Author Archives: Larry Dohey

Shrove Tuesday—Pancake Day

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

February 9, 2016

Pancake ChefMardi Gras literally means “Fat Tuesday. The day is also known as Shrove Tuesday (from “to shrive,” or hear confessions) or Pancake Tuesday. The custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins. This year Ash Wednesday is on February 10.

GIVE HIM “SHORT SHRIFT”

On Shrove Tuesday,  (February 9) Christians were encouraged to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began.

The term survives today in ordinary usage in the expression “short shrift”. To give someone short shrift is to pay very little attention to his excuses or problems. The longer expression is, “to give him short shrift and a long rope,” which formerly meant to hang a criminal with a minimum of delay.

What is in that pancake

Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving things up. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren’t allowed in Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent.

Pancakes were a simple way to use these foods, and one that could entertain the family. Objects with symbolic value are cooked in the pancakes, and those who eat them, especially children, take part discovering what their future will be as part of the meal.

The person who receives each item interprets the gift according to the tradition:

  • a penny—to symbolize poverty
  • a nickel—to symbolize wealth
  • a string—to symbolize a fisherman (if a boy got the string, he would be a fisherman, if a girl did, she would marry one)
  • a holy medal—the house blessed with a priest or a nun.
  • a hair clip—hairdresser or barber
  • a button — to symbolize that you would never marry – a bachelor or an old maid
  • a pencil stub – a career in teaching: imagine a lead pencil in your food!)
  • a thimble—to symbolize that you would be a seamstress (a girl) or a tailor (a boy)
  • a wedding ring—to symbolize that you would marry soon

The  12th annual CBC Community Pancake Breakfast to help fight homelessness has been cancelled because of weather.  The Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and Homelessness Ntwork and partner organizations will be hosting events throughout the province.

Contact (for St. John’s events): David Murphy, 709-722-1030

Locations for your pancake breakfast: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/events/pancakes-pancakes-pancakes-1.3408822

 

 

Hockey trophies and war

Archival Moment

The Herder Cup

February 2016

Ralph Herder loved hockey, he was seriously wounded July 1, 1916.

Hubert Herder loved hockey, he died at Beaumont Hamel, July 1, 1916. (Click to enlarge)

The Herder Memorial Trophy is emblematic of Newfoundland and Labrador hockey supremacy. The trophy, more commonly known as ‘the Herder” is awarded to the provinces best ice hockey team.

Among members of the Herder family that it honors are seven Herder men that loved hockey, three that fought in the First World War.

Arthur Herder, a lawyer, was a Captain in the First World War, he died of his wounds in 1917.   Hubert was a lieutenant when he was killed at Beaumont Hamel July 1, 1916.   Ralph, also a lieutenant, was seriously wounded July 1, 1916. He survived the war. He became Publisher of The Evening Telegram on the deaths of his brothers in 1934, and was the driving force behind the creation of the Herder Memorial Trophy in 1935 in memory of his brothers who predeceased him.

Arthur Herder signed up for military service in Saskatchewan where he was practicing law, but later joined the Newfoundland Regiment before Beaumont-Hamel. Arthur’s two brothers — Hubert and Ralph — both signed up in St. John’s and went to Gallipoli before France but the three brothers were together at Beaumont-Hamel on July 1.

The sister , Elsie Herder , of the three lads — also joined the war effort. After news reached St. John’s of the two boys being wounded, she joined a group of nursing volunteers who went over to help.

There’s also a cousin, Wallace Herder, of St. John’s who was killed in action in 1917.

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On January 14, 2016, the St. John’s IceCaps , at The Rooms , unveiled a Royal Newfoundland Regiment tribute jersey to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont-Hamel.

The logo on the tribute jersey features a black silhouette of a First World War Royal Newfoundland Regimental solider encircled by the words: Royal Newfoundland Regiment 1916-2016.

The IceCaps will wear the jerseys (TONIGHT) Friday and Saturday, February 5th and 6th versus the Utica Comets. Many in the seats at Mile One will be remembering their ancestors who loved the game.

