A Carberry Connection

A Carberry Connection.
We are rapidly approaching the One Hundredth Year from the beginning of the War to ‘End all Wars’. There have been many books and articles written about WW1, however there are few books attempting to record an individual’s ongoing experience in the war. Most references are ‘snapshots’ of an individual’s recollections, for few wished to remember. My Dad did not talk about the War, until he was old. My brother, Ed Somers recorded comments when Dad was over eighty years old, and one recollection is recorded in this story.
In August 1918, the war in Europe had been raging for four years. The hardships for the soldiers, in all armies, seemed unending. The Canadian Army’s success at Vimy Ridge, on April 9, 1917, had boosted the morale of allied forces and labeled the Canadian Corps as the Elite soldiers of the British Empire’s Army. After Vimy Ridge, the Canadians were in the forefront of every British offensive, right up to the end of war on November 11, 1918.
An Incident;
On August 8, 1918, a British offensive, including the Canadian Corp, was initiated in the Amiens sector. This was the start, of what came to be known as the last, ‘One Hundred Days’. This offensive culminated in the Armistice on November 11, which ended the First World War.
The attack, involving the Canadian Corp, occurred southeast of Amiens. The advance would past through villages like Beaucourt, Quisinel, Wervillers and forward to Rouvrey de Courier. These were small French villages, but were major milestones in the advance of the Canadian soldiers. Each yard was dangerous to overcome, as enemy forces were hidden in any protective cover.
The advancing soldiers were separated into two groups. The ‘First Wave’, these soldiers were to keep moving, and not stop for wounded, or enemy pockets of resistance. Twenty five to fifty yards behind the ‘First Wave’ was a second wave known as the ‘Moppers-up’, who eliminated any enemy forces missed by the First Wave.
A third group, the Machine Gun Batteries were to follow the Second Wave, by about 200 yards, and provide covering fire as needed.
This set the stage for the first coincidence for two soldiers in this story. These two soldiers have relatives living here in Carberry.
One soldier, Alec Picton Brereton V.C. was a corporal, later Sargent, in the 8thCanadian Infantry Battalion, 1stCanadian Infantry Division. The second soldier was Pte. Alfred Somers, a gunner in “G” Battery of the 1st Canadian Machine Gun Battalion.
As fate would have it, “G” Battery was assigned to support the 8th Infantry Battalion. This led to a most unusual circumstance in which, my father, Alfred Somers witnessed Alec Brereton’s attack on the German machine-gun positions.
This courageous attack earned Corporal Brereton a Victoria Cross and saved many lives, possibly my father’s included, by silencing the German machine guns, which were firing at Dad’s position.
Dad’s battery was pined-down, on the edge of a wooded ravine, by this machine gun fire from the other side. This deadly fire had already killed or wounded, 6 out of the 8-man gun crew. Fortunately, a big tree stump was where Dad dived and provided protection, as the Spandau spit bullets in his direction. When Dad tried to advance, he was showered with wood chips and bark, from above his head, making it very unwise to move.
On the other side of the ravine, Corporal Brereton’s platoon was advancing. They were in the open, when the German machine gun stared firing. Realizing the danger to his platoon if the guns were turned onto his group, he immediately attacked shooting one gunner and bayoneting second. By this time, his Platoon mates had joined the fray, capturing all six of the Spandau machine guns and several of prisoners.
The Aftermath:
In latter life, Alec Brereton’s brother married Alf Somers’ sister. This produced the father of Jim Brereton, who lives in Carberry.
A further coincidence occurred when I attended the Brandon Museum. The museum contained a display featuring Sir Arthur Currie, who commanded the Canadian Corps during the latter part of 1917 and all of 1918. This display featured a captured German Spandau machine gun, which was taken at a site near Wervillers by Alec Brereton’s Platoon.
A “Voice from Beyond The Perimeter”

Graham Somers


The Mystical Cocoon.



We all live in a magical cocoon, where our physical  needs are provided. We look to others to provide such amenities as roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Education is taken for granted and others will insure that all children have an opportunity to learn.

Health Services are available without additional cost to the individual.  Food is plentiful and readily available, both to take home to prepare, or have others prepare for us.  

What about security? We are as secure as anyone can reasonable expect. There are individuals who violate the social norm, who violate other individual’s rights, who create a danger to others., and need to be corrected.

Shelter from the elements is available, not equal for everyone. Heat, light and power are of critical importance within our northern zone and is provided to us by the provincially owned power company. Our cocoon is complete.

