Somewhere in France 1918
Here’s a photo that was taken somewhere in France of the 9th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops of which my grandfather Frederick Groves Kerley was a member. You can view Fred Kerley’s WW1 Diary in a previous post. It is certain that this photo was taken in 1918 but uncertain as to exactly where. The 9th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops had started out as the 1st Battalion Pioneers and was an engineering/construction battalion, which had been organized in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1915. In 1917 the unit became the 9th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops.
The ditch in front of the group could possibly be one of the trenches as the railways were built very close to the trenches to bring supplies and ammunition and to transport the dead and wounded. Could it be a German trench and railway line destroyed?
Does anyone know where this photo was taken? I recently found this old postcard online which depicts Péronne in about 1915 or 1916. It was sent as 1916 military mail. These 2 photos could possibly depict opposite sides of the same building in Péronne. The name, seeming to be “Cafe Moderne” is attached to the building in both photos. Péronne was under German occupation during the war and the town was almost completely destroyed.
Museum of the Great War (Historial de la Grande Guerre)
The Museum of the Great War is located near the heart of the World War I Somme battlefields. Its in Château de Péronne, a castle in the town of Péronne in northern France.
It is close to where 1916, first 1918, and second 1918 Battles of the Somme took place.
Here’s a couple of links to pdfs of the War Diaries of the 1st Battalion Canadian Pioneers which became the 9th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops in 1917.
War Diaries of 1st Canadian Pioneers March 1916 to February 1917 48.4 MB Download pdf
War Diaries of 9th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops March 1917 to December 1918 53.7 MB Download pdf
You can find the War Diaries of the First World War Library and Archives Canada.
More information about the 9th Battalion Railway Troops and the 1st Pioneer Battalion is on the blog Doing Our Bit.
There’s an extensive World War 1 Digital library at McMaster University Archives
Also in 1918
View my post about the other pandemic, known as the Spanish flu was still raging in 1918, near the end of World War 1, also known then as the Great War. The importance of the Spanish flu was played down in the newspapers with news about World War 1 being at the forefront.