Wednesday, 12 November 2008

a cheery heart

That is Harry Mollins, my grandfather, in front on the left. I think that the man second from the left in the back row and the man on the far right in the back row might be the Fownes brothers. It is just a guess made from looking at the picture of Harry and friends on bikes in the next post.

Harry Mollins was born on November 11, 1895. Just a few weeks before his 20th birthday, on Wednesday, October 6, 1915, he enlisted:

Have wanted to enlist for some time, feeling that it is my duty, but several things of importance have held me from doing so. Have about made up my mind to go to Sussex [New Brunswick, 67 km southwest of Moncton] Saturday and enlist there. Heard the Fownes boys were going also. Went to see them today and they informed me that there was an opening for some men in the Siege Battery stationed at Charlottetown, P.E.I., and that they were going over. Skipped school in the afternoon and went to see the recruiting officer from the Battery, who was in town. He said everything was O.K. Was examined by the doctor and prepared to leave on Thursday. Everyone surprised to hear that I was going.

Friday, Oct. 8th, 1915
Went out to camp early this morning. Filled out papers and were then sent to the doctors to be examined. The other Moncton boys of our crowd are, Harry Fownes, Fred Scott, Arthur Stone, Bert Price, Graham Swetnam, and Fred Fownes and Cal McCoy, who have already passed. Went to the doctors in fear and trembling. Could imagine no worse happening than failure to pass the examination. To our great joy however we passed O.K. Went back to camp with glad tidings and were "sworn in." Inoculated and got passes for home. The last was a surprise as we did not expect get home again. Have been stopping at the Revere Hotel.
And left for England on Sunday, November 28, 1915:
Arose about seven A.M. and found the ship under way. For only a couple of hours was land in sight and then it gradually faded away in the distance and was lost to sight. While I am glad that we are on our way to England to take up our training, and will be even happier when the word comes to proceed to the front, there is also a certain feeling of sadness comes over me as I think that perhaps never again may I see Canada, never again on this earth look upon the faces of those I love. But this feeling passes and I face the future with a cheery heart as I think of that happy day when this terrible war shall have ceased and I return again to home, to friends and loved ones. So, Canada, “Till we meet again, Farewell.”

P.S. My grandfather did see Canada again, married my grandmother, became a minister in the Baptist Church, had four children and a relatively short but important life.

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