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More Great Canadian Heritage Howlers from the James Lorimer Collection of rare Canadiana.

Since the captions on the pictures in the book have been so minimal - or less - our Boer War experts have put their considerable knowledge at our disposal to flesh out some of the information that should have been included originally.

At other times, they have interpreted, to the best of their ability, what James Lorimer was trying to tell us in 2003.

It is our hope, that through our pages, Canadians will get more closely in touch with their Boer War heritage and their Government's role in promoting it.

We hope that in future editions, James Lorimer will include the information we have assembled to make their book more relevant, than it currently is, to the Canadian experience in the Boer War.

Great Canadian Boer War Book Review - James Lorimer Heritage Howlers #3
Without a doubt, the biggest book publishing disaster in Canadian History

1 2 3
Great Canadian Heritage Howler #28
James Lorimer says
this is the colour of Canadian pride

James Lorimer says: this is all about grey pride

The Picture: Don't prejudge this picture as too tiny and grotty looking, since it was presumably included in this book because it is one of the very best images in the Canadian archives. (In fact this picture is bigger here than it was published in the book!")

The Error: Incomplete and uninformative captioning. The importance of why this grungy thumbnail was included in this book should have been made clear.

This is obviously a rare picture of Boers just after they were liberated by the Canadians, and now appear to be standing on the shore, looking for a lift back to Canada, where they are more than willing, they seem to say, to go to work, in gratitude with shovel, fork, and hammer, to help build the nation that set them free!

SHAME! Hopefully they got a ride. Why are Canadians so bashful about boasting about the peoples of the world they have helped to liberate?

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #27
James Lorimer says the Canadians were dressed fit to kill...

James Lorimer says: this is all about gay pride...

The Picture: On the left, presumably, the field dress of the Canadians, when they're fighting the Boers and don't want to be seen, and, on the right, the highly distinctive "party dresses" available to members of "the Canadian Contingent" which they packed into their kit bags, we assume, for those gay old times when they wanted to be "seen," like for going into one of the night spots in Paardeberg, say, for celebrating Col. Otter's birthday. "Jeremy! Shall we go in red or blue tonight?"

The Error: It looks like the same photographer and editor - remember them, they picked the "pretty" ribbons - collaborated to pick the "prettiest" uniforms they could find - anywhere! And make up a story about them, just like they did for the lovely medals...

It would be nice to believe that Canada gave such a wide variety of colourful uniforms to help the boys do their work in South Africa. Alas, it seems the editor picked up a brochure from Malabar Costume Rentals by mistake. One of our staff gushed that he has picked costumes from this very set of pictures to suit up for Gay Pride Parades in Toronto, and maintains crossly that at least two of these are not soldier uniforms at all! On the far right, he claims, is the doorman's tunic at the King Eddy in Toronto, next to the fire engine red bouncer's uniform from the Brothel and Grill's Palace of a Thousand Pleasures that he used to frequent next door.

Unfortunately James Lorimer was totally unaware that there was absolutely nothing distinctive, whatsoever, about the only tunic in the bunch that ever saw action in South Africa - the main khaki tunic, on the left, worn by the Canadians 100% of the time - to tell them apart from any other of the 500,000 British soldiers in the field.

The editor used the one word about Boer War uniforms - including those of the Canadians - that you cannot use - distinctive. She edited an entire book on the Boer War and blissfully missed a main point of the conflict, namely, that distinctive uniforms were out, completely, as everyone, from generals on down to their privates, wore exactly the same unadorned khaki tunic, all the time, precisely because it was totally non distinctive!

During the Boer War, in South Africa, no one wanted to be distinctive - and stand out in any way - because if you were, you were dead. Boer skill with the ultra modern Mauser rifle made it easy to pick off any colourful or conspicuous targets a kilometre or more away.

To suggest, in any way, that the Canadian Contingent was equipped with colourful uniforms that made them distinctive is ridiculous beyond belief - to put it mildly. The glitter and glam of the gaudy tunics and belts above would have made them as conspicuous on the battlefield as the white horse below - and the silly man who rode it - because they would become the first target to be shot down out of all the others below. Every soldier in South Africa knew that; our editor apparently did not.

