Visit this blog for regular posts about records at the Archives of Manitoba that date from the time of the First World War. Visit the Archives of Manitoba to see the records in person.

December 2015 Posts:

29 December 2015

Counting Down to the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage: the Political Equality League Presents a Petition of Almost 40,000 Signatures to the Executive Council

On 23 December 1915 members of the Political Equality League presented a petition of almost forty thousand signatures supporting women’s suffrage to the Executive Council. The original petition does not seem to have survived but the Archives does have a montage of six photographs which document the presentation. This montage was donated to the Archives in 1967 by a Mrs. Sarah Davidson, wife of the nephew of Dr. Mary Crawford who is pictured in the montage and was a long-time President of the Political Equality League.

The six photographs depict: the petition on the table in the Legislative chamber; the front page of the petition; a second, smaller, rolled petition; a statement from the Clerk of the Executive Council with the total number of people who voted in the 1914 election; four of the women who presented the petition – Mrs. A. V. Thomas (Lillian Beynon Thomas), Dr. Mary Crawford, Mrs. F. J. Dixon (Winona, nee Flett) and Mrs. Amelia Burritt (age 93) – with the petition in the Legislative chamber; and a statement verifying the number of names in the petition.

montage of 6 photos "Commemorating the presentation to the Executive Council, by  the Political Equality League, of a petition for the enfranchisement of women. Dec 23 1915".
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Archives of Manitoba, "Commemorating the presentation to the Executive Council,
by the Political Equality League, of a petition for the enfranchisement of women. Dec 23 1915", D29.

See previous posts about “Counting Down to the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage” from 26 January 2015, 23 February 2015, 19 May 2015, 22 June 2015, 14 September 2015, 13 October 2015, and 26 October 2015.

Search Tip: Search “Political Equality League” in Keystone for more information.

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21 December 2015

Christmas in the Wards

Letters during Christmastime often focus on family, friends, and gifts. The Christmas season is a time to be merry, but what about the soldiers who were injured or ill during the First World War?

Jean Cowie, the second eldest daughter of Junior Chief Trader of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Isaac Cowie, and a nursing sister with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service was stationed in Cosham, Hampshire, England. She sheds some light on festivities in the wards she experienced in one of her letters to her father.

On November 18, 1916, addressed to “Daddie-kin,” Jean explains that “Christmas is a great day here for the patients and the sisters spend a good deal of money buying nice things for them to have & to decorate the ward.” It’s no wonder that “Everyone here is extremely good to ‘we Canadians’.”

handwritten letter from Jean Cowie to Isaac Cowie, dated November 18, 1916. Page 1 of 4.

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letter, pages 2 and 3

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letter, page 4 of 4

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Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba.
Isaac Cowie fonds, Jean Cowie to Isaac Cowie correspondence, November 18, 1916, E.86/70.

To read more about the Cowie family letters, read our blog posts from 28 July 2014, 29 December 2014, and 6 July 2015.

Search Tip: Use keywords “Isaac Cowie” in Keystone to see descriptions of these records. To view this letter and Cowie’s other records, visit the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives at the Archives of Manitoba.

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14 December 2015

Christmas Greetings from the Canadian Machine Gun School

This Christmas card from 1915 is from the records of George Hambley held at the Archives of Manitoba. Hambley was a trooper in the Canadian Light Horse during the First World War. For more about Hambley, see our 22 April 2015 blog post.

We know very little about this card. It was sent to “Murchie” from “Charlie” so how George Hambley came to have it in his possession is not known. Still it is an interesting example of a greeting card created by servicemen during the War.

The Canadian Machine Gun School was located at Napier Barracks at Shorncliffe Army Camp in Kent, England and the card shows the size of the School’s staff by the end of 1915.

Christmas card front. Card reads “The Canadian Machine Gun School. Napier Barracks shorncliffe. Christmas 1915”

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Christmas card inside. Card shows list of The Canadian Overseas Machine Gun School staff commanders and officers. Card reads “Wishing you the Compliments of the Season To Murchie From Charlie.” surrounded by illustrations of soldiers doing different actions.

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Christmas card back. Card shows list of The Canadian Overseas Machine Gun School staff and instructors.

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Archives of Manitoba, George Henry Hambley fonds, Christmas card 1915, P7420/1.

Search Tip: Search the Keystone database to find out more about records from the First World War in the Archives of Manitoba’s holdings. For tips on searching for First World War records, see our 26 May 2014 blog post.

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7 December 2015

“In Flanders Fields”

John McCrae wrote the very famous poem “In Flanders Fields” in May 1915 but it wasn’t published until 8 December 1915, one hundred years ago tomorrow. The poem quickly became known by those serving overseas during the First World War.

This can be seen in the records of George Hambley, a trooper in the Canadian Light Horse during the First World War who kept excellent diaries throughout the War (featured in our 22 April 2015 blog post). In a photograph album created just after the War, but while Hambley was still serving in Europe, Hambley writes out the poem on the first page. We don’t know whether he was writing it from memory or whether he was copying it from a publication. There are just a few small errors. In the first line it should read “the poppies blow” not “the poppies grow” as Hambley has written. He also calls McCrae, “McRae ”. Other than that, the poem is written word for word, as we know it today.

The album includes many photographs and notes about Hambley’s time in France and England immediately following the War and details his journey home to Canada. We will feature more of Hambley’s photographs and diary entries in later blogs. If you are interested and don’t want to wait, you can of course come down to the Archives to view these records for yourself!

photo of “In Flanders Fields” poem, handwritten by George Hambley

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Archives of Manitoba, George Henry Hambley fonds, Photograph album, P7425/1.

Search Tip: Search “George Hambley” in the Keystone database to find out more about these records.

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Adrian B December 17, 2015

Hello,

I was at a Remembrance Day event at Manitoba Archives on Vaughn in november of this year (2015). It was about letters from soldiers of WWI. I believe that at that event it was stated that more of these letters can be viewed online at the Archives web site. I do not see any links on your web site. Has this provision been removed?

Thank you,

Adrian B.

Archives of Manitoba

Hi Adrian,

Thank you for your email – we're so pleased you were able to join us this past November for the public readings of First World War letters at the Archives of Manitoba!

You can find digitized copies of First World War letters by searching our online database, called Keystone. Three collections of letters are now fully digitized and searchable in Keystone, including the letters of Jack Winter Quelch, George Battershill and Charles Douglas (Dick) Richardson. More detailed instructions can be found in our First World War blog post from July 13, 2015.

We hope this helps! Thank you again for your question and interest in the Archives.

~ Archives of Manitoba

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