Rethinking Remembrance

1. Introduction

Hello All, My name is Reid Dobell, a dual national (Canada & US) who makes his home in King City, ON. I like to think I’m an average 18 year-old, interested in sports and involved in whatever else I have time to balance. But to get straight to the point, I’d like to invite you on a journey through the past, into the lives of several extraordinary Canadians whose stories should be shared

2. Arnold C Matthews

Hello All, Welcome back, I’m glad you’ve decided that the past is worthy of a few more minutes of your present. Today, we commence our journey. Our subject is Lieutenant (and acting Captain) Arnold Colton Matthews, a great-grandfather on my father’s side. Born on September 8, 1889 in Toronto into the affluent family of Wilmot DeLoui Matthews, Arnold’s war experience couldn’t have contrasted with his home life in a greater way

3. Sidney Dobell

Hello All, Welcome back. I hope you’re enjoying the ride, I know that I certainly am. Today we’re following Lt-Col. Sidney Hope Dobell of Montreal otherwise known as “Choppy”. He was my great-grandfather, making him my closest relative in this series. He has the distinction of serving in both WWI (for the British) and WWII (for the Canadians). While others in this series may seem to be from a different time, Sidney is the most real in the present day for a number of reasons. He appears in my parents’ wedding photo, radiant if frail at 89. He only died in 1992, two years before I was born. That lends itself to a humorous story. My grandfather was his first-born son and my father an only child, so Sidney, in keeping with his British ideals, hoped to see another boy to carry on the family name before he died. Consequently, shortly after meeting my mother, he popped a very direct question, “when are you coming off the pill?” I’ll admit it is a bit of an embarrassing story (Mom wasn’t ecstatic about me including it), but it portrays his traditional / modern dichotomy quite effectively

4. Lt-Gen. Charles Macpherson Dobell

Hello All, We’re going to jump right into it today with the man who perhaps has the most exotic wartime experiences of any of my relatives – Lt-Gen. Charles Macpherson Dobell. If anyone in my WWI family history could be classified as a big deal, it’s definitely this guy. I’m not trying to brag, but when I first found out about him two years ago, I was genuinely excited, not least because he has his own bona fide Wikipedia article. In the build up to the Vimy Beaverbrook Prize, we had been asked to do a project on a soldier, and naturally I gravitated towards a family member. Typing in Dobell on the Canadian Archives Attestation Papers Record doesn’t give you any hits, even though there were several in the Great War. This is because, like many other recent immigrants from England, they considered themselves British before Canadian, and so enlisted in the British Expeditionary Force. Charles, Sidney Dobell, and Colin Dobell all fall under this category after having been born in Quebec City and educated at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston (“RMC”)