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Ruby M. Cusack

New Brunswick Great War Project (NBGWP)

War was something far away both in time and distance. But Cliff and I often overheard the adults talking of the folk they knew who had been injured in battle as well as families who lost a loved one.

There were rules and regulations during the Second War that changed the lifestyle of folk in New Brunswick. Sugar and tea were rationed. Mum had a coupon book. Owners had to have a license for their radio. Dad had to go out some nights and stop any cars that were travelling on the road and insist they turn off their headlights. Only a small light was turned on in the house and the blinds were all pulled down. He called this a Black - Out Drill.

The older people spoke of the First World War and how some of the returned soldiers had been gassed and still had lung problems. The ladies told of raising money by having concerts and pie socials and knitting hundreds of pairs of socks to send in comfort boxes to the Boys.

Gram and her sister, Tillie, had scrapbooks that held pictures and news items of their friends and relatives who went to War. More than once I saw a tear as they looked through them.

As we approach the 100th year anniversary of the end of World War I, memories and stories are coming alive.

The New Brunswick Great War Project  (NBGWP)  that is posted on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website is an ongoing program to preserve and illustrate a collection of sources relating to this province’s commitment to the Great War (1914-1919).”
26,000 New Brunswick men and women wore the uniform of war. One in ten did not return home.

The first part of the website has links to 32,937  attestation files for each person serving in the Canadian Expeditionary Force that is held by Library and Archives Canada (LAC), which documents their time in the service.

Within each of these files is the attestation document that was completed when the person enlisted. The attestation paper provides basic information on the person at the time of enlistment including an address and next of kin. Also attached to the Attestation Files are the soldiers' Service Files which are in the process of being digitized at LAC.

“The second part of the project provides users with almost 50,000 articles drawn from three provincial newspapers namely the Kings County Record, the St. John Standard, and Fredericton’s Daily Gleaner.”

“Articles, ranging in date from 1914 to 1920, cover a number of important wartime issues. The largest category of clippings details the extent of New Brunswick’s military contribution to the Great War, from recruiting to the publication of personal letters and the twice-daily casualty list. Other categories include charitable fund raising, politics, economic expansion, the role of women and children, and the influence of religion.”

This site is a work in progress with a number of enhancements planned for the future. Currently, it is not possible to search by name the people mentioned in the newspaper articles. This will be a feature that is hoped to be added. As well, entries from more newspapers will be added in the next year or so. The newspapers to be added at the next stage are: The Daily Times (Moncton), The Daily Telegraph and Sun (Saint John), The Tribune (Campbellton), The Campbellton Graphic (Campbellton) and The North Shore Leader (Newcastle)

My first community to check was Titusville, where I read an article in the Kings County Record of Dec. 27, 1918 which mentioned Gramp’s sister having returned from overseas to spend Christmas with relatives. Also found something that no relative had mentioned about her being ill and not being able to take passage on a ship that was torpedoed. Her Service Files give details about her bicycle accident that severely injured three fingers on her right hand.

Sadness and fright probably came to Mrs. R. M. Hanlin when she received a telegram in 1918 that her husband was shot in the neck and was in Hospital in France.

In the Kings County Record there are many articles for the Village of Hampton including those that mention Community events to raise funds and donations for the Red Cross.

The July 23, 1917 issue of the St. John Standard, relates information on a party for John Ferguson of the Forestry Battalion by the L.O.L. of Lorneville and the presentation to him of a watch. The names of many people who attended are listed.

Petitcodiac News in the Kings County Record reported on Apr 11, 1919 that Pte. James MacFarlane reached home Thursday having been detained in Halifax with Bronchitis. He is one of four brothers who enlisted from this village.

Several Petitcodiac Boys did not return home including - Lieutenant Charles Irving Douglas, Pilot Arthur Bourns, second son to give his life - includes a letter edged in black, and Lieut. Ernest Jonah of the 26th Battalion.

The Fredericton Gleaner of Aug 29, 1914 carried an interesting report on the supposed German spy, Vogel, who made maps and plans and even was in the camps with the various New Brunswick regiments.

At this season of the year, children are looking forward to summer vacation, while family researchers look forward to having time to spend hours reading details concerning World War One at home and abroad that are posted on the New Brunswick Great War Project website of the Provincial Archives.

By the way, Mum insisted we always say Thank You to those who did us a good turn. I would like to personally say “Thank You” and express my appreciation to historian Curtis Mainville as all the content is a result of his many months of work.

Actually the  The New Brunswick Great War Project NBGWP is the brain-child of Curtis Mainville in collaboration with the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, the University of New Brunswick’ Gregg Center for the Study of War and Society, and the Harriet Irving Library with links to content at Library and Archives Canada.

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