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More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.



Because of the sparse to non-existent captioning of these images we have, again, asked our Boer War experts to fill in the missing information for our readers. Again, we are grateful for their forbearance and public spirited contribution.
Great Canadian Heritage Howler #19
James Lorimer can't tell if he's coming...
or going!

James Lorimer says: this poster announces Halifax welcoming its soldiers home...

The Picture:  A wonderful Boer War poster, which was plastered all over Halifax in January 1900, announcing a dinner in honour of the departing Canadian contingent.

The Error: The date tells you right off that no Canadians could possibly be returning from South Africa for almost another year. The First Contingent only left a couple of months before!!! And for those who haven't the faintest about Canada's Boer War chronology - which obviously includes our woefully deficient caption writer - there is another clue.

The poster says clearly that it asks Haligonians to attend to see the boys off, not welcome them back.

SHAME! It is all well and good to hire the handicapped; but why hire an editor who is blind and so cannot know that the poster is honouring their departure to the wars, not their return from the fields of battle? Why not consider giving her a promotion, from picture editor to James Lorimer's chauffeur.

Now go to the story they should have illustrated

Go to Contingents Depart Halifax
Great Canadian Heritage Howler #12
James Lorimer says "Gimme a break!"
Great Canadian Heritage Howler #15
James Lorimer says any old book/war will do...

James Lorimer says: all these wars are so confusing...

The Picture: It shows some strange flags which are not identified. Possibly they are from a book of tattoos which Canadians had a choice of having etched into their backsides aboard ship on the way to South Africa to show their patriotism. The inset book is probably the tattoo book, featuring what appears to be a needle skewering an earlobe, on the cover... Why was the reader not told this?

The Error: Just why was this picture published? What does it show? And what is the connection with the book insert...?

It happens to be a book on Col. James Fitzgibbon's life, "A Veteran of 1812."

We need to know what the book - which features his sword on the cover - and the Colonel, had to do with the Boer War, since Fitzgibbon had died in 1863, and his life story was published in 1894 (book above), long before the Boer War came along.

Perhaps the Colonel's ghost led a Contingent to South Africa... We need to know just what was the thought process here, and just cannot accept the editor's belief that "any old soldier will do!"

SHAME! Did someone in a trance put this book together?

We're sure the dead Colonel could have done a better job. Come to think of it, his agent probably slipped his book into the galleys when the editor, and the publisher, were asleep...

This is another group of artefacts, provided by the experts at the Canadian War Museum who are credited by Lorimer for the donation...

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #17
James Lorimer honours the most famous Canadian, sort of...

James Lorimer says: not much... or less...

The Picture: A scarf made by Queen Victoria, and a tiny, fly speck size image of what looks to be a man. Anyway, obviously an unnamed someone of no consequence.

The Error: This photo insert of the man could very well win the contest for the smallest photo of a human being ever published being exactly 1.5 by 2 cms. in size in the book!

SHAME! The man in the photo - though you won't learn this from James Lorimer - is Richard Thompson, winner of the Queen's Scarf, which was given, for acts of outstanding bravery, to only seven men out of more than half-a million who served in the Boer War. Only one Canadian was so honoured with an award that was far rarer than winning a Victoria Cross.

But he's a nobody at James Lorimer.

A teeny, unlabeled portrait makes this a publishing and heritage atrocity all rolled up into one, in a publicly-funded book. You've got to hand it to James Lorimer. Unfortunately, someone already has!

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #18
James Lorimer's Blind Editor Gropes On...

James Lorimer says: this document illustrates "raising money for the war effort"...

The Picture: A letter telling a man his medical allowance for his wounds was being settled with a cheque for $400.

The Error: Clearly the editor’s blindness is a continuing handicap. What this letter - which promises "$400 for wounds received in South Africa" as compensation for a war injury - has to do with raising money for the war effort is a flight of fancy of epic proportions. Is it that men were going out on purpose to get wounded, so they would get money, which they would then turn over to the war effort?

SHAME! Why was an editor picked who repeatedly shows she has no respect for historical documents she selects to publish, adding them, unread, to the book, and then apparently sub-trading the caption contract to someone in the Third World. who has never seen the documents, let alone the English language!

