The McDiarmid Brothers of Carleton Place and World War I

McDiarmid Brothers

We are so honoured and proud to share with you this local documentary prepared in 2007 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Battle at Vimy Ridge produced by our summer student, Emma Kinsman. The video was presented and placed at the Perth Regional Historica Fair in 2007.

The video centers on the McDiarmid brothers of Carleton Place. Four of the six McDiarmid brothers enlisted in the First World War with only 1 returning home. Harold and Victor McDiarmid were killed at Vimy Ridge, and Arthur, who returned home to die after being exposed to poisonous gas.

Following the war, Mary McDiarmid and her only surviving veteran son, Leo, unveiled the Cenotaph in Carleton Place which was created to honour the town’s fallen sons.

Please watch Emma’s video at the site below:




Ancestry Workshop Coming Your Way!

Searching for those illusive ancestors?

Looking for some one-on-one help getting started with

Register (613-257-2702), or drop by the Carleton Place Public Library on Wednesdays, from September 10th to October 29th, 6-7 p.m., for your FREE one hour introduction to Ancestry Library Edition.  Please note that spaces are  limited, and that some computer skills are required.

War News – Carleton Place Herald, 24 August, 1914

“Lord Kitchener’s message to the departing troops is typical of the man.  Throughout his career he has placed his belief in the policy of putting Tommy on his honor instead of hedging him about with regulations.  He urges the soldiers to be more than courteous to women, and to avoid drinking liquor to excess.”

“Just as we go to press this afternoon we learn that our local stove manufacturers – Messrs. Findlay Bros. – have received a rush order from the Militia Department for a carload of army ranges to be shipped at once by express to Valcartier.  Another illustration of how closely we are related to the present great war.”

“Major Richardson, the famous trainer of dogs for police, city and ambulance work in London has left England for Belgium, and has taken with him a number of bloodhounds specially trained for ambulance purposes.  Mr. Richardson is to be with the British Red Cross, and the dogs will help search for the wounded of the allied armies on the battlefield.

The dogs are specially valuable in rocky places, or where the ground is covered with bush and undergrowth.  They are also particularly serviceable in scenting out patients who might otherwise be overlooked by the field hospital brigade.  The French army is well provided with ambulance dogs trained to a very high degree.  Germany has several thousand dogs trained for ambulance work.”

“The King and Queen of England have ordered that their chefs shall serve only the simplest foods on the royal table.”




But French Have Recaptured

Muhlhausen in Alsace


Two Days Hard Fighting


WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (Excerpt):

“An official explanation of the Belgian field army’s backward movement towards Antwerp was given last night in the following cablegram from London, made public by the British embassy:

“The Belgian field army, being based on Antwerp, has fallen back in that direction in order to cover its communication with that fortress.  In anticipation that this might become necessary, the seat of government had already been transferred from Brussels to Antwerp.  As Brussels is an undefended city and no longer the seat of government, the fact that the Germans may have occupied it is not of great importance.”


“Britain to Buy Ontario Horses.

Ottawa, Aug. 21 – It is reported that the British Government has arranged with the Union Stock Yards of Toronto for the purchase of several thousand horses.  They will be purchased in various places, but will be collected and shipped from Toronto.”

“Great Britain and France are in control of the high seas, and seven per cent of Germany’s shipping is in their hands.”

“Official Russian despatches claim victory for the Russian forces over three German army corps.  Grand Duke Nicholas, commander-in-chief of the Russian army, describes Russian victories in East Prussia.”


Paris, Aug. 24 – The following official announcement was issued last night:

“A great battle is now in progress along a vast line extending from Mons to the frontier of Luxemburg, a distance of over 100 miles.  Our troops, in conjunction with the British, have assumed everywhere the offensive.  We are faced by almost the whole German army, both active and reserve.


“Japan At War Now –

Japan has come into the war of nations.  The emperor of Japan has declared war on Germany and the Japanese fleet and land forces are ready for the struggle around Kiao Chow, the German protectorate in China.  Late despatches from Tsing Tau say that the German preparation is complete and that the territory will be defended to the utmost.  Several German warships are lying in the harbor of Tsing Tau, and the waters have been mined.

