Special Archivist Note: The End.

Hello again from Susan, Archivist at the Glenbow Archives.

You have just read the final war letter. So what happened next? Emma and Harold returned to Canada on the H.M.S. Olympic, sailing from Southampton on May 10 and arriving in Halifax on May 16, 1919. The Olympic was a sister ship of the ill-fated Titanic. It had been converted to a troop ship early in the war and brought thousands of Canadian Expeditionary Force troops home after the Armistice. I wondered how Emma, in the early months of pregnancy, coped with the crossing but discovered, sadly, that she had had a miscarriage in England before their departure.

The McGills arrived back in Calgary in early June, and Harold again took up his job as physician to the Sarcee (Tsuu T’ina) reserve on the edge of the city. Emma was soon pregnant with their first child, Kathleen, shortly followed by their second daughter, Doris. In 1930s the family moved to Ottawa where Harold was appointed Director of Indian Affairs. They retired to British Columbia in 1945. Harold died in 1961 and Emma in 1971.

Harold’s war memoirs have recently been edited by Marjorie Barron Norris and published as Medicine and Duty. It is a good read and I highly recommend it.

Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 8:00 am  Comments (4)  

Whitley, April 23/19

Dearest Emma;-
Your two letters are to hand. I received the one dated April 20 last evening and the other this morning. Apparently a letter takes two days to come from London here.
I am very sorry to hear of Mrs. Gardner’s illness. She will be more anxious than ever now to get back to Canada.
I forgot to tell you that I wanted combination suits in the underwear, but I presume you ordered such. I have worn no other kind for some years.
There is no further word of the unit moving and nothing more concerning the accomodation for dependents on the troopships. We shall probably know within a few days whether or not we shall be able to return with the unit. Personally I have ceased to worry over the matter. I shall not go without you unless they take me by force.
The 2nd Division dinner takes place in the Savoy Hotel to-night. Only two of our officers are going. I felt that I could not afford it. If you are not coming down to Mrs. Drysdale’s house I shall try to get up for the week end. Can you put me up? If I go up on Saturday I shall try to get the train leaving here at 9.47 and reaching Waterloo at 10.04. I shall be delighted to have you meet me at the station if you can manage to do so. I can go direct from the station to the bank and thence to the leggings shop on Oxford St. I shall have a stick to buy also as I left mine on the train last Sunday when I got off at Godalming.
Hope this letter reaches you before Saturday. You may expect me then. Goodby.
Your loving husband
Harold W. McGill

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 8:00 am  Comments (2)