On September 25, 2018 Vermilion’s Robert Snelgrove received his great uncle Thomas Alban Snelgrove’s school book from a cousin.
The book had been stored for over 50 years, and is 109 years old. It is a hand written notebook with detailed diagrams from Swindon, England dated September 1908 – June 1909. The family feels it was Thomas Alban’s grade nine science book, that was likely the last education he received as he came to Canada in 1910.
“I know how neatly my dad wrote and was not surprised by the writing but the script is superb and the detail is surprising. When I tried learning to write with ink, I had splotches and ink on my hands. Writing like that is virtually a lost art,” said Robert.
Robert felt that his great uncle may have known more about electricity then, than he knows now and said, “In 1910 there weren’t a lot of people in Alberta who knew anything about electricity. The ones that left England to come to Canada were obviously the ambitious kind, smart, and wanting to make a new life in a new country.”
He also pointed out that with the detail in the drawings, that it is no wonder that Thomas Alban went on to create a carving in the Bantata Cave in France. After homesteading in Canada, Thomas Alban enlisted on January 14, 1916 in the 151st Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and passed away during the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917.
The book has become both valuable and interesting to the Snelgrove family.
“This book is an example of one of the 3,598 Canadians who died at Vimy Rimy Ridge, and the 60,000 Canadians who died during World War I. All of them had a story. It is an example of the knowledge, skill, and potential that could have been carried on,” said Robert.