Dalhousie & The Great War: “Tea in War Time”

I find this poem a good representation of the experience of women, such as my grandmother Velma, who had loved ones in the armed forces fighting overseas in the Great War of Nations.

Image: New-York tribune. [New York N.Y] (New York, NY), Sep. 17 1916. https://www.loc.gov/item/sn83030214/1916-09-17/ed-1/.

1J.H.M., “Tea in War Time,” Dalhousie Gazette XLVIII, no. 2 (November 17, 1915): 13.

Dalhousie & the Great War: “Don’t Let Patriotism Blind Your Vision”

Nova Scotia Highlanders Recruiting Office, Wolfville1

In my last post, I wrote about the wave of patriotism that swept over the Dalhousie University campus upon Canada’s entry into The Great War of Nations in 1914. As I noted in that post, support for the war was not universal on campus. Today I’m going to  share some representative excerpts of a month-long debate in the Dalhousie Gazette sparked by an opinion piece written by Robert Jamieson Leslie, Class of 1915.

Don’t Let Patriotism Blind Your Vision, by Robert Jamieson Leslie, Class of ’15

Robert Jamieson Leslie, Class of 19152

It is decided unpopular just at present to look upon the war from any other but a distinctly British viewpoint. We read the loss of Germans with delight; we herald the loss of Allies with anguish. A German merchantman is sunk on the high seas by a British cruiser. What a brilliant example of the efficiency of our navy! Three of our ships are torpedoes by the Germans. What a disgraceful act of underhanded meanness!

. . . It must not be forgotten, however, unless we allow patriotism to scale our eyes, that there is just as vital a prejudice on the thither side of the [Battle of the] Aisne. Each and all of the belligerent nations are, from their standpoint, right, and it would be fatal to our reputation for intelligence to assume that the god of battles has chosen us.

. . . Some people imagine that they are fighting for that spark, the neutrality of Belgium. Some gladly throng the enlistment offices feeling deeply their obligation to France. Others of us fight in the fear that if we don’t come out, we’ll be wiped out. The most of us can find a good moral ground to load a rifle and kill a man. The rest of us are driven forward by that phantom Patriotism.3

STUDENT SCORES PRO-GERMAN WRITER: And upholds the righteousness of Britain’s cause, by Andrew Joseph MacDonnell, Law ’16

. . . That such a puppet [of pro-German sentiments], then should dare to stand up in our midst and question the honor and righteousness of His Majesty’s cause in this unfortunate carnage as is at present taking place along the French, Russian and Austrian borders and filling the whole world with horror and dismay, is a matter of treachery, ruthlessness, and arrogance as is worthy only of the Kaiser himself.

. . . Further, the writer has the audacity to go on, “We are English. Years ago we found opportunity to lay our fingers on the best part of the world’s surface. We got it by blood. We got it by theft. Enough! We have it . . . ” Conquests, when Britain acquired her territories, were all of a sanguinary nature. We could not obtain these territories without the shedding of blood no matter how just our cause, but none were acquired by theft. This is another absolute falsehood. The charge is traitorous and is an insult to every loyal Canadian and indeed unworthy of a student of this University.4


. . . “Let not patriotism blind our vision” but let us look up to the statesmen of England as men who knowing far more about the situation than we do, after untiring efforts and with unlimited patience endeavored to maintain peace and failed. Many of us assuming the role of critics would do well to remember the old adage:

“I do not know,” admits the wise.
“I know,” the braggart fool replies.
Midway the modern highway lies,
“I do not know but criticize.”5

Enter, the Apathetic Man.

Frank D. Graham, BA, 1913, LLB, 19156


What fools these mortals be! Can we deny it? Look how we struggle and strive and kill. Look at the fruit of our war. Thousands of dripping bloody messes that once were men made in the image of God. In the images of God and we blot out each other’s lives. For what? In fine, merely for possessions. As if it were the key to Heaven we fight and tear and murder for this or that piece of ground and it becomes a burden, a care, a problem on him who finally acquires it. Of what consequence is it whether we struggle to retain or struggle to obtain? Dogs that we are, we growl over our bones, considering not at all that we are already full and fat and favored.

. . . We even fail to see what a matter of extreme indifference it is whether the World a century hence is called Britain or Germany or Utopia, provided its people are enjoying their full measure of happiness.7


Can the truth be told in respect to the present crisis–the whole truth, the comprehensive truth, the pro-German truth, the pro-Ally truth?

