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!
“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