She should have had a clue that what she was saying was rubbish, when, in the most photographed war in history, she could not find even a single photograph of a Canadian soldier anywhere in South Africa wearing any of the finery she shows above... She had to get the photos, to back up her fanciful claim, taken in a showroom somewhere in Ottawa, which, admittedly, has a higher number of gay outfits even than Toronto, and which made her task easy. But is availability a justification to publish, and invent a story?

Canadians, who served during the war, were proud and took care to promote their separate identity, in a hundred little ways. But they were not fools and certainly would never have done it to the point of campaigning in "the distinctive uniforms of the Canadian Contingent" above, that our editor claims they were equipped with. We have a sneaking suspicion that the person who rode the white horse below, came from the same gene pool as our editor...

But she can be excused because it might be difficult to comprehend all this from a lounge chair, poolside, at Cancun. And after ten Margaritas it can be hard to make sense of anything, other than that somebody else is picking up her tab... But to her credit, this editor reportedly, was dauntless. "Let's have another go at those captions! And waiter, bring me another one. Better make it a double! This military stuff is awful! Not nearly as exciting as my last book, 'Doilies, Dimwits, and Dildos in Rural Nova Scotia!' You should have seen the grant we got for that!"

We may further enquire, why - when he's on much more solid ground here - didn't James Lorimer point out that the Canadian Army was the most far-sighted of all the Empire's forces in accommodating the gay members of the unit by apparently providing uniforms (above beside the khaki) "gathered in" at the waist to suit the more feminine-shaped members of the Canadian Contingent. More than one male volunteer, recruited at London's Wolseley Barracks, reportedly joined up because, "Oh, it looked so lovely to wear."

This, says one of our experts, would certainly seem to go a long way to explain why the Canadian Armed Forces have such a high proportion of gay members, especially in the Royal Canadian Regiment, which was the first - and most successful - at recruiting suitable candidates for service in South Africa, probably because - if what the editor says is true - they were able to offer these distinctive costumes as incentives for its "special needs" members...

SHAME! At a time when Chief Defence Staff honcho General Hillier is trying to refashion a new image for Canada's fighting men - and whoops, we mustn't forget brawling women! - wouldn't this be a good time to show the long tradition of gay pride in the Forces going back to the Boer War. Why did James Lorimer not expand on this theme which they introduced with their photos but did not follow up with their captions...?

And shame on the Canadian War Museum for telling Lorimer's inexperienced and history challenged editor that these colourful uniforms were those of the "Canadian Contingents." It's beyond ludicrous...

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #29
James Lorimer says Canadians looted this...

James Lorimer says: this is "liberated" loot...

The Picture: A coin, probably stolen by a member of the Canadian Contingents who had a notorious reputation as looters in South Africa. In fact British General Hutton, called the Canadians, "The worst thieves in the British Army."

The Error: Not publicizing this further, with a bigger picture. Certainly the people in Afghanistan deserve more notice of what exactly the Canadian soldiers are after over there.

Sadly, this image is just too small to make out the writing around the rim. It probably is a coin of Paul Kruger as a young man - in his early years of being President of the South African Republic. This coin was, in all likelihood, probably taken by a resourceful Canadian trooper from a Boer prisoner-of-war, in exchange for sparing his life!

That may have been a good deal in 1900, but the current head of the Canadian Armed Forces, General "Killer" Hillier, would have registered his strong disapproval for this humanitarian bargain by a Canadian soldier. He famously barked, "Our job is to be able to kill people!" We share his concern that this was a training opportunity that was lost!

SHAME! Why couldn't James Lorimer have told us the fascinating story behind how this rare coin came to be among the Canadian Spoils of War, and other efforts by common soldiers to do their part to correct unfair imbalances in international trade.

In fact the item is a copper medallion struck by Frederick Borden, Canada's Minister of Militia, in memory of his son Harold, who was killed in 1900.

Shame on the Canadian War Museum for not informing Lorimer - if they even knew it? - of the true significance of this rare Canadian Boer War medal, instead of telling them it was merely stolen booty from South Africa.

The get the information on this Great Canadian Heritage Item from a knowledgeable museum:

Go to Harold Borden - The Medal
Go to Harold Borden - The Man
Great Canadian Heritage Howler #31
James Lorimer says...
these are real French-Canadians...

