Albert was born in Toledo, Ontario on February 15th, 1885. His proud parents were Nelson Tallman (1852-1922) and Frances Ann nee Gorman (1854-1920). He was a member of a large family consisting of eight brothers and sisters.
There is little we know about his youth or the rest of his family, but somewhere between the time he was old enough to leave home and 1915 he moved to Winnipeg and was working as a Tinsmith.
Albert didn’t enlist when war broke out in 1914, but waited until November of the next year. Perhaps he thought that the war would be won quickly and he would not be required. However as 1914 rolled into 1915 Albert decided to enlist on November 16th, 1915. He was 30 years old, stool 5’6” with fair hair, grey eyes and a ruddy complexion.
He joined the 179th Battalion, Cameron Highlander, 16th Battalion Canadian Infantry in Winnipeg.
He spent almost all of his first year training in Canada before he set sail for England. His unit sailed from Halifax aboard the HMS Saxonia on October 4th, 1916.
After his arrival on October 13th, he and his unit went to East Sandling where they trained in the art of “Trench Warfare”.
After training in England he along with his unit were transferred to France where they joined the rest of the 16th Battalion. Little did he know what awaited him in the upcoming months, history would recall it as the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
On that first day of the attack, April 9th, 1917, Albert along with the rest of his unit went over the top of the trenches and into ‘no man’s land’. And that is the last we know of Albert as he was report “Missing in Action” on that first day of the battle. He was later declared to have been “Presumed to have died on or since April 9th, 1917”.
His story and life have been lost to history with the exception of his name that is carved into the “Vimy Memorial” in France, and also appears on the Cenotaph in Toledo.
For those who are interested we have reprinted part of the story of the Battle for Vimy Ridge below.
Vimy Ridge Memorial
Canada’s most impressive tribute overseas to those Canadians who fought and gave their lives in the First World War is the majestic and inspiring Vimy Memorial, which overlooks the Douai Plain from the highest point of Vimy Ridge, about eight kilometres northeast of Arras on the N17 towards Lens. The Memorial is signposted from this road to the left, just before you enter the village of Vimy from the south. The memorial itself is someway inside the memorial park, but again it is well signposted. At the base of the memorial, these words appear in French and in English:
TO THE VALOUR OF THEIR COUNTRYMEN IN THE GREAT WAR AND IN MEMORY OF THEIR SIXTY THOUSAND DEAD THIS MONUMENT IS RAISED BY THE PEOPLE OF CANADA
Inscribed on the ramparts of the Vimy Memorial are the names of over 11,000 Canadian soldiers who were posted as ‘missing, presumed dead’ in France. A plaque at the entrance to the memorial states that the land for the battlefield park, 91.18 hectares in extent, was ‘the free gift in perpetuity of the French nation to the people of Canada’. Construction of the massive work began in 1925, and 11 years later, on July 26, 1936, the monument was unveiled by King Edward VIII. The park surrounding the Vimy Memorial was created by horticultural experts. Canadian trees and shrubs were planted in great masses to resemble the woods and forests of Canada. Wooded parklands surround the grassy slopes of the approaches around the Vimy Memorial. Trenches and tunnels have been restored and preserved and the visitor can picture the magnitude of the task that faced the Canadian Corps on that distant dawn when history was made. On April 3, 2003, the Government of Canada designated April 9th of each year as a national day of remembrance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. (Veterans Affairs Canada)
The Battle of Arras (also known as the Second Battle of Arras) was a British offensive on the Western Front during World War I. From 9 April to 16 May 1917, British troops attacked German defences near the French city of Arras on the Western Front.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was part of the Battle of Arras. The main combatants were the four divisions of the Canadian Corps in the First Army, against three divisions of the German 6th Army. The battle took place from 9 to 12 April 1917 at the beginning of the Battle of Arras, the first attack of the Nivelle Offensive, which was intended to attract German reserves from the French, before their attempt at a decisive offensive on the Aisne and the Chemin des Chemin ridge further south.
9 April 1917
The attack was to begin at 5:30 am on Easter Monday, 9 April 1917. The attack was originally planned for the morning of 8 April (Easter Sunday) but it was postponed for 24 hours at the request of the French.During the late hours of 8 April and early morning of 9 April the men of the leading and supporting wave of the attack were moved into their forward assembly positions. The weather was cold and later changed to sleet and snow.Although physically discomforting for everyone, the northwesterly storm provided some advantage to the assaulting troops by blowing snow in the faces of the defending troops.Light Canadian and British artillery bombardments continued throughout the night but stopped in the few minutes before the attack, as the artillery recalibrated their guns in preparation for the synchronized barrage.At 5:30 am, every artillery piece at the disposal of the Canadian Corps began firing. Thirty seconds later, engineers detonated the mine charges laid under no man’s land and the German trench line, destroying a number of German strong points and creating secure communication trenches directly across no man’s land. Light field guns laid down a barrage that mostly advanced at a rate of 100 yards in three minutes while medium and heavy howitzers established a series of standing barrages further ahead against known defensive systems.During the early fighting, the German divisional artillery, despite many losses, were able to maintain their defensive firing.As the Canadian assault advanced, it overran many of the German guns because large numbers of their draught horses had been killed in the initial gas attack.