Tickets can be purchased at the Mile One Centre box office or online at http://www.mileonecentre.com

LEST WE FORGET

Recommended Archival Collection: The Rooms Provincial Archives – Sports Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador has a substantial collection of photographs detailing the history of League Hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador.

What happened to the ‘hockey’ Rover?

Archival Moment

January 1917

20uzhx4Hockey has evolved over the years and one of the more profound changes that came about during the First World War was the introduction of six aside hockey.

Previous to the war years, Newfoundland teams put seven players on the ice. The additional player was known as the “ROVER’. The rover did not have a set position per se, but rather “roamed” about the ice.

There were two other positions that fans would have known, the “POINT” and “COVER POINT”, eventually they became today’s Defense.

In the winter of 1917 a contingent of the Newfoundland Regiment departed Newfoundland by boat   destined for Halifax where they were to join a flotilla destined for England. On route to Halifax it was discovered that all of the men had contracted mumps and or measles.   So as not to infect the rest of the troops the Regiment was sent from Halifax to Windsor, Nova Scotia where they were to recuperate.

Among those aboard ship were some of the best hockey player’s that the Dominion of Newfoundland   had ever produced. Known as the Windsor Contingent of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment some of the hockey players in quarantine were H.G.R. (Harry) Mews, Charlie Strong, Ernie Churchill, Rex White, Duke Winter and Lionel Duley.

The team played a series of games in Windsor during their ten-week quarantine before sailing to England and the trenches of France  in April.

This was the first time that Newfoundland put a team on the ice playing with six players per side. The Newfoundland players liked the new game. With the rover removed the players had much more ice surface to cover. The game became much faster.

In 1918, Nova Scotian teams visited St. John’s and the new rule change was introduced. The change was formally adopted in 1919 by the Newfoundland Hockey Association. The ‘Rover’ was no more.

Duley, was Killed in Action in 1918, Strong died of wounds sustained in battle in 1918, Mews returned to Newfoundland and later became Mayor of St. John’s.

The St. John's Ice Caps will be wearing a special jersey to remember the Newfoundland Regiment on February 5th and 6th.

The St. John’s Ice Caps will be wearing a special jersey to remember the Newfoundland Regiment on February 5th and 6th.

On January 14, 2016 with great pride and respect, the St. John’s IceCaps , at The Rooms , unveiled a Royal Newfoundland Regiment tribute jersey to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont-Hamel.

The logo on the tribute jersey features a black silhouette of a First World War Royal Newfoundland Regimental solider encircled by the words: Royal Newfoundland Regiment 1916-2016. The entire IceCaps team was on hand to model the new jerseys.

The IceCaps will wear the jerseys Friday and Saturday, February 5th and 6th versus the Utica Comets. Many in the seats at Mile One will be remembering their ancestors who loved the game.

Tickets can be purchased at the Mile One Centre box office or online at www.mileonecentre.com

LEST WE FORGET

Recommended Archival Collection: The Rooms Provincial Archives – Sports Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador has a substantial collection of photographs detailing the history of League Hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador.

If Candlemas Day be sunny and bright …

ARCHIVAL MOMENT 

February 2, 1871 

Febryary 2 is Candlemas Day - Blessing of the candles that are used during he year.
February 2 is Candlemas Day – Blessing of the candles that are used during the year.

 

Some of the best insights into the history of families and communities in this province can be garnered from the pages of the hundreds of diaries that have been deposited into archives in the province. In the Archives of the R.C., Archdiocese of St. John’s  their are the diaries of Edward Morris.  Mr. Morris observed on February 2, 1871.

Fine morning, light frost, wind from the north, north west. Streets frozen again but no cold such as we have had. The day fine enough but the walking very rough.  Attended at the Cathedral in the morning at the ceremonies of Candlemas Day ….”

February 2 is “Candlemas”  Day.

The ceremony of Candlemas Day that Mr. Morris observed was the blessing of the annual supply of the Church’s candles.  Beeswax candles were blessed by being sprinkled with holy water and having incense swung around them, and then the candles distributed to everyone in the church. Then there was a procession in which people carried lighted candles while the choir sang. The procession represents the entry of Jesus as light of the world into the temple.

