Survivors’ tales

Archie Wills

Henry Archibald (Archie) Wills (1892-1988) was a reporter on the Victoria Daily Times who enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He kept diaries and years later wrote a memoir about his remarkable tour of duty in Europe. Assigned to the 62nd Battery, 15th Overseas Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery.

Attestation April 13, 1916. Soldiers of the First World War. Library and Archives Canada.

Following the Armistice, Wills and his company contributed to the push into Germany. En route through Belgium, Wills came down with Spanish Flu. Although he didn’t write much about the experience, the caption with the photo at Left, below, gives the sense of it:

After Armistice and our capture of Mons, I billeted my horses and men in a farm in Thulin, Belgium. I was stricken with ‘flu and I was given first-class treatment by these girls, Desiree and Josephine, after the farmer put me to bed in his home. I think they had a lot to do with my survival.

Part Of AR394_3_09
Finding Aid
Unknown photographer;
Source University of Victoria Archives, B.C., AR 394 Archie Wills fonds 3.9 All in a Lifetime

University of Victoria Digital Collections. Archie Wills fonds.