It was during the early morning hours of this first assault that Albert Ellery Tallman lost his life in the muddy ground of “no man’s land” in the far distant fields of France.
Some men are forgotten to history, just a footnote in time and in this case a casualty of the Great War. If it wasn’t for the fact that his name appears on the Toledo Cenotaph, his name would be lost forever. That name however will live on as long as that small memorial in Toledo remains.
Russell Rice was a casualty of World War I, just 26 years old and single when he was killed. His father had passed away some years before and his mother passed away in Brockville just one month prior to Russell being killed. It is quite possible he never heard the news of his mother’s passing.
Russell’s story is like so many others of his generation, and for us a difficult story to piece together, but we will try.
He was born Russell Ira Rice on May 1, 1892 in Jasper, Ontario, Kitley Township. His proud parents were George (1843-1909) and Alice nee Driver (1866- May 30, 1918). Russell was the oldest son, with an older sister Letha, younger sisters Grace and Saddie and younger brother, Roy. George, Alice and their family led a quiet, rural, farm life in Kitley Township.
At some point Russell left the farm, and the next record we found shows him working as a labourer in a foundry in Beckwith Township, Ontario. After his father died his mother and the rest of his family moved into Brockville and lived at 114 Water Street.
Three years after the outbreak of World War 1, Russell enlisted at Kingston on January 18th, 1917. He signed up with the 73rd Battery, 6th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery. He stood 5’5” tall, 155 pounds with blue eyes and light brown hair.
After a few months training in Canada he sailed from Halifax on April 17, 1917 on the SS Missanabie to Liverpool and then on to the massive military training base at Shorncliff, England.
On September 19th, 1917 Russell Rice was shipped off to be with his unit in France. His movements during his time in France are a mystery until he was ‘killed in action’ near the city of Calonne, west of Lens France on June 3rd, 1918. The location of his death puts him along the Western Front, during the push to take the city of Calonne which went from April to July of 1918.
He is buried in Fosse 10 Communal Cemetery Extension, located at Sains en-Gouele, plot III.c.13. Unfortunately there is no photo of his headstone.
In his Last Will and Testament, he left everything to his sister Grace who was the guardian of his youngest sister Saddie. Grace, along with her brothers had moved to Toronto. (39 Poucher St.)
And so ends the life and story of Gunner Russell Ira Rice, gone but not entirely forgotten as we have been able to rediscover his life here in these few lines.
The First World War, the “war to end all wars” 1914-1918, stirred the nationalistic pride and sense of duty to King and Country in our Canadian men and boys. Many hurried to join in the very beginning as it was felt that the war would be over before they got the chance to fight.
Postcards were a chance for those serving to send back home a glimpse of what life in the military was like. They give us a look into what daily life was like for those who served.
While our collection is small, we wanted to share with you what those who served shared with their family and friends back home.
We are always interested in increasing our collection so that we may share with everyone this glimpse into our past. If you have postcards there are three ways in which you could share them with us:
1) a direct donation to the museum
2) loan them to us, we will scan them and return the originals to you
3) if you have a digital image you can send it to us at our email address: LynMuseum@gmail.com
If you can identify some of the ranks and units of specific postcards we would appreciate hearing from you so we can add this information to the picture: LynMuseum@gmail.com
The War at Home
Bustard Camp at Salisbury Plain
In 1914, when the British accepted the Canadian government’s offer of a contingent of 25,000 men, they decided to station the Canadians at Salisbury Plain for final training and work up before going to France.
Salisbury Plain, in central southern England, had since 1898 been one of the British Army’s main training bases. At the time they had nearly 300 square miles of grassy hilly terrain with an occasional stand of trees. There was a thin coat of topsoil on top of a chalk base. The Plain had been used to conduct manoeuvres, summer camps, and rifle and artillery training on the ranges.
In preparation for the Canadians arrival they had pitched floor-boarded tents and erected cook houses. The arrival of an additional 8,000 men above the 25,000 they had been informed to expect, the British Army had to scramble to find additional tents for the men.
The men and women stationed sent postcards home of places they may have visited to send notes and to give them a glimpse of a peaceful England
The Castle from Connaught Park, Dover
Connaught Park was the answer to a long-felt need for a public park in Dover and was achieved in 1883 by the lease of land on rising ground to the north-west of the Castle. Voluntary public subscription covered the cost of landscaping, the lake, trees, shrubs, fencing, and the park-keeper’s lodge.
King Henry II’s Keep (Great Tower) above Inner Curtain Wall (Inner Bailey) and Kings’s Gate. Also has a Western Outer Curtain Wall and Constable’s Gateway. The Park was opened by the Dutchess of Connaught in 1883.
