Thursday, 6 October 2016

Week 40: Douglas Vernon Palin

This week’s blog is about another one of my grandfather’s brothers.  He was a bit of an odd duck from the family stories I have heard and from everything that I have been able to piece together I see that he did definitely had a story or two to tell. 
Douglas Vernon Palin was the ninth child born and the third son born in Gloucester in 1882.
In the 1891 census, we find Douglas at his Aunt’s school in Wales.  He is there with his two older brothers and his eldest sister.

In the 1901 census, Douglas is at home with his family and the occupation given was an engineer’s apprentice fitter worker. 

Douglas then emigrated to Canada, (I have not found the exact date), but we have a postcard sent to him and it was stamped July 30 1904 and sent to Nepawa, Manitoba.  We find Douglas in the 1906 Canadian census living in Nepawa and his occupation was servant.

Then we have a variety of newspaper clippings over the next few years that mentions Douglas name.
June 8, 1908, Gladstone Age, This clipping is about a football match between Minnedosa and Gladstone “Palin although strongly checked by St John, did excellent work on the forward line.”
July 16, 1908, Gladstone Age,   This clipping mentions an inauguration meeting of a cricket club and the Vice-Captain is Douglas Palin.
January 7 1909, Gladstone Age, The Amateur Theatrical Company of Gladstone put on a three act play called “Captain Racket”.  “Mr. Douglas Palin taking two parts, especially well did he play the part of Father-in-law.”
March 4 1909, Gladstone Age, The annual meeting of the Gladstone Cricket Club was held.  D. Palin is the Vice Captain.
May 13, 1909, Gladstone Age,  The Cricket Club is practicing every chance they get.  “E Garnett has been chosen Vice President to fill the place of D. Palin, who has left town.
Nov 25 1910, Winnipeg Free Press, St Jude’s Dramatic Club presented the operetta Robin Hood and Maid Marian.  “D.V. Palin was good as the sheriff.”
Nov 14 1912, Carlstadt NewsAn ad looking for all interested in gymnasium work to contact D.V. Palin at the C.P.R station.
March 20, 1913, Carlstadt News, D.V. Palin, CPR Freight Agent has resigned
Oct 3 1913, Redcliff Review, This article mentions that Douglas is going back to England with his newly adopted son, William Alan, and will spend the winter and the spring in his old home and hoped to return next spring.  A Mr. Buckholz will take over Douglas transfer business with the Redcliff Brick and Coal Company.

According to the arrival papers, Douglas and William left Quebec and arrived Oct 9 1913 in Liverpool on the ship Empress of Britain.

We have a copy of patent that Douglas had submitted for facilitating lives from shipwrecks at night.  The patent is dated July 14 1914 and his address is 18 Podsmead Rd, his parent’s home.

Britain declared war on Germany on Aug 4, 1914 and we have a scanned image of where Douglas’s mother gave Douglas a New Testament Bible with the Lord Robert’s message in it and it is dated September 28, 1914. 
According to the above image this is his military history as per Gilbert Walter Palin’s book.  What the above does not show is that during that time frame Douglas married Margaret Verna Little on November 18, 1916 in Pyrford, Surrey.  (side note - In the 1911 census, Dora Kate Palin, Douglas sister, was visiting at Margaret Verna Little’s parent’s home.) 

1920 was a busy year for Douglas.  He leaves the army and leaves his wife.  He also leaves for Canada and arrives in New York on May 1, 1920 on the ship Lapland.  His mother, his sisters, Caroline and Rhoda and his son, William, are also on the same ship.  His brother Hugh, wife and two children are also on that same ship.

In the 1921 census Douglas is the head of household in Brighton, New Brunswick and is a farmer.  His son William Alan, Douglas’s mother, and two sisters Caroline and Rhoda are living with him.

We then have a letter from the US Treasury Department stating that Douglas would be en-route to Vancouver and he has secured a visa for temporary visits.  The letter is dated September 22, 1926.

We also have a letter from the Shawnigan Lake School, British Columbia thanking Douglas for his 15 years of service and wishing him the best of luck in his new life.  The letter is dated March 8 1943.  (so that would mean he started at Shawnigan circa 1928)
Building rock gardens at Shawnigan
There is a reference online where Douglas was heading up the No. 19 Company Shawnigan Lake of the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers from 1942-1943.  “The Pacific Coast Militia Rangers were formed after war with Japan began in December 1941. Discussions of a "Home Guard" for British Columbia began as early as January 1942. The Home Guard were soldiers in Great Britain who could not serve in the regular forces because they were too old, physically unfit, or needed in valuable war work.” 

Qualicum College, British Columbia had a reunion a few years ago and published a book entitled “Voices from the Dorm” which I have bought and inside are pictures of Douglas’s years there and memories of Douglas from some of the boys.  The staff pictures are from 1950-1958.  We also have pictures of him with the Cadets at the school and even a picture of him playing the part of Duncan in the school play Macbeth.  
1952 Macbeth (stage manager, set construction, AND Duncan, King of Scotland) Douglas would 70 years of age.

We also found online that during the summers 1948-1953, Douglas was running a summer camp for boys in Parksville, British Columbia. 

When Douglas retired he moved in with his brother Hugh in Victoria.  Towards the end Douglas was in the Veterans hospital in Victoria and died there December 6, 1969 at 87.

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