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Fifty Years of Payne Journeys to North America, 1912-1914 : Lesley Payne with the CPR in Saskatchewan & Eatons in Winnipeg

With the Canadian Pacific Railroad in Saskatchewan
The following is extracted from a letter to CBP from his father dated 17 Nov 1951:  "I left home for Canada when I was twenty."  It is tempting to assume, therefore, that Leslie Payne emigrated to Canada in about 1912, although it may have been any time between 1911 and 1913.  Initially he worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR), "planting trees in railway cuttings as snow breaks", and we have a photograph of him, taken by his friend Ed Pye, from this period (at left).  There are at least two prints of this photo: one accompanied a letter from Ed Pye in 1936, while another - the size is slightly different, although it is obviously the same shot - is inscribed on the front, “Best wishes from Les”, and on the reverse, "May 24.13".  It may have been sent by Leslie to his mother - she only died the following year - his Uncle Hallam, or Con Hogg.
Leslie Payne - 24 May 1913
Collection of C.B. Payne
Leslie Payne (detail)
Chaplin Town & Railway Yards - 1913.  Collection of C.B. Payne
Rodeo, nr Chaplin - 24 May 1913.  Collection of C.B. Payne
There were three other photos pertaining to this period in a batch accompanying Ed Pye's 1936 letter:
Ed Pye and "Cook" on a Railway Handcar, probably taken somewhere
near Chaplin, Saskatchewan, ca. May 1913.  Collection of C.B. Payne
Railway Jigger and Crew, High Bluff, Manitoba, undated
© Timelinks & the Provincial Archives of Manitoba
The town of Chaplin was a coal and water point for the CPR, and never had a population of more than a few hundred.  A wooden bridge, with 10-by-10 supports and 4-inch thick fir planks, had been built over Chaplin Lake the previous year.  It was the longest wooden bridge in the British Empire, and remained so until it deteriorated and was replaced by a rock-and-sand causeway. (Information courtesy of Ethelda Peshko.)  There was obviously plenty to do, as Ed Pye (shown in photo at right) reminisces in 1936:
“What a flood of memories flashed back over the years ; 1912 [annotated by CLLP to “?1913”] at Chaplin – fixing a cultivator – The little old Scotsman who flunked his job and frequently was under the 'influence' – The Mountie coming down to my abode for my attempted murder of a Galecian [sic].  Do you remember the two Cookees (real wise birds) who pushed a wheelbarrow load of flour over to the General Store and returned with new overalls ; mitts and boots ? The alkali lake to the south – Our swimming expedition to Valjean when we rode down the track per handcar and got eaten to death by mosquitoes and ran along in our bear pelts donning our shirts as we ran.” And further in another letter, written in 1939: “… do you recall getting brew by the pailfull at Chaplin?”
Ethelda Peshko, who grew up in this area, says, "I wonder about brew by the pailful, it does not sound like Chaplin ... My grandmother chopped up a copper coil my father and uncle had about 1922-26, but they were too young to have been involved when [Leslie] was there."

Edwin (Ed) Pye
The following series of three photographs must have been taken more or less  at the same time.  It seems likely that they also relate to the period that Leslie worked for the CPR.  In the first, Leslie is alone and seated on a boulder, with hat on and pipe in his mouth (at left).  The second shows Leslie, apparently on the same occasion, standing with a young man outside in a wood and shaking hands (below).  In the third, which is probably a studio portrait, although there does not appear to be a studio mark, Leslie is seated on a high stool, with the same young man standing next to him; both are dressed in suits (at right).  In Ed Pye's 1936 letter to CLLP, he says: 
"I forget the name of your erstwhile "sidekick" who homesteaded at Piapot (or was it Maple Creek ?)."
Was this young man Leslie's "sidekick"?

(Left) Leslie Payne               (Right) Leslie Payne & friend

All three photos taken ca. 1913, and probably in Saskatchewan, Collection of C.B. Payne
(Below Left) Leslie Payne (at right) with friend
In February 1914, when his grandmother died in England, Leslie was living at Swift Current, Saskatchewan [extracted from Henrietta Payne's newspaper death notice].  Swift Current was another CPR bridge and water depot, although in 1914 it started to grow into one of the first of the province’s cities.  It's a pity that Leslie never annotated the CPR company map (below), dated 1st January 1911, that he brought back with him from Canada, but it shows the railroads between Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton in some detail. Chaplin, Maple Creek, Piapot and Swift Current are all shown, being stations on the line between Regina, Saskatchewan, and Calgary, Alberta.  CBP reports: "I remember his speaking of Swift Current and Medicine Hat in the C.P.R. context"

Leslie Payne working for Eaton's in Winnipeg
Leslie probably moved back east to Winnipeg, in the adjacent province of Manitoba, soon after February 1914.  In a notebook used at around that time he showed his address as 36c Broadway, Winnipeg, located not far from Timothy Eaton's Department Store at 320 Portage Avenue, where he worked as grocer's clerk until his enlistment in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.) in November 1914.  The postcard at right shows the CPR Railway Station in Winnipeg c. 1909, more or less how it must have looked when CLLP arrived there five years later. 

