New Brunswick Kilties

This post is so full of connections it was difficult for me to decide where to start. So let's begin with the photo above of the 236th Overseas Battalion: New Brunswick's MacLean Kilties of America. The photo measures 47.5 x 10 inches.

Click any pic to magnify. It's worth it to see the detail.
This photo hung in my grandfather's office, then his bedroom, then my bedroom, and now it hangs in my brother-in-law's office. My grandfather Ralph Douglas Barton was a member of the New Brunswick MacLean Kilties, the 236th Regiment of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.

I set out to preserve this amazing photo, wanting to digitize it and save copies of it as a family treasure. Not knowing the condition of the photo inside the frame I carefully dismantled it. I checked around to see where I could have it scanned. The local library and Boston Public Library didn't have a machine that could handle it. and I'm to cheap to have it commercially done. So I did it section by section on my own scanner coming up with seven separate scans. I then used photo editing software to "stitch" those "pieces" back together.

The process was all quite fascinating and I was able to see the entire photo in detail. I actually did find a person I think is my grandfather. He is in Company C, first row second from the left. I included a photo of him with his brother Frank taken while they were both in France in 1918 for comparison.

While I was scanning the photo a question I had was, exactly where in Montreal is this stagged? I found a website that details the history of the 236th. They actually produced a newsletter. Someone had scanned and posted four issues of this newsletter entitled, "A Breath O' the Heather." The final issue details their days before shipping out to England.
Grandfather's medal
for service at the front

On October 24, 1917 they paraded Fletcher Field for rehearsal for final inspection and have pictures taken. On the 25th they had their final inspection before Major General Wilson G.O.C. On the 26th they had their final parade and presentation of the colors with "motion pictures" taken. On the 30th in the early hours of the morning they marched in a heavy downpour to the docks and shipped out to England.

It turns out Fletcher's Field is now known as Jeanne Mance Park which is part of the Mount Royal park system. It is now a soccer field and I walked on this very field in 1983 when I visited Montreal. If you look carefully there is a building in the background to the right of center with a peaked roof. This is the headquarters of the Canadian Grenadier Guards which is still active to this day. In fact from looking on Google Earth street view, many of the buildings you see in the background are still standing.

The 236th Battalion, was a unit in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. Based in Fredericton, New Brunswick and Camp Valcartier, the unit began recruiting in the Spring of 1916 throughout Canada and 1917 in the New England region of America. After sailing to England in November 1917, the battalion was absorbed into the 20th Battalion, CEF in March, 1918. The 236th (The New Brunswick Kilties) Battalion, CEF was also known as the "McLean Kilties of America" or "Sir Sam's Own". It had one Officer Commanding: Lieut-Col. Percy. A. Guthrie. Percy who stands proudly leading his men in the foreground of the photo.
Photos: CrazyasaCoolFox

One more interesting tidbit found in the "Breath O' the Heather"... the Colonel and some of the battalion traveled to Boston when the battalion became multinational for recruiting. During that week Guthrie spoke before a crowd at Fenway Park during a Red Sox baseball game. The pitcher for the Red Sox that day? Babe Ruth. The Sox lost 1-0.

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