Malcolm & Dan Joe (WW1)

"Dan-Joe & Malcolm (WW1)"
Notes 01

1 : Which, last I checked, was not up?

2 Howard, The First World War (Oxford university Press, 2002) at p. 24.

3 The Agadir Crisis was concluded with Germany and France swapping large parcels of land in Africa; each thinking that it had the better of it.

4 France and Great Britain worked together in the back room and reached an agreement for a joint plan (Dubail-Wilson plan) to mobilize 150,000 men in the event that Germany declared war on either nation. Though the Dubail-Wilson plan did not become necessary in 1911, it would be used three years later when World War 1 broke out.

5 Kennedy's The Rise & Fall of the Great Powers (New York: Random House, 1987).

6 It easy to see how the Island nation of Great Britain had little concern for its border. France did not have much concern except its northern border with Germany, having its western, southern and eastern borders covered by the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees and the English Channel.

7 Keegan's The First World War, p. 48.

8 Assassination seem to be an approach when there were international disagreements. A banner year for it, was 1913: King George I of Greece was assassinated in Salonika while walking the streets of the city recently captured from Turkey; Anarchist Rafael Sancho Alegre fired three shots at King Alfonso XIII of Spain as the King was riding through the streets of Madrid (it was the eighth attempt on the king's life); Sung Chiao-jen, the President of the Kuomingtang Party in the Republic of China, was assassinated being shot while waiting for a train in Shanghai.

9 John Keegan's The First World War, p. 59.

10 See, Howard, The First World War (Oxford university Press, 2002) at pp. 28-9.

11 The political and military leaders in Germany felt sure that the war would take but weeks and one in which the superior German army would win. They defeated France in 1870 in a seven week war. There was no good reason to think they could not do the same again especially considering their disciplined army was mobilized, well equipped and ready to go. The Russian army, though consisting of millions of men, was one still operated under 19th century organization principles and with 19th century equipment. Nine years back, in 1905, in the Straits of Tsushima, the Japanese fleet completely overwhelmed, within a few hours, the Russian fleet. (John Keegan's The Price of Admiralty (Penguin, 1990) p. 192.) Thus, it will be seen, with the war considered to be inevitable, that it was to Germany's advantage to take the first aggressive stroke and to defeat the enemy in the west (France) then to turn to the east and beat the Russians in detail. "Russia suffered from two major and ultimately lethal drawbacks: geographical isolation and administrative inefficiency." [Howard, The First World War (Oxford university Press, 2002) at pp. 72-3.]

12 Belgian's neutrality was a guarantee made by international treaty, one that goes back to 1839, and one that Britain and France backed as late as 1939.

13 The Western Front was to remain much the same, month after month. It ran "in a reverse S shape for 475 miles from the North Sea to the Swiss border." (Keegan, The First World War, p. 183.)

14 See, Keegan, pp. 135-6.

15 See, Howard, The First World War (Oxford university Press, 2002) at pp. 39-40.

16 As to how many officers and men were in a Battalion is not something to be easily determined. One has to better understand the make up of any particular army at any particular time: Divisions, Companies, Battalions, Platoons, Sections - it is all a bit a mystery to the uninitiated. One source set numbers to these expressions:
One infantry battalion of approximately 1000 officers and men = 4 companies
One company = 4 platoons
One platoon = 4 sections.

17 The enumerated battalions of the First Canadian Contingent are listed at ; so, too, the battalions of the Second Contingent are listed there, one of which is that Dan-Joe's and Malcolm's, the 26th.

18 “When the rich wage war it's the poor who die.” (Jean-Paul Sartre)

19 Taken from his book, War, as is easily fished up on the 'net.

20 The portrait images of Malcolm (left) and Dan-Joe (right) show them in their "Service Dress Jackets" (SD). For a wonderful site for an insight into uniforms and badges: see,

21 Your compiler's mother.

22 In a letter from a new recruit, we find: "Our brief training in Canada was done at Val Cartier Camp, where we were issued a leather harness named the Oliver equipment, the Ross rifle, of cursed memory, a new fitting uniform with the appropriate badges and insignia of our Regiment, putties for the legs, instead of the black leather leggings we had on arrival - so that we began to look like a combat unit, at least we were all dressed alike. ...
Our training of course was very basic, as we had to start from scratch, the usual parade square drill, route marches and learning to handle our weapons, and shooting on the ranges.

23 At one point I thought, from my preliminary research, that it was the Saxonia that brought them form Quebec to England, but further search threw that into question, even the date they sailed, though their arrival in England is clear from their military records, October 28th, 1915.

