Thursday, September 22, 2011

Moonshine Leads to Another "Soldier of the Horse" (Part 1)

Not long ago I received the following email:

 I just finished your book, I felt I was reading my own family history. My grandfather Thomas West, was born in England and immigrated to Canada with his parents to homestead in Dauphin Manitoba. He became a member of the Northwest Mounted Police, apparently he was supposed to bring in a fellow who had been making moonshine, instead he helped him drink it and was consequently AWOL. He was given the choice of jail or the cavalry, he chose the latter and joined the Strathcona's Horse in Winnipeg right around 1914. He was wounded in the Battle of Moreuil Wood. My grandfather died before I was born, so I never had the opportunity of knowing him. Your story allowed me a glimpse into a critical part of his life that had lasting effects. Thank You.

This email touched several chords with me. It is great to receive feedback, of course. Thomas West's story has obvious parallels to those of my father, Tom Mackay, as readers of "Soldier of the Horse" will know. And, coincidentally, my mother was born in Dauphin, Manitoba, where her father was one of the few physicians in the area. Perhaps he treated Tom West!

Pictured at left is Tom West's son Ralph and his wife Irma, who live in Yaletown, Vancouver.

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