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WW1 CEF stretcher bearer helmet

Article about: Hey guys, Heres my latest pick up. It's a first world war Canadian brodie. It belonged to Walter E. Rains. Walter was the great uncle of the seller. Here is some of the history I got from th

  1. #1

    Default WW1 CEF stretcher bearer helmet

    Hey guys,

    Heres my latest pick up. It's a first world war Canadian brodie. It belonged to Walter E. Rains. Walter was the great uncle of the seller.
    Here is some of the history I got from the lady who sold it to me.

    Walter was born in Manchester England, but immigrated to Canada at a young age. During the first world war, Walter lied about his age, and at 16 or 17, he was shipped to France with the CEF. During this time, he got the job as a stretcher bearer. He survived the war, but was forever haunted by the things he saw. Being a stretcher bearer, he witnessed some of the most horrible things a human being can lay their eyes upon. He arrived back home to british columbia, and spent his life living in New Westminster. He died about 40 years ago, and he handed his stuff down to the seller. She sold me his helmet, but kept his dog tags and his drinking cup. She says that she may have more of his stuff, and that she will let me know if she finds any more. Excited!

    One of the most prominent moments of his life occurred when he was in a french town. He told his friends to wait while he ducked into a store to buy tobacco. When he came back out of the store, all of his friends had been killed. I'm not sure what killed them, possibly enemy gunfire, but more likely shelling.

    These are the photos the seller gave me- I'll take a few of my own soon.

    As an interesting side note, there was a small enamelled kings crown and a piece of red velvet found tucked into the liner of the helmet. Possibly a good luck charm? His initials are penciled on the inside of the helmet.

    Also attached is a photo of the man himself and his wife, a nurse whom he met during the war. As well, I attached some photos of stretcher bearers during world war 1, the job Walter Rains would have been doing.

    Thanks guys, more pics soon!

    Quinn

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    “I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.”
    ― Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

  2. #2

    Default Re: WW1 CEF stretcher bearer helmet

    Always great to have a named item with some backround history to it.

    Very nice.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  3. #3

    Default Re: WW1 CEF stretcher bearer helmet

    Thanks Ade.

    It's especially harrowing to think that young Walter Rains was my age...

  4. #4

    Default Re: WW1 CEF stretcher bearer helmet

    That is amazing. As a prior service medic I am always fascinated by things related to the medics that came before me. That is an amazing find!

  5. #5

    Default Re: WW1 CEF stretcher bearer helmet

    Thanks for the words, Cadillac, and for your service as a medic.
    I always found the topic interesting because the ideals of warfare and health are such polar opposites.

    Thanks for enjoying this piece of history!

  6. #6

    Default Re: WW1 CEF stretcher bearer helmet

    Quinn,

    I assume this is your man--er boy.

    Item Display - Soldiers of the First World War - CEF - Library and Archives Canada

    Really lied--doesn't pass for someone around 30years.

    Joe Sweeney

  7. #7

    Default Re: WW1 CEF stretcher bearer helmet

    Quote by Joe Sweeney View Post
    Quinn,

    I assume this is your man--er boy.

    Item Display - Soldiers of the First World War - CEF - Library and Archives Canada

    Really lied--doesn't pass for someone around 30years.

    Joe Sweeney
    I don't think it was that uncommon. My grandfather joined the Seabees when he was 15. They found out about his age and kicked him out. 6 months later he went back in at 16. They eventually found out but at that point just said screw it. He served in both WW2 and Korean War.

  8. #8

    Default Re: WW1 CEF stretcher bearer helmet

    Joe- Thanks for looking that up for me, much appreciated. Wow, 30. He sure doesn't look 30 in his picture! :P

    Cadillac- Going to war at 15... I can't imagine. Thank you for your fathers service!

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