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G 7  Rufus 1916, top left, with 88th Bn officers. Who were all those men in uniform?

They were the officers of the 88th Battalion, the Victoria Fusiliers – all volunteers. You know one of them, anyway – Rufus is at the left end of the back row . And the CO, the big guy in the middle of the front row, was Lt Col Cullin. But I don’t know who any of the others were.

I’ve found Rufus. He  looks very serious. So, these were the guys he was with, when he went to France in 1916?

Only until they got to England.  There were also about 700 soldiers not in the picture.  They all did more training in England, but before they went to France, the battalion was broken up to fill the gaps in BC battalions already at the front.

It’s too bad we don’t know who all the other men were. They must have been somebody’s dad, or son, or brother, mustn’t they? So there must be people who know about them – families have photographs of them, after all.

And many of them never came back. They say the expectation of survival for platoon officers – the ones with puttees instead of riding boots – was about three weeks at some stages of the war.


4 thoughts on “My Blog

  1. I found a book today in a second hand shop “Beyond the Rockies….”
    Written in the flyleaf are: “This book is very precious. It belongs to Mrs. Lukin Johnston, 1035 McGregor Ave. Victoria, V. I B. C.”
    below is written “and now to Dr. J. R. Stratton with deep appreciation and gratitude for his kind and thoughtful care of my mother. Derek Lukin Johnston August 19, 1970”. Thought you might be interested.

    1. Hello Tom and thank you for your thoughtful comment. It so happens that my wife, Val, is Derek’s daughter and Mrs Lukin Johnston’s granddaughter. She would love to have the book with inscriptions written by her grandmother and father and we wonder whether you would be willing to exchange it for a similar copy – we have several.
      All the best,

  2. I was teaching English in the mid 70s at george Pringle when we met through debating..then I went on to Pen-Hi and sponsored it there..remember your name…saw the book Rufus reviewed in RTA mag, boought it, and look forward to reading it now I’m retired!
    Live in North Van, retired 6 months.
    Wish you all the best
    Jeny Wahl, formerly Rogers

    1. Very nice to hear from you Jenny. And so glad that you’ll be reading Rufus. Don’t be put off by the detail – when writing I was fascinated by the ability of letters and diaries to create a real picture of the past in my own mind. I found it impossible to leave out the ingredients of that picture because I was living it myself – it was the reward of the historian, being almost always able to see the bigger picture into which the scenes of his life fitted. His story is amazing – he was a unique individual in so many ways.
      I’m still peripherally involved with debating – am currently coaching an Okanagan College Business School team which will be debating a business theme at Queen’s, in Ontario, next week. Back to Rufus, Glen Schaefer (a GPSS student you may have taught), who wrote the Foreword and who writes for the Province, is now writing a movie script – we both think it would make a great movie. Let me know what you make of the book.

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