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When my Granddad went to war...

by Rick Baker
On Nov 11, 2019

In late 1915, as WW1 continued, our community began to recruit for the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force.

Military paperwork dated September 6th, 1915 confirms a young fellow, William Charles Morgan, born July 28th, 1895 enrolled and was examined at Carling Heights [Wolseley Barracks]. The medical records for this young fellow from Berlin, Ontario confirm he measured 5’-4” and he had a scar on a finger of his left hand.

Military paperwork dated February 14th, 1917 confirms a young fellow, William Charles Morgan enrolled at Kitchener, joining the Canadian army. The medical records confirm this young fellow measured 5’-8” and he had been vaccinated twice on his left arm. He had a tattoo of a maple leaf, above a scroll containing “Canada 118”. There were a few other tattoos…”Gwen”, “Emma”, “Beckie”, and a serpent on the right forearm. And, he had a one-inch scar one inch below the left angle of his mouth.

That’s what we found when we looked up my grandfather’s World War 1 records.

You may wonder, back during World War 1, were there 2 William Charles Morgans in our community?

No…the same man enrolled twice…he applied for overseas service twice…he was accepted twice.

Then - why would a young man enrol for the army twice?

What’s the story behind the growth in height?

And, what about the facial scar and all those tattoos?

The war records confirmed the stories my Mom told me about her Dad.

In 1915, my Granddad was too young to join the army. So, he lied about his age. In 1915, the army accepted my Granddad Morgan’s application and he became a bugle boy in the 118th Battalion.

Then in 1917, when he was of legal age he enrolled a second time.

My Grandfather served in the trenches of Belgium. He was exposed to chemical warfare…he was gassed. As a result, he had half his stomach removed and he was a sickly man for the rest of his life. This did not stop him from serving in World War 2…but it did preclude him serving overseas. In WW2, my Granddad was a Captain of the Army Signal Corps, serving in London, Ontario. Apparently, my Granddad could draw maps with both hands at the same time.

My Granddad Morgan died in his early 60’s, in 1963, when I was a child. I shall always  remember laughing together while I sat on his knee. I shall think about the blurred tattoo on his arm…the tattoos were something I had forgotten all about until I read his WW1 records…and childhood memories came to me.

I shall think of my Granddad Morgan today…

…I shall think of a brave, patriotic, adventurous, courageous, naive, restless, young fellow leaving Canadian soil, crammed on a ship with his mates…

…and, today, I shall think of that young fellow aging quickly, living each day as fully as he could while he shared the shock and awe of WW1 trench warfare with his mates…

…and I shall think of that young fellow, still a teenager…but with 3 years of hardened army service on his record…coming home to Canada…a man…a changed man.

…and, today, I shall think of my Granddad Baker who refused to talk about the 7 years he spent in the army, overseas, in World War 2.

…and I shall think of my Dad, who enrolled in the Canadian Navy as soon as he turned 18, serving in Halifax during 1944 and 1945.

…and, today, I shall think of my 2 sons who, thankfully, have not faced the weapons of enemies.

 

Tags:

Beyond Business | Family Business and CFFB | Hero Worship

Dreams of a better future light the path to that better future.

by Rick Baker
On Aug 21, 2019

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

"Past and future are dreams; now is a reality. All things are now; all power, all possibility, all action, is now."

British author/philosopher James Allen said that in 1903. It seems to me Allen's advice is a key to what most people refer to as 'time management'. I mean, if people pay more attention to the present and less attention to agonizing over the past and worrying about the future then they will feel less stressed...and they will feel like they have more time.

On the other hand, we should not be too harsh on dreamsonly dreams of a better future generate that future. As 2 examples, Marconi proved this...so did Martin Luther King Jr.

Maybe it isn't more blessed to give than to receive - consider the Ben Franklin Effect.

by Rick Baker
On Aug 19, 2019

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Ben Franklin found people, even people who clearly disliked him, responded positively when he asked them for a favour. As one example, back in the day - almost 300 years ago, books were very rare in New England. Benjamin Franklin asked a political opponent [who had publicly criticized Ben] to lend him one of his prized books. The person loaned the book to Franklin, who read it quickly and thoroughly then returned it. After this experience, the opponent softened his attitude toward Franklin.

These Ben Franklin experiences led to what is now known as the Ben Frankin Effect

Don't delegate any task you cannot do yourself...except software engineering.

by Rick Baker
On Jun 25, 2019

Clint Eastwood taught those villains, "A man must know his limitations."

Similarly, a man must understand he is at risk when he delegates beyond his limitations.

Yes, I known this also applies to women, however, Clint Eastwood didn't shoot women...at least I don't recall seeing him shoot women or instructing them on limitations.

OK - people, both women and men, must know their limitations and they must understand they should think about the risks before they delegate work that exceeds their capabilities.

So, one Master Rule is – Don’t delegate a task you cannot do yourself.

From time to time, leaders need to do the dirty jobs. [The jobs everyone can do but nobody enjoys doing.] If leaders choose to delegate all the dirty jobs then they will surely alienate some people….perhaps, most followers.

At the other end of the spectrum, leaders get into trouble when they delegate tasks that are beyond their capability. As examples - troubles follow when the time required for tasks is underestimated, when the complexity of tasks is underestimated, and when the resources required for tasks are underestimated. The best way to know the time, complexity, and resources of tasks is firsthand experience doing the tasks.

So, one Master Rule is – Don’t delegate a task you cannot do yourself.

…unless, of course, those tasks are software engineering!

Tags:

Delegation & Decisions | Hero Worship | Humour | Master Rules

Hope is a waking dream much craved by people. This explains why people rally around leaders with vivid vision.

by Rick Baker
On May 8, 2019

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Aristotle said, "Hope is a waking dream."

People want hope; people follow dreams.

 

Seek the upside in ordinary tasks: seeking simple work and doing it well; knowing its link to positive outcomes.

by Rick Baker
On Apr 26, 2019

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

As the old saying goes, "There is satisfaction in a job well done."

There is more satisfaction when:

1.     You know the work, even if it is the most-simple of tasks, is a step toward a positive outcome and

2.     You do the work well.

Some people know this.

Others have to learn this.

Some have to teach this.

Leaders illustrate this by example: Mahatma Gandhi took pride in simplicity and the practice of walking; Napoleon Bonaparte took pride in the science and the practice of aiming cannons. 

Tags:

Hero Worship | Leaders' Thoughts | Seeking Simple! | Thought Tweets | Values: Personal Values

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