More than 55 years after his
death, sisters Anne Lloyd and Bev
Knowles and their families got
a chance to peek into a chapter
of their father’s life that he never
Their father Tommy Knowles
was one of 17 Hedley men who
joined the First World War effort on
August 24, 1915. This past weekend
a commemorative celebration
was held in Hedley to honour those
men along with almost 50 others
that served in the First World War.
“He didn’t talk about it. I never
remember him talking about it. We
had a discussion about it with the
grandchildren last night. We think
he wanted to leave (the war) behind.
He didn’t want to have the children
changed by it,” Anne Lloyd said
after a dedication service was held
Sunday at Grace Church.
Knowles was an engineer’s
helper at the time he enlisted. He
was employed at the local stamp
mill where gold was processed.
Just like the other 16 men who
enlisted on August 24, 1915 in
Hedley, Knowles was assigned to
the 54th Kootenay Battalion.
Within three months the 22-yearold
had been promoted to Corporal
He participated in many of
the major battles including Ypres
on August 26, 1916, Corcelette
(Somme) on October 11, and then
Vimy Ridge on March 1, 1917. He
then went on to serve in the Royal
Air Force, patrolling the English
He returned home to Hedley
after the war in 1920. He married
Ina Boyd in 1922 and they raised
five children in Hedley. He became
the town’s post master in 1937.
The Knowles daughters knew
more about their father’s service
records, because they had his diary
and pilot logs, than most other families
at the weekend’s commemorative
However as their father died in
1959, his grandchildren didn’t get
to know him.
“We have such a deep gratitude
for all the work everyone put into
this. They now know about the
grandfather they never met,” Bev
Other family members didn’t
know anything about their relatives
who fought in the war.
Moira Herold, daughter of Alec
Jack said her father never talked
about his time in the war.
Jack, a bank clerk at the time at
Bank of British North America was
one of the first six Hedley men that
led to a total of 17 leaving for war
on August 24, 1915.
It was at a smoker (party) for
the men that an inspiring speech
was given by William McLean, a
prominent business owner at the
time who was too old to sign up.
Herold travelled from Bonny
Lake, Washington to attend the
“I need to be here,” she said after
a laying a rose as a tribute to her
father who died in 1973.
“It’s so wonderful hearing all
these details about his life here and
the people he knew. I’d heard about
this place my whole life. Now I’m
here. It’s a lovely little town.”
“I think he would have been
very impressed with all this.”
The idea to research the men
from Hedley who served in the First
World War was born when Hedley
resident Andy English stopped and
took a real look at the weathered
and aged cenotaph in Hedley.
Its peculiar location in an island
where Webster and Scott streets
meet, left English with a nagging
feeling there was a lot more to the
men’s whose names were listed in
He would later find out that 17
men posed for a picture at that exact
spot before leaving to officially
enlist in Penticton.
Months after starting to delve
into the men’s lives English was
joined by fellow researcher Jennifer
The pair have spent close to two
years researching the men and their
They found news clippings and
service records detailing some
of the events of August 24, 1915
where the 17 men from Hedley
To this day they continue to find
information about the more than 60
men from Hedley who served in the
First World War.
“I want to thank the families for
coming to learn about and honour
their loved ones with us. They really
have become friends to us in our
research. So it’s really important
for us to honour them,” Douglass
said at the closing of the weekend.
The next chapter for Douglass
and English is to put their research
together and publish a book.
They are also working with the
community and Hedley Museum
to raise funds for the cenotaph.