Monday, 12 November 2018

After the Armistice

The Armistice didn't mean the end of war deaths.

Not quite half of the 100 buried at Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery with Commonwealth War Graves Commission First World War headstones died after 11 November 1918. For Ottawa's Notre Dame it's exactly half (22 of 44).

Those who died from war-related causes after 31 August 1921 did not qualify for inclusion in the CWGC database.

Canada's Books of Remembrance extends the period with entries for deaths until 30 April 1922. They record 640 deaths in 1921, and 187 in 1922 for only the first third of the year. How many later deaths were premature owing to war-related causes and not acknowledged?


Anonymous said...

I have found online the approved application form for a Veterans /military headstone for my grandfather, William Edmund Sterling who died in 1941. My grandmother applied for it. The headstone was placed in the family cenetery in South March, Ottawa. Ed was gassed with both mustard gas and chlorine gas. The chlorine gas caused enlarged heart, breathing problems etc., and he died of a stroke at age 46.
Just an example.
Anne Sterling

S4Ottawa said...

Over 80 soldiers died at No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station after 11 November 2018. By 1919, No 1 CCCS was stationed in Bonn treating returning POWs and most deaths were disease-related. The station remained there until February 1919.

judylynne said...

The post-Armistice deaths that I find most difficult to contemplate are those of men who died while waiting for repatriation. One of "my" Gravenhurst soldiers enlisted on 14 September 1914 -- almost as early as any soldier could and spent the entire war in France with the 2nd Railway Battalion of the Canadian Engineers, building and repairing transportation links. He was wounded, suffered several ailments, but continued to work on throughout the war. Imagine his mother's relief when she received the news that an Armistice had been declared and her son had made it through. Instead, the telegram she would receive from the Canadian government would tell her that her son had contracted Influenza in January of 1919 and then in his weakened state had developed pneumonia and died in February of 1919. The conditions in the repatriation camps were deplorable, disease was rampant, and this young man was just one of many to suffer such a fate. How incredibly ironic to have survived such a war for such an ignominious end.

judylynne said...

Further to your posting of "After the Armistice", it is important to know that the soldiers of the Canadian Forestry Corps (dozens of companies operating throughout England, Scotland, Wales and France) had to continue to cut wood long after the Armistice was declared. When a soldier signed his attestation papers, he signed up for the duration of the war + six months. Thus these soldiers had an obligation to keep on cutting wood to supply the operations to get men out of the various places where they had been fighting, across a war-torn landscape, and back to England. If much of France & Belgium had become a sea of mud in battle, they continued to be so for soldiers making their way home. Wood was needed to construct and repair rail transport and for a host of other needs. So imagine: a mother celebrates Armistice knowing her son in the CFC is safe and on his way home. She receives a telegram that her son has developed pneumonia in January while still in France, still cutting trees, and has died there. He was 21 years old. The Armistice was NOT the end of the war for so many soldiers.