Fonds F0127 - Thomas Arnott Ballingal Spear fonds

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Thomas Arnott Ballingal Spear fonds


  • 1916-1999 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2 boxes containing:
15 cm textual records
166 photographs
ca. 100 colour negatives
8 VHS cassettes
1 Hi8 Cassette
1 plaque

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Tom Spear was born in Galt, Ontario on October 22, 1896. The son of a pioneer missionary who ministered in the Northwest Territories, Tom grew up in Innisfail, Alberta and Pipestone, Manitoba. He eventually moved to Emerson, Manitoba, where he got a job, in early 1915, as a telegrapher for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Tom enlisted in the Canadian Signal Company in Winnipeg on February 25, 1916, and arrived in England aboard the SS Baltea on May 25, 1916. He was sent to Shorncliffe as part of the 5th Canadian Division, where he received additional training in communications, in particular learning the Allies’ Continental Code which was slightly different from Morse Code. casualties. Tom arrived in France on April 11, 1918 and remained there until 1919. He worked in the Wireless Section in “interception” while in France. Despite having experienced close calls during shelling on the Arras front, he made it through the war unscathed. However, his 23 year old brother William D. Spear who also served in the Signals Unit was killed in action on September 27, 1918 during the Battle at Canal du Nord while he was repairing damaged lines. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Tom was once again recruited for signals. However, the technology had changed so much that he was redirected to other duties in the Air Training Command of the Royal Canadian Air Force. By the war’s end he was Acting Wing Commander. After the end of World War II, Tom returned to Winnipeg where he resumed his work with the CPR. One of Canada’s last surviving veterans of World War I, Tom died on September 28, 2000 at the age of 104 years.

Archival history

Material was gathered by Tom Spears and his family during the course of his military activities both as a serving soldier and as a veteran. Donor is daughter of Tom Spears.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received from donor May 6, 2019

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Consists of records gathered and created during service in WWI and WWII as well as later items attesting to Spear's actions and honours received as one of the last surviving veterans of WWI.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Appraisal complete, June 2019. JN


No further accruals expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

No restrictions on access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Archival materials do not circulate and must be consulted in the TMM Library and Archives Reading Room. Duplication of materials in the collection may be subject to copyright and other restrictions. Please contact TMM Library and Archives staff for guidance on reproduction.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements


Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Fonds processed by Yvonne Hinks, June 2019




Archivist's note

This AtoM record created by Jason Nisenson, July 2019./

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