Background: My name is Ian Gordon. I am the great-nephew of Gilbert Todhunter and the son of Gilbert T. Gordon, who inherited Harriet’s collection of Gilbert Todhunter’s things and in due course passed it on to me. My father received the collection after Harriet’s death, when Eileen brought it to the UK, and I inherited it in turn when he died in 1982.
My wife Jenny and sons Alastair & Alexander organised and protected the collection, and we soon realised firstly how Gilbert’s & Harriet’s stories could be pieced together from it, and secondly that the rest of the family were entitled not only to know the stories but also to see the collection, despite our being spread across the UK and North America.
The solution was to develop this site, and publish it so that all could see it. This task was greatly assisted by the creation by my cousin Keith (another of Gilbert’s great-nephews) of the family tree, and of the additional and timely information available in the public domain through the centenary of the outbreak of WW1. This site has therefore been first published at a time when we could take advantage of this information, and to record our participation on Gilbert’s behalf in the various commemorative events during 2014, and also to commemorate the centenary of Gilbert’s own death in May 2015.
Using this website: If you are reading this online you will presumably have found your way to this page via the web address and the Home page. If you have been directed here by other means, the web address (URL) is http://www.gtodhunter.com.
This site has been designed for both ease of development and ease of use, so it has been structured into 7 simple pages: Home (containing the Introduction), Gilbert’s Story, Gilbert’s Diary, Harriet’s Story, Harriet’s Scrapbook, Other Family Members, and this one About this Website. There is a trade-off between the number of pages and their length; hopefully you will find these pages neither too long nor too numerous to be usable.
Navigation between these pages is simply via the links along the top of each page; depending on the device you are using, these links may be hidden behind a “Menu” button. For simplicity there are no internal links or bookmarks other than these. This means you might have to scroll a long way down the pages (especially in Gilbert’s Story, the longest) and a long way back again to the top, but it also means there should be no confusion about where you are, how you got there and how you get back. There are some external links, however; these are indicated by underlined text, usually in a different colour (eg blue or grey).
When used, a new window might open for the external site, and after closing that window you should be back in this site at the point where you clicked the link. If a new window is not opened, simply use the Back button to return to the page where you were before. Note that some memorial websites might contain a link back to this website; if you click on that link, you may find yourself with this site open twice on two different pages – best avoided.
Note that on some sizes & shapes of display screen, the position and spacing of text & images may vary in some instances from the way the site was designed. Hopefully this will not materially affect your understanding or enjoyment of the content.
The site has been developed for the Microsoft Windows environment, and because of the size of some of the illustrated objects it is best viewed on as large a screen as possible – ideally at least 15.6” – and, if you have the option, in Landscape rather than Portrait mode. This size is sufficient to view the site at 125% zoom, enhancing the legibility of the old documents. Some of the old documents are in quite fine print, may be faded, and are not easy to read at first, but a more readable and “zoomable” higher-resolution image of most (but not all) is usually available by clicking or tapping on the image.
After viewing, use the Back button to resume browsing the site (Note that this may occasionally result in a temporary re-alignment of the screen border – don’t worry, this problem resolves itself the next time you use a page link, or by refreshing the screen).
The smaller the screen, the more you will have to scroll up & down, and maybe even right & left to see everything if the area to be displayed is wider than the physical screen allows. This is straightforward if you are using a touch-screen device; otherwise, if you use a mouse or touchpad with Microsoft Internet Explorer you can zoom in or out using the ‘%’ facility at bottom right of the screen. Other browsers might use another facility to achieve the same ends, for example the zoom control in Mozilla Firefox is found at top right. Such browsers could include Google Chrome, Opera etc; different browsers are often available for different operating systems eg Android, iOS, Unix or Linux.
Touch screens often do not require the use of a separate browser, however, since the browser facility – or at least a search facility – is integrated with the operating system, and you simply need to enter the URL then navigate & browse via the touch screen. You should therefore be able to view this site from platforms other than Windows PCs, such as Apple PCs or iPads, Linux PCs, Android tablets, Kindles or even smartphones.
The site has been viewed satisfactorily on an Apple Mac, a 7″ Android tablet and 4″ Windows & Android smartphones, but it has not been fully tested for the full range of possible platforms, and legibility may still be an issue on smaller devices.