Battle Abbey Gateway
In 1070, Pope Alexander II ordered the Normans to do penance for killing so many people during their conquest of England. In response, William the Conqueror vowed to build an abbey where the Battle of Hastings had taken place, with the high altar of its church on the supposed spot where King Harold fell in that battle on Saturday, 14 October 1066. He started building it, dedicating it to St. Martin, sometimes known as “the Apostle of the Gauls,” though William died before it was completed. Its church was finished in about 1094 and consecrated during the reign of his son William known as Rufus. William I had ruled that the church of St Martin of Battle was to be exempted from all episcopal jurisdiction, putting it on the level of Canterbury. It was remodelled in the late 13th century but virtually destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538 under King Henry VIII.
At the dissolution, the displaced monks of Battle Abbey were provided with pensions, including the abbot John Hamond and the prior Richard Salesherst, as well as monks John Henfelde, William Ambrose, Thomas Bede and Thomas Levett, all bachelors in theology.
The abbey and much of its land was given by Henry VIII to his friend and Master of the Horse, Sir Anthony Browne, who demolished the church and parts of the cloister and turned the abbot’s quarters into a country house. (Wikipedia)
The Royal Victoria Hospital or Netley Hospital was a large military hospital in Netley, near Southampton, Hampshire, England. Construction started in 1856 at the suggestion of Queen Victoria but its design caused some controversy, chiefly from Florence Nightingale. Often visited by Queen Victoria, the hospital was extensively used during the First World War. (Wikipedia)
over Marine Parade and CastleDuring both World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945) Dover became Fortress Dover – a military zone from where, amongst other things, troops embarked for Continental Europe and beyond. Indeed, Dover, besides being a port was also a major military base with huge barracks on both the Eastern – where the Castle is – and Western Heights. Because Dover was the military port, Folkestone remained the civilian port for the Channel crossing, supplementing as a military port when needs necessitated. (The Dover Historian)
Some Post Cards had little pockets in which were a pull out section of smaller pictures, here is one such card.
During the period 1914-1918, local photographers in British towns, villages and training camps took hundreds of thousands if not millions, of portraits of soldiers in uniform. The photographers were simply responding to the demand of these young men who wanted their picture taken before leaving England for the Western Front and elsewhere. You will find WWI photographs taken in 1914-15, of proud young volunteers – ‘Kitchener’s Men’ – looking pleased to be in their new uniforms and soon to be doing their duty for ‘King and Country’. And there are WWI photographic postcards from 1916 on wards, showing not volunteers but conscripts now, who also look happy to be photographed in khaki – but not always!
HMS Thunderer was the fourth and last Orion class dreadnought battleship built for the Royal Navy in the early 1910s. She spent the bulk of her career assigned to the Home and Grand Fleets. Aside from participating in the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 and the inconclusive action of August 19th, her service during Word War I generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea.
WWI Silk Post Cards
The embroidered silk postcard is a common souvenir of the First World War. They are blank postcards onto which an embossed paper surround has been glued, to frame and hold a central piece of silk. On the silk, a design is hand-embroidered in coloured thread.
The embroidered postcards were very popular with British soldiers who often sent them home. They were sold in thin paper envelopes but were seldom sent through the post in them. They were too fragile and, more particularly, they represented quite an investment – they were not cheap souvenirs. Usually they were mailed with letters. For this reason, they are often unwritten, with no marks on the back, any message having been sent in an accompanying letter.
The Great War of 1914-18 was certainly not one of the funniest events to be recorded on picture postcards, especially for those men fighting in the mud-filled trenches of France and Belgian. However, there were artists – both military and civilian – who were willing to inject a little humour or satire into their postcard drawings and paintings – even when depicting the gloomiest of situations. (Tony Allen)
Rembering someone left behind
Some people found in verse cards the sentiment that they wanted to convey to another but could not express it themselves. In addition, if the verse was not signed perhaps it gave more of a feeling to the receiver that their soldier had created it. Some of these postcards ran in series. (Tony Allen)
Postcards From France
A variety of post cards were sent from France and Belgium during the war. Some were depicting scenes of the war and destruction, while others depicted Allied Forces united in fighting the Germans. Others were general in nature trying to not focus on the day to day misery that the men and women endured.
13th Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF
The battalion was formed from volunteers from the Royal Highland Regiment of Canada (The Black Watch), a militia regiment based in Montreal, as well as men from other militia regiments. Sent to England as part of the First Contingent in September, 1914, the 13th Battalion became part of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Canadian Division. The 3rd Brigade had the distinction of containing the 13th Battalion (the Royal Highlanders of Canada), the 14th Battalion (the Royal Montreal Regiment), the 15th Battalion (he 48th Highlanders of Canada) and the 16th Battalion (The Canadian Scottish). (Wikepedia)
Loved Ones Left Behind
It was very common to have photos of loved ones made into postcards and mailed to those serving overseas. Other cards were sent to boost the spirits of the men. Here are some examples of such cards. carried by the men in France to remind them of home.