Table of Contents
John Elliott asked me to type the manuscript of this memoir in 1988. I was delighted to accept the project, but it presented me with a dilemma: the manuscript required quite a lot of editing, and I was by no means qualified to perform such a task. So I decided merely to type it, altering it as little as possible removing some of the major repetitive passages, but adding nothing, and trying to preserve the unique voice that I found in the original handwritten manuscript. I was assuming that he would present the result to a publisher or professional editor, someone who could help him work the bugs out of it. To my later surprise (and consternation) he apparently had thought I was that editor, and he took the raw manuscript (139 typed pages) and had it printed and bound, without revision!
The reader who takes the time to read the entire memoir will notice a few puzzling omissions. Perhaps the most glaring concerns his two marriages. He makes only passing reference to his first marriage to Mary Berkley whom he neglects to mention by name. The circumstances surrounding his divorce and subsequent marriage to Kathleen Giles receives similarly vague treatment. Also troubling are his well-meaning but paternalistic opinions of the indigenous people of Alberta, whom he nonetheless worked with closely and even considered his friends.
In any case, what follows is John's summation of his life. Apart from being a testament to his interpretation of events of his times, it also reveals interesting information about the technology and practices of a by-gone era, and an eye-witness view of some of the historical events of WWI and WWII.
If you encounter errors or have questions or elaborations on what you find here, please leave me a note via the contact form. I would be glad to hear from you.
For those who wish to follow along, many of the place-names mentioned in this memoir can be located on the following annotated map: John Elliott's Scotland.
There are also links to some of John's other writings, his obituary, etc., on this page.