Veteran Stories:
John Cecil Snelgrove

Army

  • John Snelgrove (far right, seated) and the Stores Department Tug of War Team were RAF and No.2 Military District Champions, 1918-1919. Collection courtesy of Bill and Nadene Strange.

    John Snelgrove (far right, seated) and the Stores Department Tug of War Team were RAF and No.2 Military District Champions, 1918-1919. Collection courtesy of Bill and Nadene Strange.
  • Captain John Cecil Snelgrove served with the 75th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

    Captain John Cecil Snelgrove served with the 75th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
  • Insignia of the 75th Battalion.

    Insignia of the 75th Battalion.
  • Toronto's Evening Telegram ran this article after John Snelgrove was injured overseas. The article also tells the story of John finding a poppy on the battlefield and sending it in a letter to his mother. September 1916.

    Toronto's Evening Telegram ran this article after John Snelgrove was injured overseas. The article also tells the story of John finding a poppy on the battlefield and sending it in a letter to his mother. September 1916.
  • Snapshots of Canadian soldiers aboard a ship. Top right:John Snelgrove (far right) and fellow soldiers try out their life preservers. Left: John Snelgrove (far right) enjoys the deck chairs. Bottom right: Soldiers pass the time on deck.

    Snapshots of Canadian soldiers aboard a ship. Top right:John Snelgrove (far right) and fellow soldiers try out their life preservers. Left: John Snelgrove (far right) enjoys the deck chairs. Bottom right: Soldiers pass the time on deck.
  • A citation noting John Snelgrove's actions when he was wounded at St. Eloi, September 17, 1916. He was leading a bombing party and was shot in the face. Despite his injury, he kept going and was an inspiration to his men.

    A citation noting John Snelgrove's actions when he was wounded at St. Eloi, September 17, 1916. He was leading a bombing party and was shot in the face. Despite his injury, he kept going and was an inspiration to his men.
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Transcript

My name is Bill Strange. I live in Kingston, Ontario. My mother's maiden name was Eleanor Snelgrove, and she lived with her family in Toronto. She had two older brothers who served in the Great War, 1914 to 1918.

One brother, Charles Reginald Snelgrove, went overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was stationed in Siberia. We have a lovely photograph of him wearing his heavy fur cap and fur-collared jacket – I assume part of the uniform that he wore in Siberia.

The other brother, John Cecil Snelgrove, served with the 75th Battalion – a Toronto battalion, I believe – and he served in Europe. He sent home to his mother in a letter one time (I'm not sure of the year) a poppy that he had picked on a field. He said, "I can't believe that this is growing where there are so many shell holes, and I didn't know what to do with it so I'm putting it in a letter and sending it to you."

These were my two uncles on my mother's side, neither of whom did I know. One died before I was born, and the other one just after I was born.

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