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #26
"I see!" says John (James Lorimer) Milton

James Lorimer says: this is a menu of a dinner honouring Canadians

The Picture: Shows a picture on which there are presumably a whole list of things under the title, Menu.

The Error: The reader will never know what this document is about because you cannot make out a single word or name of anything since the menu was reproduced so badly, and in far too small a print, to convey anything to a reader except sloppy, careless work by everyone involved in the command chain from editor, to supervisor, to publisher.

Some observers say they recognize the menu to be from a Cancun resort - where the editor presumably spent the money Canadian Heritage provided to fund this book. So, once again the blind editor has sleep walked through this job, all the way to Cancun, Mexico.

SHAME! Just to make sure you don't get the point - twice - Lorimer published tiny pictures of TWO of these illegible menus.

This picture, like dozens of other miniscule ones in the book, should never have been published in any book, let alone in a pictorial one.

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #16
James Lorimer says these are Canadians...Wow!
A bunch of nobodies

James Lorimer says: these are nobodies surrounding Col. Otter.

The Picture: The biggest picture in the book, so it must be of eight interesting and important people worthy of such an honour.

The Error: Only one of these people is named; the others, including the only photo of Canadian women in the entire book, stare blankly from the biggest piece of pictorial real estate in the book, asking "Why did you do this to us?"

SHAME! Besides the sheer laziness - why publish such a big picture of important people if you didn't want to bother learning and sharing their names? A single picture of Col. Otter alone would have done the job better.

The biggest insult is to Canadian women and their participation in this Great Canadian historic event. Dozens of named pictures exist, of Canadian women nurses and teachers who went to South Africa. But you won't find a single one in this book. They are given short shrift, in this publication with the only photo credit - above as "two Canadian nurses." A bunch of nobodies...

What are government grants for if not to publicize unsung heroes and heroines of the past?

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #14
James Lorimer says these are...
Sorry no caption provided on random image thrown on page.

James Lorimer says: Guess...

The Picture: OK! Aviator glasses or perhaps motorcycle glasses...

The Error: We hadn't previously known there were airplanes during the Boer War or motorcycles. Shows you learn something every day.

SHAME! A caption would have been helpful identifying whether these were used by Boer or Canadian aircraft pilots or motorcyclists. Hopefully James Lorimer will correct this oversight in future editions.

No one is credited with submitting this artefact for inclusion in the Boer War book. Just as well. We would hate to think it came from the Canadian War Museum as a throwaway item donated by a biker family...

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #22
James Lorimer makes a mess of things...

James Lorimer says: this is a mess kit...

The Picture: A rare Canadian, canvas-version of the traditional metal utensil and bowl combination which generations of soldiers on campaign have eaten their meals out of.

The Error: We had always assumed that a mess kit in all armies of the world, was a collapsible group of metal, fold-up bowls, containing at most, a knife, fork, and spoon.

Why did James Lorimer not explain how Canadian ingenuity departed from this international standard, and how the men ate soup off this canvas roll-up? It's a proven fact that no other army unit, anywhere in the world, used this type of mess kit. You've got to hand it to those Canadians to come up with a more compact form of eating and cooking utensils than others were using.

Presumably the Canadian would remove the knife, and fork, the button shining bar, the mirror, comb, and the cut-throat razor, before pouring the soup into the canvas, which, we believe, folded out into a bowl. To those who blanched at keeping dirty combs and grotty brushes in their eating bowl, those rugged Canadians just loftily sniffed, "A little dandruff and comb grunge just adds flavour to the soup." Other Canucks winked, "Hey, no British Tommy ever asks to share, even when the regiment's been without real food for days at a time!"

The idea for this mess kit was copied, by those clever Canadians, in all likelihood, from the resourceful Red Man on the Plains, who boiled water in bark baskets by dropping hot stones into the container. The Canadians, too, heated up stones and presumably dropped them into the canvas bags resulting in a "heady brew" - a phrase coined in the Boer War to describe Canadian soup laced with dandruff - with all manner of crud floating on top.

