Conserving the William Redver Stark sketchbooks: dates and locations

In this last article on page mapping, we are looking at the dates and locations of Stark‘s sojourn in Europe, matching the ones inscribed in his sketchbooks to the events and locations of his military unit.

In many of his sketchbooks, Stark wrote the name of the town or village that he was sketching. Occasionally, he would also include the date. These notations give the modern viewer a real sense of the time Stark spent in France and Belgium, and were a great help in the re-sequencing of the detached leaves.

We were able to verify dates and locations by looking at the war diaries of the 1st Battalion of the Canadian Railway Troop. War diaries are the daily accounts of First World War units.

Colour photograph showing an open sketchbook with a watercolour of a train with a German naval gun on a wagon. The gun is wildly patterned with a camouflage paint. Soldiers are standing around, looking at it and talking.

A sketchbook showing a German gun captured during the Second Battle of the Somme and dated August 1918 by Stark. (MIKAN 3029137)

Black-and-white reproduction of a typewritten page for August 14, 1918 reading, “The large 11,2 inch German naval gun on railway mountings, captured in the recent push was brought down from Chemin Vert. This was captured complete, with ammunition and locomotive. […]

Entry in the war diary of the 1st Battalion of the Canadian Railway Troop showing the entry for the captured German naval gun on August 14, 1918.

A colour photograph of a sketchbook at an angle showing a riverbank with the date and location in the lower right corner, “Perrone April 17.”

A view of Pérrone dated April 1917 found in sketchbook 7 (MIKAN 3028908).

A black-and-white reproduction of a handwritten page for April 15, 1917 reading: “[…] Battalion Headquarters moved to Peronne.”

The war diary of the 1st Battalion of the Canadian Railway Troop showing the first entry referencing the move of the battalion headquarters to Pérrone.

Visit Flickr to view more images of the conservation of books and visual material.

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