Thursday, 1 January 2015

The teaching profession, your country and the Empire

The title comes from text within 'A few hints to the members of the party' 
written by The Rev E Crummy, BSc, DD, Hon Chaplain and Lecturer

My grandmother, Mabel Rodger, having graduated from Macdonald College in 1920 with a First Class Model School Diploma, went on a trip to Europe with other teachers in 1922. This trip was provided and operated by the Overseas Education League. 

As you will see, the leader of the tour - Major Frederick Ney, MC (Military Cross) - was an accomplished citizen of the Empire who served with distinction during the Great War, 1914-1918. He also had particular views about which cultural objects and which ideals should be elevated in society.

This is an artifact-rich and (I believe) formative period in Mabel's life, and several posts will be dedicated to fully documenting her experience. Exploring the views and later projects of Major Ney will also provide historical insights into some of the ideas competing for influence within Canadian society at the time.

The artifacts reproduced in this post are very firmed glued into Mabel's Macdonald College 'yearbook/scrapbook' and have been carefully scanned from within that book.

Frederick James Ney (1884-1973)
 [text copied directly from: The Manitoba Historical Society website]


Born at Westfield, Sussex County, England on 17 September 1884, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Ney, he was educated at Rye Grammar School and privately. He was headmaster at the English College at Nicosia, Cyprus; and Headmaster of St. Mary’s High School at Cairo, Egypt. He came to Canada in 1909 where he was Headmaster at the West Treherne School, then Russell High School (1908-1909), and Chief Secretary of the Department of Education for the Manitoba Government.

In September 1914, he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force, serving with the RAMC [Royal Army Medical Corps], being gazetted as a Captain and sent overseas where he transferred to South Wales Borderers, 1916 (25th Division). He was in France from 1915 to the end of the war, seeing service in Ypres and Mons and was mentioned three times in dispatches. He was awarded the Military Cross (Messines), Belgian Croix de Guerre, and French Croix de Guerre. He was promoted to a Major on the eve of the armistice and was, for a time, specially attached to French Army in charge of large Motor Ambulance Convoy. He returned to Canada in 1920 and resumed his position with the Department of Education.

He married Helena Aikins, daughter of J. A. M. Aikins. He was the Founder and Honorary Organizer of the Overseas Educational League, Executive Secretary of the National Council of Education, and Honorary Secretary for Canada of the International Moral Education Congress. As organizer of the Overseas Education League, he was responsible for the organization of the scheme of Interchange of Teachers between Canada and other parts of the British Empire. As Secretary of the National Council of Education, he was responsible for the organization of the National Lectureship scheme, inaugurated in the spring of 1923 by Sir Henry Newbolt and Sir Michael Sadler.

He was awarded the Gold Medal of the City of Paris presented by the President of the Council at the Hotel de Ville, 19 July 1923. He was a member of the Masons (Wellington Lodge, No. 22, Rye, England), United Service Club (Winnipeg), Arts and Letters Club (Toronto), and Royal Colonial Institute (London, England).

He died at Nanaimo, British Columbia on 7 March 1973 and was buried in the Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens at Nanaimo.

*  *  *

Below, in this post, is a general orientation and preparation guide for teachers travelling on the Overseas Education League's Visit of Teachers during the summer of 1922.

The Canadian Pacific Steamship Scotian was a single-stacked passenger liner in use between 1898 (built in Belfast by Harland and Wolff) and 1927 (scrapped). In terms of size: it was about half the length and beam of the Queen Mary with about 15% of its 'tonnage'. It had a top speed of about 15 knots. In the Great War, it was first a troopship, then a prison ship for German POWs until being taken over by the CPR in 1917. The touring party actually returned to Canada on another ship.

My father's handwriting points out the rubber stamp of Major Ney's signature.

A few pieces had been cut out of this guide for ready reference, I believe.

A steamer rug is a heavy blanket draped over the legs while sitting on a deck chair.

Char-a-bancs were early open-topped buses which could generally transport 15-20 people.

There is no captioning at all with this photograph, but you can see Mabel Rodger at the extreme right with her box camera aboard an unidentified ship. She wrote that she was particularly seasick as they passed Newfoundland, but recovered quickly.