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  • Writer's pictureCraig Baird

A Terrible Accident In Vermilion

During the First World War, there was a shortage of men available to work the fields. Thousands of men across the country were in Europe fighting in the trenches, and that left their farms with no one to do the work.

If there were children old enough, they could do it, but in some cases the work was done by the wives.

Such was the case for one woman in April 1917 near Vermilion.

Unfortunately, due to the practice of the time, I do not have her first name. She is simply identified as Mrs. J. Arnett. I will refer to her as Mrs. Arnett throughout this column.

On April 27, 1917, Mrs. Arnett was working the field and putting in the crop because her husband, who was a corporal with the 194th Edmonton Highlanders, was serving on the Front lines. She couldn’t find anyone to handle the crop, so she did the work herself.

While standing in front of the disc harrow, the horses started to bolt and she was run over. She was dragged 91 metres by the disc harrow. suffering many internal and external injuries.

The injuries were quite bad, so be warned.

Along with the internal injuries, Mrs. Arnett suffered a deep gash across her forehead, bruises and cuts on her body. She also lost an eye and an arm.

Amazingly, medical aid was found almost immediately and she was transported to St. Paul where she was resting comfortably. Her three children were also staying with a close friend while she recovered.

The accident likely saved her husband’s life. Due to her injuries, he was allowed to come home from the front to care for her and the family, which took him out of harm’s way. He arrived home in late July.

She remained in the hospital until August, but was making incredibly progress in her recovery.

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