Soldier Spotlight: Private Henry Moss

Image: A page from Harry’s military service file, indicating at the bottom that he was “granted permission to marry” in July of 1918. (Library & Archives Canada)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 1037322
Rank: Private
Branch: Canadian Forestry Corps

Harry was born in Monmouthshire, England on January 23, 1891. He was living in Kisbey, Saskatchewan at the time of his enlistment in August of 1916. In August of 1918, Harry married an Englishwoman named Margaret. He brought his young bride to his homestead in Saskatchewan, where their daughter was born. In 1923, Margaret and their daughter returned to England as farm life was difficult and his wife was ill and homesick; Harry planned to send for them once he got established. He came to the South Peace in 1928, and in 1930 filed on the northern half of 22-76-1-W6. Harry was reluctant to send for his family as conditions were still primitive and the nearest school for his daughter was twelve miles away. In 1935, another man with the surname Moss was killed in central Alberta. Harry’s brother and wife in England heard of it and assumed it was Harry, so they stopped writing. Harry was unaware of this and as Harry was not much of a writer, he lost contact with his family in England. Some years later, an inquiry for Henry J. Moss was printed in the Legionnaire (a magazine for war veterans) saying that a daughter was interested in his whereabouts. Harry replied to the inquirer and found that it was indeed his daughter, who was married and living in southern Alberta. Harry’s daughter traveled to Wanham to meet her father. When Harry retired from farming several years later, he moved to southern Alberta to be nearer his daughter and four grandchildren.

Sources: Grooming the Grizzly p. 450

Soldier Spotlight: Jack Dorscheid

Image: A six horse team hauling lumber along the Wapiti River in February, 1938. This team worked for the Moon Bros. Mill, south of Bezanson.  Jack worked with Charlie Moon for a number of years (SPRA 1969.60.998)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Force: Army Medical Corps

Jack Dorscheid was born in 1909 to Mr and Mrs Anton Dorscheid on their farm in Windom, Minnesota USA. In 1921 he and his family, including 3 younger brothers, moved to Canada and settled on a homestead in the Glen Leslie AB area. Jack’s older sister and husband had already moved to the area. Jack and 2 of his brothers attended the Crystal Creek School. In July 1930 Jack married Myrtle Dixon, a teacher from Beaverlodge. Sadly his wife died of scarlet fever in June 1931. He later married Bernice Ames from Bezanson, and they had 2 sons, Larry and Jerry. During the 1930’s Jack farmed and raised cattle. When WW II broke out he enlisted in 1940 or 1941 with the Army Medical Corps, being posted in England, and he was discharged in 1945. (His brothers Earl and Charles also served in the war. Charles was killed in action.) After the war, Jack farmed the original homestead in Glen Leslie with his brother Earl. To make ends meet, the 2 men had a sawmill business over several winters using Charlie Moon’s mill north of Crooked Creek. Eventually Jack worked for Grande Prairie Lumber Co. building roads and running a saw mill. The next year, he became a foreman at a saw mill owned by his brother Earl and Phil Nilsson. Another winter he was foreman at Norton’s cat outfit cutting lines for oil companies. In 1959 Jack was elected county councilor, serving in this position for 6 years. He was chairman of the of the Agricultural Service Board, on the County Planning and Hospital Board, named to municipal and school committees, and was warden of East Smoky Parks. Indeed he was very busy, and he resigned of his duties in 1965. For a few more years he returned to farming, ranching and enjoying family life. He died suddenly in 1973. His wife Bernice died in 2001.

Source: Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 426
Herald Tribune – June 19, 1931 p. 1. c. 1 (wife’s death); July 25, 1930 p. 5 c. 4 (married); June 16, 1959 p. 1 c. 1 (county); April 5, 1960 p. 1 c. 5 (Agr. Serv. Bd.)

Soldier Spotlight: Private Raymond Pellerin

Image: The Pellerin garden covered in snow in August 1935. (SPRA 116.09.01.01.164)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 154954
Rank: Private
Branch: 1st Canadian Pioneer Battalion; 16th Battalion; Canadian Forestry Corps

Ray was born in Leroy, North Dakota on January 9, 1896. He came to the Peace Country with his parents, Napoleon and Lucy, in 1913. Ray filed on homesteads at the following locations: 19-75-2-W6; 36-73-2-W6; 24-75-3-W6; 22-71-5-W6. In 1915, he and a friend built a raft to go down the river to Watino, at that point the end of the railroad, to get the train to Edmonton where they could enlist. The raft was upset in the river and they lost their belongings, so they had to continue on foot. Ray received a gunshot wound to his left hand at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. After the war, he returned to his land in the South Peace. Ray married Jean Floener on November 22, 1922. The couple had three sons. Ray died on December 26, 1972 and was buried in the Grande Prairie cemetery.

