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.

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18 June 2018

“Canukeenas let us holler”: The Canukeena Club of Winnipeg

The First World War severed many relationships as families were torn apart, friends were lost, and loved ones never returned home. Throughout the war, however, soldiers formed bonds of friendship that carried over into peacetime. In Winnipeg, a group of ex-soldiers wanted to maintain these connections after the war.

On August 13, 1919, 20 veterans established the Canukeena Club of Winnipeg to assist former soldiers in reintegrating back into society, rebuild old friendships, and to maintain the sense of camaraderie that existed in the military. The name Canukeena was a combination of the words “canuk” (a slang term for Canadians) and “keen.” Put together, Canukeena means Canadians (i.e. canuks) who are keen in assisting in the betterment of Canada.

Canukeenas let us holler<br> Into music let us waller,<br> If the words you cannot foller,<br> Holler - just the same.<br> Loose your belts and let us bellow<br> Louder than the other fellow<br> Let's pretend we're sweet and mellow<br> Ain't it simply grand.<br> Tear the root asunder<br> Never mind a blunder<br> Those placid guys<br> With sleepy eyes<br> Will surely sit up now and start to wonder.<br> Shout for joy you Canukeenas<br> Look at the guy who madly leads us,<br> We're proud of the land that breeds us,<br> LET US TELL THE WORLD.
Archives of Manitoba, Canukeena Club of Winnipeg fonds, Initiation Ceremony, “Canukeena Holler,” P6852/8.

The club hosted social functions and conducted community service activities. Public service initiatives included furnishing wards in the Salvation Army’s Grace Hospital and Deer Lodge Veteran’s Hospital. In 1929, the club established the welfare committee to work with families of ex-soldiers and provide financial assistance for children who lost their fathers in the First World War. Other activities included the Canukeena Concert Party, sporting events, and inviting guest speakers.

Other branches of the club were eventually established throughout Canada, including ones in Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa. The Canukeena Club of Winnipeg ceased its operations by the 1990s.

Search Tip: In Keystone, search “Canukeena Club” to find these records.


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7 June 2018

Hudson's Bay Company's Chartering Department

The Hudson’s Bay Company’s (HBC) wartime shipping operations for the French, Russian and Belgian governments were managed by various departments, which all operated out of HBC’s Threadneedle House office in London. While HBC used many of its own ships for this business, it also relied on ships leased from other owners to help keep up with shipping demands. The Chartering Department was established around 1914 to manage voyage and time charters for HBC.

A voyage charter is a contract to hire a ship and its crew for a particular voyage, while a time charter is a contract for the use of only the cargo space of a ship. The Chartering Department was also responsible for settling insurance claims for chartered ships that had sustained damage while in use by HBC.

Among the records created by the Chartering Department are six volumes of scale drawing plans of ships. These plans include statistics on the dimensions, hold capacities, water ballast capacities, bunker capacities, cargo capacities, loading scales, and particulars on hull and machinery.

cover of book with title “Hudson’s Bay Company - Time Chartered Steamer Plans No 2”
a chartered steamer plan with an scaled illustration of the layout of the ship. &ldquo;General Arrangement S. S. Don Diego. Owned by the Buenos Ayres & Pacific Railway Co. Ld., Mr. George Dodd, Ships' Husband. Scale 1/16 to 1 foot.&rdquo;
full size
Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, Chartering Department records, Time chartered steamer plans, no. 2, ca. 1914-1918, HBCA RG22/8/3/2.

The plan shown above is for the S.S. Don Diego, owned by HBC the Buenos Ayres & Pacific Railway Co. Ltd. It is found in a volume of time chartered steamer plans.

Search Tip: Search “Chartering Department records” in Keystone for more information about records created by the Chartering Department.


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4 June 2018

Making more connections: “Staff of original Provincial Air Service” photograph

While researching for this blog and for displays and events related to our commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the First World War, we found many interesting and unexpected connections between records held at the Archives of Manitoba.

In the 1 May 2017 and 24 July 2017 blogs , we wrote about two soldiers – Frank Leathers and Herb Francis – whose letters are held at the Archives but for whom we didn’t have (or didn’t think we had) photographs. When we found photographs of the men in other records, we were very excited!

A similar connection was made last month when an archivist was working on some records and came across a large mounted photograph of the staff of the original Provincial Air Service, later known as the Manitoba Government Air Service (MGAS). A colleague quickly recalled that J. C. Uhlman, a pilot during the First World War whose diary was recently donated to the Archives of Manitoba (see the 8 January 2018 blog post), was one of the original pilots in the provincial air service and there he was in the photograph (far left)!

We were thrilled to see this photograph of him in his post-First World War career, which all began when he learned to fly during the war.

Photo of four men standing in front of an airplane, with the caption: Manitoba Government Air Service Department of Mines and Natural Resources. Pilots J.C. Uhlman, L.H. Phinney , M.B. Barclay, C.T. Travers & M. Kennedy. Staff of original Provincial Air Service. May 25, 1932.
(2 images)
Archives of Manitoba, “Staff of original Provincial Air Service, May 25, 1932” photograph, D102/1.

