Thursday 9 November 2006

The idea behind this blog

For several years now I've been researching and writing a history of the 38th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, and its experience during the First World War. Throughout this time one of the things that's bothered / intrigued me is the amount of information I've been able to gather on individual members of the 38th but without any really feasible outlet for the information. In the back of my mind I've wanted to write a collective biography of these men, but I'm not sure that will ever happen. (I still have a lot of work left to do just writing the overall history). Putting the information slowly onto my website is also possible, but seems a lot of web-type work that I'm not really up for. So, what I have concluded is, why not use a blog to present this information? I'm already familiar with Blogger (from my other blog - The Cannon's Mouth) and it's a quick and easy means to get some information out onto the web and, hopefully, garner some feedback as I go along.

So, here's the plan. I will write individual posts on members of the 38th - hopefully one a day or so - using some of the basic information I've gathered. I will then consider each of these posts to be available for editing, in other words I will add more information as I find it - images, medal citations, newspaper blurbs, etc., etc. I will use labels (see the bottom of this message) specific to each unique family name (all the Smiths together, for example) and these will appear on the right sidebar as a type of index to the individuals. This will become unwieldy when I've written posts for hundreds of individuals, but I'll try to figure something out.

Feedback would be wonderful! Further information on one or more soldiers I've written about, fantastic!


Anonymous said...

Hi there, I came across your blog while doing some family history research. My great-uncle, Leo MacDonald was a member of the 38th Battalion from February 27, 1915 until demobilization in 1919. After discharge he went to Kingston to live with his brother and family. Unfortunately he died in 1922 after lapsing into a diabetic coma.

Unknown said...

I have a Roscoe Wilder. I guess you haven't got to the Ws yet. He wrote a memoire which says he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field twice. I have found the record for 1 which was gazetted 24 Jan 1919.

Ken said...

Hi Lois,

Cpl Wilder did receive the MM and a Bar to the MM. The first was announced in London Gazette, issue 31142, 21 January 1919, p.1249; the second in London Gazette, issue 41469, 22 July 1919, p.9345.

I would love to see a copy (a digital scan?) of his memoir.

Thanks for your comment.


Anonymous said...

Hello Ken:
I discovered your blog after doing a search for my great-uncle John Stanley Holmes, who served in the 38th. I do have a photo of him in uniform, on horseback. I have no idea where it was taken. I have another photo of him in civilian clothes. My mother was born in Canada and came to the U.S. as a small girl with her mother and her brother. When she died in 1990, I traveled to Picton, Ontario to research my family history. It was in Picton that I discovered a statue of a WWI soldier and found my uncle's name on the monument. Upon advice of a passing gentleman, I wrote to the military archives in Ottawa and received copies of his military records. Through them I was also able to purchase a photograph of my great-uncle's grave in France.

If you would like to contact me, my email address is:

Thank you for putting this blog together.

Kathy Dhalle

BevW said...

My Great-Uncle Private James Johnston Rose 472627 attested to the 38th Battalion Nov 16th, 1915 at Saskatoon.He has 2 gravemarkers. One is a military gravemarker at Malagawatch Cemetery, Cape Breton which also notes he was in the 38th battalion.He was ultimately Discharged 31 5 (?) 18 in accordance H.Q. 16.25 of ................. having been placed in Category C III of Sickness aggravated by service - handwritten on attestation papers.

His brother, Fraser Rose wrote the following:He came over to England with the Canadian Expeditionary Force rather late in 1916, and came to visit his parents in Lewis. I think that it was in 1917 that he went to France; he was in France about three months in the front line before he was buried by a shell. This upset his old back injury and he was completely disabled again. When he was evacuated from a base hospital he was sent to a Glasgow hospital where he remained for some months.

I wonder if you have run across any information about him? Many thanks.

Ken said...

Hi Bev,

I'm afraid I don't have much information to add to yours at this point.

What I do have is the following:

Private James Johnstone Rose - joined the 65th Battalion, CEF, on 16 Nov 1915 (number 472627) - taken on the strength of the 38th Battalion, CEF, on 27 Nov or 1 Dec 1916 - wounded on 9 April 1917 - invalided sick to England on 28 January 1917.

Have you tried ordering a photocopy of his personnel file for his military service - it's held by Library and Archives Canada. Instructions for ordering a copy can be found on this website -

Thanks for the information and the message,


Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,
Thanks to your blog, a military collector found my email address and contacted me to let me know Lance Cpl. T.J. Cassidy's medals were on auction on ebay. Those medals have been missing for 60 years, the family had no idea where they went. Well it was tense, but we were the winning bid on ebay last night. Those medals are coming home. The odds of finding my uncle's medals were pretty slim, but it happened. Thanks again,
Amanda Owen

BevW said...

HI again Ken,

I have ordered copies of James Rose records and am awaiting their delivery. I do have a photo of him in uniform if you are interested. I have posted it to the Canadian Great War Project so you can find it low resolution there or I can email you a higher resolution copy.

Thanks for the info you shared.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,

My Grandfather Wilfred "Gord" Robertson (reg't #246448) of Ottawa, Ontario enlisted with the 207th Battalion on 5 June 1916 and trained as a signaller. Upon arriving in England in June 1917, the battalion was disbanded and he has attached to the 7th Cdn Reserve Battalion, until he was taken sick with influenza on 27 Dec 1917.

