This photo, dated on the reverse "Oct 4th 1919", shows Leslie Payne standing (at left) with three others in front of a building which appears to have some sort of closed in verandah. Three of them are standing on some type of wooden boardwalk, slightly above the level of the lawn. There also appears to be a man, wearing a hat, sleeping or reading on the verandah. The couple at the right are identifiable from other annotated photographs (see below) as Mr & Mrs Stewart & Laura Morris, but I have not identified the lady on Leslie's left. It is difficult to see her face anyway, due to the shade cast by her hat. All are dressed fairly smartly: the ladies are carrying corsages, and Leslie is holding a pair of gloves in his right hand. The 4th October 1919 was a Saturday and the shadows are long. Had they just been to a wedding? Could it, in fact, have been the Morris's wedding? And had Leslie been driving? Was the building perhaps a boarding house of some sort?
The other two photographs showing the Morrises are fortunately also annotated. The first (at left) is signed on the reverse, "Yours sincerely/Laura & Stewart", while the second (at right) has, in the same handwriting, "Mr. & Mrs. Morris/261 Polson Ave/Winnipeg/Canada". The fact that the country was indicated suggests to me that they may have been sent to Leslie by the Morrises after he had returned to England. The building does not appear to be the same one as pictured in the previous photo of the Morrises, although it could, of course, just a different side of the house. There does appear to be a similar "bordwalk" present over the lawn, but they were probably common all over Winnipeg at this time. Who were the Morrises, and how did Leslie know them? Perhaps he also worked at Eaton's?
This photograph of Leslie Payne (at left) is annotated "Taken Sunday 18.4.20 Outside C.P.R. Depot Winnipeg Manitoba Canada". Leslie is holding in his arms Leslie Willox, the son of his fellow Machine-Gunner "Bud" Willox. Les & Bud remained good friends for long after the war, and the former would, in due course, name his own son "Bud". From contemporary photographs of the Winnipeg Railway Station, it seems likely to me that the building shown in the background could well be the hotel attached to the CPR Depot. If the actual spot that this photograph was taken could be located, perhaps we could get an idea of the time of day that it was from the length and direction of the shadows?
The next pair of photographs were almost certainly taken together on the same occasion, as the clothes worn by common participants are exactly the same. The first (below left) shows three couples, wearing bathing suits, sitting (and perhaps singing - they certainly appear very jolly) on a large boulder, situated on a very rocky beach. Leslie Payne is at second from left. The second (below right) shows two of these same couples sitting on a sandy beach (this time Les is at the left). In the background of both shots is what could be either the sea or a large lake.
is a third photograph showing two of these friends, as well as my grandfather
and another unindentified man (at left). They are seated on a rustic
looking bench fashioned from saplings. Leslie is at the right, leaning
forwards slightly; next are the couple who appeared in both the Boulder
and Beach photos. The bench is located against the wall of what appears
to be a large canvas tent, situated in a wood. Was it some sort of
camp? Where were these three photos taken, and who are the other
people (three male and three female) with Leslie Payne. Was the man
common to all three a friend from the WW1 Machine Gun Corps, perhaps, and
the lady next to him, who also appears in all three, his wife or girlfriend?
On the 1st May 1921 Leslie's younger brother Harold Victor Payne, nicknamed "Rab", died at the family home in Derby, England. A month later, Leslie was travelling alone on the train for Montreal en route for Liverpool and Derby. He abandoned Timothy Eaton in order to be a comfort for his mother, of whom he was very fond. The surviving CPR railway ticket (see left), date stamped on the reverse by the purchasing agent, McGuinness (see right), shows his departure from Winnipeg on the 31st May. He never returned to Canada, and presumably never say "P" again, although he did see his old friend Bud Willox in Europe on at least two subsequent occasions.
In October 1921 Leslie received a book of verse entitled "The Present Joys" from someone who lived at 43 Fawcett Avenue, Winnipeg, and signed themselves "P", "fulfilling a promise made two years earlier". It seems likely that Les had known "P" pretty well in Winnipeg prior to his departure, and that "P" was a female. Henderson's Winnipeg Directory for 1921 shows a James H Bowman, "pipe ftr CPR", living at this address (by kind courtesy of Lynn Anderson). Who was "P"? It would be nice to know what happened to her!
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