Looking for information about George Millar.. most likely from Almonte as thanks to Jim Houston I have a copy of a poem he typed in 1942 about the Almonte train wreck.
Almonte Wreck by George F. Millar Dec, 27, 1942
This is an original copy given to me from Jim Houston
I was feeling pretty low that night, and sort of on the shelf
For I was looking forward to getting back myself
When the telephone rang, and there was Tom, I could hardly believe my ears,
A terrible wreck, just happened now, the worst in years and years
The Sunday local on the CPR to Ottawa was starting back,
The night was dark, a dirty sleet was filling up the track,
Witch coaches full,packed in the aisle, of folk from far and near
Returning again to their varied jobs, to commence a brand new year.
From Petawawa down they took on load, as each station drew nigh
The platforms again were thronged with folk and baggage piled up high.
But little was thought amid the last farewells while some a tear would hide.
That the Angel of Death was lurking near, this is their long last ride
The train pulled into Almonte, oh how we know that town.
Sure we played Lacrosse and Hockey, the Valley up and down
But now we have a different scene, a headlight glares in the night
A troop train that had just caught up to a passenger train that was running slow,
A bang, a rip, a bang, a smash, how far will that ting go?
Oh duck, get down. Oh God what’s up, she yelled and grabbed a hand.
And in the seat behind, she saw a big black monster stand.
The engine plowed through coaches two, and stood now in the third from rear.
The coaches smashed to kindling wood, and a mass of twisted gear.
Some thrown beyond the mass of wreck, others mangled in the gear.
And then the ones all shaken up, kept searching in the debris near.
A dress, a doll, a compact small, a bra and undies too.
A coat that had a sleeve torn off, a leg in a bloody shoe.
The Almonte folk now joined the scene, their doors they opened wide,
A steady stream of wounded moved, from the wreck to the warmth inside.
A call for doctors, nurses too, went out on S.O.S.
But speed and all, to answer the call, saved neither Jean or Bess
Pillows, blankets, sheets and towels in haste pulled from the bed,
With never a thought a thought of their return, let’s cover up these dead,
And while we can, bring comfort to the wounded and the maimed
There was the spirit of Almonte to us their deeds are famed,
Before the doctor was in sight right on that very train,
There was a nursing sister brave, who kept so cool and sane.
To give first aid she had no kit, but her clothing she simply tore,
And used the strips for bandages, and saved so many more.
The Town Hall soon became a morgue, the Hospital over-flowed
And more and more picked from the wreck to be bandaged and some sewed
The night wore on, and it got late, for workers no relief,
And then the train for Ottawa bent, with its load of pain and grief,
Our hearts go out to all the folk whose homes are hit so hard,
We’re trying now to ease the load, by word, or deed, or card,
And there was he of the other train, who went through a little hell,
A few more runs and he’s be through, with a record clear as a bell,
And here he was, no fault his own, just seemed to be his rate,
For fortune deals some awful hands, that local just had to be late.
He thought so much of what others might think, and all that be said.
Our hearts go out to this poor guy, in this hour of grief,
But God above is God of Love, and HE will hold no brief,
But instead He’d say, you’ve naught to pay, your load was too much to bear,
It’s me in your need, yes tis indeed, for such is the Kingdom I bear.
Pte. F.R. Whitta gave up his shirt and tunic to make bandages and tourniquets, then aided doctors in surgery for hours in the falling snow. He and another soldier, Sgt. J.W. Gillespie, were awarded the British Empire Medal for their actions that night, while Lt. Nursing Sister Anne Thorpe received the Royal Red Cross, Second Class.
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