Biography of Acton Francis Pelly.
COMMUNITY PORTRAITS Iii My --." i i ' .. . .VL'. 77 ACTON Fit AN CIS PKLLY, liquor vendor The number 13 played a startlingly important part in Acton Felly's life and even though the effect was jnearly disastrous it doesn't seem to bother Chilliwack's genial native-born liquor vendor. The events leading up to the incidence of 13 in Mr. Peliy's life are uniform for the most part. Like many of his age lie was in the Canadian Army during the First World War. That is where Mr. Peliy's history took an unexpected change from normal. The change started one April day in 1916 at a small Belgian village known as Vimy. It was a Friday, the 13th of April and Mr. I'elly, with other members of the 47th battalion was engaged in the battle of Vimy Ridge. A chance shot and he became a "Believe it or not ' subject. The time was ab..ut 1:30 p.m., just a lew hours belore Mr. I'elly was due for transfer to a mechanical transport unit g,i doctor's orders. The bullet struck him in the left ankle, putting him out of action. But the chain of events was starting to form. As he was being carried back to an aid station a German shrapnel shell came over, killing two German prisoners of war who were acting as stretcher bearers. Mr. Pelly was hit in his right leg and the back. Finally he arrived at the 13th field hospital for preliminary treatment. Next he was transferred to the 13th Casualty Clearing Station at Bruay and as if that wasn't enough he next travelled to the 13th General hospital at Boulogne, France. The next fourteen months were spent in bed at Hampstead General hospital, just northwest of London as doctors tried to save what was left of his leg but gas gangrene had set in and eventually the doctors had to amputate above the knee. After fifteen tedious months in Hampstead hospital Mr. Pelly finally was transferred to a rehabilitation center at Buxton, Derbyshire, for about a month before orders came to return to Canada. Kirkland was the next stop where a week's wait ensued for a boat that would carry him back across the Atlantic, which he had crossed in 1915 as a member of a reinforcement battalion. He finally reached Toronto, where he was on leave for a period until being discharged on Feb. 28, 1919, after which he headed back to his native Chilliwack. On his return he worked for the Fraser Valley Taxi company, owned by Crowley and Cruick-shanks, also two returned men, before entering General hospital in Vancouver for a third and final operation on the remnant of his leg. Then he came back to Chilliwack, working at the Chilliwack Garage where he stayed until he took up farming. It was while on the farm that the job as an employee of the Liquor Control Board came up. Hugh Laughlin, then vendor, suggested to Mr. Peliy's father that he apply for a position in the store that was then situated on the corner of Princess and Main. He was accepted and started work there on July 1, 1921. In October, 1946. Mr. Laughlin retired and Mr. Pelly took over as vendor. He recalls that during prohibition in the United States there was a man from Whatcom County who was a steady customer at the Chilliwack store. He made about half a dozen trips here in an old Ford and each time returned to the U.S. over one route or another with from 12 to 15 cases of whiskey. His luck gave out, however, and he was caught one day after a customs guard had literally creased his hair with a bullet. There are several other amusing incidents that he recalls, mo.-t as a result of war-time rationing. One day a lady came into t tie store and explained thai her son, who was away, had written to her to buy the father tne best bottle of Scotch available. Tnis lady was not a regular visitor to the store and w.i.1 very shy about the whole thing. Sue had her sister aong for company. Just as she was getting served a previous customer leit the store and the door clicked. One of the venders immediately said: 'Hello, Mr. ,"' giving the name of the lady's minister. She turned around quickly aiul then started to laugh, as did her sister, when she saw the joke. Such jokes apparently are common around the store. Mr. Pelly says that he and his stall' get along well and that fun is the order of the day when business is not pressing. How2 ever, the staff knows how to work when the occasion warrants. Mr. Pelly was born in Chilliwack August 16, 1895, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Justinian Pelly. He came into the world in a house that since has burned down but which stood where Dr. R. G. Foster's home is now. Dr. J. C. Henderson, father of Dr. W. E. Henderson, who practises here now, attended at the birth and for years later Mrs. Henderson would refer to Mr. Pelly as her baby. Mr. Pelly had two brothers, one still living, and a sister. The brother, Raymond, lives in Chilliwack and his sister, Mrs. Miriam Donovan, resides in Melville, Sask. The other brother, Rupert, died of diphtheria while a child. His father had come to Chilliwack in 1894 from New Westminster where he had lived with his sister and brother-in-law, Rev. Acton Sillatoe, who was the first Anglican Bishop of New Westminster and Kootenay. Mr. Pelly Sr. practised law here before becoming the second provincial registrar in the district. Leaving that position he became a real estate and insurance salesman. He died in January, 1948, at about 90 years of age. His wife died in May of this year, also aged 90. Mr. Pelly attended elementary school here but went to England in 1906, staying until 1912. He attended a preparatory school in