Month: June 2012

Blog Standard

Last week I made the decision to switch On Active Service from a website to a blog. I maintain four other WordPress blogs and so standardizing on this format should make it easier and less time-consuming to add the many letters and photos that are waiting in the wings. All […]

A Day to Remember

November 9, 1914. A 20-year old Lance-Corporal named Edward Dobson hunkered down in a shallow and water-filled trench at the edge of a wood. The German’s were preparing for their final push to Ypres and Edward and the rest of the British Expeditionary Force stood in their way. Meanwhile, 200 […]

Tips on ordering a CEF service file

Library & Archives Canada have digitized the First World War Attestation papers for the majority of Canadian soldiers. You can search the database and view these pages free of charge. If you wish to view the complete service file you will need to order it from Library & Archives Canada. […]

The Christmas Truce – 1914

Contributed by Sidney Allinson. Shortly after dawn on Dec. 25, 1914, the first Christmas Day of the First World War, hundreds of British and German troops spontaneously climbed out of their trench fortifications and crossed the usually deadly No Man’s Land between to shake hands with their enemies, exchange gifts, […]

The B.C. Bantams

Contributed by Sidney Allinson. The little men in khaki seemed impossibly short to be Canadian soldiers. Barely over five feet in height, they marched proudly, four abreast, to tunes of their brass band, smiling at the cheering crowds that lined Humboldt Street, Victoria, that bright morning of February 10, 1917. […]

B W Robertson – Sep. 18, 1917

This is a letter written to his brother Ted at which time the 58th Howitzer Battery was positioned near Carency, just southwest Lens. ┬áThe 58th was one of four batteries from the 14th Brigade, C.F.A. to move into their new position on September 6th (and four members of the 58th […]

B W Robertson – July 4, 1917

A letter written to his mother from . Note: he dated his letter “1916” but this was a typo as he was in the 115th Battalion (infantry) before transferring to the Artillery in November 1916. Note: Beah and Dot are his sisters and Ru and Ted are his brother. Transcription: […]