My father, Dr. David Beatty, a retired history professor in Sackville, NB, used to give a talk around Remembrance Day every year. I salvaged this recording made from one of these in 2002. The quality is decent considering it was made into a low end Video Compact Disc (VCD), which I had to rip. In this address from 2002 he starts off with a medley of World War I era songs. He then shows some photographs he took in the 1960s of former battlegrounds in France. He continues with the personal story of Lieutenant Corporal Harry E. Harris from World War I.
Students at Mount Allison University always loved my Dad, and he was very devoted to them. I was lucky enough to attend the university during the tail end of his career. Some days I’d catch the end of his lectures as my next class was in the same room. He’d wink at me as he passed by on his way out. Students would stop me on campus to rave about a lecture of his they just attended, how much they loved him and what a great professor he was. It was a lot of fun.
I think a large part of why they loved him was his gift for storytelling, especially for wartime history. He had vast collections of sometimes shocking personal accounts from soldiers, letters, journal entries and anecdotes which he told in an almost cinematic way.
He has in fact written several books of such stories: The Vimy Pilgrimage, July 1936, from the Diary of Florence Murdock, Amherst, Nova Scotia (1987); Memories of the Forgotten War; the World War I Diary of Pte. V.E. Goodwin (1988) and his latest is the following:
The World War I Diaries and Letters of Lieut. Louis Stanley Edgett
BUY THE BOOK NOW CAN $19.95
… or send cheque or money order to: J T Edgett, 222 Havelock Road, Riverview NB E1B 2J1, Canada. Tel: (506) 386-8638
In the first decades of the Twentieth Century, the lives of many young Canadian men and women were forever changed and in many cases extinguished by a war in Europe. The “War to End All Wars” was not the final conflict of the twentieth century by any means, and its repercussions are felt to this day. Many of the fighting men committed by the Canadian Armed Forces came from New Brunswick. Some would give the ultimate sacrifice.
As a high school graduate in Hillsborough NB, Stanley was given an opportunity to go to the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. His life, loves and adventures were personalized in a diary beginning in 1915 as he began this phase of his life. It is a poignant and telling document of a maturing and adventuresome student and later, a soldier. Every entry is reproduced here as well as many letters to his mother, brother and friends.
Ultimately, Stanley would be killed in the trenches of France. A life cut short. This is his life in his own words.
PRAISE FOR DAVE BEATTY’S AND TOM EDGETT’S THE WORLD WAR I DIARIES AND LETTERS OF LIEUT. LOUIS STANLEY EDGETT
“This little volume published by J.T.Edgett of Riverview, N.B.(price $19.95) has a diary and letters that provide the context for Edgett’s war service and his death in action in May 1917 while serving with the 87th Bn. (Canadian Grenadier Guards). The diary entries are simple and straight-forward, but they do convey clearly the poignant sense of a life not yet lived before it was over.”
Dr. J.L. Granatstein
“I had the opportunity to read your (Dave Beatty’s and Tom Edgett’s) latest book. I even have a signed copy from the Monction Airport Book Shop.) I just loved the romance between the Lt. Edgett and his school teacher from St-Stephen. It was the perfect non-fiction/romance/historical and memoir/diary book. (It was hard to categorize). A most enjoyable read….I could not put it down.”
Carolle de Ste-Croix
’90 Director of Alumni and Development, Mount Allison University.
“The World War I Diaries and Letters of Lieut. Louis Stanley Edgett is much more than an engaging personal account of army life, in training for war in Canada and eventually in the fields of France. Each diary entry and letter home allows us to accompany this fine young man through to his final day, 10 May 1917. I highly recommend this book, to young and old alike.”
Clarke E. Sheppard
Director, Turnbull N.B. Chapter, Canadian Aviation Historical Society.
“Interesting. mind boggling, terrifying, and exciting—how two authors, Dave Beatty and Tom Edgett, could take you into Stanley’s mind, hopes and dreams. Their commentary on the situation of the day makes the whole story come alive as you make the journey with Stanley. Too bad his mother removed some of the papers, but that’s what mothers do for their sons.”
Rev. Jackie MacDonald
Sydney, Cape Breton
“I’ve found [the Stanley Edgett book] most interesting. One can feel the heart beat of a soldier in the trenches. Of the many letters he writes to his mother, I especially noted what Stanley wrote to her on November 27, 1916. “I have not been to any divine service the last two weeks on account of being in the trenches, but I guess I will get to divine worship next Sunday. One appreciates the service here. Men are graver here and think more seriously of life.”
Rev. Dr. James A. Reese
Pastor Emeritus, Benton Street Baptist Church
“Stanley Edgett’s World War I biography is interesting and thought provoking. The religious fervor for war, the loves lost and gained, the dreams of one not continued by another, the mind that cannot ever fully recover, but the human need to carry on in spite of the evils of accidents or war….It’s all there and being repeated today in many parts of the world. Medical science and practices save more wounded but is that ability often more harmful than a quick early loss? Lots of good stuff for debate, and with the pictures a unique pictorial cultural history.”
Dr. Wilbur Rykert
Soon celebrating its 10th Anniversary, The Sackville Wrestling Federation video was my grad project at Vancouver Film School in 2001. It features footage of actual backyard wrestling matches in Sackville, New Brunswick (home of myself and Mount Allison University) circa 1998 featuring Horseface, the Acadian Crusader and the Carmines World Order. *WARNING* – extremely foul language and violence.