I'm attempting to track his movements in Europe through his war records, but for a "non-miltary" genealogist, it is very difficult. I understand the 7th Cnd Reserve Bn was absorbed by the 38th Battalion. Does this mean he was involved in all the battles that the 38th were in during his time with them? (i.e. Battle of Hill 70 & Passchedaele).

Any insight you can give me on this would be greatly appreciated.

Ed Robertson
Ottawa, ON

al said...

Hello to everyone. What a fantastic find. My grandfather George Russell Holland was a member of the 38th battalion as noted. I am hoping I can get a soft copy of the 38th Battalion badge..and ideally find a real badge online somehow. My wife and I are taking my mom (Joyce) Georges daughter to France in May next year to visit the Vimy Memorial and some of the battlefields am doing a ton of research. I would really like to know the area where he and the battalion had likely of fought or been posted. Not sure how to go about this though. He was wounded in the war and sent to England to recover. Any guidance by yourself or anyone reading this is appreciated. Great job Ken! Alan

Unknown said...

Hey, nice site....for a while ther I thought I was the only one searching for a long lost relative!! My great-uncle William Rocheleau, 636507, signed up with the 155th. (Quinte) battalion and ended up fighting and dying with the 38th on June 26, 1917 in the attack on Avion. I read a message from Al who said he was going to Vimy. My wife and I were there in 2003. There is something different about that place. When you get there'll know you're on 'sacred ground!!'

kbeck said...

Hello. My great grandfather was Frederick Waterman, with the 38th. I'm actually staring at his medals right now. He was awarded a Russian medal - the George's Cross of the 4th degree. We have the letters accompanying the medal - one in Russian signed by the Chief of Russian staff, and the English equivalent which states "Equivalent to Victoria Cross in Russia." He was gravely injured in 1917, but recovered. He lived into his 90's, and passed away in the early 1980s.
When you reach the W's, I can give you more information.

Allison said...

Dear Ken:
Thank you for all the work you have done. I have been doing some family tree research for a close friend who knows very little about her grandfather. She will be on cloud 9 when I send this information to her. What a gift you have given to her.

Sandie said...

Hi! Ken Your work has brought many souls peace, knowing what happened to their kin. Bless you!
I am looking for my grandfather, "Harold Perry Smith" born Nov. 1987/88 in Denver, CO. Raised in Ontario, Can. His father Wallace Burdock Smith b. 1863, Port Hope, Canada and Carrie Augusta Teters-Mason...Smith born,1873 Warsaw, IN. I do not know if he was a Canadian soldier as his brother was (Joseph Shuter Smith b. 1893 and his father Wallace B. Smith was) , but our family does NOT know where he was after 1920. In 1920 he lived in Oakland, CA with wife Cline & their twin, 2 yr old daughters. In 1920 he left his family and no one knows where he went or ever saw him again. I suspect he joined the Canadian forces about 1920-22 and possibly died in battle.

If you can find ANY information on him I would be very grateful. I've been looking for a very long time. He lived most of his childhood in Ontario, Canada, & had more allegiance to Canada than the US. His father & brother both lived their last years in B.C., Ontario, Canada. I sincerely hope you can find him. Blessings!
my email is

Dale said...

Very interesting blog! Louis Edgar Middlebrook was my Great-Great Uncle.He wrote to my Great-Grandmother during the war. We still have letters.He came back after the war with an injured shoulder, but continued to work on the farm as hard as anyone. He married and had one child.

irish cousin said...

Hi Ken, thank's for your work on this
. I do have the info that you have on Benjamin Alexander Bradley. I also have a photo if you don't.

Tim Soper said...


I just came upon your reference to Reginald Ellsworth Parrott. He served with my grandfather Alexander Grant MacLachlan, PPCLI no. 4 machine gun crew. My grandfather would have been there when Parrott died. Is there any known family? I'd love to contact them.

Lee Dickson said...

Hi Ken,
This is an interesting blog. My grandfather Ivan Carman Clendinnen was in the 38th and he survived the war. I have presently added a page to my website at: which includes his biography in short: it should be of interest to you. The subject of the webpage is a photograph taken at Versailles, July 31st 1918 and I am hoping to identify the 80 allied soldiers and three citizens in the photo. I'm guessing that Ivan was accompanied by fellow soldiers from the 38th and they also might be here. Given your background in WWI history, you may be able to help me out with some details I'm in the process of researching and developing here...a short intro to the page is found at:
I can be contacted though my website and would be pleased to hear back from you. Lee Dickson

Unknown said...

My daughter asked me about our family tree this evening, so I pulled out old papers and we came across records for my great-great grandfather Richard Henry Walsh who enlisted in the "39th Canadian Infantry Battalion", CEF when he was about 34 years of age, on 5 Jan 1915, in "Peterboro". He was a Private, Regimental No. 412540 and served in England. He was discharged "by reason of Demobilization" on April 15, 1919 at Kingston, ON. Among his papers, there is a certification that he took a course of Instruction in Cooking at the Army School of Cookery, making him "competent to superintend the Cooking of any Regular Unit". (Somebody had to feed the troops!) We also have his original Discharge Certificate. As far as I know he never saw action. He lived until he was 71. It is humbling to read about the battles in which this Battalion has served. Thanks for your effort.

Paul Manuel