Mitchell Jabalee from Bras D’Or, Cape Breton, is a 2020 graduate of Dalhousie’s Master’s in Library and Information Studies program and recipient of the 2020 Council of Nova Scotia Archives prize. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in history (Honours) from Cape Breton University. Mitchell is passionate about the archival profession and when it comes to history, he enjoys the study of Canadian wartime history. During his history studies, Mitchell completed his honours thesis on a First World War soldier from Margaree named James Arthur Murphy.
Forgotten Stories: James Arthur Murphy and the Trench Raids of Vimy Ridge
This paper looks to present the wartime story of James Arthur Murphy, one of many young Canadians to serve in the First World War. The story is assembled from a collection of letters he wrote home to his family, kept by the Beaton Institute at Cape Breton University. Murphy’s first experience of action was at The Somme in the Fall of 1916. His next combat experience would be his last one.
His battalion moved to Vimy Ridge at the end of 1916 where for the next few months trench raids were used as reconnaissance. James Arthur Murphy’s story is a unique perspective that sheds light on parts of the war that are often overlooked. The trench raids on Vimy Ridge that he and many other Canadians participated in were crucial in the army’s planning for the large-scale offensive that took place in April 1917.