Disposable Veterans 1902 - Here is the typical paperwork it took to process the life of a Canadian volunteer during the Boer War.

These papers refer to Charlie Adams but are duplicated, with minor variations, to other soldiers who served in Canada's Armed Forces in the 20th century.

All copies are available as high quality digital copies for printing, free of charge via the internet in Ottawa, Ontario.

The most common document is the Attestation Paper, usually front and back where the soldier notes down his vital statistics and where he signs his life away, literally...

Attestation papers are precious because, for thousands of Canadians who died, this document, which they filled out, and signed, repeatedly, in their own hand, is often all that remains of their service to their country.

(They remain a useful way to check out the validity of a soldier's signature on family photos or other documents.)

Go to James Diffey

The next biggest group of papers concerns the awarding of medals.

A personal letter, like the one left, with ominous overtones, signed by Charlie's wife Agnes, are more rare. Indeed a lot of volunteers note "wife" as next of kin.

How many husbands - often the sole breadwinners, and with children to support - browbeat their wives into signing letters like this, so they could go off on a foreign adventure with their pals? Probably Charlie told Agnes that as a "Pack Store Clerk" he would be in no real danger...

The Government cared a fig if the men had fatherly duties to perform. Nowhere did it ask if the men - leaving their families for a year or more to go overseas - had children to support at home, who would be orphaned if they died...

But the Government was taking no chances.

First, Agnes had to sign that if Charlie fails to come back from the war zone - where people expect to die - she will not sue the Government for damages or family support...

Then it demanded that a witness, Mary Anderson, sign as proof, probably, that Agnes was not coerced by a forceful husband...

Disposable Veterans 2007 - Nothing much has changed in 100 years. The Canadian Armed Forces are openly - and pathetically - soliciting the Canadian public for donations to help families of servicemen who have been killed or wounded in Afghanistan...

The Conservative Government, which has eagerly spent billions for tanks and guns, to help the Bush-Cheney gang carry out their depredations among the Muslims, lacks the heart, the will, to find funds for families of dead servicemen. Until...

Until a public fuss was raised, that many families were terribly burdened with huge burial costs they had to pay themselves for servicemen who died, no less, for the Conservative Vision of Canada.

But then that is just more American style copycatting, where the scandal at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital exposed the squalid conditions that returning veterans were forced to wallow in, while another former Haliburton crony of Dick Cheney's, scooped off the profits for his fat cat hospital administration contract...

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Charlie Adams, 10th Canadian Field Hospital - 1899

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A tiny, but still fabulous memento of the Boer War service of Charlie Adams, of the 10th Canadian Field Hospital, Army Medical Corps.

Charlie brought back a single .303 cartridge which, for over 100 years, has been tightly wrapped in a brittle paper wrapper which says "Used by Charlie Adams in the Boer War."

The cartridge is unique for another reason. It was manufactured in Charlie's home town of Montreal, and is head stamped DC by the Dominion Cartridge Co. and marked as a military round.

Being in the hospital corps meant that Charlie, in all probability, did not get to do much, if any, shooting at Boers.

So we're not sure what "used" means... In all likelihood he patched up more Boers than he shot at....

Go to Boer War Hospitals

.303 Cartridge - Sgt. Charlie Adams, 10th Canadian Field Hospital
Orig. cartridge - Size - 57 mm
Found - Montreal, QC
Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005