Southwest Arm man’s first-hand account of war published in book

Reprinted from The Packet, November 11, 2018
By Jonathan Parsons

‘A Newfoundland Seaman in WW1’ tells Archer Peddle’s story in his words

From left to right, Archer’s son Jim Peddle, Lester Green, and Peter and Jean Stacey of DRC Publishing. (Photo courtesy Helen Green)

It is truly a rare artifact to have a Newfoundland veteran’s first-hand account of the First World War captured on the page.

For Jim Peddle, son of seaman Hodge’s Cove’s Archer Peddle who served in the Royal Navy from 1913 to 1919, he knows how special it is to have had his father’s words as a manuscript, years after he passed away in 1974.

Jim showed the manuscript, written by his dad between 1958-59, to Lester Green when Green was interviewing for research on his column in The Packet, “Where Once They Sailed” — a series focusing on the men from Southwest Arm who served in the Royal Navy in the First World War.

Jim told The Packet his father originally planned to publish the manuscript to earn extra money to help with his university costs.

After keeping the book, and having had copies made for the family by his nephew Levi Churchill, Green suggested to Jim to have it published after all.

Archer Peddle’s Royal Navy banner by Southwest Arm Historical Society

“I’m quite pleased with it,” he said. “The people around here can identify with it.”

The book is entitled “A Newfoundland Seaman in WW1: To The Great War and Back” written by Archer Peddle in his own words with additions by Jean Stacey of DRC Publishing.

Lester Green told The Packet he remembers when Jim showed him the manuscript. After taking it home to read it he couldn’t believe the significance of the experience.

With the family’s permission Green went on to bring DRC Publishing on board, who committed to publishing the memoir only hours after beginning the conversation with them, says Green.

“I’m very proud when I look at it from the perspective, we have a personal story for the Navy — because there are very few Navy stories out there. Lots and lots of the Newfoundland Regiment, but you go out and try to find a personal account — there aren’t too many,” he says.

For those looking to buy a copy of the book, or the booklet produced by the Southwest Arm Historical Society honouring the 87 Royal Navy veterans from that area, they can contact the Society. Peddle’s book will also be for sale at the used book store in Clarenville and the Clarenville Co-op.