Sunday, 9 May 2010

Lewismen in Canadian service

I have compiled a new website, entitled as per header of this post. It shows information on 134 men from the Isle of Lewis who entered military service during the First World War as part of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. They fought on the Western Front in Belgium and France.

You may remember my main tribute site for WW1 casualties from Lewis, Faces from the Lewis War MemorialI have extracted those men who are marked as Canadians, and tracked down their details on the website of Library & Archives Canada. LAC have scanned the attestation (registration) forms of all 600,000 Canadian men who volunteered or were drafted into service during WW1. Apart from those that died, I am also tracing the 420 Lewismen who served as Canadians, but survived. It is startling to see the rate of volunteering dropping off during 1916, and compulsory military service being introduced in 1917. This leads to men absconding after being served their papers, being arrested and taken to their barracks. Some abscond and never return, and are marked as taken off the force.

The details on the attestation forms are quite personal, as shown on the front and back pages of this attestation of a man from Skigersta, Ness. Angus Morrison had emigrated to Victoria, on Vancouver Island, but volunteered to join up in 1915. He died in action two years later.

This poster says it all. On the flag are the names of battles where many died. And (as a consequence) they want more men to join up.

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