Stalwart Brydons – Chapter 7

The Great War and its aftermath, the Frank Brydon era, 1914 to 1930

Frank Brydon with pipe, circa 1915 Frank Brydon with pipe, circa 1915When WW1 broke out in 1914, Frank Brydon did not enlist. He had lost his left thumb in an accident and was deemed medically unfit. In addition, men employed in agricultural labour were essential to the war effort. In 1915 the number of acres of wheat sown in Canada was up 40% because of the need to produce more for the war effort.

About this time Frank started a courtship with Cora Grobb, the third of four daughters of Charles E. Grobb and Margaret Anne Carruthers.

Cora Grobb Studio portrait.  Cora mentions in her journal on 25 November 1916 when she says: “I went to town today and had my picture taken at Rawson’s“. She would have been 22 years old.

Cora Grobb when she was about 12 years old. Cora Grobb when she was about 12 years old.

Cora was born 11 April 1892 and raised in a devout Methodist family. Cora’s father was an elder at the church in Portage for many years. He was also a concert violinist in local demand accompanied by either Cora or sister Gladys on piano.

 As a youngster Cora was a topnotch student and loved to read, and she said that at times she would climb to find private time to do so.

Mabel, Gladys and Cora Mabel, Gladys and Cora 

Portage Indian School 1914-1915 Portage Indian Residential School

On Aug. 22 1916 she was asked to teach at the Indian Residential School. Cora shared her love of music with her students. “I was on duty after tea til bedtime with the boys. We went into the school room and sang. They are very fond of music.

Frank's company logo Canadian Forestry Corps

During the war huge quantities of lumber were needed for the Western Front and the British government concluded there were nobody more qualified to harvest timber than Canadians. Some 35,000 served in the Canadian Forestry Corps.

The Grobbs and the Brydons, like many of their neighbours, experienced a disastrous crop failure in 1916. With no income to make mortgage payments or buy supplies the Brydons held a credit auction and rented the farm.

Portage La Prairie CPR station CPR station, Portage La Prairie

 On April 17 1917 Frank signed his attestation paper to enlist. And it didn’t take long for Frank to leave. Cora reports, “Father and Mother went to the station to see F. Brydon off. He has enlisted with the Forestry Battalion.

Canadian Forestry Corps in the bush Canadian Forestry Corps in the bush

 Frank’s life-long work with horses perpared him for duties in England. His work consisted of managing a team of horses as they hauled the felled logs through the forest to the mill site.

Brydon-Grobb 1932 Cora Brydon's extended family, 1932