Boer War Page 70
Boer War Local Heroes 1
More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has recently preserved.
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Harry Macdonough (1871-1931) & S.H. Dudley:
"Bye and Bye You Will Forget Me" c 1900

You are listening to an original recording from c 1900, featuring two of Canada's very first recording artists, Harry Macdonough, and SH Dudley, singing "Bye and Bye You Will Forget Me." Soldiers sang poignant songs such as this in camps while they pondered their future after leaving home and girlfriends for a year's service in a dangerous war in South Africa.

(You can hear these earliest Canadian recordings on our program's soundtrack. Details on our Music Page)


William Stokes - Fingal, ON

Found recently in an old trunk in the basement of a house in St. Thomas, ON, is the Boer War memorabilia of William Stokes of nearby Fingal, ON. He signed up in the fall of 1901, to join the 2 CMR (Canadian Mounted Rifles), Canada's fourth and last contingent to see fighting (at Boschbult Farm, at the Battle of Hart's River.)

Below are some mementoes he kept together because they had special meaning for him at the defining moment in his life. In the fall of 1901, William was getting ready to go to war.

Enclosed were very small photos of some of his militia chums, below William Sproul, and Archie Campbell (right) from London, ON (written on the back), and Robert Rose, also of London, (below). Sadly Archie, who signed up with the 142 Bn of Infantry, was killed in France Dec. 5, 1917.

A Mystery: Among William's effects a diary - more properly a name and address log - was also found, listing the names of dozens of his CMR mates, with their home towns. A mystery - his chums right are also listed the same way but do not appear among the rolls of the CMR? Call us if you know anything about these men.
Xmas 1901: Christmas is an emotional season at all times but was especially so to the family and friends of William Stokes, only days away from embarking for the theatre of war.

Left, and below, a Christmas card tied tenderly with a red ribbon and titled "Remembrance." Inside a warm message from "Alice," someone special enough that he kept the card all his life.

Below left, and right, another special fold-out card wishing him a Merry Xmas from someone else special in his life, "Your grandmother."

Below left and right, "May Christmas Joy Fill Your heart" from someone special who signed on the back, "With love from Jane" and also gave him a lifetime of kisses, perhaps because she feared she might never get the chance again.
The Cost of War: The 2 CMR fought Canada's second most bloody battle, at Boschbult Farm, on Mar. 31, 1902. William went back to his diary and updated the entries for the killed and wounded among his chums. The diary notes the death of Charlie Evans (below right), who died a hero's death - even when out of ammunition, he refused to surrender and was shot - and L.Cpl. Sherrit. (Only two months later the Peace was signed.)
Historian John Goldi stands at the site where Evans, and Sherrit and the other Canadian dead were buried after the battle. Below left, the Boer War memorial erected to Sherrit in front of the Brantford armouries where he had trained.
The men who returned from the war knew they had experienced something no one else would ever understand and so was born the idea of a get-together at an annual dinner to commemorate the Battle of Heart's River and to toast their departed comrades.

This extremely rare program shows the initial call for participants on Mar. 31, 1903.

Not all Wiliam's chums returned to Canada with the regiment. A few stayed behind to sign up with the South African Constabulary and serve as policemen to bring order to the conquered territories after the Peace was signed in May 1902. Even Sam Steele, who had commanded Lord Strathcona's Horse, stayed behind to work in the peace time SAC till 1907.
A card, from one of Williams' chums who stayed, asks "Dear Stokes" to pass on "Compliments of the season" and "Best Regards to the Boys," presumably the brotherhood of the 2 CMR.
Paardeberg Ball: The one regiment which has continued to commemorate its participation in the Anglo-Boer War, is the Royal Canadian Regiment, which fought in the bloodiest battle of the war at Paardeberg.

Joan Goldi and John Goldi csc, were the proud honoured guests of the Regiment at the Chateau Laurier at the 100th Anniversary Dinner on Feb. 26. 2000.

Above, the cover of the menu and the list of all the wonderful things that we did not get to eat as we were recording the proceedings on video.

John Goldi also wore the only Queen's South Africa medal, at the gala. Who knows how many dinners his QSA "mess" medal had attended in the past.

Left, the place mat for the diners showing the battle positions of the regiment during the 10 day siege and battle.

Left, recently found on the battlefield, the pith helmet badge from an RCR, and the cap badge from an Ottawa recruit to the regiment from the 43rd Regiment , the Ottawa and Carleton Rifles.

Heartfelt Thanks, for Donating the Stokes mementoes, to:

Beth Williams, St. Thomas, ON

We would welcome any information about what happened to William Stokes - or any of the men above - in later life.

c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000