Monday, 10 May 2010
The Canadian connection
Out of the 1300 Lewismen who lost their lives in the First World War, one in ten served in a Canadian regiment. This proportion applies in fact to the entire contingent of 6,200 Lewismen who served in WW1. I have extracted their names from the Faces from the Lewis War Memorial website and transcribed whatever further information I could glean from Library & Archives Canada. The result is a new tribute site, entitled Lewismen in Canadian service.
A note on the above poster, which is so pertinent in this context. The names given on the Union Jack are in fact battlefields on the Western Front, which claimed many lives. The inference at the time was of course which other famous battlefields would be a source for glory for the Canadians. Ninety-five years on, it reads more like "which other fields of slaughter will be added to the list, how many thousands more will die?" I can understand that the number of volunteers dropped off after 1915 / 1916, and that the military draft was introduced in 1917. Neither am I surprised that I found at least two men who absconded and were subsequently arrested. One disappeared altogether and was written off the strength of the force.