CPR Railway Station in Winnipeg c. 1909
Hand-tinted photographic postcard
© and courtesy of Timelinks & the Provincial Archives of Manitoba
The following four scenes of historical Winnipeg are courtesy of Timelinks & the Provincial Archives of Manitoba Still Images Collection.

(Left) View of Broadway West, Winnipeg,
ca. 1910.

(Right) View of Portage Avenue,
Winnipeg, ca. 1910, showing the
then newly built Timothy Eaton's
Department Store (the tallest
building with the flat roof)
(Left) Timothy Eaton's Department
Store on Portage Avenue, Winnipeg,
ca. 1910
(Right) The arrival of goods ready
for off-loading at the rear of the Eaton's building, Winnipeg, ca. 1910

The view shown in the image at right must have been a familiar daily sight to Lesley, in his capacity as grocery clerk at Eaton's.

Enlistment in the C.E.F.
On 11th November 1914 Leslie Payne, together with several of his friends, enlisted as a driver with No. 7 (Winnipeg) Company of the Canadian Army Service Corps, in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.).  There is a carefully posed portrait (at left), taken at around this time, by Campbell's Studio Winnipeg" showing Leslie (seated) and two of these friends, all dressed very smartly in suits & ties.
Leslie Payne (seated) with George Henderson "Bud" Willox (standing at left) and Robert Valentine "Bob" Moodie (right)
Collection of C.B. Payne
Leslie Payne (second from left) as a new recruit.
Collection of C.B. Payne
Leslie Payne stated at the time of his enlistment that he belonged to an "Active Militia".  He appears to have received some clothing from the Canadian Army Service Corps (C.A.S.C.) two and a half weeks earlier; it may have belonged to one of the two militia companies from which the No. 7 (Winnipeg) Company was formed.  In a note dated 23 February 1915, Leslie's Uncle Hallam wrote the former's address as McFadden Barracks, Portage Avenue, Winnipeg.

There are two photographs which were probably taken during the period which the Company trained at McFadden Barracks.  The first (above right) shows a line of six soldiers on parade in uniform and with rifles, standing to attention on a sidewalk cleared of snow, in front of a substantial stone and brick building; Leslie Payne and at least one other appear to be wearing spurs.  The second photo (at right) is less formal and shows Leslie alone, standing in the snow with riding crop but no rifle, in front of what appears to be the same building.  The building looks to be at least three stories high.  The latter photo is in the form of a post card, and is addressed on the reverse, "Lce/Corp L Payne, Reg. No. 1989 C.A.S.Co., Dibgate Camp, Nr. Hythe, Kent", although it does not appear to have gone through the mail.  It seems unlikely that it was taken in Kent, as the chance of snow that far south in England by the time CLLP reached there in April is slim.

The following was included in a book about Eaton's employees' contributions during the war: "Before he sailed for Overseas, a photograph was taken of each man, and hung in a conspicuous place of honor in the Store – a visible sign, if such were needed, that he was not forgotten.Transcript of "The Eaton Part in the War".   It seems likely, therefore, that the photographs shown above were taken for Eaton's, and copies were later sent to Lesley in England.

Leslie Payne - Winnipeg, Winter 1914/15
Collection of C.B. Payne

Presumably they spent much of the next four and a half months "training and drilling" in and around Winnipeg.  CLLP's service records show him receiving further "kit" from the C.A.S.C in Winnipeg on 1st December, three anti-typhoid innoculations and one vaccination (smallpox) between then and mid- February.  It's interesting to note that no details are shown in the service records of his pay during the first five months, when he was in Canada.  However, from a "Table of Pay Received from CASC", amongst CLLP's personal effects, it is clear that he was paid on at least two occasions in Winnipeg, on 21st November 1914 and 24th March 1915.
Parade in Winnipeg, ca. 1915
© Timelinks & the Provincial Archives of Manitoba
Troops leaving Union Station, Winnipeg, ca. 1915
© Timelinks & the Provincial Archives of Manitoba
The second of these payment dates was immediately before the Company's embarkation for the east coast, probably accompanied by a parade through the streets of Winnipeg (above left).  Shortly thereafter, they left by train for St. John's, New Brunswick (above right).  CLLP's service records show him to have been "Taken on Strength" (T.O.S.) with the No. 7 Company, 2nd Divisional Train at St John's, New Brunswick on 29 March. They spent almost three weeks at St. John's, during which time he was appointed to the rank of L/Corporal on 5th April, and paid on 13th April.  Finally, they embarked for England aboard the R.M.T.S.S. Grampian (left) four days later.  The journey to England took almost two weeks, during which time CLLP was paid on 26th, and they arrived at the port of Liverpool on the 29th April.
R.M.T.S.S. Grampian of the Allan Line
Image by David Kelly © & courtesy of 
World War I Document Archive - Ship Photo Gallery
Leslie did not return to Canada for another four years, and when he did, he would be a very different person, after the horrors of the war.
1890-1892 : Chicago, Pullman & The Worlds Fair

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