Photographs, letters and other memorabilia belonging to George Dorman, who was born in Vancouver but settled in Nanaimo after the First World War, are on display at the Vancouver Island Military Museum, as pictured above, and the Nanaimo Museum. Dorman was injured during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. (Photo Contributed)

Photographs, letters and other memorabilia belonging to George Dorman, who was born in Vancouver but settled in Nanaimo after the First World War, are on display at the Vancouver Island Military Museum, as pictured above, and the Nanaimo Museum. Dorman was injured during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. (Photo Contributed)

Timeless Tales: Mementoes from Nanaimo soldier injured at Vimy Ridge on display at Nanaimo Museum

Vancouver Island Military Museum also has collection of Vimy Ridge memorabilia

Vimy Ridge is often identified by historians as a defining moment in Canadian history.

One of the reasons is because the four Canadian divisions fought together at one time, said Aimee Greenaway, Nanaimo museum interpretation curator.

“This was at a time when Canada was still really in the shadow of Britain,” said Greenaway.

It was during the Battle of Vimy Ridge that the Canadian troops earned the reputation as “formidable,” according to the Canadian War Museum’s website. But the victory came at a cost with more than 10,000 casualties, of which nearly 3,600 were fatal.

One of the soldiers wounded at Vimy Ridge was George Dorman. He was born in Vancouver but settled in Nanaimo after the war.

Prior to the battle, Dorman carved a picture frame made out of a piece from German plane.

The frame is currently on display at the Nanaimo museum along with information and other mementoes from Dorman as part of the Centennial stories exhibit.

Greenaway said it is an example of the kind of things soldiers would have done to keep themselves mentally occupied while preparations were being completed for the upcoming battle.

Dorman recovered from his Vimy Ridge injuries and returned to duty. He was injured again during the Battle of Cambrai. He had to wait 24 hours, injured on the front lines, to be extracted from the field.

It was during the recovery from his Cambrai injuries that he met his wife, Bridget O’Reilly, who worked as a nurse in the hospital he was sent to. After the war they were granted permission to marry and settled in Nanaimo.

Dorman’s sons founded the Brechin Sawmill in Nanaimo. The sawmill was ravaged by a fire in 1958.

Other memorabilia from Dorman and First World War are on display at the Vancouver Island Military museum.

The museum has Major General Arthur Currie’s riding crop. Currie was the commander of the First Canadian Division, serving under General Julian Byng, commander of the Canadian Corp.

Although Currie wasn’t from Vancouver Island, his batman – a soldier assigned to a commissioned officer as a personal servant – was from the mid Vancouver Island area. The riding crop was presented to his batman as a memento.

In 1936, the official dedication ceremony for the Vimy Ridge memorial was held. Nanaimo resident and war veteran Arthur Leighton and his wife Alice attended the ceremony. His pilgrimage medal is on display at the Nanaimo museum.

For more information about the Battle of Vimy Ridge, please visit www.warmuseum.ca.

Timeless Tales is the News Bulletin’s history series, which is published on the third Tuesday of every month.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations with RV hook-ups

Nanaimo RCMP hope the public can help them find a 16-year-old who has been missing since Sunday. (Photo submitted)
UPDATE: 16-year-old Nanaimo boy located safe

Teen had been reported missing last week and it was thought he may have left town

The Regional District of Nanaimo plans to make its operations more efficient as it works on long-term goals around carbon-neutrality. (PQB News file photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo works to become carbon neutral by 2032

RDN committee of the whole members endorse plan developed by consultant

The Millstone River in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Regional district looks at value of Nanaimo’s natural assets

Report focused on the Millstone River could inform future decisions on corporate asset management

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read