If this is all you desire, all that is need from you is to spend a few minutes ,or an hour or two, each election year, to examine some issues and to insure that the cocoon is not destroyed by elected local or provincial officials. In a Democracy, we, collectively, influence the course of policy, through our VOTE. There is no assurance that our vote will protect us, however if you do not exercise your vote, for candidates respecting your well-being , then you might loss the security of the COCOON.


However, some of us need more from life then the mere basics!  A greater effort must be made in reading relevant books and informative articles, studying recognized authorities,  thinking through the information and as a final test, to discuss  our deductions with others, to validate our conclusions.


We are all responsible for the course of our society takes and the well-being of our community. This can be either through neglect, ignorance, or by reasoned though? Which course of action do you recommend?


This work is not for the ‘faint of heart, it is a venture into cloudy concepts.  It is possible for a group of dedicated thinkers, prepared to discuss the issues and identifying alternatives, have the potential of identifying answers and to define the best course of action.


Elected leaders, by Law are obliged to make the final decision. However, there is no law, which demands they make it completely based upon their own knowledge base. They can use other people, part of the community, or otherwise, as a information base.


Council members do a good job of what they do, what they are presently elected to perform. They are doing a great job of providing the community with the materials, which constitutes the cocoon shell. My question is there more to life?


The Municipal Act limits council activity. The local councils are the product of the Provincial government. This was adequate, when the municipalities were first formed in the 1870’s, the question is; ‘Is this adequate in 2014?’.


Are we to wait for the Provincial Government to impose additional laws and regulations, which are not scientifically sound, which are environmentally questionable and which impose additional costs on rural ratepayers? Who is going to speak for rural residents? Do local governments collect taxes only for the benefit of Provincial Government goals? Why not some RURAL thinking on these issues?




A Return to “David and Goliath” Dec 24, 2013 by GTS


Recently a person asked me what happened to my septic-system, as I had not reported the last episode. Therefore I will give you the story, which culminated when I needed to sell my house and could not do so unless my septic system conformed to Water Stewardship Act and Regulations.


Possibly, it set me to thinking about the biblical story of David and Goliath. Also, I remembered a writer saying “ The pen is mightier then the sword” The problem is that the writers of those stories never came up against a civil servant armed with ‘Acts & Regulations’ and told not to think for themselves?


I imagine myself as Goliath, ten feet tall. I was armed with a mighty pen and exuding scientific reasoning. I declared that the waste water from ‘Ejector systems, flowing onto the surface of the soil, cleansed by tree and grass roots, nutrients absorbed by soil microorganisms and filtered by organic matter and soil particles is superior to burying the same material under the ground was better for the environment, but alas I was to be humbled by a David, sling in hand and a pouch full of regulations formed into paper dart!   


I spoke out, for all to hear, believing that other persons with similar problems would rally to my support, in particular, the leaders of the community, but alas, I found myself alone.


David challenged me, in a bold voice, proclaiming that he had the Regulations, proclaimed by government, which made them ‘RIGHT’. How dare I question the Government’s Regulations?


David opened his pouch and began flinging regulations, like soldiers throw javelins. I defended myself with pen and paper, reason and rational argument, but to no avail. I was alone, smothered in paper and forced to call a Truce.


 I ask for a license allowing me to install a septic system of their choice. Will it work? Some have complained and it may freeze in winter? It needs straw cover? It is underground, “Out of Site” which appears to be it’s principal merit? After spending $7000 dollars for this inferior system, it has too work?”


I have my License, little piece of paper, representing my reparation for capitulating to the bureaucrats.  It allows me to dispose of gray-water, by injecting it under the ground where it has uninhibited flow to the ground water.


And so my friends the story of my septic system is finished, at least for me. However for you, with ejector systems, it has just began.


They are waiting for you. When you sell, transfer or subdivide, they will get you. Have your checkbook handy! You will need it!


Voice From Beyond The Perimeter.’


Graham Somers


The drone of the spray plane’s motor over the outskirts of Carberry, reminded me of earlier times when airplanes zoomed over Carberry.  In the  early 1940s. Carberry was one of the training sites for the Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Across Canada, hundreds of training facilities were created to train aircrew stationed  here from all over the Commonwealth.

At Brandon, on 22 August, the Commonwealth Air Training Plan museum presented a display of vintage training aircraft.  The air was filled with the roar of powerful, and not so powerful, engines, which would have been heard in the war years.

This was an outstanding display and I commend all of the persons involved, in this presentation , with their supreme effort. The big four engine Liberator bomber was a sterling sight to see.