- This site was developed on an Intel PC using Windows 7, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office 2007, Epson SX 500 series printer/scanner, and Adobe Photoshop Elements 9
- The development software was WordPress 4.1 and the hosting service is GoDaddy.com
- The site has been tested using Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox browsers on a Windows 7 PC with 15.6” display and a resolution of 1366×768 pixels.
References: Most of the information gathered to create this site came from the collection which Harriet compiled of Gilbert’s belongings and documents, but this has been augmented from information from various sources, including family background knowledge, the online family tree developed by Keith Adamson, books and websites, and numerous newspaper & magazine articles and TV programmes about WW1.
Specific among these are:
- 1914-1918.net (the Long Long Trail)
- 1914-1918.net (the Battle of Festuberg)
- allerdale.gov.uk (for Keswick Museum)
- bac-lac.gc.ca (Researching Canadian WW1 soldiers – for GT’s Attestation)
- brandford.library.on.ca (for Canadian News)
- cwgc.org (commonwealth war graves commission)/
- everymanremembered.org (British Legion – individuals’ remembrance)
- gentfamily.com/Estevan (Estevan WW1 war memorial)
- greatwar.co.uk (WW1medals)
- iwm.org.uk (Imperial War Museum)
- inflandersfields.be (Ypres)
- jubilation.uwaterloo.ca (about migration to Canada)
- keswick-at-war.yolasite.com (Keswick WW1 memorial site)
- library.yorku.ca (about Salvation Army support for migration to Canada)
- livesofthefirstworldwar.org (Individual soldiers’ profiles)
- nam.ac.uk (National Army Museum)
- newspapers.com (for Winnipeg newspaper)
- merseyside-at-war.org (for Robert Jones, surgeon)
- mocavo.co.uk (for Ernest Brainard)
- regimentalrogue.com (researching Canadian WW1 involvement)
- svwm.ca (Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial)
- sja.org.uk (St John’s Ambulance)
- stepshort.co.uk (Folkestone WW1 memorial site)
- thecanadianenyclopedia.ca (about migration of women to Canada)
- visitcumbria.com/car/regimental-museum/ (Border Regiment Museum)
(NB It cannot be guaranteed that all these websites will always be maintained up to date, if at all).
Books & magazines:
- The Keswick School of Industrial Arts (Ian Bruce)
- Forgotten Voices of the Great War (Imperial War Museum)
- The Great War 1914-18 (SSAFA)
- The Great War – A Pictorial History (Daily Mail)
- The Great War – the Peoples’ Story (ITV)
- Daily Mail Weekend Magazine (Feb & Jul 2014)
- Daily Mail replica newspapers (Jun 29th, Aug 5, Sept 4, Dec 17 & Dec 31 1914)
- Saga Magazine (November 2013)
- Winnipeg Tribune (May 16 1914)
Images: Most of the images in this website are of Gilbert’s things as collected by Harriet. These have been either photographed or scanned by Ian Gordon. The photos of the poppies in situ at the Tower of London, and the Birmingham Ice Sculptures, were taken by Alastair Gordon.
The photos of the Todhunters’ little house in Keswick, the Keswick War Memorial and the former Brigham School in Keswick were taken by Ian Gordon, as were our ceramic poppy (ex Tower of London) and the miniature wooden memorial cross.
The photos & video from the trip to Folkestone & Flanders were taken by Ian, Jenny & Alastair Gordon. The colour photos of Gilbert & Molly Gordon, Molly & Eileen, and Ernest and his daughter & grandchildren came from Molly’s own collection.
The old photos of Lizzie with Jack & Eva and with Eileen, Harriet and family were taken from Keith Adamson’s family tree. Keith also provided the photos of the headstone & churchyard at Kirkbride. The other images (eg people, places, ships etc) are stock photos freely available on the web.