24 Bramshott is about half way between Portsmouth and London on Highway A3.

25 We see from the pay records that the pay was $1 a day, plus 10¢ for field pay. He sends $17 a month home to his father by way of an assignment. Dan-Joe, same thing, except he sent $20 home each month.

26 This location, Sandling, is within a larger military staging and training complex known as "Shorncliffe." Normally, the Canadian troops on arrival at England were brought, by train, to Shorncliffe. The first Canadian contingent was not. This first group had to spend the previous winter, cold and wet in tents on the Salisbury Plain at quite some distance from Shorncliffe. The conditions at Shorncliffe, where Dan-Joe and Malcolm spent time, had to be considerably better than for those who had proceeded them. Shorncliffe was long established by the British as one of their principal military training bases; it was near Folkstone on the Channel, and from there but twenty miles to France.

27 The records show that they were, together, in the "40th Regiment, 26th Battalion." In another spot, "26th Bn Can Inf". Another, "2nd Cotingent." Another, for Malcolm, "'C' Co."

28 These notes are from the War Diary of the 26th, nothing, from what I can determine was ever written down by Dan-Joe and Malcolm during the time they were in France.

29 The Reninghelst is located just south of Poperinge. (Map)

30 "Battalion relieved 19th Battn in Trenches near Eloi [Elooi]."

31 The front line was located, from Reninghelst, five miles to the east. (Map) The route to there was set out in MacGowan's book, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th": "The front line at St. Eloi [Elooi] was five miles due east, but the distance by road was close to seven miles. The usual route to the front from this area [Reninghelst] was to march down the river valley to Ouderdom, then easterly to Halebast corner and along the La Clyett-Ypres road [N375] via Dickebush to Cafe Belge, thence to Voormezeele, and on to the St. Eloi [Elooi] trench system." (Saint John: Neptune, 1994, p. 66.) A search of "Dickebusch Huts" show that Dickebusch is a place at West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. And yes, there is a military cemetery located there, the Huts Cemetery.

32 MacGowan's book, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 91.

33 This is the only entry re "GSW. left leg." Later, as we will see, he suffered a gunshot wound to his neck and back. There were a couple of subsequent references to this last wound, but this was the only entry about a gun shot to the leg; but there it is. As for the terms and expression used in this entry: "Royal Herbert HP" is a hospital in London (not apparently these days) which received wounded soldiers and developed a reputation for orthopaedic work; "Woodcote Park," on the southwestern outskirts of London, is a stately home near Epsom, Surrey, England. [I am reminded of "Brideshead Revisited".] "During the Great War of 1914-18 Woodcote Park was taken over for military training" (Wikipedia); "Canadian hospital WW1 France": well to rear, on the coast, a number of "Canadian Hospitals" were built; "C.C.A.C.": It seems to stand for, "Canadian Casualty Assembly Center," as to where this was located is a question; or, was there more than one?

34 John Keegan's The First World War, p. 184.

35 : 25/04/2015

36 : 25/04/2015 Also see, Keegan, The Price of Admiralty (Penguin, 1990) p. 179; And Howard, The First World War (Oxford university Press, 2002) at p. 78.

37 The trenches are identified as "left sector Vierstraat, trenches N3 to 04 inclusive." This is located "in open ground some 300 yards beyond the Bollartbeek, at the foot of the Wytschaete Ridge. The line ran for 1,000 yards in a north-easterly direction towards St. Eloi [Elooi], from south of the Voormezeele-Wytschaete road on the right to the Diependael depression on the left."

38 For example, on the 7th they were sent to Alberta Camp, near Reninghelst. (Map) "It was located near the hill-top at Zevecoten, in an open field across the road from and just east of the windmill. Containing thirty-five huts, ten tents, and the usual parade ground, it was officially rated as a 'good' camp. The 26th Br. would spend three rest periods here." (MacGowan's book, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 91.)

39 "Spoilbank" was, is, on the banks of the Ypres-Comines Canal, a place built up by the "spoil" dredged up. A search reveals that today there is a cemetery located there. The modern map shows, Spoilbank Cemetery, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. "Spoilbank cemetery was at times known as Chester Farm Lower Cemetery or Gordon Terrace Cemetery ..." ( : 25/04/2015)

40 Brickfields was the name allotted to a huge camp occupying flat fields of clay beside the road from Albert to Bousincourt.