James Lorimer says: these are pure laine...

The Picture: Three, apparently, racially pure, Frenchmen, from Quebec probably.

The Error: Sadly in 2003, French-Canadians still have no names! Or did James Lorimer just say, "Insignificant! We needn't bother with them." After billions of dollars have been pumped into multiculturalism - admittedly, not all of it to James Lorimer & Co. - one would have thought in a Federal Government funded book we would no longer label people only with their racial genotype. We thought multiculturalism was supposed to embrace real people, and their identities, not slogans of ethnic stereotypes.

The editor is wrong also when she says they're soldiers. She didn't know that they're officers, or maybe she doesn't know the difference?

SHAME! Hopefully this was merely a result of sheer laziness. One would have thought, that, in the 21st century, in Government funded publications, one would have gotten away from the racist blight of past captions that used to label people as "An Indian Squaw" or "An Eskimo Baby." This common practice in Canadian history books clearly illustrated that the people shown were "outsiders," or among the "lower orders" and betrayed, mostly, the contempt of the - white usually - writer for the subject - apparently unworthy of even having their names recorded. And notable only as ethnic specimens in the Great Canadian Zoo. The regressive captions in this book resurrect a dim past we all had thought we had left behind!

We guess in their defence Lorimer would say, "We don't need their names; they're not important. All we need to know is they're French. That's all that's required to release the bi-lingual grant money we're after."

So for the Record: From the top, clockwise: Maj. TL Boulanger, Capt. CK Fraser, and Maj. JE Peltier. We'll leave it to you to decide if they would have liked to be referred to only as French-Canadians, or Canadians, or simply as officers in the Queen's Service.

We offer a clue. This very image was published in 1901, in Gaston P. Labat's, "Livre d'or: The Golden Book of the Canadian Contingents in South Africa," a book written half in English and half in French. (below.)

That's strange! Only the names and rank of the men were listed underneath! Nothing at all about their racial characteristics, at a time when race did matter - a lot.... Where did the editor ever get the idea these were French-Canadians instead of Canadians? Who's doing the DNA checks? What's going on behind the scenes here?

Mitigating Factor: We have just been informed that, apparently, this lapse is not James Lorimer's fault. According to Government guidelines, on the handing out of heritage funding, any qualifying project must demonstrate a bilingual, bicultural component. And any qualifying content must clearly be labelled as such to demonstrate that both the French and English cultures are benefiting from this grant.

To make it easier for Canada's cultural police to measure compliance in books, the tag "French Canadian" has been cleared for use in heritage funded projects in Canada. Apparently, that is why James Lorimer uses the term so frequently on captions in the book. We are assured, that, depending on the success of this heritage initiative, the department is now assessing the possible future use of the terms "Indian," "Negro," and "Asiatic" as well.

James Lorimer says: this is Canada's most famous casualty - and one of the most important people - of the entire Canadian participation in the Boer War...

The Picture: With one or two exceptions - one for Queen Victoria, and one for the dummy from the War Museum, see below - by far the biggest picture of a person in the entire book.

The Error: Choosing this huge picture of someone who is "known but to God" reminds us to ask why, in this book, the really famous people who were in the Boer War get worse than no coverage at all - scanty pictures, or worse, that are not even labelled with their names!

Here - shown in the actual size it was reproduced in the book - is the picture that was included of John McCrae, who led a group of Guelph boys to South Africa for Queen and Country, and went on to write the most famous poem of World War I, and become Canada's best known poet. This was the best James Lorimer could do for him!

Right is the actual-size picture, used in the book, of Lord Strathcona, next to Prime Minister Laurier, the most famous Canadian of the Boer War, and certainly the most wildly popular, because he outfitted, at his own expense, an entire military unit to represent Canada. But a nobody at Lorimer!

Left is the actual picture, used in the book, of Canada's most celebrated Boer War hero, one of only seven men in the British Empire to win the Queen's Scarf for life-risking bravery, an award above a Victoria Cross in honour. But only a shrug at Lorimer!

Reproduced in the actual size as they were in the book, one can ask? Why bother? And why no names, for any of them? The answer should have been "No government cultural grants for this kind of demeaning treatment of the most important Canadian Boer War figures!"

