Veteran Stories:
Francis Harold McLorg

Army

  • Francis Harold McLorg, likely after he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on January 9, 1916. Collection courtesy of Mary (McLorg) Hill.

  • Field postcard Francis McLorg sent home to his family in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, November 10, 1915. By scratching out the statements that did not apply to him, he was able to show his family was he was "quite well" and had received their letter.

  • In this letter from Francis McLorg to his family, he described the complicated and difficult labour involved in building and maintaining trenches. As a Lieutenant, he was reponsible for overseeing the process and he admired his men for their hard work.

  • Finishing off this letter to his family, Francis McLorg wrote of his brigade: "I would not swap the Brigade I am in for any in any army in the world, and I honestly that they are as good as any there are."

  • Official certificate of Francis McLorg's promotion to the rank of Lieutenant, June 9, 1918.

  • Francis McLorg married Gladys Bourke in London at St. James Church on September 20, 1919. The couple met in London when Mr. McLorg was recovering from injuries incurred while at the front in 1916.

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"I would not swap the brigade I'm in for any army in the world, and I honestly think they're as good as any there are."

Transcript

My father was known in the service documents as Francis Harold McLorg, but as we knew him he was Frank. As my mother knew him, they had a secret sort of name that they got early in the war when they first met, and it was Jamie, or James, or Jim. Sometimes people get confused about who this man is – this 'Jimmie' that signs these letters when he's writing to her, but in fact most of his letters, at least to his mother and to his family at home, are signed by 'Frank'.

He was born in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, which was then Moosomin, Northwest Territories, in 1890. He moved to Saskatoon, and then quickly to Winnipeg as part of the pre going overseas experience of getting trained in Canada for the war. He joined as a Private and was quickly made into a Corporal, and the quickly into a Lance Corporal, which gave him an extra ten cents in pay. He said he had to somehow supervise people in the sick bay, and they were all very sick with fits of flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia and so forth, and then of course his mother, right to worry if he's doing the right kind of medicine, taking care of himself. He replies, "I am so sorry that I should have caused you any worry by even mentioning my throat. I quite understand that that, plus any rumour of our being quarantined, would have had you considerably worried. We haven't been quarantined, and I don't for a moment believe we're going to be… and we've heard lots of rumours of when we'll be sent over, of course." But he says that he's absolutely delighted with the men that he is working with. When they were comparing notes between he and his cousin, who was with a Scottish regiment, the cousin said that the Canadians were undisciplined. Of course, he said that of course they weren't the kind to stand around with parade stuff, but when they have work to do and they see the reason for it, they really don't complain at all. This is what he says: "It was not long before we came over, when they were grousing all the time, but now that they have the intelligence to realize that this is necessary work, and as long as the next man does his share, they do not kick at all, and I love them for it. I would not swap the brigade I'm in for any army in the world, and I honestly think they're as good as any there are, and better than ninety percent of them." He speaks like this all the way through, about the people he's working with, and really, clearly enjoys them.

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