For years, I’ve made a practice of selectively rescuing old photographs, scrap books or other such personal memorabilia from garage sales, flea markets, antique shows and thrift stores.
Particularly those of an obvious military theme as it strikes me that a man or woman who has served his or her country in uniform deserves better than to be sold as a commodity to a stranger.
Even when I’m that stranger. From time to time, I’ve been able to identify the people in the photos, and, rarely, been able to return them to rightful owners who claimed they’d gone astray and really did matter to their families and descendants.
It happens. Photos, scrap books get thrown out by mistake, or given to thrift stores for sale for their frames or their collector’s value when someone dies. There are descendants who just don’t care to keep Granny’s "junk," or who see dollar signs in what had been another family member’s most personal and prized possessions.
Whatever the case, to the thrift store or the flea market, they go. I’m not the only one who finds them intriguing and cares enough to give them a home, I know, as the Times-Colonist will confirm. The Victoria daily has begun a weekly series of publishing old photos and postcards with what little information the contributor can provide, in the hopes that they’ll be identified by readers.
Sometimes it happens, and today I’m giving Chronicles readers the opportunity to help me identify the soldier in the accompanying photograph in my collection. As is clearly visible, he was a member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
That, of course, could simply mean that he’s a Canadian and that he could be from anywhere in the country. What makes me suspect that he’s a local man is the piece of cardstock used to mount his photo for framing (which is missing).
It’s cut down from a Bastion Theatre poster promoting the Oscar Wilde play, The Importance of Being Earnest, and stars Alison MacLeod, Edwin Stephenson, Kim Horsman, Ian Deakin, and Elisabeth Orion as Lady Bracknell.
Written in hand is, "Cowichan Theatre, Jan. 28 & 29. Adults $6.50, Students/OAP $5.00. Tickets on Sale Now!" The typography, paper stock and the seat prices suggest the late 1970s or early to mid-’80s to me.
If anyone has any information to offer on this unknown soldier, I’d be pleased to hear from you. You can phone me at 250-748-5707 or, preferably, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also use the mail via the Citizen office address or even drop it off at the Citizen, on Jubilee Street.
My easiest ID to date was that of a young WWI soldier posing with his parents and his sister, or perhaps his girl friend, in the family orchard. The seller said she thought it and related photos were of a local family.
Indeed they were, as the late Bob Dougan confirmed. Thomas James Thompson Jeffery of Cameron-Taggert Road, Cobble Hill was killed in action while serving with the 72nd Bn., less than two weeks before Armistice.