But don't go looking for photos on any of this; the Canadians were notoriously secretive, and very worried about their mess kit idea leaking out. That's why it is such a Great Canadian Discovery by James Lorimer to have actually found one of these still existing.

SHAME! No shame. James Lorimer deserves kudos - and the fat heritage grants it got - for publicizing this little known bit of Canadian Boer War ingenuity. Bravo Lorimer. That is exactly why we have Canadian cultural funding grants.

Shockingly this heritage artefact is credited to the Canadian War Museum's experts. They should learn the proper terminology for their Great Canadian Heritage Holdings...

James Lorimer says: these are any old troops resting.

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #21
James Lorimer says these are...
Sorry no caption provided on random image thrown on page.

James Lorimer says: "Ooh that feels good..."

The Picture: Possibly the notorious "butt bats" used to inflict pain on prisoners' buttocks during an interrogation, in working hours, or for an S&M session during recreation time.

The Error: We're left guessing...

SHAME! A caption would have been helpful here identifying whether these were used as Brit bats on Boer butts, or Boer bats on Brit butts. It still does not explain why these are in a book on Canadians, who don't do stuff like that...

Addendum: Another panel member has opined that these may have originated as Boer cattle prods, decorated with arrows pointing towards the "business end."

"Mooooh," we said, not "Ooooooh!"

Not oddly, this unlabeled picture is credited to coming from the National Archives, where apparently they do a lot of spanking...

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #25
James Lorimer says the rewards were plenty...

James Lorimer says: Everyone was showered with riches...

The Picture: No medals, but a couple of medallions on which, with a magnifier, our experts were, just barely, able to make out something "Canadian Boerish," and a couple of other odd things, one of which says "Westmount."

The Error: After having Boer War experts, with the best magnifiers in the business, examine the other items, the panel has concluded that they couldn't make out anything! But, they are of the opinion - tentatively, they hasten to add, until further proof can be found - that the key on the left must be for the safety deposit box where the Canadian heritage funding for this project ended up stashed, and that being, in all likelihood, in a bank in Westmount - a Montreal district much favoured by the wealthy classes.

SHAME! No wonder James Lorimer only chose to offer the most minimally vague caption here. It wasn't only the Canadian soldiers who were showered with gifts!

Another inexplicably shameful contribution from the Canadian War Museum. If this is the best its experts can say about these items we can all start to worry about the state of record keeping at Canada's national War Museum.

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #20
James Lorimer says these are all nobodies...

James Lorimer says: this is... whatever...

The Picture: A very tiny image - we have blown it up twice the size it was in the book - of a bunch of guys in hats. Probably one of thousands of Boer War era pictures in existence of soldiers who are lamentably not named.

The Error: Why publish such a grotty little image - 4 x 5 centimeters - in the first place? Perhaps Lorimer believed nobodies don't deserve more than postage stamp status in their book.

Trouble is they're not nobodies! Why not point out that John McCrae, Canada's most famous historic personality of all the Boer War participants, is in it. (He's second from the left, middle row., wearing the wedge cap.)

SHAME! Evidently James Lorimer's Boer War expert did not know this. Others say that they heard that the grants were just not big enough - a common complaint by CBC programmers to explain the low quality of their programs - than to give internationally famous poet John McCrae more than 2 x 2 millimeters of coverage in this book.

What are government grants for if they are not to publicize those who have been noble and great among Canadians? And don't answer "Dinner and dining with a companion at the Fairmont Royal York."

The Picture: Oddly enough, it shows soldiers in action, madly unpacking their bags!

The Error: There is not a single man resting in this picture, but exactly the opposite, all men hard at work getting their gear unpacked at their campsite.

They're not just any troops either; they are members of the Royal Canadian Regiment, Canada's First Contingent, hard at work setting up their tents at Green Point Common, in Cape Town, just after arriving in South Africa and walking in from the docks.

SHAME! These are not the "anonymous troops" so beloved by James Lorimer's captioning department, that appear throughout the book, variously described as "on parade, resting, weary, embarking, etc." They are real identifiable Canadians, in a real historic time and place, and involved in a real event! To bring this all together is why books are published, so that these heritage moments can be passed on in the public consciousness. And is why taxpayers agree to fund heritage initiatives - an idea apparently lost at Lorimers.

