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World War One

Behind the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 lay a complex web of international treaties and tensions. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by a Serbian nationalist on June 28, 1914 set Austria-Hungary at war with Serbia. Russia, an ally of Serbia, and Germany, who was allied with Austria-Hungary, both soon entered the conflict. France, an ally of Russia, then followed. At first Britain distanced herself from the spiraling conflict, but on August 4 German troops crossed the border into Belgium. This act broke a treaty signed by Britain and Germany in 1839 that guratanteed Belgium neutrality. Britain demanded that the Germains withdraw by 11pm, August 4. Twenty minutes after this deadline expired Britian was at war with Germany, and so was Canada.

On August 20, 1914 the first overseas contingent left Sault Ste. Marie by t rain to joind the Canadian Expeditionary Force being gathered at Valcartier, Quebec. The 76 men were members of the local militia, the 51st Soo Rifles that had been formedon October 25, 1913. Tow of the men that marched down Queen Street that day, Lieutenant Colonel Sydeny Penhorwood and Private Edwin Durham, would experience the war very differently. Lieutenant Colonel Penhorwood would travel overseas in 1915 where he would supervise the Canadian Forestry Corps in logging trees on King George V's estate, The Windsor Great Park. Penhorwood and the King would develop a close friendship.

Edwin Durham would travel overseas in 1914 where he would take part in the Second Battle of Ypres on April 22, 1915. Durham would be gassed, wounded, and taken prisoner of war. He would spend the next three and a half years in a prisoner of war camp in Stendal, Germany.

Colonel Sydney Lewis Penhorwood
January 6, 1872 - March 30, 1961
Private Thompson Edwin Durham
August 31, 1894 - May 9, 1981

Both the Sydney Lewis Penhorwood Collection and Edwin Duram Collection are available for research. Ask the reference desk for a complete listing of these archival collections.