Sources: Centennial Celebration Edson Trail p. 97, 119; Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 231; Across the Smoky p. 159; Pioneers of the Peace p. 312

A page from Ray’s military service file with details about his injury at Vimy Ridge on April 9,1917.  (Source: Library & Archives Canada)

Soldier Spotlight: Morris & Edith Burroughs

Image: Dedication of the Cenotaph in the new village park at Eaglesham, Alberta on September 11, 1978. Members of Eaglesham Sauve #235 left to right: John Pazuik, Ed Trudel, Morris Burroughs, George Meunier, Norman Barnhardt. Photograph taken by Gary Lachance, Eaglesham, Alberta. (SPRA 328.02)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Mary Edith Larkin Burroughs

Regiment: Royal Canadian Air Force – Women’s Division
Regimental Number: W 304957
Rank: Corporal
Force: Air Force

Edith was born on April 10, 1923 in St. Peter’s Bay, Prince Edward Island.  On June 18, 1942 at the age of 18 she enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force in Montreal, Quebec. Her postings included Rockcliffe, Ontario; Mt. Joli, St. Hubert, and Montreal in Quebec; and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Edith was discharged on October 2, 1945. After the war, she trained to be a registered nurse.  On July 12, 1951 Edith married Morris Lee Burroughs in Grande Prairie. The couple settled in Eaglesham and farmed land that Morris received from the veteran’s lease. They raised 5 children: Elizabeth, Margaret, Shaun, Chris, and Kathleen. From 1970 to 1972 Edith resumed her nursing career in the Spirit River hospital. Unfortunately their house burned down in 1975, but was rebuilt with the help of neighbors and friends. Edith and Morris sold their farm in 1988 and retired in Grande Prairie.

Source: Smoky Peace Triangle pp. 156-158 (photo p. 157)

Oral History Description

Morris Lee Burroughs

Regiment: Canadian Parachute Corps
Regimental Number: M 8970
Rank: Private
Force: Army

Morris Burroughs was the son of Lee and Margaret Burroughs,  born on December 19, 1923, in Hafford, Saskatchewan. He settled in the Peace Country with his family in 1937, and they farmed in Codesa. Morris joined the Canadian Parachute Corps at the age of 19. His postings included Camrose, Alberta and northwestern Europe.  He was discharged in February of 1946. Morris obtained a veteran’s lease on the western half of 10-26-W5 in Eaglesham area. In the winters, he worked out at logging camps and later at oil rigs. On July 12, 1951 he married Edith Larkin in Grande Prairie, and they settled on his homestead. After being hailed out in July of 1969, Morris hauled water for rigs in Red Earth. In 1975, their house burned down, and it was rebuilt by the help of friends and neighbors. In 1988, the Burroughs retired in Grande Prairie. Morris died at age 86 in September 2010 in Grande Prairie.

Source: Smoky Peace Triangle pp. 156-158 (photo p. 157)

Soldier Spotlight: Private Thomas Rice

Image: A group of DeBolt homesteaders at the Sturgeon Lake Sports Day. Standing, left to right: Elbert DeBolt, Cy Young, Ove Nielson, and Tom Rice. Seated, left to right: Jack McLaughlin, Bill LeValley, Irene Cummings (first East Smoky teacher), Ellis Turner, Virginia De Bolt, Mary Walters, and George DeBolt. Used in “Across the Smoky,” p. 331. ca. 1925 (SPRA 116.09.01.01.0621)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 2288437
Rank: Private
Branch: Canadian Forestry Corps

Thomas was born on March 29, 1893 in International Falls, Minnesota. He came to Canada with his parents as a young boy, living first in Ontario and eventually coming to Alberta, where he was living at the time of his enlistment in April of 1917. Thomas went absent without leave from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM on October 16, 1917 and forfeited 24 days of pay as a result. On December 11, 1917, Thomas was injured accidentally. According to his service file, he was injured “while replacing the dogger on the carriage, Pte. Rice slipped, owing to the ice on the oak skids, and he foot was jammed between the log and the carriage and the skidway.” In April of 1918 Thomas was absent without leave overnight, and on June 3, 1918 he was absent without leave for two hours. While overseas, Thomas met Suzanne Chabau. They were married after the war, though Thomas spoke no French and Suzanne, a Frenchwoman, spoke no English. They came to the South Peace after the war and filed on the southern half of 2-73-3-W6 in 1919. They sold the homestead after thirty years and moved to Goldfields, Saskatchewan. Four years later they moved back to Edmonton. During World War II, Thomas was sent to work in a plant in Ontario. His family joined him once he got settled. Thomas died in Hamilton, Ontario on January 5, 1974.

Sources: Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 177

Finding Memory: Highlights from the Indigenous Reference files

SPRA 510.12.18.041 Part of the Indigenous Reference Files collection

One of the large projects for our summer student this year was digitizing the Indigenous reference files. This project involved digitizing and describing the reference files related to Indigenous peoples in this region. There are twenty-two Indigenous reference files with twenty centimeters of textual records. This project was prioritized to support the Indigenous History Committee, whose purpose is to examine the ways we can preserve and promote the history of the Indigenous Peoples in the south Peace in order to support reconciliation. This committee was established in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s (TRC) Calls to Action. The Indigenous Reference File Project was chosen because it helps make Indigenous centered information publicly available.  This helps to do our part in fulfilling the TRC Calls to Action.