Coincidentally with Japan’s declaration of war against Germany, the British official newspaper bureau announces that the Austro-Hungarian government has ordered the Austrian cruiser Kaiserin Elizabeth, now at Tsing Tau, to disarm, and has further instructed the crew to proceed to Tien Tsin.  This apparently eliminates Austria from the conflict in the Far East.


“It is announced that the Royal Military College at Kinston will be in session again this fall.  A special army class is to be organized.”

“Boycott is started.  Britain will conduct fierce trade war on Germany.


A bitter commercial war against Germany and Austria has been inaugurated in England.  It has the loyal support of the press and the public.The London Chamber of Commerce committee held a private meeting yesterday to discuss this anti-German trade campaign.  It calls the attention of manufacturers to the following lines which Germans sell heavily in England.  Electrical appliances and apparatus, iron and steel, wire, stone and earthenware, chinaware, cutlery, hollow ware, cotton hosiery, woolen and worsted piece goods, cotton prints, furniture, leather, gloves and boots and shoes.  It is estimated that 12,000,000 worth of German dynamo, and motors are sold annually in British territory.”


Millions in Fight – 18 August, 1914

Carleton Place Herald, 18 August, 1914


History Has No Parallel For Impending Battle



Statement from French War Office Advises

Advises People to Expect No News

For Eight Days at Least – Great

Suspense Is Felt In Brussels –

Austrians Reported to Have

Invaded Northern Servia.


Paris, Aug. 17 – (C.A.P. Cabie). – The conditions under which the great battle between the Germains and the allied forces will probably be fought are made the subject of an official communication issued by the French Minister of War yesterday afternoon.  By the development and the nature of the ground over which the battle will be waged, the communication says, this vast engagement will differ profoundly from the battles of other times.

“By reason of the abandonment of the attack which the Germans planned against Nancy,” says the communication, “our concentration has been carried out with regularity and in its entirety, and thus the whole of the French army will battle with the whole of the German forces, with the exception of those German troops concentrated on the eastern frontier of the Empire.  The violation of the neutrality of Belgium has extended the Belgian and French lines to the frontier of Holland.  The next battle, therefore will be from Basle to Maastricht, with several millions of men on each side.”

For those who are interested, the rest of this article may be read on microfilm at the Carleton Place Public Library.  Just call ahead to reserve the microfilm machine – 613-257-2702.


Summary of War News – 18 August, 2014

Summary of War News

Carleton Place Herald, 18 August, 2014


-Arrangements are to be made to use St. John as a winter port.

-One thousand Toronto women planned for a hospital ship to cost $100,00.

-The Royal Edward sailed from Montreal with 500 French reservists on board.

-The Panama Canal was officially opened to the traffic of the world on Saturday.

-All wireless stations, except those operated by the Government, are ordered to be dismantled.

-Fifteen German reservists in the crew of the Mount Royal, C.P.R. Line, were arrested at Montreal.

-Four Germans arrested by the Gananoque police had in their baggage several weapons, besides fuses, drugs and poison.

-Ottawa city will give aid to Britain in the form of a machine gun battery of four pieces mounted on rapid motor trucks, and costing $100,000.


Canadian Women’s Hospital Ship

A meeting of the women of Carleton Place was held on Sunday evening in the town hall, to discuss ways and means of raising funds to help in equipping a Hospital Ship to be given by the Women of Canada to the British Admiralty.  Dr. Sparling occupied the chair.  A motion was carried expressing the sympathy of the women of Carleton Place with the project.  It was then decided to raise funds by a house to house canvas, in order that every citizen should have an opportunity of giving.  Twenty-eight ladies promptly offered their services in making the canvas, which was begun on Monday morning.  The meeting closed with singing ‘God Save the King.’  It is intended that the canvas shall be very thorough, but it is possible that, owing to the limited time at the Committee’s disposal, someone may be overlooked, or that a house may be visited in the owner’s absence.  It is requested that anyone wishing to contribute, who has not been applied to as of Wednesday evening send the donation, (accompanied by his or her name) to Mrs. G. A. Burgess, treasurer of the fund.

