1915 Dec 9 – Private Jas. Craig on Wrecked Steamer
Private James Craig was on the hospital boat that struck a mine in the English Channel recently and was wrecked. In a letter to his brothers here he gives a description of his thrilling experience as follows:
I would have written you before this but I didn’t know how long I might have been in the last place I was in or whether I would go back to my regiment. Instead of going to my regiment the doctor sent me to the base and then across to England so here I am in the hospital with some kind of disease in my joints, more especially in one of my knees and the experience I came through when coming across the Channel hasn’t helped me any. I have something to be thankful for in being here at all. I suppose you will have seen in the papers of that disaster to the hospital ship being sunk by a mine in the Channel an over 80 wounded soldiers were drowned. Well, I was on the boat at the time and I have to thank Providence that I was amongst the saved. He boat was sunk three miles from Dover. I was in the upper deck astern at the time she struck the mine. There must have been a big hole torn in her for she immediately began to sink ahead and listing to the portside. There was only one boat got away full. I got in the boat nearest me and when it was full nobody knew anything about how to lower it. We kept tugging and pulling at the block ropes but nothing wound work and thee was none of the crew to be seen to let us see or help us to get it launched, so we all got out again. By that time a lot of the fellows had jumped overboard and as the ship was still going though slower, they were left behind struggling in the water. It wasn’t long before a destroyer came along side so close that a number of men jumped on to it but it moved off for some reason. Later the boat came close in again and some more got on it.
JUMPED INTO THE SEA.
I was in the act of making a jump, but it was too far away at the time, so I stood for a minute or two thinking and taking in the situation. In thinking what would be best to do, I rushed down below and got hold of a lifebelt. When I got up I could hardly stand on deck there was so much list. Well, I took up a position ready to jump. I had thrown off my heavy overcoat and taken off my boots. I don’t know how long I stood there watching her gradually sinking; finally, I thought it was time for getting clear of her before she sunk so I jumped into the water and got several good mouthfuls of it for the sea was pretty choppy at the time. Before I jumped I saw some rowboats making for us so I struck out to meet them. I was picked up by one of them and put on destroyer. The ship that was nearest us at the time was coming to our assistance when she also struck a mine and sunk.
I left the ship none too soon, just two or three minutes after she went out of sight. There were some heartrending scenes that I won’t forget as long as I live. When I was in the water I could see the propellers still running above me and some ropes had got entangled around them and were making a terrible noise.
1915 Dec 9 – Private Izon Wounded
Mr. John Izon, of Dauphin Plains, received a little from his brother, Private Hubert Izon, this week. The letter contains the information that Hubert, who was in the trenches in France, was hit on the shoulder by a piece of shell; the shell driving the bone in for about three inches. He is at present in the hospital at Taplon, England, and slowly recovering from the wound.
1915 Dec 9 – Military Notes
J.W. Skinner, locomotive shop foreman of the C.N.R., has received his lieutenancy commission in the 53rd battalion. He will be quartered in Dauphin during the winter under Lt.-Col. Gillespie and starts on duty his week.
Et. Severn, of Winnipeg, one of Lt.-Col. Gillespie’s staff, arrived in town this week, to whip the Dauphin ???.
The recruits now number 45, and together with the staff of officers the total enlistment is about 50.
1915 Dec 9 – Fork River
Mr. E. Hunt, from Ontario, is a visitor to his brother Mr. A. Hunt for a couple of weeks.
Mrs. Sam Reid [1 line missing] a visit to friends in Winnipeg for a week.
Mrs. J. Chippey received word her mother was very sick and left on the train for a week’s visit at her home.
Mr. D. Scarth, of Hartney, is a visitor with Mr. T.N. Briggs during the hunting season.
Mrs. Little and daughter, Miss Grace are visitors to Winnipeg for a few days.
Mrs. Paul Wood and children of Sifton, are visiting Mrs. D.F. Wilson on the homestead in the Mossey.
Mr. Sam Reid left with his hay press for the old Hood ranch on Lake Dauphin having taken a contract to pressing hay for Shand & Thomas of Dauphin.
Mr. W. King received a letter from his son Edwin, of the 44th Batt., which is in England, who states that things are quite lively over there. The weather is wet and sloppy. This is quite a contrast to the dry winter weather of Manitoba, and the boys feel the change badly.
Several parties left on the 1st to take in the hunt for the big game.
Hunter Bros. shipped their first load of Lake Dauphin fish on Saturday.
Geo. Lyons, of Winnipegosis, was here loading for 25 head of yearlings and two year olds which he will feed for winter.
1915 Dec 9 – Winnipegosis
There was a most successful skating carnival in the rink on Monday night, in aid of the Red Cross Society. The turnout was splendid and the door receipts were $??. The ladies served tea and coffee at ten cents a cup which will bring the total receipts up to a good figure. The prize winners were Miss Myrtle Grenon, Mr. ???, Mrs. ??? McMartin, Miss Geekie, Miss Crawford, Mr. R. Bradley, Miss Margaret Bradley, Miss A. Hechter, Miss Esther Hechter, Miss Beth MacAulay and ??? Cecil Paddock.
Sam Sanderson had the misfortune to lose a valuable team of horses last week in a crack in the ice.
John Redisk is all smiles these days – it is a baby girl.
Frank Hechter returned from Waterhen after spending a week there. He reports fishing good.
The new store across the ??? is doing a good business.
We are sorry to report the death of Mr. and Mrs. Dudley’s little baby girl, which took place on the 4th inst. The funeral was on the 7th.
The council had their regular monthly meeting on the ?th inst., and among other business they passed the herd law. A copy of same can be had at the clerk’s office.
Mr. L???, rancher of Waterhen, passed through here on his way to Winnipeg for a business visit.
C.L. White, fishing overseer, made a quick trip to River last week.
Dr. Medd and Rev. Kirkpatrick left on Wednesday for the west on a hunting expedition.
W.R. Paddock, left for Pine River and Garland on business.
Threshing is now finished in this district and the crops have been very good.
The town is livening up now that the fish teams are coming in so steady.
The Municipal elections are over again for another year and everyone is happy.
New settlers still keep coming in here and we are glad to welcome them.
Mr. Kenny Morris, of the 79th Battalion, spent a few days leave of absence with friends here.
Rev. Mr. Kirkpatrick, an old-timer, here took the service in the Methodist Church on Sunday last, and the church was crowded to its utmost capacity.