Labrador Memoir of Dr Harry Paddon, 1912-1938

Labrador Memoir of Dr Harry Paddon, 1912-1938

Edited by Ronald Rompkey
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  • Book Info
    Labrador Memoir of Dr Harry Paddon, 1912-1938
    Book Description:

    Paddon's memoir gives the reader a sense of the resident Innu, Inuit, and settler communities, as well as the prevailing institutions of non-governmental authority: the Hudson's Bay Company, the Moravian Mission, and the International Grenfell Association. At a time when Labrador is undergoing further industrial development and social change, his writings, carefully edited and annotated by Ronald Rompkey, the biographer of Sir Wilfred Grenfell, capture the heart of the region and its people.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7081-8
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
    R. G. R.
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xliv)

    The letter sent from Tony Paddon to Sir Wilfred Grenfell after his father's sudden death on Christmas Eve 1939 constitutes a brief epilogue to a medical career pursued in extraordinary circumstances and performed with uncommon devotion. Harry Paddon was bred for the mission field. Like so many of his late-Victorian contemporaries, he was devoted to a higher purpose, according to the norms of rectitude, honour, and chastity existing in certain European societies before the Great War. By time the war put an end to those norms, Paddon had reinvented himself for service in the Empire, forfeiting the social and professional...

  5. Maps
    (pp. xlv-2)
  6. Preface
    (pp. 3-6)
    Harry L. Paddon

    • 1 From London to Labrador via Newfoundland
      (pp. 9-19)

      It was a bright June day of 1912 as ssTunisian⁶cleared the tortuous channel that affords access to the Mersey and Liverpool and emerged into the Irish Channel, outward bound for Quebec and Montreal. Behind was England and all that England had meant for nearly thirty years - home and preparatory school, Repton and Oxford, St Thomas’s Hospital in London, and finally fifteen months as house surgeon, then medical officer at the Guest Hospital, Dudley, in the Black Country [industrial Midlands]. “Slumming” in London during university vacations and a series of holidays out among the North Sea trawlermen as...

    • 2 “Down North” along the Labrador Coast in a Newfoundland Icebreaker
      (pp. 20-29)

      Interesting and instructive as the little visit to St Anthony had been, I had clearly to face the fact that I had witnessed both talent and facilities which could never be mine further north. At Battle Harbour, however, was another Grenfell hospital of more modest dimensions and equipment, where there was more to be seen that might be reproduced further north. The medical officer in charge there was Dr John Grieve,35a burly Scot whose chief interest outside medicine was classical music, though Battle Harbour afforded little opportunity for cultivating this taste. He was also a great raconteur with a...

    • 3 Cottage Hospital Experiences at Indian Harbour, Labrador
      (pp. 30-43)

      We stood upon the rocks at Indian Harbour, I for one feeling more at sea than ever I had onSagona.Our party consisted of the nurse [Mina Gilchrist] and myself for medical staff, a student volunteer worker for general utility, named Reeve,49two maids from Newfoundland who had worked at Indian Harbour hospital the previous summer, a third maid, a Labrador woman hastily picked up at Rigolet, and five patients reaped during the later stages of our journey. To arrive after an aesthetic but sleepless night before four in the morning with a party of eleven, at a place...

    • 4 Up Hamilton Inlet to the Garden of Labrador
      (pp. 44-55)

      After six or seven rather strenuous weeks ashore, it was a great refreshment to be afloat once more, and as it turned out I could not have chosen a much better time to see whatYalewas really worth as a seaboat. The run to Rigolet was uneventful. It was later that I learned that the islands off both shores of this eastern basin of Hamilton Inlet and the sheltered waters that they help to enclose, as well as the marshy lands of the mainland, are a vast natural nursery for migratory birds such as might delight the heart of...

    • 5 Autumn Cruising - Into Winter Quarters
      (pp. 56-68)

      For the open water season each year,Yalewas to me what a motor car is to a country practitioner with a wide extent of country to cover in other lands. The car must be understood and kept in a reliable condition, and the doctor must familiarise himself alike with main roads and byways in his district. And if this is true of more developed countries, what about a deeply indented coast hundreds of miles in length, the haunt of rocks and shoals, gales, fog, downpours of rain that would not disgrace the tropics, and untimely blizzards of snow -...

