Unseen Photos from a WW2 Lorne Scots Soldier

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During the Second World War, cameras were bulky and film was scarce, so it’s rare to see the war through the eyes of the enlisted. A set of negatives, recently donated to the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives stands out as unique.

The roughly 200 photographs were taken by Samuel R. Charters, who enlisted with the local Lorne Scots Regiment in 1940, at age 19. Fresh out of high school, Charters had some experience with a camera, taking photographs for The Conservator, a newspaper his family-owned.

21 of the photos have been turned into a short video, available here on PAMA's YouTube channel. Images range from light moments, like troops exercising and a Churchillian dog, to the ruins of London after the Blitz and Charters visiting the grave of a fellow Lorne Scot.

Charters’ daughters donated eleven rolls of film to PAMA, unseen for decades. The Archives brought in a professional conservator to safely flatten the delicate material, still on the roll after nearly 75 years.

Sam wasn’t the only member of his family in the war. His brother Robert served as a bomber navigator for the Royal Air Force and received the Distinguished Flying Medal and French Croix de Guerre. Their uncle, Reverend Henry Pierson Charters, a member of the Canadian Chaplain Service in Algeria and England. He had previous served in the First World War.

Sam and Robert’s father, Clarence, was active in encouraging Canadian newspapers to cover fundraising efforts.

Canada’s enlisted included 2926 men and women from Peel County. Countless other residents contributed on the homefront, through their work, through clubs, and through fundraising efforts.

Copy and photos courtesy of Peel Art Gallery Museum + Archives

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