In Newfoundland there is an established tradition that on this day a blessed candle would be lit and the mother of the household would bless the children in the home with the candle.  The wax was allowed to drip on the head (hat) and shoulders and on the shoes of the children.

Every fishing boat would also have a blessed candle. These candles would be taken out and lit during a gale or storm.

WINTER IS HALF OVER

This day also used to have great significance on the calendar, because the date lies half way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, so it marks the day upon which winter is half over!  As Candlemas traditions evolved, many people embraced the legend that if the sun shone on the second day of February, an animal would see its shadow and there would be at least six more weeks of winter.

You may know the rhyme:

If Candlemas day be sunny and bright,Winter again will show its might. If Candlemas day be cloudy and grey, Winter soon will pass away. (Fox version)

If Candlemas day be fair and bright, Winter will have another flight. If Candlemas day be shower and rain, Winter is gone and will not come again. (Traditional)

In Branch, St. Mary’s Bay an expression that is particular to Candlemas Day was the expression:

Half your prog and half your hay,

Eat your supper by the light of the day.

The expression calls on families, now that we are half way through winter, to take stock of their (prog)  food supplies in their root cellars  and feed for the animals (hay).   Just to insure  that there is enough to get you through the winter.

Recommended Archival Collection:   Edward Morris Diaries 1851-1887. Edward Morris was a businessman, politician, and office-holder; born in 1813 at Waterford (Republic of Ireland). He moved to St John’s, Newfoundland in 1832.  On January 1, 1851 he began to keep a daily diary that he continued until his death on 3 April 1887.

“Exchange the stick and puck for a Ross rifle and a bayonet”

Archival Moment

January 19, 1915

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives: The Crescents Hockey Team was considered the best team in Newfoundland at the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. The team signed up almost to a man. Photo Number: 1.26.01.061 Left to right: E. Townshend, Don Trapnell, Will Herder, C. Tessier, George Marshall, Gus Herder and Ralph Burnham.

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives: The Crescents Hockey Team was considered the best team in Newfoundland at the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. The team signed up almost to a man. Photo Number: 1.26.01.061 Left to right: E. Townshend, Don Trapnell, Will Herder, C. Tessier, George Marshall, Gus Herder and Ralph Burnham.

During the Great War years (1914-1918) most hockey players in the Dominion of Newfoundland were driven by their patriotic duty to “exchange the stick and puck for a Ross rifle and a bayonet.” As a result, the vast majority of hockey teams in the winter of 1915 were left struggling to find players to make a team, the lads had all signed up to fight for King and Country.

At the very first League Hockey game in Newfoundland on January 19, 1915, following the declaration of war, the local newspapers reported that the two teams on the ice, the Feildians and Victorias were “probably the youngest bunch that ever occupied positions on league hockey ice.”

The sports writers reported that League Hockey in St. John’s had altered with many of the Newfoundland Hockey stars now in khaki uniform:

“owing to the absence of several of the most prominent puck-chasers, including the two Herder brothers, the Stick Brothers, Bert Tait, Charles Strong and a couple of other reputable stick-handlers all of whom are now at Salisbury Plains (England) preparing duty at the front.”

The Newfoundland Regiment was assigned to Salisbury Plain in southern England from October 21 – December 8, 1914 where the men were undergoing military training. In December they were transferred to Northern Scotland for more military training. In Scotland they were quick to discover that the weather as not unlike Newfoundland and soon many of the young soldiers were playing hockey for recreation. Within weeks two Regimental teams had formed playing games for recreation.

Soon many of these young Newfoundland hockey stars, turned soldiers would find themselves in the trenches of Turkey and France. Many would die in the trenches.

 Hubert Herder of St. John’s was a lieutenant in the Newfoundland Regiment, he was killed at Beaumont Hamel, July 1, 1916; Ralph Herder, also a lieutenant, was seriously wounded July 1, 1916, Fred Wilcox considered one of the best hockey players in Newfoundland lay dead on July 1, 1916 at Beaumont Hamel. They were but a few of the great hockey players who would not return to the ice.

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On January 14, 2016 with great pride and respect, the St. John’s IceCaps , at The Rooms , unveiled a Royal Newfoundland Regiment tribute jersey to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont-Hamel.

