it to the Orderly Room.  The unit, through exercises for the day, was immediately called out and a stretcher party of four men was detailed to carry the spur.  An armed guard was detailed to accompany the party.  With the regimental band leading the parade, the unit proceeded to headquarters.  The story concludes at this point.

Lieut. Col. J. M. Balderson succeeded Col. Mackie in 1908 and he remained in command until 1920.

During the Great War, the regiment enlisted and transferred men to the Canadian Expeditionary Force as follows:  First contingent, 150 ; 21st Battalion, 120 ; 38th Battalion, 285 ; 77th Battalion, 103 ; 80th Battalion, 321 ; 130th Battalion, 1,024 ; and the 240th Battalion, 963.  The 130th Lanark and Renfrew Overseas Battalion was mobilized Nov. 14, 1915, at Perth, under Lieut. Col. J. E. de Hertel, and the 240th, on June 1, 1916, at Renfrew under Lieut. Col. E. Watt.

Battle honors awarded to the regiment were, the Somme, 1916 ; Amiens, in the same year ; Arras, 1917-18, (Hindenburg Line) ; Ypres, 1917, and the pursuit to Mons in the same year.

The unit was re-organized in 1922 and Lieut. Col. J. R. Caldwell succeeded to the command.  Companies were allocated as follows : Headquarters, Perth ; “A” Company, Pembroke ; “B” Company, Renfrew and Arnprior ; “C” Company, Carleton Place, and “D” Company, Perth.

Two years after Lieut. Col. J. A. Hope, D.S.O., M.C., V.D., was given the command in 1925, the name of the regiment was changed to the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment and became affiliated with the famous Black Watch regiment.  During his term of office, headquarters of the battalion was at Perth, on the Tay River.  In Scotland, a Lieut. Col. Hope commanded the 42nd Regiment of the Black Watch.  His headquarters was also at Perth, on the Tay.

The colors were presented to the battalion at Barriefield, July 13, 1930, by Miss Constance M. Dawes, and the ceremony of dedication took place the same afternoon.  Hon. Major H. H. Bedford Jones, D.D., officiated at the dedication.

A few years later, Col. Hope commanded the Bisley rifle team.  He was succeeded in 1931 by Lieut. Col. E. H. Wilson, V.D., who remained in command until 1933 when Lieut. Col. P. H. Gardner, M.C., V.D., was appointed commanding officer.

During his tenure of office, the regiment resumed training at Petawawa Military Camp for the first time since the war years.  He had the honor of being present at the Coronation of King George VI.

In 1938, the present commander, Col. Beatty, succeeded Col. Gardner.  During this visit of the King and Queen in 1939, his regiment was given a prominent part in the ceremonies at Ottawa and Kingston.

Aids at Ottawa Function

At Ottawa the regiment was credited with preventing what might have developed into a serious situation on the evening Their Majesties attended a parliamentary dinner at the Chateau Laurier.  Over 300 strong, the battalion’s duty was to line Mackenzie avenue and control the traffic and crowds.  About eight o’clock, the crowd began to press forward and civilian “casualties” occurred right and left.  The situation rapidly got out of hand.  But the pipe band was brought forward and played in front of the Chateau.  Soon the temper of the crowd changed and the situation was under control.

A personal bodyguard for the Queen was selected from the unit and stationed in the hall leading to the East Block of the Parliament Buildings.  It was commanded by Capt. A. Wallace.

At the outbreak of the present war, guards were established for a time at each armory, and shortly afterward the regiment was required to detail a guard of two officers and 50 other ranks over the Magazine, Pump House, and Main Gate at Petawawa camp. 

The regiment provided a guard over aliens interned at Centre Lake, in December, 1939.  Within a short time, a complete company of 250 officers and men were supplied to the Governor General’s Footguards, under command of Major Harold Baker.

Appointments announced in 1943 were : D. E. Jamieson, Smiths Falls, and now of Pembroke, will shortly receive his commission and will be appointed adjutant.  Lieut. W. R. Eliott, Renfrew, is training officer.  The following N.C.O.’s will be appointed assistant instructors with the rank of warrant Officer H, Sgt. Major J. B. Rouselle, Headquarters Company, Renfrew ; C.Q.M.S.P.J. Rooney “B” Company, Almonte ; C.Q.M.S.C.A. Clarke, “C” Company, Smiths Falls, and Sgt. L. E. Fagan, “D” Company, Carleton Place.

The spring of 1946 marked a turning point in the history of this famous regiment as it came under the scrutiny of the Department of National Defense under new plans announced for the Canadian Army in the post-war period.

The regiment was placed under command of Col. William Boyd, of Smiths Falls, who succeeded Major Alex Bathgate, of Pembroke, who was in command for a short time after Lieut. Col John McLaren Beatty.  A short time later, Col. W. K. McGregor, of Pembroke, succeeded Col. Boyd.

The regiment became known as the 59th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Lanark and Renfrew Scottish (Reserve).  Instead of the old time companies in an infantary regiment, the unit was divided into artillery batteries.

The 176th Battery was subdivided into two troops.  “A” Troop is located at Perth under Capt. W. Arbuthnot ; “B” Troop at Smiths Falls under Capt. Gordon Thom.  Headquarters is at Carleton Place under Major C. R. Ryan who commands both troops.

The 17th Battery is located at Renfrew and the 177th Battery at Pembroke.

In command of Headquarters in Carleton Place for the 176th Battery are : Major Ryan, Lieuts. G. W. Comba, Ivan Romanuke, Ronald McFarlane, M.B.E., John Dunlop ; Battery Sergeant Major E. M. Evoy, M. M. and Bar, Battery Quarter Master Sergeant, W. E. Fraser ; sergeants H. Neil, Thomas Poynter and Transport Sergeant Thomas Leach.

The first post-war camp was held at Point Petre that year.  The camp is located on Prince Edward Island, near Picton.  A considerable number from this area attended and were introduced to the new equipment allotted the regiment.  This included the main weapons, the 40-mm. Bofors gun and the 20-mm. Polsten rapid-fire gun.

The following year, the next camp was held at the Royal Canadian School of Artillery (L.) at Picton on the site of the former airport.  More advanced training was given and as a result of the men’s progress, the regiment was complimented on its showing.

At this camp, guns were fired at Point Petre.

During the winter of 1947, considerable training took place at various troop headquarters.  Carleton Place made use of the 40-mm. Fofors, gun tractor and 15-cwt. Transport allotted to them.  Many lectures were given and some schemes were completed.  The year 1948 saw a repetition of previous training at the artillery school during the annual camp, just completed.

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