WWI : First Carleton Place Volunteers


 The Overseas Volunteers from Carleton Place Leave Saturday

Carleton Place Herald, August 18, 1914


Ten volunteers were asked from Company B, 42nd Reg., for the Canadian Contingent to the motherland, and fully four times that number were available. The weeding process reduced the number to twelve, who were summoned to Perth, where the Regiment is reorganizing on Saturday morning.

The men assembled in their armory and after roll call marched to the station for the 11 train to Perth, the Band headed the procession, playing like veterans, followed by a carriage with the Mayor, some members of Council and School Board, a squad of men from Company B.


The following is the roll-call:

Capt. W. H. Hooper, in command

Sergt. J. H. Brown

Sergt. J. McGill

Sergt. Geo. New

Privates :

R. Boreland

L. Campbell

J. Hamilton

L. Helsey

H. McLaren

N. McPhee

E. Reynolds

A. J. Simons


A number of prominent citizens followed in automobiles and other conveyances, whilst hundreds walked upon the pavement.

On arriving at Santiago street the procession was met by the men from the north – Pembroke, Renfrew, Arnprior and Almonte, headed by the Piper’s Band of Renfrew, and all marched to the station grounds together.

Here, Mayor Smythe addressed a few words of advice and encouragement to the departing soldiers, wishing them a pleasant journey out and a safe return.  The kind words tendered were becomingly acknowledged for the squad by Capt. Hooper.

For several minutes the Bands played alternately whilst the men were entraining, and as they passed out the strains of “Auld Lang Syne” followed them.

The greatest interest, was maintaining the proceedings, and it was quite evident that everybody fully understood the serious nature of the situation.

The men from the several companies went into camp at Perth, Col. Balderson’s headquarters, and from there will be transferred to Valcartier, Que., where the Contingent will be finally organized and prepared for the overseas voyage.


SUMMARY OF WAR NEWS : Carleton Place Herald, 11 August, 1914


The Lusitania left New York for Britain and will run the gauntlet.

The Canadian troops were ordered to protect the Welland Canal and locks.

Col. Hughes urges newspapers to exercise patriotic carefulness and reticence in news about military happenings.

Two submarines built at Seattle for Chili have been purchased by the Government of Canada and are at Esquimalt.

The C.P.R. has a guard on all the bridges along the line.  A number of men have been engaged and sworn in as special constables by the Police Magistrate.  They went on duty last Wednesday here.

The British War Office announces that the Government has accepted Canada’s offer of the cruisers Niobe and Rainbow, and that the vessels will be used to assist in the work of protecting the commerce of the Empire.  It is further officially announced that the British Government gratefully accepts Canada’s offer to send an expeditionary force of 20,000 men to the United Kingdom, and also Canada’s gift of 98,000,000 pounds of flour.

Quite a number of our young men are anxious to go to the front with the Canadian Contingent, and have offered their services.  Those attached to the 42nd Regiment are especially enthusiastic.  Carleton Place is likely to be well represented in the mobilization at Quebec.

French forces, advancing in two main columns, have reached Belgium and Luxemburg and engaged German troops.

The occupation of Liege by the Germans is confirmed.

The British cruiser Amphion was sunk with 130 men by strking a mine.


Fixing Up Camp:  Preparations Being Rushed For Mobilization at Valcartier

Ottawa, Aug. 10 – Col. Sam Hughes returned last evening from a flying trip to Valcartier, the mobilization centre near Quebec City, wehre he and his officers inspected the work now going on in preparation for the arrival of the 20,000 men of the first Canadian contingent.  Railway sidings are being laid by the C.N.R., whose line runs to Valcartier.  Tr4enches are being dug and a water sjupply is being provided.  Several hundred are at work, including the men who were taken down from the new Connaught ranges here with their ditching machines.

Reports from the recruiting centres, the Minister states, show that more men are offering now than can be taken for the first contingent.

The men who are being recruited now for the first Canadian contingent will now go to Valcartier, the mobilization centre near Quebec, for about two weeks, according to a statement by Col. The Hon. Sam Hughes last night.