41 A note on "Iron Rations": "We were however supplied with a generous amount of what was termed, "Iron Rations", bully beef and hard tack, this was well named and I suspect it also was left over from the South African War or the Rile Rebellion; the bully beef as it was named was good Fray Bentos, and came in handy when on the move, but when one got it everyday in the soup it began to loose its appeal. As to the hard tack, I have seen men with poor teeth putting it in their haversack and pounding hell out of it with the butt of their rifle then scooping the chips into their mouth. So much for the food: We survived. Added to the misery of the camp condition, in which we were practically imprisoned was the fact that on our arrival, the great military genius Sir Sam Hughes had placed all adjacent villages to the camp, "Out of Bounds" to the troops. As we had no wet canteens, all the soldier could do when off duty, was to try and keep warm, the comfort of a glass of beer and a chat with his buddies being denied him also. Sir Sam was opposed to wet canteens." (In a letter from a soldier. )

42 See the War Diary of The 26th. Incidentally: It was during the Battle of the Somme, in September of 1916, that the first tanks appeared on the British side, at Flers-Courcelette.

43 MacGowan's book, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 120.

44 We learn that each man had sixty pounds of equipment on his back.

Woodcote Park, Epsom, Surrey

45 I have not been able to come up with any kind of a count as to the number of Canadians involved with the taking of Courcelette. However there were, at least, three different battalions (including the 26th); thus, at 1,000 men per battalion we had three thousand Canadians or more shuffling between that part of the line in which they were involved, and the rest camps in behind. Such a number obliged those in charge to order that a particular patch should be on each man's tunic just below the shoulder. The men of the 26th "had a navy blue divisional patch, with a 2" red square above, as it was the fourth battalion in the second brigade of 2nd Div." So, we might have seen just before the battle of Courcelette began, men busy with a needle and thread sewing these patches to their sleeves. Also, since we are on the topic of patches: those who were wounded received "wounded stripes" which were to be "attached to the left forearm of their tunics." (MacGowan's book, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 110.)

46 MacGowan's book, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", pp. 129-32.

47 George Coppard (1898 – 1984), With A Machine Gun to Cambrai (1969).



50 Dan-Joe received a Gold Bar (whatever that is) for his exertions on the date of his brother's death, September 28, 1916.

51 A Field Ambulance (F.A.) is "a mobile unit equipped with horse-drawn or motorized ambulances which evacuated soldiers from the Advanced Dressing Station rearward."

52 See MacGowan, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th," pp. 137-8. A note on Regina Trench: This trench was left behind by the 26th Battalion which by the 10th of October were marching to another part of the theatre. It was left behind, yet in the hands of the Germans. However it was taken by other Canadian soldiers in battles that extended over the balance of October [1916], with it being finally overrun on the 21st, but only after the sacrifice of more men.

53 The Canadians alone lost 24,000 killed or wounded at the Somme.

54 "A great part of the information supplied to us by (British Army Intelligence) was utterly wrong and misleading. The dispatches were largely untrue so far as they deal with concrete results. For myself, on the next day and yet more on the day after that, I was thoroughly and deeply ashamed of what I had written, for the very good reason that it was untrue. Almost all the official information was wrong. The vulgarity of enormous headlines and the enormity of one's own name did not lessen the shame." (I believe this came from Thomas' book, With The British On The Somme)

55 A British soldier, James Lovegrove, but a private like our two heroes, after it was all over, wrote of Haig's tactics: "The military commanders had no respect for human life. General Douglas Haig ... cared nothing about casualties.' The British officers in charge "should never have been in charge of men. Never." ( ) Winston Churchill thought the Somme "a welter of slaughter which … left the (Allied) armies weaker in relation to the Germans than when it began". (As quotes at,_1st_Earl_Haig#Post-war_opinion ) It is to be remembered that Douglas Haig had his admirers.


57 As quoted at

58 Vimy Ridge is approximately three miles (5km) south of Lens. (See Map.)

59 See MacGowan, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th," p. 139. Order of October 1st, 1916: "The 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade, with No. 8 Company, Divisional Train, will move tomorrow to Vanencourt ..."

