One of the favourite stops when Museum School goes behind the scenes is with a little dog that was brought from Calgary to Flanders in the First World War. Pat or Paddy, ‘joined’ the #4 Field Ambulance Corps while they were training at the exhibition grounds in Calgary. He liked a good meal and these soldiers were assigned to eat at one of the nicer café’s in Calgary because there were far too many men to fit in the military mess hall. Pat eventually hopped on the train and joined them for their trip across Canada and eventually across the Atlantic in a troop ship to England where he arrived, April 28th, 1915.
On arrival, the soldiers had to sneak Pat ashore as he didn’t have permission to be there. Luckily a military band was aboard and they put Pat in the bass drum when they arrived in Avon-mouth and got him on dry land. The first thing Pat did when he was released was race into a nearby field and chase the sheep. An anecdote from that day reports that the Colonel said to the Sergeant Major, “You have to get rid of that dog!” to which the Sergeant Major replied, ” Then you have to get rid of the men.” Pat stayed.
After some training time in England the troops were sent to Belgium and were involved in the battles of St. Eloi, the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Hill 70 and Passchendale.
There is some information about Paddy in Glenbow’s on-line Maverick’s Exhibit. There are images in the section titled War and the Home Front, First World War. Information about the WW1 Field Ambulance drivers can be found in “Stories from the Archives”.
Here is Paddy, front and center, with the #4 Canadian Field Ambulance taken in 1918. Of the 81 men who joined this group, 28 remained after the war. See the Red Cross band he is wearing as a collar.
One of the soldiers, Sergeant Harry Howell, was an excellent sketch artist and had plans to create a book after he returned from the war. The book was never published but Glenbow has some of the original sketches in the archives. Here is one with Paddy (or Pat):
After the war ended, the soldiers wanted to bring Pat home. He wasn’t able to travel and was taken to a taxidermist in England who created the Pat we have in our collection. He went to all the soldiers reunions and in 1972, was donated to Glenbow by a soldier’s family. He was on display from 1976 to 1990 in a WW1 exhibit on the 4th floor and now resides in our Military History Collection.