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.

June 2017 Posts:

26 June 2017

Dominion Day, Camp Sewell

This image on this postcard was taken on Dominion Day at Camp Sewell, presumably in 1915.

Front of postcard with photo of Camp Sewell on Dominion Day, 1915. There is a large group of people milling about in a field with parked cars. Many of the people are in uniform. In the distance, there is an open exhibition field with tents in the background. Back of Postcard, which reads “Regina, Oct 1, '15. Dear Edna: Enlisted here yesterday and am leaving Grenfell for Montreal on Thursday night to join 4th University Company. Jim Brown is also going. Am going to spend a couple of days at Gainsboro with Brown. Will phone you from there. Will answer your letter soon. Dick.” Postmarked Regina, Sask Oct 4 10-am 1915
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Archives of Manitoba, Edna M. Chapman Robson fonds,
“Dominion Day, Camp Sewell” postcard, sent October 4, 1915, P6011A/1

The postcard was sent 4 October 1915 by Charles Douglas (Dick) Richardson to Edna Chapman, reporting to her that he had enlisted the previous day, at Camp Sewell.

Camp Sewell, renamed Camp Hughes in 1915, was a training centre for the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. It was located 10 kilometres west of Carberry, Manitoba, and is now a national historic site.

Search Tip: Search “Edna M. Chapman Robson fonds” in Keystone for more information about Edna, Dick and the records at the Archives. All of Dick Richardsonís correspondence with Edna Chapman has been digitized and can be read online in the Keystone database.

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19 June 2017

Russian Revolution and the HBC

In 1917, the Hudson’s Bay Company found itself with a front row seat to revolution in Russia, thanks to its wartime shipping contracts with various European nations. This letter, dated 25 June 1917, was written by H.A. Armistead, the HBC’s agent in Archangel, Russia, and addressed to the Governor and Committee in London.

Typewritten letter from H.A. Armistead to HBC London with 4 pages
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Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba,
Records of Hudson's Bay Company representatives at Archangel,
Private and confidential correspondence,
H.A. Armistead to HBC London (copies), 25 June 1917, RG22/26/4/4.

It was written during the tumultuous period between the abdication of Czar Nicholas II in March of that year and the October Revolution, which set the wheels in motion for the creation of the Soviet Union. During this time, with the abdicated czar under house arrest, the newl appointed Provisional Government struggled to maintain its authority as Soviet workers’ councils challenged their power.

As a result, a power vacuum existed in which, as Armistead writes:

“the real ruling element, not only in Archangel but all over Russia, is the committee of soldiers and workmen… controling and interfering with all decisions and decrees of the authorities.”

In the letter, Armistead expresses his frustration with the situation and how it impacts the HBC’s business in Archangel. Notably, Armistead issues a very accurate prediction:

“It is evident that this, in the long run cannot work, and it is my personal opinion that sooner or later things will become so disorganized that some strong man may evolve as a dictator, around whom very soon all elements of order will rally.”

Search Tip: For more information about HBC correspondence from Archangel, search “Records of Hudson's Bay Company representatives at Archangel” in Keystone.

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