A treasure trove of docs is proving valuable in connecting the dots for Pitt Meadows museum curator, Leslie Norman.
In some very early letters to Pitt Meadows city council, she was able to find one of resignation from council member Ronald Thomson dating back to 1915.
The councillor had enlisted in the war effort and could not serve out his term.
“It’s so prophetic, as he is the city’s only First World War death,” Norman said.
“I’ve been working at the museum since 1996,” she added. “And they’ve been telling me since then, they were going to look in the old vault, and finally this summer, somebody took a look around, and the stuff that has come out of there is golden.”
All of the business of the municipality from 1914 through the 1920s is still on record, an excited Norman said.
‘Some of the stories you hear over the years – that you’re not sure of how true they are – are being confirmed by this paperwork,” she remarked.
“It’s so interesting!”
Of the 20 men who registered from the community of less than 250 in Pitt Meadows, Thomson was the one soldier who did not return home.
He died on Sept. 26, 1916, less than a year after signing attestation papers and being deemed fit to serve in the military.
From the date of death, Norman said it is likely he was killed at the First Battle of the Somme in France.
“If so, he took part in one of the bloodiest battles of the war and was one of 396 casualties from the 14th Battalion on that date,” she said.
His body was not recovered but his name lives on with a mention on the Vimy Memorial and on the Pitt Meadows cenotaph.