Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Hyde In War Time (1914-16) Page 41

The Rally From The Prairie Land.

Hyde Canadians In Desperate Fighting.

Two noteable Hydonians who came from Canada to fight for the Mother Country were Private T.C. Johnson, a son of Mr. William Johnson, Muslin Street, Newton; and Private Arthur Williamson, a son of Mr. A Williamson, J.P., King George Road, Hyde, secretary of Hyde and District Operative Spinners’ Association. Both of these fine-spirited young men have seen a good deal of the world. Private Johnson, at the age of about eighteen, went to sea, and later spent a considerable time in South America, going down right to its most southern point, the Island of Tierra Del Fuego. Travelling from there about the year 1908 he sailed up the Pacific Ocean to the extreme west of Canada, and, after being buffeted about for a time, set up a real estate business in the city of Victoria, British Columbia, which turned out a success. When war broke out his thoughts immediately turned to the “Old Country” nor could he rest content until he had determined to do is “bit,” and, enlisting as a Private, he came over with the Canadian Contingent. Private Johnson was fighting in France at the time the Germans made their first and quite unexpected great launch of poisonous gas. In addition to receiving a dose of gas, he was wounded, and for many weeks he was under treatment at a hospital in Somerset. While at the fron the had several narrow escapes, one being when a German shell dropped near him, but fortunately did not explode. After the hospital treatment, Private Johnson became engaged in the Canadian Records Office, in London. He was still there in January, 1916, but was then expecting shortly to return to the front.

Private T. C. JOHNSON.
Loyal Patriot, gassed and wounded.





A true-spirited Britisher.

When war broke out, and the seriousness of the strife was realised, the Motherland’s appeal for help rallied her loyal sons from the wide world o’er. Old ties and friendships found her son’s ready, aye ! and eager to protect the hearths and homes of the cherished land that had given them birth, and one of these gallant sons was Private Arthur Williamson, who enlisted at Montreal, and went through a course of military training in Canada. He arrived in England, from Canada, on the 21st May, 1915, and some little time afterwards was drafted to the front.  Private Williamson has spent a long time in the trenches under the most awful conditions, but he always wrote home cheery letters to his anxious parents. In the following December, they received a letter stating that he was under treatment in hospital at Cumieres, France, his hand having been wounded while engaged in the dangerous work of putting up barbed wire entanglements. He appears to have made a good recovery, for early in February, 1916, he again returned to the “firing line.” Private Williamson is probably one of the most “travelled” young men who have gone to Canada from the town. From the time he left Hyde, in September, 1911, to his arrival in England as a soldier, he properly covered little less than fifty thousand miles. He has made a few trips right across Canada, has worked in lumber camps and on the wheat lands of the broad prairies, and in industrial works at Montreal. On one occasion, after obtaining work as a tree-cutter, he had to walk forty miles through the bush in order to reach the spot where the work required to be done. Excellent training for a prospective soldier.
Near the end of April, 1916, Private A, Williamson was in a London military hospital suffering from “shell shock.” He had been there for some little time when he wrote home informing his parents of his arrival. In his letter, he stated that “shell shock” had taken away his hearing, but the doctors had told him that the drums of his ears were not destroyed, and that they might be able to restore them. In a message sent from the front a few weeks previously, Private Williamson told of two German shells lying just in front of his dug-out. Fortunately, neither of these shell burst; if they had done, he wrote, “there would have been a terrible splash, and you would not have had this letter 

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