Acknowledgements: This website could not have been so comprehensive without the valuable assistance and support of the following:
- Keith Adamson, for researching the family tree (together with old photos), for supplying significant further background information and sources, for the Kirkbride photos, for updating Gilbert’s entry in the Canadian Great War project, and for providing Gilbert’s “Dead Man’s Penny”
- Alastair, Alexander & Jenny Gordon, for reviewing, organising and safeguarding the collection, for providing encouragement, and Alastair for photographing the Tower of London Poppies, the Birmingham Ice Sculptures and the scenes in Folkestone & Flanders, and for reviewing this site and providing technical advice
- Richard Gordon, for providing Gilbert’s collection of woodworking tools
- Steve Scott, for providing local information and links to Canadian websites
- Crosthwaite Church, especially Mary Blanchard & Rev. Stuart Penny
- The Border Regiment Forum, especially P.L.Braham and Spike
- The Kings Own Border Regiment Museum, especially Stuart Eastwood, Curator
- Keswick Museum & Art Gallery, especially Sue McKay, Curator
- The Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial, especially Bill Barry for supplying some additional details related to key Canadian figures
- The Scouts, especially Claire Woodforde and Pat Gilks
- The Salvation Army, especially Tyler Boenecke & Susan Mitchem (US); Dian Pryor, Stuart McPhee, Hari Jonkers & Debs (UK); Michael Barrow, John Carew, Joanne Hamel & Ron Millar (Canada)
- Ine & Mike at B&B De Nach Wacht & restaurant In’t Klein Stadhuis in Ypres, for looking after us so well during our trip to France & Belgium in May 2015
- The contributors, compilers & publishers of the Canada at War, Canadian Great War Project, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Estevan War Memorial, Everyman Remembered, Keswick at War, Lives of the First World War, Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial, War Memorials Online, and other web sites from which valuable information was obtained
- All those connected with the Tower of London Poppies, the Birmingham Ice Sculptures and the British Legion Remembrance Garden.
Some of the above were unable to help because of lack of records, but still took the trouble to search for them and to reply. To know that there is no information is more valuable than not to know, so thanks to all of these for trying.
A note about Copyright: Most of the content of this website is from material held rightfully in my possession, or created or obtained from family members. Most of the rest is in the public domain on the web, and it is not believed that anything in this site is subject to copyright. If it is, I trust that copyright holders allow for the following:
- this site is primarily for the purposes of our family, who are spread across the world
- any possible infringement of anyone else’s copyright is purely unintentional
- any material which might however be subject to copyright constitutes a very small proportion of the total content of this site, and likewise a very small proportion of anyone else’s copyright material
- it is not the purpose of this site to obtain any commercial advantage from the material contained, nor is it the purpose of this site to deny anyone else any commercial advantage if their material is unwittingly published here.
(NB: The ;photo of Gilbert’s childhood home in Poplar Street Keswick was taken by me, so I hold the copyright to it. Poplar Street now has restricted access but on my visit I found nobody to object or to ask permission from. I trust the property owners had no objection to my visit and this publication of the photo here, since I had a legitimate purpose to be there and was not an ordinary tourist).
Should any copyright owner of any of the content of this site object to its publication here, they should contact me (see below) and it will be removed as soon as possible.
Note – Cumberland vs Cumbria: Those unfamiliar with the geography & history of our special corner of North-West England may be puzzled by references to places mentioned in this website being in Cumberland or Cumbria, the county names seemingly being used interchangeably. This is because in 1974 the old counties of Cumberland and Westmorland were merged with parts of North Lancashire and West Yorkshire to form the new county of Cumbria (which contains the entire Lake District National park). Thus, Aikton, Aspatria, Borrowdate, Caldbeck, Carlisle, Cockermouth, Crosthwaite, Egremont, Hensingham, Isel, Keswick, Kirkbride, Moresby, Silloth, Threlkeld, Whitehaven and Wigton (formerly in Cumberland) are now in Cumbria; as are Sedbergh (formerly in Yorkshire), Windermere (formerly Westmorland), and Newby Bridge & Ulverston (formerly in Lancashire).
Contact: This site has not been developed as a blog, so there is no direct facility for online feedback. Feedback however is welcomed, so if you have any comments, queries or suggestions please email me. I would particularly like to hear of any errors or omissions, so if you have any further information to add or photos/scans to include, please let me know. If you find that any of the images of particular interest aren’t clear enough to be read from this website, copies of specific original jpeg images may be emailed to you on request (priority to be given to family members).
My email address is: Ian_gordon02@yahoo.co.uk.
(Draft first published 31st January 2015
This update published 23rd December 2015)