I can’t imagine what this area sounded like during the 40s when the Harvard’s, Lysander’s, Tiger Moths and other aircraft flew over this area. They were training the young men and women, who subsequently went to the British Isles, to fly and maintain the aircraft used in the defense of all free people of the world.

A Memorial is to be built, at the Brandon museum to commemorate all of the young men and women, who gave their lives in defense of our freedom.

On a lighter note, sitting in the shade of the old hanger, reminded me of the sunny, summer days of 1955, when I spent six weeks in Brandon earning to fly. I had received a scholarship from the Air Force to take pilot training. It was a most interesting experience.

Prof. Lang, from the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba, visited me during this period. He outlined the benefits of going to University, and obtaining an Agricultural education. Having come from a small farm, at Strathclair, and having had a brother with a university degree, I decided that my career opportunities lay with being a professional Agrologist and to work for the betterment of farmers and rural people.

Subsequently, I was assigned to the Northwest district, which included St. Rose, Dauphin, Roblin, Swan River and the Pas.  I was the regional Soil Specialist, responsible for agronomy and soil conservation. Although it entailed a lot of driving, it was a most rewarding experience.

Later, I was transferred to Winnipeg, to experience the trauma of attempting to get practical programs in place, in spite of the bureaucracy. Over a number of years, I was Chief of the Soils Division and later, Director, of the Agricultural Crown Lands Branch. Those 10 years were  very  stressful, but rewarding. Amongst  other things, I learned that government administrators frequently have their own agendas, which are not necessarily benefiting the people. This came as a shock to a country boy and was inconsistent with what I had learned in the country.

These experiences have influenced the way I view government. Its rules and regulations!  Today, I am determined to be certain that these rules are in the best interest of the people, in this case, rural people. My recent experience with the Department of Conservation and Water Stewardship, has not reassured me.

I have concerns over some of their programs and policies and will continue to question them and determine if there are more satisfactory solutions. Have any of you,  similar concerns?  Let me know!

Recently, an opportunity to serve rural people, has been presented. This is to serve as a School Trustee for the Beautiful Plains  School Division. I have decided to run for this office.

Further information on this topic will be in a future paper.

A Voice from  “Beyond the Perimeter”

Graham Somers.

E-mail; grahamscg@goinet.ca

Phone 204 703-0188

Individual Rights and Social Responsibility


Over the past 300 years or so, the rights of individuals have gradually increased. Presently, persons are respected as individuals. Earlier in our history, individual like you and me, were mere chattels, as we belong, or owed total allegiance to some aristocrat. Individuals were not respected, or considered to have any rights of their own.


The reason for this change is multifold. One significant aspect of this change has been the education of all of our citizens. Education has bean provided at a considerable dollar cost. In return, we have become a literate society, providing  a skilled labor force, knowledgeable professionals, qualified trades people and an abundance of art , literature and entertainment.


However, in addition to the above, the individual must pay attention to other society needs. How is this done? Individuals must concern themselves with social issues that impact both themselves and society within which they live. For example, all individuals are encouraged to vote in any election. This is requested as a protection of democratic rights. Individuals must protect the hard earned right to elect their government. This only became possible in recent times, in some countries this ‘right‘ does not exist.


Not only should individuals vote, but they should be aware of other issues. What do candidates stand for, what do they believe in? Then select the candidate, which best represents your rational understanding and beliefs. To frequently, candidates are elected by acclimation and no expression of the individual’s knowledge, or beliefs, is presented to the public. The public should be inform about their representative, even if acclaimed.


Between elections, officials should proclaim their position, and understanding of any significant social issue.


At present, we have a significant issue for the residents of  our town and municipality. A serious debate is taking place as to the value of amalgamating the political structures of the two local governments, into one government. Our elected officials have not been exposed to any discussion of the citizens, who will be most effected by this change!


One significant reason is the belief that people cannot be bothered with such issues. Unfortunately, this may be true? Do YOU care? Or do you not know the issues? If you learn about the issues, will you let your thoughts be known?  Would you pick up the phone and call the town/municipal office an record your vote? Your Concerns, or approval? Get involved!


Apathy is no excuse for not doing this small social duty.

‘Problems’ and ‘Differences of Opinion’ Resolution [This replaces wars.]

A View from Beyond the Perimeter

Town and Country Debate

How can we settle the amalgamation issue? By a” PUBLIC DEBATE”!

I recently watched a lecture discussing how differences of opinion may be resolved. With respect to the Amalgamation issue, some residents say “NO” and others say “YES” How can these “Differences of Opinion” be resolved? How can these opinions be decided in a fare and informative way? The answer is- ‘Have the opinions debated before an audience of concerned and thoughtful people’.  A public debate, formal or informal, should be held in our community. I have faith in people’s collective wisdom.

