The Clyde River History Committee is launching a new project this fall to further capture our Clyde River history – called “Photograph an Artifact.” We invite anyone who is interested in having artifacts in their private collection to be photographed for a community digital photo collection to contact us. You don’t have to donate the item(s) to the museum to take part. 

An artifact could be furniture, books, documents, clothing, sporting equipment, crafting/personal items, toys, kitchen tools, dishes/glassware, farming implements/equipment – anything that offers a glimpse into the early history of Clyde River before the 1960s.

We would not identify the owner or where the items are located. We simply want to take photos of the artifacts to build our photographic collection for historical education purposes. We will most likely feature this photo collection on our website, so people can have a further glimpse into Clyde River’s past. 

If you are interested in participating in this project, please email Vivian Beer, Chair of the Clyde River History Committee at vivian@eastlink.ca  or call 902-367-1818, and we can set up a time to take photos. For those living away from PEI, if you have any historical items that are connected to Clyde River’s history, we welcome you to email us photos of these artifacts – please connect with us in advance and we can send examples of the specifications for photo submissions. 

The Clyde River history collection now includes over 200 artifacts and about 2000 digital photos, so we look forward to expanding our digital photo collection through this project.

Codford, not sure of date, but it seems to fit within the January, 1916 period (Letter #9)

Dear Brother;

1st page of letter missing, so this letter begins on second page…

We got the Maxim 303 and the Vickers light and heavy and the Lewis. The Lewis will fire 1000 shots a minute, but is a very light gun. It won’t last long like the Maxim, the best. It is a good reliable gun. We are not having quite so much sickness here now. They are getting the best of the fever, but I am just getting rid of a bad cold and it was a damn bad one, too. Jack, it is a hard job to get rid of a cold here, as all the training is lying on the ground and as you know it is always wet. I have been here 11 weeks and we had three fine days.

Well, dear brother, I can’t get drunk here because I can’t get the price, but another thing, we are restricted to certain hours in the canteen and those hours is so we cannot get very much because we have not the time. Jack, I am writing this letter in the dark and I cannot see any lines to make it out, but dear brother, they don’t give me much time to write in the daylight. I do hope you are working this winter, as I call it winter but we have no winter here. It is cold but no snow, cold and raining all the time.

Well, dear brother, I have no news that would interest you, so I will close for this time. Send one Sunday Globe, too, and see if I will get it. And be sure and put in all the letters, if not, at this address, please forward. Give my love and best wishes to Flo and Sam and kids and a whole lot of kisses for Mary and Teddy and all friends, not forgetting yourself and B.

From, Lee

Address: #3949, Private Lee G. Darrach, 3/7 Lancaster Fusiliers, Camp 4, Hut 33, Codford, St. Mary’s, Wiltshire, England
Machine Gun School

Central Parish Women’s Morning Out Group is having a showing of the movie “Maudie” at Burnside Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, September 18th at 10:00 a.m. All are welcome to attend. There will be refreshments following the movie. Donations will be accepted. For more information, please call Millie Kikkert at 902-675-3061.

Based on a true story, Maudie follows the unlikely romance between Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis (played by Sally Hawkins) and reclusive fishmonger Everette Lewis (played by Ethan Hawke).

Codford, England – January 1st, 1916 – (Letter #8) 

Dear Brother;

Jack and B, just a few lines to let you know I am still here. I have been very sick for the past two weeks with a cold or the good old-fashioned grip, but am getting O.K. again.

Well, Jack, the fever is awful bad here in a lot of the camps, especially the one I was in. We got moved to another camp or I think we would all be dead. I do wish they would send me to the front before I will croak here. We will all die if they don’t move us. We must have lost about 200 so far with fever and pneumonia. It is a hell of a place. Rain, there has not been a fine day here for two months. We are halfway up our knees in mud and water.