Where are the Missing?

To have Canada's leading personalities minimized into insignificance is awful enough; to ignore them completely is unforgivable, even if the crime of omission is only by an editor at James Lorimer.

Just where is a picture of Col. Girouard from Ste. Hyacinthe Quebec, who was the most famous Canadian in South Africa during the Boer War.

He was in charge of the entire railway system that was the key to bringing victory to the British over the Boers. It was not just Canadians who spoke his name with awe; but at Lorimers he only got "Aw shucks!"

And where is the picture of Dr. Eugène Fiset, Canada's most famous doctor hero of the war, universally beloved by the Canadian troops for the many lives he saved, whose preliminary design for a Canadian flag is the foundation for our present flag, and who became a Major-General, the head of the Canadian Army Medical Corps, and Lt. Governor of Quebec.

Could one help but get the feeling that the purpose of the book was to put all these celebrated figures into their proper place as a bunch of nobodies in this war and in Canadian history?

Instead of them all James Lorimer gives us a gigantic picture of someone called Lucien Larue, known but to God.

One could get the lop-sided view, of this historic event, that French-speaking Canadians joined up and died in overwhelming numbers.

Exactly the opposite happens to be the historical truth. This was an "English war"; Canadians said it; the British said it; and the French in Canada and Europe, complained that it was too.

Then why, out of 300 possible pictures, of Canadians who died, was Larue - a French speaker - picked as the sole representative of the Boer War dead in this book, and presented in such a blaring fashion?

Common sense would have suggested that one of the more typical or more famous Canadian casualties of the time would be more suitable to include in this "one-of" book?

Why not Harold Borden for whom the entire Nation was in mourning?

Or William Knisley DCM, Canada's most highly decorated fatality?

Past Boer War books have included a mix of portraits of the dead. Labat - who also picked Larue's picture in 1901- gave it no special prominence among the other eight or nine dead whose pictures he also published.

But James Lorimer narrowed his choices down to only one unrepresentative photo! And printed it ostentatiously huge to boot! Why?

And did Lucien die as a French-Canadian or a Canadian? Lorimer loudly says he was killed as a French-Canadian. Our experts say Rubbish! and offer this clue.

The same picture of Lucien was published in Gaston Labat's book in 1901, and below it is this caption...

More Errors: For starters, as the caption notes, Lucien was not "killed" in South Africa; it says clearly - but of course a blind editor is excused for not being able to read French any better than English - that he was wounded at Paardeberg, the records show, on Bloody Sunday, Feb. 18. He did not die until June 24, 1900 - over four months later.

And Lucien wasn't "killed" by a Boer at all. He didn't even die of wounds; the records say he definitely died of enteric fever.

Even the caption above makes it clear he was not "tué" but mort in Africa. So where did James Lorimer ever get the idea Lucien was "Killed in South Africa."

Was it deliberate political expediency, to elevate the death of this "French Canadian soldier" from the pathetic to the heroic, from the bed to the battlefield?

Or was it just another dumb editorial gaffe by the Lorimer team?

And - unlike James Lorimer - we assume Lucien died a Canadian. Here is a clue from the title page of the French language half of Gaston Labat's book, in which Lucien's picture and caption was originally published.

That's odd! Nowhere, not in his earlier caption, or above, is there a hint of French-Canadian, only of Canadian Contingent, and Canadian loyalty. Labat couldn't make it more clear that his book is linguistically - not racially - divided.

So Lucien only died a French-Canadian at Lorimer, who seems to have invented this term for their book on the Boer War! Why?

In fact none of our experts can remember reading the word French-Canadian in any caption in a Boer War book in the last 100 years...

Only the French names are there - Girouard, Lessard, Fiset, Pelletier and Peltier, Boulanger, Pinault, and Soeur Saint Antoine-de-Padoue, and their accomplishments.

This new development at Lorimer is frankly épouvantable - which is French for why is this on the table now, for the first time in a hundred years?

The Money Shot: Could it be that James Lorimer included the large portrait of Larue, and the blaring tags of French-Canadian, simply in order to trigger untold wealth to flow into the company coffers from Ottawa cultural and historical revisionists.