In Mr. Graham’s admirable effort “The Apathetic Man” and in a article written by myself headed “Don’t let Patriotism blind your vision” there was an attempt made to look at certain phases of the war question in a manner which has brought showers of abuse. Against both these articles bitter and voluminous criticism has been directed. This has not only been of a private nature. The public press [The Halifax Herald] has seen fit to publish Mr. Graham’s article and to cover it with editorial mud. The Herald’s comment was dastardly and shames the journalistic profession.

. . . But there are those from whose eyes the scales have fallen, those who are unpatriotic enough to doubt, who feel that the potentate is cynical, that to more than Kitchener [British military leader] a man is but a unit. This type of mind cannot be expected to be patriotic, to enthuse and to wave a flag. This type of mind cannot think think the way it should think. It can’t help but be “a little tired of it all.”

Should those who think in this way hold their peace? No! Is one man’s opinion as good another’? Yes! Is free speech an anomaly? No! That is the way these questions would have been answered four months ago. But the world has been turned upside down since then and with it the answers to those questions. We should only think one way; we should only talk one way.8

In my next post, I’ll share a poem written to express the experience of women, such as my grandmother Velma, who had loved ones in the armed forces fighting overseas.

1Nova Scotia Highlanders Recruiting Office, Wolfville, image, Reference no.: CC. 412 Randall House, Wolfville Historical Society, An Act of Remembrance, Nova Scotia Archives.

2Image of Robert Jamieson Leslie: Photograph of Dalhousie Foot Ball Team – 1914, PC1, Box 22, Folder 20, Gauvin, Gentzel & Company, Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

3Robert Jamieson Leslie, “Don’t Let Patriotism Blind Your Vision,” The Dalhousie Gazette XLVII, no. 3 (October 22, 1914): 7.

4Andrew Joseph MacDonnell, “Student Scores Pro-German Writer: And Upholds the Righteousness of Britain’s Cause,” The Dalhousie Gazette XLVII no. 4 (November 14, 1914): 7.

5“Let Not Our Patriotism Suffer from the Blindness or Hallucinations of Others,” The Dalhousie Gazette XLVII no. 3 (November 4, 1914): 4.

6Photograph of Frank D. Graham, 1913, PC1, Box 45, Folder 7, Item 19, Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

7Frank D. Graham, “The Apathetic Man: The Other Side of the War. Why an Officers’ Training Corps is an Anomaly,” The Dalhousie Gazette XLVII no. 3 (November 4, 1914): 3-4.

8Robert Jamieson Leslie, “To Think or Not to Think: That Is the Question,” The Dalhousie Gazette XLVII no. 4 (November 14, 1914): 3.

Dalhousie & the Great War: A Call to Arms

Fred Laurence Moore, B.A., Dalhousie University, 1915. Photograph taken in 1915.

One of the defining moments of my college education as an English major was my Craft of Poetry professor’s lecture on Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory.  I had already been deeply affected by reading war poet Wilfred Owen’s portrayal of a gas attack in “Dulce et Decorum Est,” and that lecture confirmed just how profound an impact trench warfare and the writing of those who experienced it had on western consciousness. As Fussell writes in his Preface, ” . . .  the dynamics and iconography of the Great War have proved crucial political, rhetorical, and artistic determinants on subsequent life.”1

Learning that my grandmother Velma Jane Moore had pursued her college education at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia while Canada was fully engaged in The Great War of Nations was, therefore, of particular significance to me. I wanted to learn more.

First and foremost, how would the war have affected Velma personally? Second, how would it have impacted the Dalhousie campus community of which she was a part?

The immediate impact of the war on Velma would have been concern for the safety of her older brother Fred, pictured above in full regimental regalia. While I have reserved researching his military record for a future project, I do know that he was in the Canadian Army for the entire time Velma was at Dalhousie (1915-1918), spending at least part of that time serving overseas in England and France.2 He was seriously wounded in a gas attack at Valenciennes, France on November 6, 1918.3 He recovered, although he was to suffer some aftereffects.4

To get a sense of how the war affected the Dalhousie campus community, I reviewed issues of the student newspaper, the Dalhousie Gazette, from 1914-1918. The Gazette has been my primary resource as I’ve been researching Velma’s university experience. In addition to information about faculty, students, and campus events, it provides a good window into prevailing attitudes of the time and how they were expressed.

The campus response to Canada’s declaration of war on Germany on August 4, 19145 was consistent with the history I’d studied in college: a fervent call to arms and an optimistic belief that King and country would prevail if enough stalwart young men volunteered to fight for the cause.