It is noted that the Town/R.M. mutually agree on several significant services. Also, they have agreements with adjacent municipalities, not the same municipality in each instance. For example, there is a Fire Support Agreement with the R.M. of North Norfolk and with South Cypress. [There may be more.] The Planning District is composed of North and South Cypress. The Library, Health system and School Division are regionalized.

An alternative view of the process of regionalization, as outlined above, is that the Province viewed the local municipalities as being incapable of handling these services and removed them from the direct control of the R.M.’s. This is another example of the loss of political influence, by our local government, which I have alluded to in earlier articles. This generated higher costs in administration. The process of regionalization is not over unless we become larger and able to look after our own residents! When will we, as rural people, take on more responsibility for our own destiny and not leave it all to the Province? Fragmentation leads to weakness and potential abuse of individual citizens. This I have witnessed this first-hand! Who is next?

The amalgamation of the R.M. and Town appears to be centered on potential tax increase for the R.M.. I see no evidence to justify this reasoning. Tax rates vary from area to area at the present time and this will not change. Any change in property taxes will be the result of future decisions.

The mutual support between Rural and Town is fundamental! Each party is dependent upon the other. However, public concerns need to be addressed to the satisfaction of our citizens. In return, we as citizens must be responsible by attending a debate, listen to the arguments and render a collective decision. The decision should be adopted by our elected leaders as reflecting the desire of the residents.


It should be noted, that the amalgamation proclamation, which was presented to the Municipalities by the Province stipulates that a public meeting be held in each of the potentially affected municipalities. It is noted that the population of Carberry is greater than 1000, however, the Provincial edict proclaimed that any municipality, whether over the thousand, or not, may be amalgamated with another municipality with a lesser number. The question, therefore, when will the RM of North Cypress hold their public meeting?   Why not a public debate, which will be more informative by exploring both sides of the issue, allow all residents an opportunity to be better informed and ultimately to participate in the decision, which affects us all!

As a citizen of this community, What do you think? Tell our C.A.O., or your councillor!

Graham T. Somers, Carberry, MB

Post your response or;

Email; <beyondtheperimeter@mynetset.ca>


A Little Municipal History


View Beyond the Perimeter.      By G.T.Somers    December 2012

Part 1:


Our present municipal structure was created, at the time of settlement, to support rural people. Settlers lived on quarter section farms. Transportation was horse and wagon, or walked. The local organization and service structure evolved to support farm families who organized schools, constructed rudimentary trails and roads to get to towns for supplies. Schools were within horseback or walking distance. Produce went to market by horse and wagon.


The transportation system, of that day required a small geographic area. Municipalities as small as six townships were created. This is an area of 12 miles wide by 18 miles long.


The municipal organization, elected to administer the municipality, was designed to meet the needs of people of that era.  It provided for people’s needs. Needs were relatively simple. All that was needed were a few groceries, like flour and sugar, and hardware, or equipment to meet the needs of the family and farm.


The social needs, of the day, involved school, church and occasional social gatherings, like dances, or community picnics. The local Agricultural Fair was a major event. This was an opportunity to learn of new farming practices and to socialize with neighbors whom you only see once a year. A good ball game excited much interest when the local team was playing. 


The needs of the rural people were simple! Farm families and town folk  were busy earning a living and were intent on surviving!


Times have changed, dramatically, since that time! The team and wagon gave way to truck and car! Small trucks gave way to ever bigger trucks. Now we see large trucks pulling a double load. These trucks haul more grain in one trip then most farms produced on the total farm each year.


Why is this Important?


The municipal structure that is in place, at this time, was designed for the horse and wagon! What is needed now is a municipal structure designed for scattered farm sites and semi-trucks! Small villages have declined and towns have evolved. This change needs to be accepted and exacerbated.


The best design for the geographic area and an efficient local organization needs to be developed. The provincial government, I believe for the wrong reason, is forcing this issue! However, rather than complaining, use it to our local advantage to obtain concessions from the provincial government and increase the political clout in a new rural government format! It is time for our rural leaders to come forward  and design a structure to serve rural people in the 21’st century.

            Get involved! Attend your council meetings and express your opinion. Write your newspaper and record your thoughts. This opportunity will pass. Do not miss it!


My “View Beyond the Perimeter.”



Graham T. Somers B.Sc.A.

Box 431, Carberry, Mb. R0K 0H0

204 834-2930