Keremeos resident Arthur Liddicoat

Hedley Boys bravery honoured 100 years later

Soldiers from Hedley who served in the First World War were honoured in a ceremony marking 100 years since their enlistment.

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

spoke about.

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

and Sergeant.

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

Channel.

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

events.

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

Knowles said.

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

weekend’s festivities.

“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

lead letters.

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

Douglass.

The pair have spent close to two

years researching the men and their

families.

They found news clippings and

service records detailing some

of the events of August 24, 1915

where the 17 men from Hedley

enlisted.

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.

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