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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Random act of heritage: West End bus tour - Thursday night !


On Thursday evening join me on a bus tour of some notable places in the West End and West Broadway !

Stops include Wilson House (Klinic Building), Spirit Park, Orioles Community Centre, the intersection of Ellice and Sherbrook and Jacob Penner Park (Notre Dame Park.)


The tour begins at Wilson House, Broadway and Colony, at 6:15 p.m. and the bus leaves at 6:30 sharp. The tour will last 1.5 hours.

The cost is by donation to help cover the bus rental. Suggested donation is $10 per person.

For more information contact Bren at 204-774-7005 or greening@dmsmca.ca

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Jack Smellie of Russell

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, I am working on a series of blog posts and radio shows that will look at some of the Manitobans who died in action. For more about this project and links to other posts, follow this link.

(Source) No photo available

In the official records, John Brown "Jack" Smellie survived the First World War. You won't find his name on Russell's war memorial or at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial, though the physical and mental damaged caused by battle led to his death in 1924.

http://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/hrb/mun/m137.html

The Smellies were a prominent retailing family in Russell, Manitoba. Smellie Bros. and Company's interests included dry goods, creameries and a car dealership. (The Smellie Block is a municipal heritage building.)

There were seven children in the family and three of the four sons enlisted. Jack, 19 and a student at the time, signed on with the 44th Expeditionary Force. 

All three Smellie boys were were injured in 1916, Jack's was announced in the June 26, 1916 newspapers, (Vancouver World). His injuries, however, went deeper than physical. This February 1917 Toronto Star article, (transcribed by the Canadian Great War Project), describes how Jack was in a bunker with three other men when a shell hit, killing two of them. The third man was thrown onto his chest, immobilizing him. It took six hours for the soldier to die and another 28 until someone came across Jack to rescue him.

Jack spent months in a British institution suffering from severe shell shock, which included loss of memory, paralysis and speech. He returned to Canada and in 1917 was traveling through New York when a sudden noise brought about a relapse of his memory and muteness. He was found wandering the streets and institutionalized in a Brooklyn hospital. (Note that this story was not reprinted in Manitoba newspapers.)

February 25, 1924, Winnipeg Tribune

Jack returned to Manitoba and worked at the family store in Russell. On February 23, 1924 he went into the basement where he "suddenly lost consciousness" and died. No direct cause of death was given. An article in the Tribune noted that he never recovered from the effects of his shell shock and that “....his sudden death at the age of 27 may be directly attributed to them.

Additional Sources:
Attestation Papers Library and Archives Canada
Manitoba Vital Statistics Database

 This soldier's history has been pieced together using a number of sources. If you have additional information or would like to point out a factual error, please do so in the comments below or by email at cassidy-at-mts.net.

© Christian Cassidy 2014

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Radio Edition - August 24, 2014

Upper Fort Garry Gate

Check out the podcast on Monday ! For past episodes.


Tonight on West End Dumplings - The Radio Edition, our guest will be Jerry Gray, chairman of the Friends of Upper Fort Garry. We'll talk about the history of the site and the big development currently underway.

Show Links

Links to some of the people and events we will be talking about in the history portion of the show. These are just a smidge of what you will find daily at my blog This Was Manitoba.

Winnipeg's Monty Hall, (see below for the interview link.)

"Cartoon" Charlie Thorson's fonds are at the University of Manitoba.

"Your Pet, Juliette", also see CBC Digital Archives

A history of Harlequin Romance

The ManPop music festival of 1970 

Harry Colebourn and Winnie the Bear (also)

Play List

Lucky Trapper Reel by Sierra Noble

Winnie the Pooh by The Sherman Brothers

Unscripted Monty Hall Interview (excerpt)

Helter Skelter by Dianne Heatherington (read more about her here)

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Interesting uses for transit buses in other cities

While we have MIRV, other cities are doing even more interesting things with transit buses.

http://www.lavamae.org/#!lavamae--blog/c23dc
 Source: lava mae blog

Last fall, San Francisco non-profit group Lava Mae began "delivering dignity one shower at a time" with their converted transit bus. It is being used to combat the fact that there are only a handful of places in the entire city where the homeless can use such facilities. There is an Indiegogo campaign to put more units on the road.

http://www.marketmobileottawa.ca/#!photos/c1t41

In Ottawa, the MarketMobile bus has hit the streets. The pilot project is a partnership between government, private and non-profit groups to brings fresh fruit and vegetables, plus nutritional information, to neighbourhoods where grocery stores are scarce.
 
Source: Bridj blog

In Boston, a new take on "the bus" as private bus firms like Bridj have hit the streets offering private shuttles, ranging in size from coaches to smaller, luxury vans. This CityLab story looks at what they offer.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Herb Walker of Birtle

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, I am working on a series of blog posts and radio shows that will look at some of the Manitobans who died in action. For more about this project and links to other posts, follow this link.

http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial/detail/616752?George%20Herbert%20Walker

Private George Herbert "Herb" Walker was born in Sheffield, England. In 1893, when he was a teenager, his family came to Manitoba to farm three miles north of Birtle.