Well, we did not have very much of a Christmas. I thought of you all and was saying to myself, I bet your are enjoying yourselves by this time. I was not out of my hut, as I was sick. I did not get Mother’s parcel yet. I do hope I will get it. It is a damn sight worse here than in Southport for grub. I don’t know what is the trouble. We do not get enough to live on, but, Jack, I am standing it pretty good. If I can only keep clear of the fever, I think I will be O.K. I like the machine gun alright and you bet I can make it go. God help the Germans or Turks when we get a few hundred guns on them. They will think hell got loose.

Well, Jack, I will have to close for this time, as I have to parade again. Give my love and best regards to all and kiss the children. Wish you all a Happy New Year.

From, Lee

Address: #3949 Private Lee. G. Darrach, 3/7 Lancaster Fusiliers, Machine Gun Section, Camp 8, Hut 6, Codford, St. Mary’s, Wiltshire, ℅ ⅗ Manchester’s

Codford, England – December, 1915 – (Letter #7)

My Dear Brother;

Just a few lines to let you know I am well. Hoping this will find you all the same. I told you I received your watch O.K. and your letter and the dollar in it. Well, dear brother, I did make good use of it. This is one hell of a place. Mud up to your knees and the damn huts. They leak like a sieve, and rain, we are here now two weeks and it rained every day.

You know the Canadians were here and they lost 300 men with fever, so they went away and then sent us here. I think we will help fill up the graveyard. You talk about your American army, but I think you could get enough to eat. We rose hell in the mess this evening. I will tell you what we have for tea – two small slices of bread and a pint of tea and one teaspoon full of jam, so the major came in to us. So you can bet we told him. Some think he is going to make us parade all day Sunday in the mud, and if we does, we will all lay down in the mud because we can’t march or work on an empty stomach. Give me the trenches, the sooner, the better. We will be out of here the 9th of January.

We are under orders to go at a week’s notice, that is why they took us away from Southport. You see we are handy Southampton. I was in London two hours last week after a prisoner. Quite a city. We are about 70 miles from London. If I can get a pass this week, I am going to Tidsworth to if see if I can find any of the Island boys. It is about 25 miles. This is a part of the Salisbury Plains and damn the plains, if they are all like this. I am still on the machine gun, but we did not get started since we came here  – have not got our target yet, but we will have them this week. If not, I hear we will have to go to Aldershot, that is quite handy London, I think, and it will be better as we will be in barracks then.

Well, we have been getting it pretty hard for the last two weeks from the Germans. In fact, on all our fronts. I think that is why we got so sudden a shift. We sleep on a board with two blankets and lousy as a skunk. I got up last night and killed two rats. They had my rifle doing musketry and they could do it in good style, but never mind, Jack, they can’t jar me any. I keep at it and say nothing.

They say we are going to India, that will be a pretty fair climate if we can keep clear of fever. Well, whenever peace is declared, they will have to give me my ticket. If the food don’t come up a little I can’t soldier because I can’t carry my pack and gun and the machine gun, too, that weighs 60 lbs. So you see, we get something to carry.

I tell you, Jack, in this damn outfit, they don’t seem to have any system on the feeding point. You can guess what it is like when 12,000 men are rushing into the messes. Every man grabs. If you are not quick, you won’t get yours as they only put out for the number of men in each mess. Someone will have yours in his pocket.

I got the cake and the other things Flo sent me. Let her know I got them today. All my back mail will be sent to me from Southport. There is 21 of us in this hut, so I tell you there is some rough times. I can hold my end up with them. The English don’t seem to be a strong race of people.

Well, I told you enough, so now I may be on my way to the front before you get this letter, but never mind, I will be there with the goods. They can kill me but they can’t scare me. Well, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Give a kiss to Mary and Teddy and all. Remember me to all, not forgetting Eugene and Lillian. I am going to write a letter to all the kids if I don’t have to parade next Sunday, so goodbye.

