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William Fingland fonds
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15 cm of textual records.
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Name of creator
Fingland, William (1885-[19--])
William Fingland was born in Beverly Township, Ontario on 19 September 1885. Fingland was a student, likely at Knox College, at the time he enlisted in May 1915. Upon arriving in Europe, after his voyage over on the Megantic, Fingland sent a telegram to his sweetheart, later wife, [Jan]Etta McDiarmid. Once in England, Fingland began his work on behalf of the YMCA. He organized sport days, religious services, recreation activities and entertainment, including a moving picture show for troops just behind the line in Belgium and France. He visited soldiers in hospital, censored letters and dealt with the excesses of the soldiers around him. He witnessed first hand the devastation in Ypres. Fingland was involved with visiting the Canadian Forestry Camps and working with the Khaki University (College), in both London and Edinburgh, which helped to provide men on leave with places to stay, educational courses and recreational activities. Khaki University promoted education and arranged literary and historical lectures in London and France. The most popular courses with the troops involved agriculture. Fingland oversaw the Beaver Hut in 1919, a large YMCA tent for Canadian troops, and participated in a visit to the area by the Prince of Wales and Prince Albert. William and Etta were married in 1920.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of 111 letters, the majority of which were written by Fingland to his sweetheart, Etta. There are a few responses from Etta to William. The letters combine Fingland's feelings for Etta with his descriptions of life on the battlefront and his struggle to do the work of the YMCA. He speaks about his travels through the countryside while on leave. There is a wedding invitation announcing the couple's nuptials in August 1920. A photograph-postcard of a group of soldiers is included in this fonds. Fingland is not identified in the photograph.
Immediate source of acquisition
The fonds (13-2001) was purchased from The Alexander Gallery in July 2001.
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No access restrictions.
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No further accruals expected.
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- Fingland, William (Creator)
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