60 The communities in and around the Arras/Lens area were "coal mining towns." This, in itself, must have been interesting to Dan-Joe, as he came from such a town in his native Cape Britain back in Canada. It is reported the Canadian troops were happy (as much as they could be) with the situation in the Arras/Lens area. "Billeting arrangements were excellent. Coal, for heating billets, could be purchased cheaply ... There was available small pubs (estaminets) and other such diversions for any time they might have managed to get off: "cinema, baths, egg and chip cafes, and church parades in the square." I image, too, that for a price, the local madame could arrange to satisfy a young man's urges. "The miners, together with their women and children (the sons were in the French army), had remained in their homes and they were generally hospitable and friendly to the soldiers. They had been issued with gas masks in case of emergency ... An unusual experience for the soldiers was the sight of local boys selling Paris and London newspapers at the entrance of communication trenches to the front line." (MacGowan, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 143.)

61 Headquarters for the Canadian Expeditionary Force, at this point in time, was at the Chateau, Rebreuve-Ranchicourt (See it on the 'net). Ah! To be an officer.

62 "A period of 'rest' for World War I soldiers and relaxation from combat, [could simply be, to be away from] the rigours and perils of trench life. But it also involved a vigorous program of duties, of training, and in this particular case a period of reorganization. The training was directed towards the renewing of men's bodies, nerves and spirits through exercise, fresh air, games and concerts and improving techniques ..." (MacGowan, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 157.)

63 The romantic stories of how both enemies got out of their trenches in order to exchange Christmas greetings, while it might have happened, was not something that I observed in the records.

64 Those in the trenches on Christmas, got their Christmas on being relieved days later.

65 Though they attacked over and over again, at great expense of human lives and misery, Allied "success" is indeed questionable. It is to be kept in mind that the Allies did all the attacking while the Germans, in superior defensive positions, were satisfied to machine gun down great numbers of the enemy's infantry.

66 There were a number of things going on between the U.S. and Germany, before the U.S. got over its propensity not to involve itself in foreign wars, including, for example, on March 15th, when three American merchant ships were sunk by German submarines.

67 By March, 1918, there were 318,00 American troops in France; by August, 1,300,000.

68 Incidentally, the Americans were not without experience in fighting foreign wars; they had been fighting one through the years, 1914 to 1917. It was in Mexico. It led to American troops, on August 15th, 1914, to enter Mexico City. The America foray into Mexico was led by John J. Pershing.

69 "In the afternoon the men were issued with an extra supply of Mills bombs, bandoliers of ammunition, sandbags, flares, filled water bottles, daily food and iron rations, as well as other fighting equipment ..." The gear they carried included "Box Respirators." (MacGowan, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 176.)

70 MacGowan, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 179.

71 Rested yes, but kept busy. As for example when on April 23rd a "reserve Working party of 400 O.R. [Other Ranks] to work on roads."

72 John Keegan's The First World War, p. 326. "The first phase of the operation succeeded brilliantly, with Canadian troops seizing the domination Vimy Ridge."

73 Howard, The First World War (Oxford university Press, 2002) at p. 100. "His [Haig's] Australian and Canadian units had proved themselves the most formidable fighters on the Western Front." Again Howard at p. 128.

74 John Keegan's The First World War, p. 184.

75 "Vimy Ridge remained in British possession until the end of the war. During the 1918 German offensive [they] attempted to outflank the Ridge but failed to do so. Canadian troops held Vimy Ridge at that particular time." (MacGowan, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 185.)

76 MacGowan, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 184.

77 MacGowan, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 175.

78 MacGowan, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", pp. 202-3. In addition, a very effective smoke screen was set up-wind of the hill, which not only impacted the German observers; but it also obliged the German troops, thinking the worse, to put on their encumbering gas masks. Further at the time of the assault on Hill 70, there was carried out a diversionary attack on the nearby city of Lens, which was where the Germans expected to take place. Also, Allied aircraft were very successfully used. (See MacGowan, pp. 204-5.)

79 The losses of the battalion were significant. On the 15th and the days of mopping-up after, resulted in the deaths of 6 officers and 87 men to die; 5 and 81 wounded. (MacGowan, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 213.)

80 MacGowan, New Brunswick's "Fighting 26th", p. 195.

81 By this time, 12th October, 1917, I read in MacGowan, p. 216, that the 26th Battalion at this point consisted of 25 officers and 605 men.

82 There is not much to the account set out in the War Diary, which was contemporaneously written up by a senior officer. We might suppose he was a busy officer for that and the succeeding days. A multi-paged report was attached as an appendix, as can be seen

83 Overall in one day of battle the Canadians, all of the battalions involved suffered a total of 2,238 casualties, including 734 dead. During the three months of the battle for Passchendaele the 2nd Canadian Division lost 15,654 soldiers." [ : 06/04/2015 and see, The Last Day, the Last Hour: The Currie Libel Trial (1988) by Robert J. Sharpe (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009) p. 22.]