"There's no money in Anglo casualties," one can overhear at the Lorimer pictorial planning session. "We've only used 'French -Canadian' three times in captions in the last four pages! We'd better do it once more! It says here in the grant application, more is better!"

And so it came to pass that common sense carried the day at James Lorimer. Which now makes it four caption mentions of "French Canadian" in five pages! Bravo! which is French, of course, for Bravo!

We've all heard of Canadians who won Mentions in Dispatches for heroic efforts on the battlefield; clearly James Lorimer deserves equal kudos for his unsurpassed Mentions in Captions, in the publishing field, to conform to an award recently instituted by Heritage Canada to promote the French fact in Canada.

We nominate James Lorimer for persevering beyond the call of duty with the abnormally numerous captions of French-Canadian - more than in all previously published books on the Boer War combined! - and the extraordinarily large picture of Lucien Larue, who previously, was known but to God. Perhaps, suggested one of our experts, at Lorimer's they think it was Lucien who really won Queen Victoria's Scarf!

If, to qualify for a grant, James Lorimer desperately needed a large picture of someone who spoke French, wouldn't it have been more proper, and true to History, to pick one of the leading men of giant accomplishments in their day, like Fiset, Girouard, or Lessard, instead of a total unknown like Larue?

Shame! Is this why heritage funding was provided, to deconstruct history as it was, and, in its place, reconstruct something more preferable to some, which never was?

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
James Lorimer says "Gotta put in the ''Money Shot'"

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #30
James Lorimer says this is ammunition...

James Lorimer says: this is ammunition

The Pictures: Ammunition

The Error: Really!

SHAME! Who could ever have guessed?

Hello! Anybody home?

 

 

 

 

 

Shame on the Canadian War Museum for just passing these off as "ammunition" to Lorimer, instead of informing them, and Canadians, of what they really are.

To get the lowdown on these two shells from a real museum

Go to Boer War Ammunition
Great Canadian Heritage Howler #33
James Lorimer says here is our Boer War advisor...

James Lorimer says: we took all his advice...

The Picture: Easily, at 7.5 inches (19cm) high, the largest picture in the book...

The Error: Our confusion! None of our experts could figure out what this caption meant, or why this photo had been selected to be the largest published in the entire book!

Update: Now we know! We have been informed that this was printed so large because James Lorimer wanted to pay tribute to the man on whose Boer War knowledge - he had apparently been working for the Canadian War Museum for years, getting a salary, expense account, and pension - they had depended on, exclusively, to guide them in writing their captions.

Apparently it was he who put the wrong ribbons on the medals shown earlier. Being blind he can be forgiven.

"Why blame us for depending on his Boer War expertise, when he knew far, far more than our picture editor ever would! Even the Canadian War Museum told us he was their best man on the subject! And you can laugh all you want, but it was the War Museum who gave us the medals with the phony ribbons!" one can hear James Lorimer pout defensively. And with not a little justification...

We have been reliably informed, by Lorimer, that apparently their War Museum expert never once disagreed with a single word in any caption in the entire book!

SHAME! We stand corrected, and are humbled. Sadly, even our blue ribbon panel is not infallible. Why couldn't anyone have seen the obvious, when James Lorimer had made it all so very clear from the very beginning! Only a dummy could possibly have missed it!

Shame on the Canadian War Museum for assigning this expert to be the point man handling advisory duties to the biggest Canadian Boer war book that they have ever contributed archival materials for. Frankly his work performance on this file merits firing.

But we believe he'll probably get a promotion, a raise in salary, an expanded expense account, and a pension increase instead...

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #34
James Lorimer says these are commemorative items

James Lorimer says: these are commemorative items...

The Picture: Two tiny, grotty-looking images. Utterly revolting...

The Error: Using photos that are too small, of two awfully faded plates, abysmally photographed and terribly reproduced.

SHAME! The Boer War produced a blizzard of wonderful commemorative items - plates, mugs, jugs, busts, cups, plaques, flags, handkerchiefs, etc. - more than were ever produced for any war before or since.

Why were these wonderful Canadian commemorative items all specifically excluded from this book, when a pictorial book is the perfect venue to exactly feature items like this?