The digitization portion of this project was finished in mid-July. As we create an itemized finding aid for the files we will start to share some of the items through blog posts, like this one!

This featured item is from the Indigenous News reference file.  It is an article about Henry Louis Norwest, an Indigenous WWI veteran who had more confirmed sniper hits than any other soldier from countries in the British Empire. Norwest was born in Fort Saskatchewan in 1884 and enlisted in January of 1915.  He had 115 confirmed sniper hits, which means they were observed by another soldier.  He earned four medals for this achievement.  Another soldier described Henry Louis Norwest as being charismatic and quick witted.  Norwest died August 18, 1918 as he was about to pull the trigger on an enemy sniper when a bullet hit him just below his steel helmet.  He is buried near Amiens, France, which is north of Paris.

The reference files give us a glimpse into our local history, and especially now that they are digitized, are an incredibly valuable resource! If you want to see more from the Indigenous reference files, keep your eye on the blog for posts like this.

Soldier Spotlight: Gunner Frank Stevenson

Image: Dave Goodwin (left) and Frank Stevenson (right) standing beside a buggy. Used in “Across the Smoky,” p. 10. 1920 (SPRA 116.09.01.01.0078)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 2040193
Rank: Gunner
Branch: Canadian Garrison Artillery

Frank was born in Fredericton, PEI on November 27, 1889. He was living in Charlottetown at the time of his enlistment in December of 1916. Before going overseas, Frank had proposed to Edna Abbott. When he was discharged in 1919, Frank came west and filed on land at a SE 26-72-1-W6 and NE 24-72-1-W6. Eight years later, in 1927, he wrote to Edna to join him – she had written to him saying that if he didn’t have things ready, she was going to move on with her life. They had been engaged for eleven years. Frank and Edna were married on October 13, 1927. They raised their family of five children in DeBolt. Frank died in April of 1974.

Sources: surname file; Across the Smoky p. 36

Soldier Spotlight: Private Andrew Bisson

Image: Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery.  From Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regiment: Le Regiment de Maisonneuve, R.C.I.C
Regimental Number: M/106777
Rank: Private

Andrew Bisson was born on February 6, 1923 in St. Edward, Alberta. Born to French-Canadian parents, Elzear and Marie Anna Bisson, he was the youngest of ten children. At age 15 he completed Grade 7, and he was interested in baseball and hockey. When he was older, Andrew helped his brother on the farm and was a sawmill hand from 1940 to 1942. He was living in McLennan, Alberta when he enlisted in the army in on March 8, 1943. Since Andrew was mischievous as a youngster and had a daring nature, he volunteered for paratroop training. When he was only 21 years old, he was killed in action on July 22, 1944. He is buried in the Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery in France. (Grave Ref: VI B. 7.)

Source: Trails and Rails North Vol. 2 pp. 99 and 120
Attestation Papers – Library and Archives Canada

Soldier Spotlight: Private Stanley Thorsteinson

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 472689
Rank: Private
Branch: 54th Battalion

Stanley was born in Ísafjörður, Iceland on October 10, 1892. He filed on SW 18-74-8-W6 in July of 1915. In November of 1915, he enlisted in the Canadian Army. Stanley was wounded on November 18, 1916 at 6:30 AM, twenty minutes after his battalion went over the top at the Somme. He suffered from shrapnel wounds to his right knee and the right side of his head. Stanley was moved two miles by stretcher, and invalided to Canada in March of 1917. On November 30, 1917, he was discharged, having been found medically unfit as a result of his injuries. In 1920/1921, Stanley filed on a second homestead at NW 8-74-9-W6. By this time, he was married to Dorothy Lettice Wilson. Stanley and Dorothy left the area in 1923. Stanley died on December 7, 1957.

Sources: Buffalo Trails p. 219

Soldier Spotlight: Douglas Blackie

Douglas Blackie (Memories & Moments p. 276)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Douglas Blackie was born and raised in Edmonton, and attended a year of normal school and a year at University of Alberta studying Engineering. After his studies, he moved to Spirit River and became the teacher at the White Mountain School, where he taught from 1933 to 1936. In 1939 he married Alice Brown in Spirit River. Douglas joined the Air Force in July 1942 and was trained in radar and wireless communication. He was discharged in June 1946 and returned to teaching in the Spirit River School. Because he was going to operate the “Blackie Radio Electric” business, he resigned from teaching in 1950. Becoming the Post Master in 1954, Douglas also was a member of the town council for nearly ten years. Both Alice and Douglas enjoyed involvement in several musical and dramatic productions in the school and the United Church. In 1969 he was elected National President of the Canadian Postmasters Association, which required a move to Ottawa. When he retired, they moved back to Spirit River. Alice and Douglas had 3 children: Stuart, Heather and Patricia. Douglas died at age 89 in Grande Prairie in May 1999.

Source: Memories and Moments p. 76 Photo in uniform p. 276
Chepi Sepee p. 183 Photo in uniform