Dursley, Gloucestershire, and then schools at Chelton College and Bradley Court. Returning, he attended CHS briefly before going to work at Harrison Mills' on a tow boat and then on to Vernon. He came back to Chilliwack again just in time to be called from the militia into the active force on August 10, 1914, six days after war was declared. He was posted to the 131st" battalion as a driver and stayed at that post for almost a year despite strenuous efforts to get posted to an overseas-bound unit. He finally was posted to the 131st battalion just before it went overseas, as a rifleman, rather than a driver. After advanced training at Vernon the unit went to England. A week later Mr. Pelly and his comrades were in the front line. Mr. Peliy's disability, if you could call it that and he doesn't, didn't hinder him from being active in many ways. He climbed mountains, including Cheam. It seems as though every B.C. newspaper of any standing at all has turned into year. First of all, in the spring, Penny investigated conditions in the South Seas and about them. Then Margaret Ecker went Mamie Moloney visited New York and Canada. Alt Cottrell is still busy touring B.C. I notice that Jean 1 lowarth is lorth on a trip covering the Okanagan that l'at Wallace is leaving shortly And of course Jack Scott has now side of the continent after the most elaborate travelogue of them all. There seem to be two ways of going writing tours. The first method is promotional, and hrmly based upon the well-known that more flies are to be caught with with vinegar. It should absolutely circulation in the areas visited. Under this system the columnist Ironi place to place. Lach town lie beautiful than the last, more progressive business point of view, more fully-packed genial, hospitable citizens, as many mentioned by name in the column humanly possible. The writer never to criticize, anything to cause him a disappointment, regret, or anger. tne pies are the crustiest, the songs are the folks are the trustiest. I he second approach to the travel of the Dim View. A Dim View sponsored by a very prosperous paper shrewd, tamragcous editor who gives carte blanche, reasoning that a good about as stimulating to circulation contest. A Dim View columnist is almost a lot of controversies. He never of Commerce officials, or town members of the Board of Trade. Instead down-trodden, the unemployed, the poverty-stricken, the dismayed and uncovers all sorts of tragedy and injustice. W hen he linds that the roads are people stupid or unobliging, or that tailed, or that the water is not fit to town is hideous or moribund, he does tell you so, in bitter, brilliant prose. things that are funny but even his somehow rueiul. He sends home some are masterpieces of reporting, some thoughtful, sensitive observations. But he writes no matter how smoothly it is done makes you wish that he home. It would be natural to suppose that problem affecting Canada and Canadians been discussed and analysed by some reporters this summer. But 1 have word written, nor yet heard one about a serious situation that has months. Apparently it remains for me, Other Taken from the TLN YEARS AGO Sept. IS, 1940 Smiling skies greet for opening day of Chilliwack I air judging day. Showing of heavy and outstanding. Stores close Thursday Wednesday. Show gets excellent business community . . . Men 21 to 24 examination and military training . . sales reach $126,0)0 . . . Red Cross Institute members put up 6U0 cans Harry Berry wins City 36-hoIe open tournament for fourth time with 142 second with 146 and "Doog" Davis in a field of 29 . . . Miss Patricia Leavens Dumvill Beach to park boat house, 3 minutes, ten minutes better than year Cultus Lake Park blacked out when transformers during worst electrical TWENTY YEARS AGO Sept. 18, 193 0 Abundant hop crops being harvested on Sumas where a few short years ago a placid a home for thousands of wild fowl . . MP, announces tariff increase hops; government action a boost to . . . Campbell River Logging Co. Lake and Chilliwack River limits, goes receivership . . . Large hop kiln and contents Hop Growers yards on Sumas destroyed $45,000 loss . . . Al Evans establishes at base of Sumas mountain, opposite . . . Board of Trade organized at THIRTY YEARS AGO Sept. 16, 1920 High school opens students enrolled under H. C. Eraser, Woodworth, vice-principal ... Hop swing with 1400 Indians assembled Chief of Police David Richardson National Exhibition by special next-of-kin of late Piper Richardson VC. Empire's highest military honor guests of Exhibition management . Cohen wins ladies' singles tennis straight sets from Airs. M. II. open singles won by Jack Davies, His peg leg was just the thing fur bouncing around, he recalls. He joined the Great War Veterans' Association and followed it into the Canadian Legion, where he has held nearly every post, including that of president in 1941. He also is a member, one of the first in B.C., of the Amputation Association of Canada and was one of the first in Vancouver to get an artificial limb manufactured for veteran amputees. He is a one-time member of Rotary club. Mr. Pelly married Roberta I. Edmondson of Chilliwack on Jan. 1, 1937, and has no children. The Pellys live at 26 Princess east. Now, Mr. Pelly has got the latest thing nn artificial limbs. It does have its drawbacks, however. With the peg leg he could go almost anywhere when he was gallivanting around hunting, fishing or what have you besides the mountain work. The new-fangled limb gives way too easy on that sort of thing.