(A photo of Scottish Borderers 241st Battalion soldiers leaving Windsor station during WWI, on display as part of the Remembering Armistice 1918 – 2018 exhibit at the Chimczuk Museum in Windsor, Ontario. Photo above by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.)
Back in 1918, as World War 1 ended, there were those who called it the “The war to end all wars.” It was more of a wish than reality. Nonetheless, for four years, from 1914 to 1918, the war engulfed Windsor and its neighbouring communities. Efforts were made on a number of fronts to support the war effort and the hundreds of local men and woman were dispatched to the war’s frontlines. Some fought against the enemies, others worked hard in medical camps to take care of the wounded.
Much of this is neatly presented in a new mini-display at downtown’s Chimczuk Museum as part of a just opened mini-display, Remembering Armistice 1918 – 2018.
A good part of the display recounts the life of Sandwich surgeon Colonel Henry Raymond Casgrain’s field work in Greece. He began his service carrying on as a surgeon for the 21st Essex Fusiliers and then took full responsibility as the commanding officer of the Number 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital. His appointment saw him deployed to the Greek island of Lemnos as part of what was known as the Dardenelle campaign.
Life was nothing if not bleak in this part of the world. Casgrain frequently had to deal with dysentery, gangrene and frostbite in the winter. It was a place where the deaths caused by these conditions and others outweighed battle loses.
In all of this, his hospital did manage to achieve a mortality rate of 2 per cent.
His nurses, and all those serving in the War, wore blue dresses and white veils, earning them the nickname of “bluebirds.”
Casgrain’s wife Alice was one of those nurses. She served at his side as a Nursing Sister. However, conditions caused her to return to England after two months in the Lemnos hospital.
The Remembering Armistice 1918 – 2018 exhibit will be on display until February 2019.
For more information about Chimczuk Museum visit Museum Windsor’s website.
Article and photos by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.