    • 6 The Long Winter Trail
      (pp. 69-82)

      On January 3rd, 1913, stocky little Billy Murphy and I left North West River with ten husky dogs.99It was a strange kind of morning for January in Labrador. Within a few hours, thunder and lightening, rain, hail, snow, and then a quick shift of wind with a return of hard frost were experienced. Billy, who belonged to Battle Harbour, had driven for Dr Grieve for a term of winters and was familiar with a large part of the route to be covered by both Wakefield and myself. It was because Dr Grieve was out on furlough that he was...

    • 7 The Same, Concluded
      (pp. 83-94)

      While our weary teams rested at Battle Harbour, Billy and I, after one day spent there in seeing cases, started off on a tour of St Lewis Bay with a fresh team. Billy wisely made for the more remote hamlets and houses while the weather was fine and, when change threatened, brought off a characteristic example of the opportunism which goes so far towards making a success of komatik travel. We had cleaned up on the south side of the bay as regards the more distant units and had crossed to the north side, intending to spend the night at...

    • 8 Second Summer at Indian Harbour and Back to Mud Lake for the Freeze-Up
      (pp. 95-105)

      We had our little difficulties during that May month on Indian Harbour island. We were not a skilled construction gang by any means. Fred and Sam were tolerably handy with ordinary tools, but neither was by any means a finished carpenter, and the rest of us were not in the same class with them. Peter as well as John Rich, the first Labradorman to greet us when we landed in 1912., were more used to rough-hewn logs than to lumber, and I was regretting my preference for athletics over the carpenter's shop in school days. There had been no weatherproof...

    • 9 Northward by Dog-Team into Eskimo Territory
      (pp. 106-121)

      On January 21st, 1914, we went away on a trip which covered between twelve hundred and thirteen hundred miles. The first hundred of these was over ground already made familiar. From Rigolet, where Mr Heath had been transferred from North West River in the company's service and acted as host this year, we were able to take a direct route to Cartwright, as the bay was fast, which was a great cutoff. I was again disappointed at Rigolet in my quest after the missing medicine chest, and Cartwright was now my last hope. I had brought what could be spared...

    • 10 Third Summer at Indian Harbour: Outbreak of War, Back to England and ...?
      (pp. 122-130)

      We had just such a trip down Hamilton Inlet to Indian Harbour in the spring of 1914 as that experienced the previous year: warm days, wet snow or bare ground on the land, and water and slush on the ice, with intervals of slipping when following big cracks. Ribble’s puppies were now in harness, proud team members, and worked with a will. With me was Flinn, also Fred and Sam, George and Peter. At Valley Bight, Bill Shepperd joined up, having generously offered to come and work “just for my grub, doctor.” Fred’s eldest son, Judson, a boy of fifteen,...


    • 11 Back to Labrador: Founding of North West River Cottage Hospital
      (pp. 133-142)

      It was early in June 1915 that ssCarthaginian150cautiously nosed her way through a loose field of pan-ice into St John’s harbour. Among her passengers was a young Anglican priest whom I will call Father Henry.151He was a type of the Church Militant151that is always a refreshment to meet: deep without being ponderous, tolerant without being lax; always human, cheerful, and kindly and blessed with a saving sense of humour as well as with eloquence; and, finally, deeply interested in the material as well as the spiritual welfare of his parishioners. The one thing that Father Henry...

    • 12 Systematising the Service: Further Insight into the Problem of Poverty
      (pp. 143-157)

      With the opening of the North West River cottage hospital, we entered on a new stage of our work. While there was still plenty to be learned about the country and the people, the stage of Survey might fairly be said to have given way to the stage of Foundations, of which the new little institution was the first but by no means the last. It is the house not built with hands that outlasts any structure of timber or even of concrete,169and we now had a centre both for local development and also wide radiation of ways and...

