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Dec. 27, 1945: George E. McDonald killed by freight train

Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe
Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe

Dec. 27, 1945 – Springhill Record Parts of the badly mangled body of a lumberman brought to Brown’s Undertaking Parlor late Saturday evening by Cpl. Wigglesworth of the R.C.M.P., were identified Wednesday as belonging to George E. McDonald of North Wiltshire, P.E.I., clearing up a mystery that has puzzled the police since Saturday morning.

The remains were claimed Wednesday afternoon by brothers of the deceased who learned of the accident as they were on their way from the Island to take up employment in the woods of Upper Musquodoboit, where their brother had been employed, by Mr. Ray Blades. Reading the description of the dead man’s clothes in the newspapers they immediately contacted the Mounted Police when they reached Sackville and were taken to Amherst.  In Amherst, they were put in contact with Cpl. Wigglesworth who went to Amherst and brought them to Springhill where they identified the remains as that of their brother.


Shocked over accident

In an interview with Maurice McDonald at Brown’s Undertaking Parlor on Wednesday The Record learned that George and Russell had been working with Mr. Ray Blades in Upper Musquodoboit.  Previous to that they had worked for a few days at West River where they found conditions too wet and they moved to Upper Musquodoboit. They had been there only eight days when they left the camp and returned to Truro. Russell decided in Truro that he was going home, but George was quite indefinite. He thought of going home for Christmas and he thought he would go back to the camp. His movements after Russell left are still clouded in mystery.


On way to Truro

News of the accident first leaked out when it was found that the freight train arriving in Truro at 3:15 a.m.  Saturday morning was spattered with blood.  Cpl. Wigglesworth, R.C.M.P. of Springhill and Frank McCabe of Oxford Junction travelled the railway towards Truro on a trolley seeking evidence in connection with the case.  From Westchester to Folleigh Mountain they found parts of a human body which they collected and pieces of clothing. It was evidently the body of a young man, a blonde with wavy hair.  He had worn heavy working clothes, high lumberman’s rubbers, heavy fleeced lined underwear, grayish brown heavy woollen pants, blue work shirt, blue sweater and a red checkered wool mackinaw.


To undertaking parlor

Cpl. Wigglesworth accompanied by Constable C.F. Wilson of Tatamagouche, brought the remains to Brown’s Undertaking Parlor, awaiting evidence of the man’s identity.

During the search along the track the Corporal also picked up a temporary liquor permit which had been secured in Truro on September 20th in the name of John P. Forbes.  The name might or might not have any connection with the man killed said the Corporal.


No clues

From Saturday until this morning there had been no further clues as to the identity of the accident victim, until Wednesday morning when the three brothers, Russell, Maurice and Louis left their home in North Wiltshire, P.E.I., to seek employment in the woods of Upper Musquodobit.  They had purchased their tickets for Truro when they saw a description of the clothing worn by the accident victim which they realized then must be their brother.  They crossed to Sackville and made connection with the R.C.M.P.  which ultimately brought them to Springhill where their worst fears were realized.


Take body home

Immediately after they had ide notified the body plans were made to take the remains to North Wiltshire Wednesday where their brother lived with his parents Mr. and Mrs. Dominick McDonald, and carried on general farming.

The family consisted of eight brothers and six sisters, two of whom are deceased.  Two brothers served Overseas and one, with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders is expected home Saturday on the Duchess of Bedford, ignorant of the tragedy that has struck his home.



Arrives home

Jan. 10th, 1945 – Nursing Sister Ruth Fawcett of the Nursing Service attached to the R.C.A., arrived home on the “Duchess of Bedford” from her Overseas service of almost two years.  Lieut. Fawcett is a graduate of Aberdeen Hospital, New Glasgow and had post graduate work at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal; followed by private nursing until her enlistment for active service in the Military Nursing Service. Going Overseas in May 1944, she was appointed to the 12th General Hospital, serving in England and later in Belgium. She is a daughter of Mrs. P.G. Fawcett, Queen St., and the late Mr. Fawcett, and is being warmly welcomed back.


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