We do not know who donated this photograph to the Archives (although a black and white copy was made from a photograph in the possession of H. P. Smith of Lac du Bonnet in 1971), or whether it came in with anything else, so the photograph has been described as an item in our Keystone database and the digitized image is linked online.

Search Tip: Search “Provincial Air Service” in Keystone for more information.  Search James Uhlman to find out more about his diary.


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28 May 2018

The impact of the war on Manitoba's farms, May 1918

While many of our blog posts focus on soldiers’ letters and diaries, the impact of the First World War at home in Manitoba is also documented in other types of records held at the Archives of Manitoba. In the records of Valentine Winkler, MLA for Rhineland and Minister of Agriculture and Immigration in Premier T. C. Norris’ cabinet during the First World War, there are some interesting records about the impact of the war in Manitoba, particularly to Manitoba farms and farm families.

In our 27 November 2017 blog post, we featured letters written to and by Premier T. C. Norris regarding the impact of conscription on Manitoba’s farms and farmers.

An exception for farm workers had been granted for the 1917 harvest and then the 1918 planting, but this exemption was lifted in April 1918. In May 1918, farmers were writing to Manitoba Minister of Agriculture and Immigration Valentine Winkler, MLA for Rhineland, to ask him to intercede on their behalf.

Letter from Dr. McConnell to The hon. Wal Winkler, dated May 5th 1918. Sir/ I enclose a letter which Mr. Sandercock had me write for him and trust that you may be able to do something for him. I have also made application to Professor Reynolds. I do not think any explanation is necessary as you are aware of Mr. Sandercock's sterling qualities better than I can explain them. I have the honor to be a remain Sir, Yours &c.
Letter from T. Sandercock to The Hon. Valentine Winkler and Dr. McConnell. Dear Sirs/ I am in great trouble and I turn to you my friends for help. My youngest boy Thomas Goldwin Sandercock is now in Minto Barracks in C. Company and it leaves me in very bad shape. We have 700 acres of land 400 of which is under crop and there is only my wife and myself left on the farm. my health is not good in that I have a very bad shoulder which prevents me lifting and I can hardly harness the horses and I also have a double rupture that causes me lots of trouble. In addition I am getting to be an old man and cannot work as I formerly did. Goldwin was a first class worker and took the bulk of the hard work from off my shoulders. I have 25 head of cattle 13 head of horses, 56 sheep, and 10 pigs and that all means work and hard work. I thought that if you two men who know me and who know that I would do as much for our country in her time of need as any man would go to the Military authorirites and explain the case that surely some arrangement could be made that Goldwin could get off until this crop was taken off when if necessary some other arrangements could be made. Go personally as that is the only kind of thing that avails. Thanking you in anticipation and knowing that you will do what you can I remain yours &c.
Archives of Manitoba, Valentine Winkler fonds, Valentine Winkler correspondence, pages 2577-2578, P7642/7.

On 5 May Mr. T. Sandercock from Morden wrote to Winkler (through a Dr. McConnell) to ask him to go to the military authorities to ask that his youngest son be exempted to work on their family farm. The son, Thomas Goldwin Sandercock, was already at Minto Barracks, but his father desperately needed him back because he was in poor health with 700 acres, 400 of which were in crop, and only he and his wife were left on the farm.

We do not know whether Winkler contacted the military authorities on Sandercock’s behalf but, from the First World War service files held at Library and Archives Canada, we can confirm that Thomas Goldwin Sandercock attested on 14 May 1918, served in France, and was discharged in summer 1919.

Letter from Valentine Winkler. Winnipeg, May, 21st, 1918. TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: This is to certify that I have known Lawrence Godkin all his life, their family being neighbors of mine. His father died recently, and their farming operations are quite extensive. There is nobody at home now, except his mother, who I am informed is not at all well. If this boy is taken away from the farm I cannot see anything else but a calamity for his mother at home, as there is absolutely no one to look after the harvest. If there is a possible chance, in any way, in the interest of our Empire, I think it is necessary that this boy should be released to continue the farming operations that he has undertaken on this mother's farm. Minister of Agriculture and Immigration.
Archives of Manitoba, Valentine Winkler fonds, Valentine Winkler correspondence, page 2590, P7642/7.

On 21 May, Winkler wrote a letter supporting another family in a similar situation. Lawrence Godkin’s father had recently died, leaving only his mother on the farm.

Winkler wrote:

“if there is a possible chance, in any way, in the interest of our Empire, I think it is necessary that this boy should be released to continue the farming operations.”

There is a First World War service file for a John Laurence Godkin from Morden, Manitoba who attested on 3 May 1918 and was discharged in January 1919. This may be the same Lawrence Godkin, but we cannot be certain.

There are many fascinating records from the time of the First World War in the Archives of Manitoba’s holdings, documenting the impact of the war both at home and away.

Search Tip: Search “Valentine Winkler” in Keystone for more information.


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