War As They Knew It
August 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. By the end of the conflict, the War had touched almost everyone’s life, some dramatically.
Take, for example, British subject J. Mellor Poucher, who lived in Edson during its fledging years. He sent the Town of Edson a tape of his memories from that time. Listen below for his specific recounting of when our community found out they were going to war and how that changed both his life and the lives of your neighbours.
Click to hear J M Poucher's recollection of the time
J Mellor Poucher
Next, we invite you to meet Sarah Whitehead, a nurse with the Royal Alexandra Nursing Corps, Manchester, England during the Great War. She tended to wounded soldiers from all over the world – including several Canadians – and many of those men signed her autograph book. Sarah Whitehead is the Grandmother of long-time resident Anne DeChambeau who loaned the Galloway Station Museum the autograph book to be scanned.
And finally, we will glimpse into the life of a Canadian prisoner of war, Sgt. L.E. (Vern) Turner. Turner was onboard a World War II RCAF Halifax bomber that was shot down over Germany during a bombing raid in 1943. He was the only member of his crew to survive the crash. Turner was taken prisoner by the Gestapo and held in Stalag Luft I, a prisoner of war camp in Barth, Germany. The rations provided by their captors were just enough to stay alive – boxes from the Red Cross containing more food and other comforts were greatly appreciated. Included in the life-saving boxes were journals from the YMCA, providing a way for POWs to record their experiences through prose, sketches, poetry or painting.
It is through Turner’s journal, Whitehead’s autograph book, Poucher’s tape and with help from local Edson Royal Canadian Legion #51 that we are able to personalize wartime experiences and give future generations a glimpse into the lives of those who served.