Postponed, Speaker Gary Blakely on Talana Farm

8 Feb 12:50

Spring Series of Speakers is cancelled due to COVID-19 Emergency

Gary Blakeley’s day job is as graphic designer and photographer, but he has also spent several decades honing his knowledge of the First World War and building a collection of militaria from the period. Like many serious collectors his interest was sparked as a boy. In the mid-1960s, his grandmother gave him his great-grandfather’s 1914 star trio of medals. James McCarthy had been killed in Belgium in 1915. That gift led Gary gradually into deeper investigation, first of the war, then of the Western Front, and ultimately of Talana Farm, the little cemetery where James McCarthy lies with 530 others of the fallen. Recognizing that each of those deaths had affected many more lives, Gary established and now curates a Facebook community page for the cemetery. Perhaps unique among Commonwealth war graves, Talana Farm thus has its own repository of personal and professional history. Almost a thousand followers – war historians and relatives alike – use the resource to find and share invaluable information.

See the Cemetery on the Commonwealth War Graves Site


Gary previously visited COBWFA on May 27, 2017 talking about his book “East of Lancashire: My Seven World War One Soldiers”

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Winter Issue of The Maple Leaf is out now!

Now working on our Spring Issue – send your stories in today!

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May Speaker Tim Cook – Postponed

The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering, and Remaking Canada’s Second World War to be released in Hardcover – April 21, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 health emergency, historian Tim Cook from the Canadian War Museum will be our special guest sometime in our Fall series of meetings. Watch for a new date once we have it.

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Canadian Song of the Great War

Johnny Canuck/Good Luck to the Boys of the Allies was one of the most popular songs of the First World War. It could well have been played across Toronto on the night of 31 October 1915 at a special recruiting night held in 10 theatres. The programs featured short films, guest speakers, veterans from the front and live performances of the music of the time.

For more on the story, watch for “A Night at the Pictures, 1915”, in the upcoming Spring issue of The Maple Leaf.

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Support Memorial Flag Poles for Canadian Troops at Kinmel Park Wales

When WW1 ended Kinmel Park was the site of the Canadian Camp where troops were sent back to through Liverpool.

Brief History below

Kinmel Park Riot March 1919.

100 years later our man in Kinmel Park, John Johnson is raising money for two memorial  Flag Poles, one Canadian and one Union, they are to fly above the head stones of heroes who gave the ultimate at St. Margaret’s Church at Bodlewyddan in N. Wales.

Donations via Facebook are welcomed. All support greatfully received.

Donate here. Look for the “donate icon” underneath our man in the Cowboy Hat.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Ted Barris

Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019
R.S. McLaughlin Armoury
53 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa

Best-selling Canadian Author Ted Barris has a new work to add to his remarkable life’s work of respected publications: Rush to Danger: Medics in the Line of Fire. The award winning journalist and broadcaster has authored 18 non-fiction books. In 2011 he received the Veterans’ Affairs Commendation and in 2012 the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. His book The Great Escape: A Canadian Story received the 2014 Libris Best Non-Fiction Book Award. You’ll often find him leading tours on the battlefields or researching his latest projects.

If you have a project you are working on, an event or research to share and would like time at the meeting, email Glenn and he will arrange with you.

Arrive at your leisure between 9:30 & 10:30am for “Meet & Greet”

Call to order 10:30am

Lunch provided at the break $6

Free street parking.

(No Parking in the south lot)


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Belleville Memorial Re-Dedication

The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment Military Museum and the City of Belleville extend an invitation to you to attend the re-dedication of their WW1 Monument. The names of Lt. David Forneri, his sister Nursing Sister Agnes Florien Forneri, and Flight Sub Lieutenant Ellis Vair Reid will be added to the monument. You can read their Veterans Affairs notations at the links embedded in their names.

The event will take place at the City Cenotaph, 130 Station Street, Belleville at 1 pm. A learning fair on World War One will be held at the Belleville Armouries, 187 Pinnacle Street at 9-1230 and 2-5 pm.

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Special Centenary Issue of The Maple Leaf is out now

centenary issueThe special edition of our branch magazine, The Maple Leaf, was published in January and has been sent to members. A few copies are still available at a cost of $5 by emailing our Chair, Glenn Kerr. This is also the perfect time to take out a membership for only C$25 to receive three issues per year. Just tell Glenn to sign you up and email him your fee.

Our first meeting of 2019 will be  held on April 6 in the Sergeant’s Mess of the R.S. McLaughlin Armoury, 53 Simcoe St. N. in Oshawa.

Sign up for email announcements at the top of the page to get future notices of meetings and events.

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War Museum Conference – see you there Jan 17-19

Thursday, Jan. 17 to Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019 join world-renowned historians to explore different aspects of the First World War and its many legacies: the return of Indigenous veterans, the conflict’s impact on French Canada, the contributions of nurses, the challenges of forging peace from the ashes of war, and much more. Continue reading

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Tim Cook and The Secret History of Soldiers

Canadian military historian Tim Cook spoke at the Dec. 15, 2018 branch meeting about his latest book, The Secret History of Soldiers: How Canadians Survived the Great War. He also shared his plans for a new book on the Second World War, due out in May 2020. Thanks to the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 43, Oshawa for hosting this event in Alfie’s Lounge.

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