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Benares House Gallery
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Title: Letter with Photograph
Identifier: 2005.1.165.1-3
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1918
Image Creator: Museums of Mississauga
Creation Date: 2005
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A typed letter on plain paper, accompanied by a black and white photograph inserted into a dark grey card. (1) A letter, typed in colour ink, addressed to 'Mrs. Kate N. Sayers, Clarkson, Ont.' The expedient of the letter and date it was sent is indicated on the top right hand corner: '19th Canadian Battalion, June 29th 1918.' The letter is written by and signed by the 'Lieut - Colonel Commanding 19th Cdn Battalion'. The letter reveals that Egerton A. Sayers died on 21st June 1918 because of enemy shrapnel that 'severely injured him'. The Lieut-Colonel expresses his deep regret for the death of Egerton. (2) A black and white photograph depicts a white cross marking the grave of Egerton A. Sayers. The words on the top vertical part of the cross indicate 'R.I.P' located above 'In memory of'. Words on the horizontal part of the cross indicate 'No. 55295 L/Cpl. E. A. Sayers 19th Cdn.Bn.’ Words on the bottom vertical part of the cross indicate: 'Killed in Action 22~6~18.' Words on the left inside of the card indicate 'Overseas Military Forces of Canada (typed), 55295, L/Cpl.E.A.Sayers, 19th Canadian Battn, (all handwritten), GAVE HIS LIFE FOR HIS COUNTRY (typed), 22.6.18 (handwritten) AND IS BURIED AT Bellacourt Brit. Cemetery (handwritten). (3) The dark grey card holding the photograph.

History: Egerton Sayers (1890-1919) was the second son of Kate and Charles Sayers and was the brother-in-law to Annie Harris Sayers. At the outbreak of the War, Egerton Sayers was living in Clarkson working as a clerk in a bank. Unlike his brother Beverly, Egerton was free of family responsibilities and joined up on 10 November 1914. While undergoing training in Toronto, Private E. Sayers contracted the mumps and spent a month and a half in hospital. Sailing overseas in May 1915 Private Sayers was posted to the 19th Battalion and went into the trenches of the Western Front in September. During the Battle of the Somme, September 1916, Private Sayers was wounded by shrapnel in the arm. Returned to England, Egerton stayed in various hospitals until November recovering from wounds received in battle.

Granted a furlough, Egerton returned to Canada in February 1917. For two months Egerton Sayers stayed in Clarkson resting before returning to the Front in April. By January 1918 he had been promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. Lance Corporal Egerton Sayers was killed in action 21 June 1918 while the 19th Battalion was occupying a defensive line. Egerton Sayers is buried in Bellacourt Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. See: Veterans Affairs Canada, “Canada and the Great War, 1914-1918” (Veterans Affairs: Ottawa, 1998); Peter Simkins, “World War I: The Western Front”(London: Bramley Books, 1991); G.W.L. Nicholson, _Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1918_ (Scarborough: Prentice Hall, 1978).

This item was donated by Geoffrey Harris Sayers, who was born 23 April 1907 and died 25 November 1997. A retired businessman, he was the first child of Beverly and Annie Sayers (née Harris). A member of the Canadian Armed Forces, he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant 14 June 1938. Two years later, he was appointed Lieutenant. As of 21 April 1941, he was appointed the rank of Temporary Captain, and was recommended for appointment to the Lorne Scots (P. D. and H. Regiment) based out of Brampton. According to his military file, Captain Geoffrey Sayers served with the Canadian Forces from 21 April 1941 until 11 October 1945, when he was honourably discharged. From 17 June 1941 until 13 March 1945, he also served with the British Forces (he had British citizenship). He received the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp 1939-45.
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