Showing posts with label Remembrance Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Remembrance Day. Show all posts

Saturday, 30 November 2013

But did he speak Cree?

This year's Remembrance Day has already faded from memory; over the past three weeks, the poppies disappeared from chests and collars across the city like melting snow.  My poppy disappeared more quickly than usual this year.  This was not because I lost it.  I had anchored it very carefully with Scotch tape -- on the wrong side of my coat.  I spent the week before November 11th worrying about being accosted by irate veterans and berated for not placing the poppy over my heart.  It doesn't seem to take much to set veterans off:  this year it was the old red-poppies-vs-white-poppies controversy . Last year, they were getting irked at the Premier of Qu├ębec for putting a fleur de lis in the centre of her poppy.

Now, I have no problems with those who wear white poppies, so long as they don't label me a war-mongerer for wearing my red poppy.  And I stick a Canadian flag or maple leaf in the centre of my poppy, so I don't see why Pauline Marois, who identifies as Qu├ębecoise, shouldn't anchor hers with her own choice of pin to keep it from dropping to the street and getting lost and trampled.  (A swastika pin would be a problem…)

Remembrance Day is for remembering.  We family historians are heavily into remembering, and the result of our labours, sadly enough, is a long list of people to remember on November 11th.

I thought I'd focus on just one person and, if I keep this blog up, someone else next year, and the next.  And the next....
The Goddard family, Folkestone, Kent, circa 1905
The young man on the left, towering over my husband's maternal grandfather, is Archibald Spencer Goddard.  He was the youngest and tallest of the surviving five Goddard children (three children didn't make it to adulthood) and I have only learned recently that he was a twin - his sister Dorothy Grace was hastily christened on the day she died, eighteen days after she and Archibald had been born.

While the detail about his being a twin had escaped family lore, some other sparse but intriguing items made it into AS Goddard's brief history.  It was said that he had worked for the Hudson Bay Company and could speak Cree.  I've found no concrete evidence of this yet, although my husband claims to have once had ASG's journals, which have failed to materialize.  What I did find was his entry for the manifest of the ship that brought him to Canada in 1909 when he came out to visit his brother's farm to the north-east of Edmonton in Alberta (his next elder brother Ralph, my husband's grandfather -- the short one).  He described himself as a "missionary" and under the section asking if he planned to stay in Canada, wrote: "Perhaps."

We know that he taught at King Edward School in Edmonton, and that he was a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge.  We know this because the information appears in The Canadian Virtual War Memorial and at the section at Kent Fallen commemorating the alumni of Harvey Grammar School in Folkestone who died in the Great War. If you examine the latter, you'll find Archibald's second cousin Philip Charles Upton (DCM) who predeceased Archibald by a few weeks.

Archibald signed up for the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a lieutenant  in Calgary on November 4th, 1915.  He noted that he already belonged to the militia (CSCI - which I presume was the Canadian Signalling Corps). He was a captain when he died less than eleven months later on September 26th, 1916.  His entry in the CEF Burial Registry reads:
"Captain. - Goddard. - Archibald Spencer. - 5th Battalion. - 26/0/16 - (H.Q. File No.) 381/6/9 - Church of England
'Killed in Action.'
"During an attack near Courcelette he was badly wounded just before the First Objective had been reached and succumbed to his wounds soon after being carried back to the old front line

His administration notice reads:    "Goddard Archibald Spencer of Hillside 335 Fourth-street Edmonton Alberta Canada captain 5th battalion Canadian Infantry died 26 September 1916 in France Administration (with Will) London 5 December to the reverend (sic) Frederick George Goddard clerk. Effects £137, 0 s., 5 d." (That was his eldest brother, the fellow with a dog collar looking rather pleased with himself in the family photo, above.)

Archibald's name appears three more times.
on the Vimy Memorial, France;

in the Book of Remembrance, Peace Tower, Ottawa;

and, in 2008, projected with the names of thousands of other Canadian soldiers, in London, England, in Ottawa on the War Memorial, and on provincial legislatures across Canada.

 I still would love to know if he spoke Cree.