British Forces Land on French Soil

British Force Lands

Twenty-two thousand are pushing forward to Namur

The Carleton Place Herald, 11 August, 1914


Paris, Aug. 10 –Official announcement was made by the War Office Saturday that English troops are landing on French soil under the direction of French officers.

It is also reported here that a large force of French troops has reached the vicinity of Liege, and that the main French army of relief is now on Belgian soil and hurrying forward by extraordinary marches.

The British troops, according to newspaper advices received here, comprise the first British expeditionary force of 22,000 men, and include some of the crack regiments of the British army.  They were brought across the Channel by a fleet of transports under the convoy of two battleships and three armored cruisers, and landings were made at Ostend, Calais and Dunkirk.

The troops, it is understood here, will be rushed to Namur to assist in the defence of that town, where it is expected the chief stand against the German invasion of Belgium will be made.

The present force is only a part of the expeditionary force which England is expected to send to the defence of Belgium, the War Office yesterday admitted.  It was said that the British Government already had completed arrangements, including the commandeering of sufficient transports, to send an army of 100,000 men into Belgium.

Although five strong British war vessels convoyed the troopships which arrived yesterday, it is reported that Great Britain is not depending entirely on these convoys, but has strung a line of British cruisers across the Channel to keep the way clear in preparation for the movement of other troopships.



World War I – Britain Declares War With Germany, August 4, 1914

WWI - One Hundred Years, 1914-2014

WWI – One Hundred Years, 1914-2014


Being a Dominion of Britain without any International standing Canada was automatically at war when Britain declared it on August 4, 1914.  However, the Governor General declared a war between Canada and Germany on August 5, 1914.  The Militia was not mobilized and instead an independent Canadian Expeditionary Force was raised.  Prime Minister Robert Borden offered assistance to Great Britain, which was quickly accepted.

With a population in 1914 of just under 8 million, Canada raised an army numbering over 600,000 men. By the end of the war Canada suffered 67,000 killed and over 170,000 wounded, roughly a 35% casualty rate, the highest of any of the Dominions. They fought and died in numerous battles from 1915 through to 1918. To name a few: Neuve Chapelle, Ypres, The Somme, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele. Historians consider the battle of Vimy Ridge to be Canada’s ‘coming of age’ as a nation. The war’s greatest impact on Canada was that she emerged from the war as a “Nation” in her own right.

From The Carleton Place Herald, Tuesday, August 11th, 1914

 Canada’s Position


There is no difference of opinion in Canada as to the duty of the Dominion in the present crisis.  For many reasons, the people of the Dominion are hastening to the assistance of Great Britain.  The war is not one of aggression on the part of Britain but a war of defence forced upon Britain and her dominions by the German Emperor.  As a matter of self-interest Canada must do all in her power to meet successfully the possible attacks from the Empire’s foes.  Nor is this all.  Ranged side by side in the conflict are Britain and France, representative of the loftiest ideals and noblest practice in present day civilization, the nations from which the two great races making up the vast majority of the Canadian people have sprung.  Though the great accomplishments of other nations are not to be forgotten, defeat for these countries would mean a set back to what is best in civilization, victory the widening of the bounds of liberty and progress.  For these reasons, if there were no others, Canada’s duty is plain and there is no difference of opinion among Canadian leaders or the Canadian people as to prompt, whole-hearted action in its fulfilment.  Party differences fade into insignificance in the present crisis.  The Liberal leader has declared “a truce to party strife.”  Among right-thinking Canadians it is everywhere recognized that this is not the time for party divisions, party debate and party struggle.  Canadian public men and Canadian newspapers, for the most part, have recognized this fact, and are proving true to the obligation it imposes upon them to forget partisanship and remember only the needs of Canada and the Empire.


Carleton Place Herald

Local News From

August 4, 1914


“Yesterday was a Civic Holiday in most of the towns in this vicinity, including Carleton Place.  The visit of the Ottawa grocers made the town busy looking although the stores were closed.  Many of our business men spent the day out of town – either on the water or in visiting with friends in other places.”


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