    • 13 Pestilence in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Disaster
      (pp. 158-170)

      The end of the war came without our knowing of it until January 27th of the following year, when the first of our returning volunteers [Murdoch McLean and Robert Michelin] arrived home on snowshoes. It did seem a bit hard when these unrepresented citizens had given all that they had to give and (when a party of timber cruisers could be sent to Rigolet in December, if required) that our volunteers should be dumped ashore at Battle Harbour, over three hundred miles from home, and left to pay their own board till ice travel began and then their own transport...

    • 14 Campaigning for Funds: The Founding of the First Labrador Public School and Beginning of Child Welfare Work
      (pp. 171-182)

      It is a far call from Labrador to New York, Boston, Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto in more senses than one, and financial campaigning was quite a new experience. I was extremely fortunate in my instructions and in the opportunities afforded me. I visited famous institutions and met or listened to men of international repute in the medical world. Also, the campaign for funds gained me access to many interesting places and people. The salesmanship aspect of this work was repellent, but its social side led to much interest, wide acquaintance, and some friendships that have survived for a score of...

    • 15 Fire and Friends, Sidelights on the Physical Problems of Trappers, Founding of the Second Labrador Public School
      (pp. 183-192)

      The pendulum was swinging more and more. The decline of the cod fishery in the aftermath of the war grew more pronounced. The warstricken countries, and especially those to which most of the Newfoundland fish usually went, had lost their purchasing power. The cost of the salt and the remuneration for fish were out of all proportion to the cost of living. Smaller and smaller grew the host of invading fisherfolk and ever fewer our Newfoundland patients. It is true that the Labrador quota had increased but not to such an extent as to maintain the former [medical] activity.



    • 16 The Passing of Yale from the Service
      (pp. 195-206)

      The satisfaction over the birth of Yale School was somewhat clouded by the loss of Father Henry [from] Muddy Bay School. This had occurred in 1925. After a decade of notable service, this fine padre and warden had felt it necessary to resign on the ground of health. His going left a gap hard indeed to fill. But he left fine foundations for others to build on and a memory which is still fresh to many. While he had naturally formulated the general plan of campaign in regard to educational policies, although giving me free scope in the department of...

    • 17 Further Developments in Child Welfare Work, More Wayside Comedy and Tragedy, Another Staggering Blow
      (pp. 207-216)

      The child welfare work naturally had its anxious side as well as much interest and satisfaction. One winter, a scarlet fever epidemic reached Muddy Bay School, and it was only the efficiency of the nurse that limited the outbreak to nine cases in a group of between forty and fifty. At North West River, in the second year of Yale School, we had another influenza epidemic which, though not so severe as the Spanish Flu, was far from being a joke. Three youngsters were seriously ill, and many anxious days and nights were spent before anxiety gave way to relief....

    • 18 The Coming of Maraval: Extended Medical Cruising
      (pp. 217-231)

      In the autumn of 1928, after more than sixteen years on the Labrador coast, I had the first breakdown in health, which took me out for a premature furlough. Once again, misfortune only brought into relief the worth of friends. I was taken ill on a late October cruise to Rigolet to connect with the last mail steamer and return to winter quarters. My wife and boys,221fortunately as it turned out, were off the coast for that winter, in any case. The condition was painful rather than serious but was aggravated by intense neuralgia which turned out to be...

    • 19 Recent Developments and Impending Changes
      (pp. 232-239)

      It has already been mentioned that during the winter of furlough which resulted in the coming ofMaravalto the Labrador service, the nurse who was left in charge [Kate Austen] was to have a gruelling experience. Of this I saw the aftermath to some extent on my return from England. She saved one young man’s life by successful manipulation of a bad rupture [hernia] which had undergone the deadly complication known as “strangulation.”134She had also to perform a real obstetric operation at a case of childbirth which did not proceed to a normal ending. Both of these were...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 240-244)

    The hour has struck.

    It was rather like watching the judge put on the black cap as we tuned in on St John’s, Newfoundland, and heard the commissioner for Natural Resources announce concessions in forest lands of this region to Messrs Bowater, Lloyd & Co. and the impending erection of a lumbermen’s town somewhere in this vicinity. Since then, there have been further negotiations between firm and government and a moratorium in regard to the Labrador while other big deals are being put through in Newfoundland by the same firm. It is only a matter of time. If this firm...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 245-280)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 281-298)
  13. Index
    (pp. 299-304)