The logo on the tribute jersey features a black silhouette of a First World War Royal Newfoundland Regimental solider encircled by the words: Royal Newfoundland Regiment 1916-2016. The entire IceCaps team was on hand to model the new jerseys.

The IceCaps will wear the jerseys Friday and Saturday, February 5th and 6th versus the Utica Comets. Many in the seats at Mile One will be remembering their ancestors who loved the game.

Tickets can be purchased at the Mile One Centre box office or online at www.mileonecentre.com.

LEST WE FORGET

 Recommended Archival Collection: The Rooms Provincial Archives – Sports Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador has a substantial collection of photographs detailing the history of League Hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Recommended Reading: ICING THE PUCK: THE ORIGINS, RISE, AND DECLINE OF NEWFOUNDLAND SENIOR HOCKEY, 1896-1996 by Gregory B. White. A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Sociology\Faculty of Arts\Memorial University April, 1997 St. John’s Newfoundland.

 

A rosary was distributed to each man

Archival Moment

January 28, 1915

Mass in the trenches

Mass in the trenches

There was a ritual in Newfoundland throughout the First World War (1914-1918) whereby the young volunteer soldiers gathered under the banner of their own denomination for lectures, prayers and blessings from the priest or minister of their church.

Those of the Roman Catholic faith typically gathered at St. Bonaventure’s College, Bonaventure Ave (directly across the street from The Rooms) for a series of lectures and prayers.

The Evening Telegram reported on January 28, 1915:

“The first of a series of lectures to the Roman Catholic members of the volunteers before their departure for England was given in the oratory of St Bonaventure’s College last night by Reverend Father Joseph Pippy who eloquently portrayed to his listeners the new duties they were entering upon.”

Father Pippy urged strongly the young volunteers:

“to conduct themselves as true men, to uphold the best traditions of their religion and to act as true soldiers in the observance of military duties in order that they might bring credit on themselves, their regiment the colony and the empire.”

The Reverend lecturer exhorted the young men above all toL:

“resist the temptations of intemperance; a righteous cause was being fought. He continued and it behooved every volunteer to do his duty as best he knew how”

The local newspaper correspondent reported “The lecture lasted nearly an hour and was impressive and beneficial to the large number of volunteers present.”

The evening concluded with “Benediction, imparted by Reverend Father Thomas Nangle after which a rosary was distributed to each man.

Prayer Book distributed to the volunteers of the Newfoundland Regiment  (click on to enlarge)

Prayer Book distributed to the volunteers of the Newfoundland Regiment (click on to enlarge)

The men gathered were told that there would be one more token of their faith,

“Prayer books will be given out later before their departure …. the members will (also) attend confession and communion in a body.”

The distribution of the rosary was significant, the rosary would have been a prayer that all of the Catholic volunteers would have known by heart. There was a time when it was a prayer that would have been recited in every Catholic home.

These young me clung to their faith, they especially clung to their rosary beads. Richard A. Howley of St. John’s whose ship the H.M.S. Irresistible had been blown out of the water wrote from his hospital bed in Plymouth, England in 1915:

“It was terrific, my legs felt as if they were both broken, and my back as if it had been flayed. I fell on the spot and thought that I was done for. I had a little Rosary … I took it out, kissed the Crucifix and crossed myself, I immediately experienced an extraordinary change , something forcing me into action …”

In the service records of many of the Newfoundland volunteers, they reference turning to their faith.

During the Great War the United States government produced and issued special “combat” rosaries for the spiritual welfare of Catholic soldiers. These rosaries were made to withstand the rugged reality of life in the trenches. Made of brass, washed in silver, and blued to darken the metal (to prevent them from making the soldiers easy targets) these rosaries were made to last. Instead of a traditional chain, the combat rosary featured a significantly stronger “pull chain” from which they are sometimes named.

We have no description of the rosaries that were issued to the Newfoundland volunteers but if you know of or hold a pair that have a connection to the First World War I would love to talk to you about them.