With love and best wishes for you all, from Lee

Editor’s Note:

He references India. Over one million Indian troops served in WW1 fighting against Germany.

Church Town – October 31st, 1915 – (Letter #6) 

My Dear Brother;

Just a few lines to let you know I am well. Hoping this will find you all the same. Well, Jack, they sent me here last week. They pulled me out of the ranks and put me on the machine gun section, so I am here on a special course. We have got to get through it in six weeks, but it ought to be six months. We call it the suicide club. You know what they are, Jack. We are the first in advance and then cover retreat. They are awful short of machine gun men, as they kill them off so fast. I tried to get out of it but I could not. Well, I don’t care. I like the gun alright. It will fire 600 rounds a minute. That ought to get a few Turks. I am number one on the gun. I do the firing until they get me and then number two takes my place. There are six of us to a gun. It weighs 68 lbs. with water in it and the tripod weighs 48 lbs. I carried the gun five miles yesterday. They give you some hard marches with it on your back.

Did you send the watch? If you do, don’t send it in papers, send it parcel post. I had a letter from mother yesterday and Fulford sent me a dollar, so I nearly killed myself eating. I certainly did have a good feed. Send my letters to the same address as I will get them alright. I will be back there when I finish here. Give my love to all and a kiss for Mary and Ted. Give my love and best regards to B and all, not forgetting yourself.

From Lee

Editor’s Note:

Church Town is just outside Southport, England.

Southport, England, October 13th, 1915 – (Letter #5)

My Dear Brother;

Just a few lines to let you know I have received your registered letter. I have written two letters before and told you I am getting my letters all O.K. but didn’t get any papers, only one bundle and there was a piece about the Iberian in it, so you will remember I have not received a paper from you or from home since I told you I received about two letters one day.

Now, Jack, I sent Mary a brooch just the same as my hat badge and, also, Lillian and Eugene, a broken set of shoulder epaulets, sent them in the papers and I feel bad they did not get them. I paid four shillings for the two brooches, as you know, money is awful scarce around here. It is like hen’s teeth. I also sent you some photos in my second last letter. I wonder if you received them, also sent some home.

Well, dear brother, I may not receive many more letters from you as I am in the next draft. Got all my equipment all ready now to go on a minute’s notice, but I don’t think we will leave here much before Christmas. It is hard to tell now on account of Bulgaria. We heard last week that we were going to be sent to Servia. I do not care where they send me. We are doing pretty good work, now if we can only keep it up. But my God, there is some awful looking sights coming back here every day from the Lancaster Fusiliers. Well, I am willing to take my chances. To hell with them, they can only get you once.

Well, you believe me, they don’t run on me much. There is some awful good fellows amongst the bunch and some bum ones. There is 53 now in my billet and I gave about ten of them a damn good licking, so now they are alright. The English is like a dog; the more you abuse them, the better they like you.

I wish you could send me your picture snapshots – I mean you and the kids. I should like to have them with your name and address on them, so if anything happens and they are found on me, you will be notified. Anybody finding them on me will let you know and you can also put in a claim for my belongings. They will give you everything I have and also back money, that is if I am killed. There is quite a little now, I mean button money and billet money, as I have never received any yet. I will let it stay where it is now. I hope you will get this letter alright. I would like to have that watch, but don’t send it in papers, as I will never get it.

Well, Jack, I will have to come to a close for this time. You keep writing. If I am gone, my mail will follow me. Give my love to all and lot of kisses for Mary and Ted.

Address my letter to #3949 Private Lee G. Darrach

3/7 Lancaster Fusiliers
Southport, England
Terra Nova, 53 Promenade

With love and best wishes, from Lee

Editor’s Note:

Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in WW1 on October 1915. Up to that point, the Central Powers were Germany, Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria had been resentful of its defeat to Serbia in 1913 and loss of territory, so when they entered WW1, they declared war on Serbia. An earlier spelling was Servia which became Serbia.