Date Published: 1936
Edition: 1st Edition
STRAIN OF ATTENDING THE WONDERFUL COMMEMORATIVE SERVICE AT VIMY
Two page typed signed letter on 13th of Aug 1936 by Robert Borden mentions his visit to the unveiling of Walter Allward’s Vimy Memorial on 26 July 1936 by King Edward VIII, a most important event for Canada’s WW1 Prime Minister. First sentence from the letter…“I have stood far better than I had anticipated the strain of attending the wonderful commemorative Service at Vimy and the visit to the War Graves, as well as many subsequent 'excursions and alarums'…
This event was a very important event for Borden as a former War time Canadian Prime Minister. Dr. Campbell was a Doctor and close family friend to Borden and even more so to Prime Minister Mackenzie King [1874-1950].
Robert Borden was the Prime Minister of Canada from 1911 to 1920 and is best known for his leadership of Canada during World War I.
"The 1936 Vimy Pilgrimage. More than 6,200 Canadian veterans and their families voyaged to France for the unveiling of Walter Allward’s Vimy Memorial on 26 July 1936 by King Edward VIII. The symbolism of the pilgrimage, along with the messages presented during the unveiling ceremony, played a key role in establishing the importance of the Vimy Ridge memorial to Canadians. The battle killed 3,598 Canadians and wounded 7,000. By 1914, Mr. Laurier was out of power and Robert Borden, the Conservative prime minister, seemed to have forgotten the independent stance taken by his predecessor. As soon as Britain called Canada to the war, Mr. Borden committed 500,000 troops and 1.5 million sacks of flour, without consulting his cabinet." Quoted from a Globe and Mail article published March 31, 2017 by Robert Everett-Green
"In the notable absence of Prime Minister Mackenzie King, the Vimy Memorial was dedicated on 26 July 1936 by King Edward VIII. Ernest Lapointe, the Prime Minister’s Quebec lieutenant, C.G.Power, Minister of Pensions and National Health (who had been severely wounded on the Somme and thus missed the glory days of the Canadian Corps),and Ian Mackenzie, Minister of Militia and Defence, represented the Canadian government. Wartime Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden and Lady Currie, Sir Arthur’s widow, were also present, together with nearly ten thousand veterans. "Quoted from Canada and the Battle of Vimy Ridge 1995
"With the playing of “God Save the King” followed by “O Canada,” and a 21-gun salute, the King inspected the guards of honour. He also stopped to speak with a number of the bemedalled former warriors as he made his way down the ranks. After the inspection, he walked back to the monument to be introduced to distinguished pilgrims, such as Lady Byng, Lady Currie, Sir Robert Borden, and Walter Allward." quoted from Canadian War Museum, The 1936 Vimy Pilgrimage by Eric Brown and Tim Cook published in 2011.
At the time of his death in 1937, Robert Borden stood as president of Barclays Bank of Canada and the London office is located at 54 Lombard Street, E.C.3 where this 1936 letter was written. This is probably where he stopped on his way back to Canada after the Vimy war memorial dedication.
Dr. Campbell Laidlaw and his family moved to 1 Linden Terrace in Ottawa in1931 to 1955. He ran his family medical practice in this home. His patients included Lord Tweedsmuir (John Buchan) and Prime Minister Mackenzie King. He was at King’s bedside when King passed away on July 22, 1950 at Kingsmere from pneumonia and Dr. Campbell Laidlaw was considered to be his only friend.