Why didn't someone care enough to do a conscientious job here instead of repeatedly sloughing off the responsibility with a cheap throw-away title that anyone could make up, on the spot? It was not the men, but the editor who was resting, as usual, on this job...

Great Canadian Heritage Howler #13
James Lorimer can't tell the difference between
getting off... and getting on....

James Lorimer says: these are anonymous men embarking.

The Picture: Oddly enough, the men are standing still, not moving a muscle, and not going anywhere. And they obviously haven't been for some time... Getting off, that is... or getting on...

The Error: This is not a shot of men getting on a ship that is tied up at the dock... These men have been aboard for a long time; their kit is gone; they are in shirt sleeves. These men are clearly resting on a ship that left the dock long ago, and is at sea!

SHAME! James Lorimer probably got a grant to hire a picture editor who is learning English for the first time, but should it have been for a major book like this? When men are working, she says they are "Troops taking a rest" and when they are sitting doing nothing she says they are "Men embarking." Clearly she should insist on getting back her money from night school English class, and may we suggest that, next time, don't enroll with a teacher from Lapland.

Besides, "men embarking" is such a lazy, useless title, why bother?

In fact these are "real" men. Why didn't the editor make an informed caption saying that these are "Members of the Royal Canadian Regiment, South Africa bound, at sea on the troopship Sardinian," which is who they are, and what they are doing. She could have added, "From the looks on their faces, how many are worrying, who, among them, is taking their last look at Canada's shores?"

Here is the story of these men

Beam Me Up Scottie to the Sardinian

Great Canadian Boer War Book Review - James Lorimer Heritage Howlers #2
Without a doubt, the biggest book publishing disaster in Canadian History

1 2 3
Great Canadian Heritage Howler #24
James Lorimer says this is a compass...

James Lorimer says: "Boy Scouts pay attention!"

The Picture: You're kidding of course!

The Error: Really!

SHAME! So James Lorimer has given us the "handgun" shot, and the "compass" shot; we can hardly wait for the "ammunition" shot! And, best of all the "money shot" is coming in part 3!

Another inexplicably poor contribution from the experts at the Canadian War Museum.

Want to see a real Canadian heritage compass, showing how this one should have been treated by the Canadian War Museum, instead of as just some kind of irrelevant trinket.

Go to Bill Bolt's Compass
Great Canadian Heritage Howler #43
James Lorimer says this is a bandolier... I think...

James Lorimer says: "Not much to say, is there?"

The Picture: You're kidding of course!

The Error: Really!

SHAME! So James Lorimer has given us the "handgun" shot, and the "compass" shot; now the "bandolier" shot we can hardly wait for the "ammunition" shot! And, best of all the "money shot" is coming in part 3!

Another inexplicably poor contribution from the experts at the Canadian War Museum.

Want to see a real Canadian heritage bandolier, showing how this one should have been treated by the Canadian War Museum, instead of as just some kind of irrelevant trinket.

Go to Eddie Pownall's Bandolier
Great Canadian Heritage Howler #23
James Lorimer says "No comment!"
Sorry no caption provided on random image...

James Lorimer says: "How did these get in here?"

The Picture: One of our experts recognized them as a set of cuffs from the Brothel and Grill's House of a Thousand Pleasures, coming in part 3... Another thought they're more likely to be from a Lorimer office party, you know, the day the government grant arrived...

The Error: It's very embarrassing if you lose the key somewhere and have to go home, attached to someone from the office who looked extremely appealing when you were hammered, and considerably less so when you sobered up and were still attached... "God, I'm sorry I lost the key Phillip!" "Not a problem, Jeremy! I'm not sore!" The moral, everyone should always carry a spare key...

SHAME! Maybe Canadians aren't as innocent as they pretend to be. Anyway, at least not among the publishing crowd. Maybe our experts are mistaken and those butt bats, above, are Canadian after all!

Credited to the Canadian War Museum. Why did their experts provide them if they don't know if these are for criminals or for recreational use?

Go to James Lorimer Howlers #3
Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005