Walker was a farmer by trade, but also a well-known drummer and singer. On his attestation papers he lists three years volunteer service with a military band back in Sheffield. He was one of the organizers of the Birtle town band in the 1890s and served as its bandmaster in 1902. In 1910 he sang at the opening ceremony for Birtle's Town Hall.

http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/postcards/PC011368.html
Top: Birtle ca. 1910 (source)
Bottom: Birtle Recruiting Office ca 1915 (source)

In 1917 he enlisted in Winnipeg with the Canadian Army Service Corps and was later transferred to the Royal Winnipeg Rifles where he also played in the 8th Battalion Band.

He was killed on August 9, 1918 in the Battle of Amiens at the age of 45. I could find no details about his death. He is buried in the Manitoba Cemetery, outside Caix, France.

September 5, 1918, Winnipeg Free Press

On the evening of Sunday, September 1, 1918 a memorial service was held at the Union Church of Birtle, (now Birtle United Church), for both Walker and Vaughn Watt, another a local farmer and musician who was killed on the same day.

Walker left behind widow Mary Frances McKay, whom he married in 1905, and three children ranging in age from 8 to 12.

Sources:

Canadian Virtual War Memorial Veterans' Affairs Canada

Attestation Papers Library and Archives Canada

George Herbert Walker Walker History Web

A History of the Municipality of Birtle p. 423

This soldier's history has been pieced together using a number of sources. If you have additional information or would like to point out a factual error, please do so in the comments below or by email at cassidy-at-mts.net. 

© Christian Cassidy 2014

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Radio Edition for August 17, 2014 *Podcast

Nutty Club
West End Dumplings - The Radio Edition airs tonight at 7 pm on 101.5 UMFM or check here for the podcast !

Guest

Tonight, break out the Hawkins Cheezies and Jos Louis', we're going to be talking about the social history of Canadian snack foods with Janis Thiessen. She's also looking for people who were connected with the industry or who were on a local Old Dutch TV game show !

Show Links

The Cranberry Portage train wreck of 1943

A great bio of Winnipeg's Marjorie White

The Beatles' 1964 stopover in Winnipeg. See the video here and read a first-hand account here ! 

More about the life and writings of Frederick Philip Grove

A history of Towne Cinema 8

Coming Events

West End bus tour of community gardens and historic places with me ! Thursday, August 28.

Winnipeg General Strike Bike Tour, Saturday, August 30th

Winnipeg Architecture Foundation's Terra Cotta Walking Tour, Thursday, August 21.

Play List

Potato Chips Sam Gaillard and his Bakers Dozen
I'm on a Diet of Love Marjorie White, Richard Keene (Happy Days)
In My Life The Beatles
Not Guilty The Beatles

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Manitoba's WWI Fallen: Vaughn Watt of Birtle

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, I am working on a series of blog posts and radio shows that will look at some of the Manitobans who died in action. For more about this project and links to other posts, follow this link.

Image: September 5, 1918, Winnipeg Free Press

Lance Corporal Vaughn* David Watt was the only son of David and Jenny Watt of Birtle, Manitoba. the Watt family moved from Woodstock, Ontario to farm. They relocated closer to town when father David got a job as a grain buyer, then manager, for United Grain Growers. Mother Jenny was was a driving force in the Home Economics Society and the Manitoba Women's Institute, becoming its first secretary in 1910 and went on the become president of the national organization in the 1920s.

(* In most instances, his name is spelled Vaughan. That includes newspaper references, the Birtle history book and his Soldiers of WWI and Virtual War Memorial entry. If you look at his attestation papers, however, he clearly signs his name Vaughn and there is even a place where his name is written and the "a" clearly crossed out ! Most letters to the family from people who knew him use Vaughn. I will use the latter.)

Top: Birtle Recruiting Office ca 1915 (source)
Birtle ca. 1910 (source)

Growing up with his two sisters, Vera and Nell, Vaughn worked on the family farm, he also had a job at the bank, (most likely the Union Bank on Main Street), and played in the the Birtle band. At the time he enlisted in 1916, he was 24, single and listed his occupation as a farmer near Regina.

He was promoted to Lance Corporal in May 1918 and died on August 9, 1918 in the Battle of Amiens, just three months before the First World War ended. A friend or relative responding to a note from Jenny Watt provided some details of his death. Watt was shot through the heart and “died quite suddenly” and the friend lamented that he was unable to retrieve the body.

Watts' remains were eventually recovered. His is buried in the Rosieres Communal Cemetery Extension in France.

September 5, 1918, Winnipeg Free Press

On the evening of Sunday, September 1, 1918 a memorial service was held at the Union Church of Birtle, (now Birtle United Church), for Watt and Herb Walker, another a local farmer and musician who was killed on the same day.

http://www.umanitoba.ca/libraries/units/archives/canada_war/watt/website/Photos/Photo1_VD_Watt_fob-in.shtml

A century later, it is hard to get inside the mind of a soldier on the battlefield, less so with Watt. The Vaughan David Watt fonds at the University of Manitoba contains letters and cards home to his family and other written memorabilia. Much of it has been digitized, some inluding audio versions.

Sources:

Vaughan David Watt fonds University of Manitoba

A view of the Birdtail - A history of the Municipality of Birtle p 426

Canadian Virtual War Memorial page Veterans' Affairs Canada

Attestation papers Library and Archives Canada

Vaughan David Watt Canadian Great War Project

Watt and audio version of his letters home are also featured in this episode of West End Dumplings - The Radio Edition. Check out the podcast !

This soldier's history has been pieced together using a number of sources. If you have additional information or would like to point out a factual error, please do so in the comments below or by email at cassidy-at-mts.net.

© Christian Cassidy 2014