The front page of the October 12, 1914 issue of the Gazette was devoted to a call for Dalhousie to to establish an officers’ training corps, as had McGill University in Montreal, as well as other universities in the British Empire: Oxford, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cambridge, and Sydney.6 The crux of the argument for establishing the officers’ training corps was that modern warfare required highly specialized officers who needed to be well-educated.7 Despite the logic of that argument, the rhetoric of the following section of the article appears to be an appeal to the emotion of manly pride:

Nova Scotia has ever sent out the master statesmen, the captains of industry, the doctors of learning; her soldiers shall not be hewers of wood and drawers of water.

Canada is too democratic a country to reserve her army commissions for the scions from the aristocracy of wealth or for her blue bloods imported or of native growth. Her commissions should, and will in a large measure, go to the tried, steeled men of the universities.

If the modern university, like Bacon, claims all knowledge for her province, let her then train men in the art of self defense as well as the mental pleasures of an arts education or in the breadwinning science of the professional schools. If the university man is to lead, not follow, in the years to come, then in front of the company is the place for him.8

The following description of how the Dalhousie campus itself had been transformed by war also appears intended to stir the embers of patriotism into flame:

War makes many changes. The old Campus, once the stamping ground of many a football hero has become the tramping ground of the Dalhousie Overseas Unit. The old Medical building, the home of poker and stiffs, has become the barracks of real, live men fitting themselves for war. The campus re-echoes with the orders of the mechanical soldier and the erstwhile Mortuary reverberates with the notes of the brazen bugle. Khaki has taken the place of yellow and black [Dalhousie’s school colors].  War heroes have taken the place of football heroes. It is a never to be forgotten sight. No Dalhousian past or present should miss it. The squads of soldiers marching up and down in front of the old Red tower in the day time and the myriads of lights that shine from the old Medical Building at night.9

For me, this drawing from the November 9, 1914 edition of the Gazette encapsulates the spirit of the times on the Dalhousie campus at the beginning of The Great War:10

Campus support of Canada’s entry into the war was not universal, however. In my next post, I will share representative excerpts of a debate sparked by a letter to the editor titled, “Don’t Let Patriotism Blind Your Vision.”

1Paul Fussell, “Preface to the Original Edition,” preface to The Great War and Modern Memory (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), xv.

2Katharine Brown Gauffreau, The Ancestry and Life of Velma Jane Moore Brown (unpublished manuscript, 2013), 25, 51.

3“Honors for Colchester Office: D.S.O. for Lieut. Fred Laurence Moore of Economy,” Truro Daily News (Truro, Nova Scotia), March 2, 1919.

4Gauffreau, Ancestry and Life of Velma, 33.

5Province of Nova Scotia, “An Act of Remembrance: First World War Publicity Posters at the Nova Scotia Archives,” Nova Scotia Archives, accessed April 15, 2018, https://novascotia.ca/archives/warposters/default.asp.

6[Illegible] Training Corps.,” The Dalhousie Gazette  XLVII, no. 1 (October 12, 1914): 1-2.

7“Training Corps.,” 1.

8“Training Corps.,” 1.

9“War makes many changes,” The Dalhousie Gazette XLVIII, no. 3 (December 4, 1915): 2.

10“Dal. Men to the Front!,” The Dalhousie Gazette XLVII, no. 4 (November 19, 1914): 1.

Mystery Monday: Unidentified Dalhousie Friends

Anyone You Know?

These two unidentified photographs were with Velma Moore’s Dalhousie photographs from 1915-1919. However, I’ve been unable to identify the subjects. The profile photo was probably taken a little later, in the early 1920s, judging from the style and fabric of the dress.

Unknown Subject, Dalhousie University, Class or 1918 or 1919


Ottillie with the Rippling Voice

Ottillie Law Caddell, Dalhousie University, Class of 1919

In my last post, I mentioned Ottillie Caddell as one of my grandmother Velma Jane Moore’s friends at Dalhousie University. I had first learned of Ottillie in the Moore family history my mother wrote for our family in 2013:

[Velma] had a very good friend, [O]tillie Caddell, while at college and kept in touch with her for years. [O]ttille visited the Moores in Economy, where she had her picture taken with them.1

The photograph my mother is referring to is below. Having been to Economy Point this past summer, I can attest to how beautiful the landscape of the farm would have been on that day. Sepia tones don’t do it justice.