So many wonderful Canadian pictures were available of hundreds of Canadian items, that it is nothing short of a major cultural crime to have ignored this treasure trove of Canadian heritage, and publish instead such totally awful grotty pictures.

Unforgivable! Especially since, God knows, how many hundreds of thousands of Canadian heritage dollars went into this pictorial book project.

Why did James Lorimer not show plates like these Canadian plates instead?

And why not show Canada's most famous Boer War plate, that of Paardeberg below?

Or Canada's rarest Boer War plate of all, which few Canadians have ever seen...?

The Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum had hundreds of high quality Boer War items like this available for illustrating a Canadian Boer War pictorial book.

Go to Harold Borden's Plate

Shame! James Lorimer could have used the taxpayers' money to produce a pictorial volume of Canada's participation in the Boer War that made Canadians proud of their publishing industry, and informed about a remarkable moment in Canadian history. It chose to waste the opportunity instead! And the cultural funding that went into this shoddy little book.

Is it any wonder that Government grants to the publishing industry have such a bad reputation across Canada - from Cape Spear to Ucluelet , and in a thousand hamlets and farms in between, where the working people of Canada live - everywhere but in the fancy bars in downtown Toronto.

Shame! Sadly, the book has become a poster child of the malaise in Canadian cultural funding and book publishing. It only serves to anger Canadians who see that their taxes, that are supposedly spent on heritage publications, being siphoned off elsewhere...

Shame! And so the taxpayer's money is squandered to produce a Canadian book on a defining moment in our history that has become the laughing stock of the English-speaking world...

Well of those who read anyway...

Sadly, the editor will never know any of this.

She's apparently already at work, and pleasantly involved, in her next - expanded - Canadian heritage book, "Doing Doilies, Dimwits, Diddlers, and Dildos in Downtown Toronto."

At last report she was in Cancun... again... working on the captions... thanks to another, generous Canadian Heritage grant...

Who paid for this awful production?

Why the Canadian taxpayer. We all did! Here are all the agencies that poured tax money into it:

And on, and on, and on...

There is of course a possible explanation for all the horrible heritage howlers James Lorimer published.

This book was "printed and bound in the People's Republic of China." But is that an excuse? Clearly in future James Lorimer should not allow the Chinese to make up the captions to his books, regardless of how cheaply they offer to do it.

Sure he was able to put a lot of extra money in his pocket in agreeing to have them do it this one time. But in future he should simply say no.

James Lorimer should make it clear to the Chinese that their captioning sub-contractor should be sent back to the rice paddies; he should put his foot down, and clearly stipulate that, in future contracts, they not use an affirmative action, unemployed buffalo driver to caption his book projects.

Do it for Canada.

If James Lorimer won't stand up to those illiterate foreigners, how can we ever hope to safeguard Canadian heritage?

There are, of course, many more examples of poor workmanship in the book of the kind we have illustrated. You will have to read it to find all the others.

If you want to spend your hard-earned money on it!

Better to go to Chapters, sit down and read it there. Even with their 30% off, this book is no bargain.

But we do not want to be entirely critical of this book; that would not be fair.

We can, without the slightest reservation, heartily recommend it as the most wonderful recycling material currently available on the market.

With confidence, you may add it to your trash!

Funding Agencies for this Book

The Government of Canada

- The Department of Canadian Heritage

- The Canada Council for the Arts

The Government of Ontario

- The Ontario Arts Council

- The Ontario Media Development Corporation's
Ontario Book Initiative

A Final Question?

Since James Lorimer has demonstrated such a total lack of knowledge of the people, places, and events of the Canadian participation in the Great Anglo-Boer War, and exhibited, as well, a complete lack of knowledge of the pictorial record of this historic event - and this after they have supposedly done the research - one may legitimately ask, where on earth did they ever get the idea, beforehand, to produce a pictorial history of the Anglo-Boer War, and the information needed to mock up a proposal to go tap Canadian tax money to pay for it?

And this right after the Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum submitted a proposal to James Lorimer & Co. Ltd. suggesting the idea, and telling them to check our website to see the possible story lines, and the wealth of pictorial material that was available for a project we proposed because we had the knowledge, the materials, and the passion for, a subject we thought worthwhile doing, for Canada, and Canadians...

Shame on you James Lorimer!

Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005