View topic - UNFLINCHING P. G. DOWNES' ANNOTATED COPY

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PostPosted: October 2nd, 2019, 8:13 am 
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Downes note on page 12 "Unflinching": "Hornby deserted the army in 1916. Somehow he got back to Canada - and AWOL he hid out north of Vancover. He was given a medical discharge. H was more of a nusance to go after and retain him than to let him go."

The devil is often in the details and Downes' comment appears to be starved of details.


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PostPosted: October 2nd, 2019, 8:39 am 
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Downes' comment on page page 30 of "Unflinching": "Paradise? He had no right whatsoever to either hunt or trap in the Thelon it had been closed to both Indian and whiteman"

Since Hornby died on April 16, 1927 and the Thelon Game Sancturary was established sometime in 1927, it may be Hornby was dead before the ban went into effect.

Also On page 12 of Sleeping Island Downes writes of "caressing and complimenting" his "beautiful rifle..." During some of my years in the North I carried a shotgun as protection against bears. I remember reading that one could hunt only as a means of survival. What rules if any applied to Downes during his time "up North"?


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PostPosted: October 2nd, 2019, 10:49 am 
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Those are good points, thank you.


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PostPosted: October 2nd, 2019, 11:44 am 
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david demello wrote:

Also On page 12 of Sleeping Island Downes writes of "caressing and complimenting" his "beautiful rifle..." During some of my years in the North I carried a shotgun as protection against bears. I remember reading that one could hunt only as a means of survival. What rules if any applied to Downes during his time "up North"?


In one of the Distant Summers volumes there is an entertaining bit where Downes is traveling up Reindeer Lake with an RCMP officer. They keep getting turned around and are running a bit short on food. Downes is the only one with a rifle and he admits that having and using it are illegal for him and he's sure the officer is aware of this but since he (Downes) is the one putting supper on the table nothing is mentioned.

Alan


Last edited by Alan Gage on October 3rd, 2019, 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: October 2nd, 2019, 2:17 pm 
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Alan Gage: "Downes is the only one with a rifle and he admits that having and using it are illegal for him and he's sure the officer is aware of this but since he (Downes) is the one putting supper on the table nothing in mentioned."

Definitely puts a chink in his legal argument concerning Hornby. Judge not, that ye be not judged.


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PostPosted: October 4th, 2019, 10:27 am 
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david demello wrote:
Downes note on page 12 "Unflinching": "Hornby deserted the army in 1916. Somehow he got back to Canada - and AWOL he hid out north of Vancover. He was given a medical discharge. H was more of a nusance to go after and retain him than to let him go."

The devil is often in the details and Downes' comment appears to be starved of details.


This thread prompted me to read "The Legend of John Hornby" which is turning into a fantastic read. It appears to be well researched and accurately presented. The author found lots of interesting information but also many blanks that can be partially filled with facts and the rest left to conjecture.

In this case Downes appears to be mostly correct but there also appears to be more to the story that we'll never know. Hornby was injured and while on medical leave in London "diasppeared" back to Canada. When his medical leave was over he stayed disappeared. A Canadian agency was looking for him pretty seriously but it wasn't quite their jurisdiction. The English government didn't seem quite so concerned about chasing him. He was suddenly seen by a doctor, declared unfit for service, was promoted to 2nd lieutenant (I don't remember if that was the exact rank or not) and discharged.

The author summed up something to the effect that Hornby certainly left England without permission and intentionally did not report for duty after his sick leave had expired but that deserters aren't often given a promotion at their time of discharge. So it's a bit of a mystery yet.

He seems to have suffered PTSD in the war and wasn't the same person after as he was before.

His story is much more incredible than I thought it would be and I'm gaining a lot of respect for the man. Highly recommend the book if you can find a copy.

Alan


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PostPosted: October 4th, 2019, 5:53 pm 
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In Robert Graves; "Good by to All That" it is easy to have sympathy for the foot soldier. It was a horrendous slaughter that consumed vast human life. Hornby could have suffered PTSD. Shell Shocked. To say that he was a deserter without context was unfair. Nor did Downes "walk a mile in a man's shoes before you judge them", he saw no combat.
There was not one word in Christian's "Unflinching" critical of Hornby and not one comment by Downes about Christian's unending praise of Hornby. One would have thought some recognition was in order. After all, Hornby was a principle in the tragedy.


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PostPosted: October 4th, 2019, 9:12 pm 
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The Legend of John Hornby - just got it, rereading Distant Summers for Downes RCMP and supper!


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PostPosted: October 6th, 2019, 6:42 pm 
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Alan Gage: "In one of the Distant Summers volumes there is an entertaining bit where Downes is traveling up Reindeer Lake with an RCMP officer. They keep getting turned around and are running a bit short on food. Downes is the only one with a rifle and he admits that having and using it are illegal for him and he's sure the officer is aware of this but since he (Downes) is the one putting supper on the table nothing is mentioned. "

Pg 106 DISTANT SUMMERS, Volume 1: 1936-1938

"When we were stopped at a winter site, the matter of whether we had any fish hooks came up [" along with the problem that were soon to run out of food"], and I (Downes) mentioned that I had some, along with the lures ["the constable had nothing of the sort"], and this brought up mention of guns and the fact that I had one. The constable suddenly realized that I was breaking the law by (1) not only having a gun in a closed season but (2) being an alien with (3) an unregistered and (4) unlicensed weapon and (5) should be in jail and the gun confiscated. Great raising of eyebrows, a bad time for such a situation as he was very cross about being lost , especially in front of me; however , I managed to get the conversation on to other things"


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PostPosted: October 6th, 2019, 9:45 pm 
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I put this bracketed Downes' statement integrated in the paragraph I just quoted from as a stand alone because it deserves to be a stand alone.

["There's a certain amount of ridiculousness in the whole affair as I was the one who was supposed to be a menace, being a greenhorn wandering about the country under-equipped."] Like he in particular, was the victim of an unjust system!? But then again don't we all. I got caught up in the application of Canadian law and paid. At the time I was irate but upon reflection they applied the law as written.


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PostPosted: October 12th, 2019, 7:53 pm 
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On page 62 of Distant Summers Vol 2 1939-1947 this was written by Downes:
" I shot six young mallards, which assures us another meal; naturally, quite illegal."

One would think Downes would have afforded Hornby the same consideration, but instead we get sanctimonious posturing: Image


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PostPosted: October 14th, 2019, 11:54 am 
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david demello wrote:
On page 62 of Distant Summers Vol 2 1939-1947 this was written by Downes:
" I shot six young mallards, which assures us another meal; naturally, quite illegal."

One would think Downes would have afforded Hornby the same consideration, but instead we get sanctimonious posturing: Image


Good point. It's so easy to justify to ourselves why the rules shouldn't apply to us. Nearly all of us do it everyday when driving our cars.

Alan


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PostPosted: October 14th, 2019, 2:42 pm 
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Downes: "H was more of a nuisance to go after and retain him than to let him go . "

Gage: "When his medical leave was over he stayed disappeared. A Canadian agency was looking for him pretty seriously but it wasn't quite their jurisdiction. The English government didn't seem quite so concerned about chasing him"





Image


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PostPosted: October 16th, 2019, 6:26 am 
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It could be argued that arriving at ice out and leaving before freeze up lacks depth of experience to judge someone who stays.


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PostPosted: October 17th, 2019, 10:05 am 
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One could argue that rather than passing judgement he was laying out the facts as he knew them. After all these were notes in his personal book, not something he ever published or intended to make public.

Curious what the book said that made him make that note.

Alan


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