Ida Cross Moore, Ottillie Law Caddell, Velma Jane Moore, Martha Faulkner Moore

I expect that being invited to travel with Velma from Halifax to the Economy Point farm would have meant something to Ottillie, and it would have meant something to Velma for her family to welcome her close friend into their home. The fact that the visit was documented with a photograph of the four women suggests that it was a special day. (The fourth woman in the photograph is Ida Cross Moore, the wife of Velma’s older brother Fred Lawrence Moore.)

There is something I find very appealing about this photograph. When I first encountered it, my eye was immediately drawn to the woman in the dark dress, my great-grandmother Martha Faulkner Moore. Seen here in the prime of her life, she was quite a beautiful woman. (She and later Velma both went gray prematurely.) Her demeanor strikes me as serene. I’m also struck by the fact that Ottillie has one arm around Ida’s waist and the other around Velma’s shoulder. This was not at all a typical pose for my family.

Once I became keeper of the Family Archives, I discovered a second photograph taken on the day of that visit, which shows Velma and Ottillie wading in the Bay of Fundy. I am particularly fond of this one as well. Velma’s sleeves are rolled up, her dress is hiked up, and her hair is disheveled. This is a very, very different image of her from the one I remember growing up. (I recall her wearing a gossamer-fine hairnet on special occasions to keep her hair in place.)

Velma Jane Moore, Ottillie Law Caddell, Bay of Fundy, 1918

Issues of the Dalhousie Gazette from 1917-1919 yielded a brief but telling description of Ottillie as possessing a “poignant tilt of the head, and a voice as rippling as a silver bell.”2 Her class critique describes her as perhaps not the scholar that her friend Velma was but someone others would be drawn to:

Ott[i]llie was the backbone of any enterprise undertaken by any college society. Clever and energetic, Ott[i]llie was an all round college girl in every sense of the word, and Dalhousie will sadly miss her presence.3

Some of that energy was expended on the basketball court, where Ottillie played guard on the girls’ basketball team.4

Image: Dalhousie Gazette, July 11, 1919

Given Ottillie’s unusual name, I did a little digging to see if I could find out any more about her life. The Dalhousie Archives yielded a 1971 notice of her bequest to the University upon her death:5

With Ottillie’s married name, I learned from the vital records section of the Nova Scotia Archives website that Ottillie Law Caddell married Charles William MacAloney on September 30, 1924.6 The groom is listed as 37 years old with the occupation civil engineer.7 The bride is listed as 32 years old and a school teacher.8 Charles MacAloney’s death record indicates that he died on May 27, 1963.9

I have been unable to find a death record for Ottillie, and I think I’ll stop looking. I’d like to leave her rippling silver voice to join the fine china timbre of Velma’s that I remember from my childhood. May their voices continue to echo and resound with the people who knew them and loved them, until our own voices are stilled.

1Katharine Brown Gauffreau, The Ancestry and Life of Velma Jane Moore Brown (unpublished manuscript, 2013), 25.

2McKay, John, “Prophesy,” The Dalhousie Gazette L, no. 10-12 (July 11, 1919): 9.

3″Critique.,” The Dalhousie Gazette L, no. 10-12 (July 11, 1919): 8.

4“Basket Ball.,” The Dalhousie Gazette XLIX, no. 10 (December 3, 1917): 8.

5 Dalhousie University, “Royal Chair Donated,” University News (Halifax, Nova Scotia), April 17, 1971, General, 7.

6“Province of Nova Scotia Marriage Register, Registered No. 1835,” Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics: Births, Marriages, Deaths, https://www.novascotiagenealogy.com/ItemView.aspx?ImageFile=20-728&Event=marriage&ID=150814.

7“Province of Nova Scotia Marriage Record.”

8“Province of Nova Scotia Marriage Record.”

9“Province of Nova Scotia–Registration of Death, 02-003555,” Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics: Births, Marriages, Deaths, https://www.novascotiagenealogy.com/ItemView.aspx?ImageFile=1963-3555&Event=death&ID=444127.

10Province of Nova Scotia, “Woolford’s Surveys: The Roads from Halifax to Windsor and Truro, 1817-18,” Nova Scotia Archives, accessed March 11, 2018, https://novascotia.ca/archives/woolford/archives.asp?ID=28.

Bright Shiny Object Note: If you’re interested in a BSO detour, you can find information about the Duke of Kent’s Lodge at Memory NS. (Given that the Duke of Kent’s Lodge was in ruins by 1838,10 I suspect that the 19th century Chippendale chair Ottillie bequeathed was actually 18th century.) The Nova Scotia Archives website includes images of paintings of Prince’s Lodge when it was in use and after it had fallen into disrepair.