Francis Hern holds a copy of the book Engraved

Local author tells story of Golden WW1 hero George Hilton Soles

Frances Hern has two stories in the recently released WWI anthology, Engraved.

November 11 of this year promises to be an especially significant date of Remembrance given that this is the 100th year since the start of World War I. In recognition of that fact, Engraved tells the stories of Canadians during the Great War that have gone mostly, or even completely, unrecognized.

Among the anthology are a pair of stories by local writer Frances Hern, who submitted her work earlier this year, not knowing if it would be included in the final publication.

“It’s difficult when you see a call for an anthology because you never know what they’re looking for and often the publishers themselves don’t know…it’s a bit of a crapshoot really,” she said of the process of putting together her stories.

One of her contributions discusses one of Canada’s finest WWI heroes, Golden’s George Hilton Soles, while another explores how Canadians managed to feed both the troops and themselves during the war.

Hern received her inspiration for both stories after a visit with Colleen Palumbo at the Golden Museum.

“I popped down one morning and talked to her for half an hour and she told me about (Soles) and I thought he would make a good candidate.”

What struck her about Soles is how renowned he became for his actions during war. Soles earned a Distinguished Conduct medal for his service, which was an honour but not an incredibly unique one. What was unique was the two bars he received to go with that medal.

Growing up in England not long after the conclusion of WWII, Hern noticed the effect the conditions of war had on her parents and grandparents. As a result, the story of how Canadians managed to feed the hungry during WWI struck a rather poignant chord for the Golden writer.

“I remembered for years my mother and grandmother would have maybe 15 bags of sugar in their cupboard and 12 tins of pineapple and such because they’d got in the habit during World War II of buying things when you saw it because you didn’t know when you’d see it again,” she said. “I guess that raised my interest of how people handled the food during the war and I’d wondered what it had been like in World War I so I set about to find out.”

Her story covers Canada as well as Britain, as Canada supplied not only troops but also food for those across the pond.

Hern will be reading excerpts from both her stories and other tales in the anthology at Bacchus Books & Cafe on Nov. 10. Admittance will be done on a first come, first serve basis.

 

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