Recommended Archival Collection: The New Testament presented by the British and Foreign and Newfoundland Bible Societies to the Members of the First Newfoundland Regiment in the War of 1914: MG 702.1

Recommended Exhibit: Flowers of Remembrance   Level 2, Museum VitrinesArtifacts and period imagery explore the flowers associated with the First World War, most especially the forget-me-not and the poppy. These flowers have played a significant role across the last century. – See more at: https://www.therooms.ca/exhibits/now/flowers-of-remembrance#sthash.sPiXTerZ.dpuf

Recommended Exhibit: Pleasantville: From Recreation to Military Installation. Level 2 Atrium Pleasantville before the First World War was the site of the St. John’s cricket grounds. With the declaration of war, Pleasantville quickly emerged as a tent city, the home of the storied “First 500”. It was here that the First Newfoundland Regiment recruits began preliminary military training during the months of September and October of 1914. This exhibition highlights some of the activities and training of the Blue Puttees up to their embarkation on the SS Florizel for overseas service.

 

An Irish soldier and his socks knit by an aged Newfoundland woman

Archival Moment

January 26, 1916

Knitting comforts. (Click on to enlarge)

Knitting comforts.
(Click on to enlarge)

During the First World War women in kitchens and parlors in homes throughout Newfoundland and Labrador were enthusiastically knitting goods, especially socks for the men who had signed up to fight for King and Country. Many of these women were members of the Woman’s Patriotic Association (W.P.A.) an organization of more than 15,000 women from throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

It is estimated that between 1914 and 1916, the ladies at Government House and from throughout the towns of the colony of Newfoundland produced 62,685 pairs of socks, 8,984 pairs of cuffs (mittens with a trigger finger), and 22,422 mufflers. These items were often referred to as “comforts.”

The socks that were knit were intended primarily for the men of the Newfoundland Regiment but there is evidence that soldiers from other countries including some from Ireland were the beneficiaries of the woolen socks.

In January of 1916 Mrs. Margret Morris of Long’ Hill, St. John’s was thrilled to receive a letter from an Irish Soldier thanking her for socks which he received ‘somewhere in France’ and found to have been knitted by her. The 85 year old Mrs. Morris was so delighted with the letter of thanks that she strolled down to the offices of the St. John’s newspaper the Evening Telegram to have her story published.

The newspaper reported:

Mrs. Margaret Morris an old lady of 85 years has received a letter from an Irish soldier thanking her for socks which he received and found to have been knitted by her. His name is Private B. McCourt and he is with (British Expeditionary Force) B.E.F. in France.

The old lady was delighted to receive the letter and hopes to get another from him as he asked her to write to him. He thanked her for the socks she had knitted, said how glad he was to get them and expressed much appreciation at receiving a pair knitted by an aged person.

The old lady had placed a slip of paper in one of them giving her name address and age.”

The practice of slipping a note in the toe of the socks that they knit with their name and address as well as a prayer for their soldier boys was well established among the Newfoundland knitters. Those receiving the socks with the notes were often gracious enough to return a note of thanks.

It is not likely that the old lady did receive any other correspondence from her Irish soldier, Private McCourt; she died on March 8, 1916 at her residence on Long’s Hill just a few weeks after the initial letter from him.

Recommended Reading: “A Pair of Grey Socks. Facts and Fancies. Lovingly dedicated to the boys of the Newfoundland Regiment. And to every woman who has knitted a pair of grey socks. By Tryphena Duley. Verses by Margaret Duley.”

Recommended Archival Collection: Distinguished Service: the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in the Great War, this on line exhibition documents the lives and experiences of the province’s soldiers and aims to encourage interest in research on the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. This on line exhibit focuses on the World War I service records of the Regiment, available at the ARCHIVES on microfilm. Some of the service records are on line at: http://www.therooms.ca/regiment/part1_entering_the_great_war.asp

Recommended Exhibit: Pleasantville: From Recreation to Military Installation. Level 2 Atrium Pleasantville before the First World War was the site of the St. John’s cricket grounds. With the declaration of war, Pleasantville quickly emerged as a tent city, the home of the storied “First 500”. It was here that the First Newfoundland Regiment recruits began preliminary military training during the months of September and October of 1914. This exhibition highlights some of the activities and training of the Blue Puttees up to their embarkation on the SS Florizel for overseas service.