Burford Years Ago

By: Clayton Barker

View of a group of people working in the fields picking beans, c1914-18, this barn stood north of Burford village in the middle of the field on the east side of Maple Ave. (photo from Clayton Barker’s personal collection).

Burford,
Sept. 20th, 1917

THEY SHALL NOT PASS:
The Immortal Cry of Canada at the Second Battle of Ypres – The defence of Ypres following the first ghastly gas attack April 22nd, 1915, exalts all history. By it our men were transfigured and the undying, imperishable Soul of Canada revealed.
In the name of these Heroes of Ypres, Fesubert, Givenchy, Vimy Ridge, Lens, The Somme, Verdun –aye and the Deathless “Old Contemptible” – we beseech you, Women of Canada, to dedicate Yourselves and Your Families to War Service by signing the Food Service Pledge.
The Sacrifice is not great. We merely want you to substitute other foods for part of the white bread, beef and bacon your family now eat… (an advertisement during the food shortage on the war front of 1917).

100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE END OF THE BATTLE FOR PASSCHENDAELE:
Passchendaele, or the Third Battle of Ypres, was one of the most controversial battles of the entire war, denounced by contemporary politicians as savage, vain, bloody and a pitiful waste of human courage…Once shelling started, flooding would rapidly turn the whole battlefield into a sea of mud. (bac-lac.gc.ca)

In the list of Brant County men who died on the battlefield of Passchendaele or from their wounds they received during that conflict, there is the name of Clarence Thomas Standing (Private of the 43rd Battalion), who though he wasn’t from Burford, came to live in Burford Township when he was orphaned at the age of 13, and was raised by his relatives here near Fairfield Plains. Clarence was the son of William Standing and a nephew of E.H. Standing of the 9th concession Burford Township. The following report of his death was not officially released until nearly six months after his death on the western front:
Burford,
Mar. 28th 1918

LOCAL AND PERSONAL:
(of Sir Arthur Currie, General) “…There lie before him, in the area of Passchendaele, a sea of mud stretching to the horizon. It was inescapable. It was in your food, you slept in it, it seeped through your clothes, it rotted your feet. The wounded disappeared in it, the living lived in it, and even able-bodied men moving forward on an assault could drown in it, or in the stinky, murky water that filled craters called shell holes.”
It was not the “glorious” scene of men charging gallantly toward victory “…but (men) moving towards their deaths, under machine-gun fire, not running, not charging or yelling, but…walking slowly, tediously forward. It was almost as if death had become an acceptable routine…”

HOW ‘YA GONNA KEEP ‘EM DOWN ON THE FARM
(After They’ve Seen Paree) written by Joe Young and Sam M. Lewis with music by Walter Donaldson, and was published in 1918.
Reuben, Reuben, I’ve been thinking
Said his wifey dear
Now that all is peaceful and calm
The boys will soon be back on the farm
Mister Reuben started winking and slowly rubbed his chin
He pulled his chair up close to mother
And he asked her with a grin
Chorus:
How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm
After they’ve seen Paree’
How ya gonna keep ’em away from Broadway
Jazzin around and paintin’ the town
How ya gonna keep ’em away from harm, that’s a mystery
They’ll never want to see a rake or plow
And who the deuce can parleyvous a cow?
How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm
After they’ve seen Paree’
Rueben, Rueben, you’re mistaken
Said his wifey dear
Once a farmer, always a jay
And farmers always stick to the hay
Mother Reuben, I’m not fakin
Tho you may think it strange
But wine and women play the mischief
With a boy who’s loose with change
Chorus (sung twice after each verse):
How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm
After they’ve seen Paree’
How ya gonna keep ’em away from Broadway
Jazzin around and paintin’ the town
How ya gonna keep ’em away from harm, that’s a mystery
Imagine Reuben when he meets his Pa
He’ll kiss his cheek and holler “OO-LA-LA!
How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm
After they’ve seen Paree’?

Burford Years Ago

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