85 The Canadians were not the only Allied troops to make an assault on Passchendaele. Others tried. Passchendaele became an objective earlier, in July, and through the weeks little or no ground was taken; indeed, on October 12, 1917, the New Zealand army experienced its biggest loss of life in WW1 at the hands of the Germans defending Passchendaele. Over 800 men and 45 officers were killed, of what was to become known as, the First Battle of Passchendaele.

86 See A. Godefroy, A. Canadian Military Effectiveness in the First World War Dundurn Press, ISBN 978-1-55002-612-2. And see, Robert Comeau, in his article in The Maple Leaf, "The Canadian Way of War: ..."; both cited by

87The United States declared war on April 6th, 1917, and, by that June American troops under Pershing arrived in France. The build up continued so that by March, 1918, there were 318,00; by August, 1,300,000.

88 There are four companies per battalion, so there were approximately 130 men per company in the field.

89 Scabies is a contagious skin disease marked by itching and small raised red spots, caused by the itch mite. See Dan-Joe's medical record.

90 Certain of the ones mention: Hills Camp, Neuville St. Vaast; Rispin Camp Villers Au Bois; and, Alberta Huts, Souchez.

91 : 09/04/2015

92 John Keegan's The First World War, p. 400.

93 Dan-Joe was "Dangerously Wounded" and evacuated by "2/1st London Field Ambulance." The Field Medical Card which was attached to him read "GS.W. Neck & Back - 26th Canadian Battalion - Given 'morphia' at 1:30 AM." At the Clearing Station he was given blood. It is noted "Entrance wound, neck (small) out over left scapula [3" scar]." My guess is that he was picked off by a German sharp shooter, while standing guard in the trench. As we will see, Dan-Joe did recover from this wound, but a more serious medical condition was creeping in: Tuberculous. On June 28th: Daniel was admitted to St Leonards Hospital, London, where he stayed for four months. He continued to be treated in England; first, at St Leonards, as noted, then at Eastbourne (1 week) and then at Lenham Hospital (2 weeks). In October of 1918, with the war just about at an end Dan-Joe was sent back to Canada on a hospital ship. I just might add: we see in the records, that two years before, on June 10, 1916, Dan-Joe was brought in with a "GSW left leg" and was hospitalized for 10 days. The wound to his leg healed and left him no worse off; no further mention was made of it in the records, though numerous references were made to the "G.S.W." to his neck and back, received June 14, 1918; and which, took him permanently out of action. He recovered from the gunshot wounds and his poisonings; but his TB brought him home in October of 1918; he died from it, two years later in 1920.

94 John Keegan's The First World War, p. 411.

95 John Keegan's The First World War, p. 412.

96 After the cleanup, the authorities put their minds to the business of repatriating soldiers back to Canada. This particular piece of business was not well handled. In March of 1919, at Kinmel Park, a military complex located in the north of Wales, where ally-soldiers were put up awaiting their transport, a riot broke out. This occurred in the Canadian sector of the complex. The 15,000 Canadian troops that had been stationed in Kinmel were kept in undesirable conditions. The riot ended after five men were killed, 28 injured, and 25 convicted of mutiny. In June another group of Canadian soldiers caused trouble at Epsom (just south-west of London). At Epsom, an English Police Sergeant was killed. The men who were convicted of rioting were pardoned and sent back to Canada.

97 See, "En Route to Flanders Fields: The Canadians at Shorncliffe During The Great War," London Journal Of Canadian Studies, No 23, 2007/2008 (; and see,; and see,; and see, The Last Day, the Last Hour: The Currie Libel Trial (1988) by Robert J. Sharpe (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009) p. 30. The German figures: 2,057,000 Germans died outright or from wounds. (Keegan, The First World War, p. 7.)

98 "The First World War was a rural conflict ... The First, unlike the Second World War, saw no systematic displacement of populations, no deliberate starvation, no expropriation, little massacre or atrocity." (John Keegan, The First World War, p. 8.)

99 Wikipedia. The "Big Four" were the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson; the Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Lloyd George; the Prime Minister of France, Georges Clemenceau; and the Prime Minister of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando. They met together informally 145 times and made all the major decisions, which in turn were ratified by the others." To see how all this worked out, I but refer the reader to John Maynard Keynes' book, The Economic Consequences of the Peace was published in 1919; Keynes' predictions contained therein panned out; 20 years later Germany was back at it under Hitler.


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Peter Landry
2015 (2018)