Dated March 23, 1918, more than eight months before Armistice, and signed by His Majesty King George VI, the certificate recognizes Sgt. Major Edward McAdams for having served with honour and having been honourably discharged because he’d been disabled in the (so-called) Great War. (Courtesy of T.W. Paterson)

Remembrance Day: Thrift store find recalls forgotten soldier

Some family member, perhaps even S/Maj. McAdams himself, had tucked it away

Some family member, perhaps even S/Maj. McAdams himself, had tucked it away rather than mounting it on a wall as was intended.

One of the challenges of writing the Citizen’s Remembrance Day edition is the overwhelming bountifulness of story material. Quite simply, there’s no end to it — as there most certainly is to my time and energy.

In short, I can’t possibly pursue all the leads that come my way in the course of my regular research. A perfect example is the accompanying certificate that was issued to Sgt. Major Edward McAdams, Regimental number 13340, of the 5th Canadian Infantry Battalion. Dated March 23, 1918, more than eight months before Armistice, and signed by His Majesty King George VI, the certificate recognizes McAdams for having served with honour and having been honourably discharged because he’d been disabled in the (so-called) Great War.

Friend and fellow antiques collector Bob Pearce, who volunteers at the Sassy Lion thrift store, found the certificate tightly rolled up. Some family member, perhaps even S/Maj. McAdams himself, had tucked it away rather than mounting it on a wall as was intended.

It was Bob who framed the certificate which is now in my possession. Obviously, I want to learn more about S/Maj. McAdams. But, as stated, there’s the question of time, energy and so many seemingly greater priorities in a day.

So, the bottom line, at least for today, and courtesy of Wikipedia, is a capsule history of the 5th Canadian Infantry Battalion. Also known as the Western Cavalry and Tuxford’s Dandys (since known as the North Saskatchewan Regiment) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, it recruited in Manitoba, Saskachewan, Alberta and as far west as Vernon, B.C. It was authorized within a week of the outbreak of war, on Aug. 10, 1914, and, after mobilization at Camp Valcartier, Que., embarked for Great Britain the following month.

It first saw action in mid-February 1915 as part of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division and fought in France and Flanders under five commanding officers until the end of the war. The battalion has a Victoria Cross to its credit, that of Sgt. Raphael Zengel, VC, MM, August 1918.

Name a famous (or infamous) battle of the First World War and the 5th Battalion was there: Ypres, Gravenstafel, St. Julian, Festubert (the latter two names have strong Cowichan connections), Mount Sorrel, the Somme, Thiepval, Ancre Heights, Arras, Vimy, Arleux, Hill 70, Passchendaele, Amiens, Scarpe, Drocourt-Queant, the Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Mons…

Was S/Maj. Edward McAdams there, too? This is where the real research comes in, research that I simply can’t give him at this time.

Which leads me to suggest that a Citizen reader consider making him a project. Think about it: the internet and more accessible government and military records have opened up a whole new world for researchers, particularly those seeking to trace family histories. Genealogy has become a modern-day phenomen. Why? Because it’s like playing detective as you run down scraps of information and statistics here, there and everywhere — all at your fingertips via the internet. There’s never been anything like it.

How about, instead of watching TV, a reader or readers undertake learning more about S/Maj. McAdams — and any of the million other Canadian veterans of both world wars and Korea. It’s fascinating, it’s educational and it’s fun.

It also is a fine way to show both interest in and respect for the legions of men and women who have served Canada in uniform over the years.

www.twpaterson.com

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