Joining the Army in Kentville in 1916, Carl W. Coleman served in France with the Canadian Expeditionary Force until 1919. He was wounded twice, slight wounds that were minor compared to the mysterious malady that almost destroyed him. This is his story, how the Spanish Flu struck the Canadian trenches and was rampant in Nova Scotia when he returned home.
A thigh wound from shrapnel at Vimy didn’t stop him. Later, when he transferred to a Lord Strathcona cavalry unit, being thrown from his horse when a bomb exploded nearby didn’t slow him down either.
What finally put Carl W. Coleman, a Kings County solider of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, into a field hospital was a mysterious ailment sweeping through the trenches, laying low otherwise healthy soldiers. “I was told they almost lost me,” Coleman said years later when he talked about his experiences in WW1. “There was nothing they could do for me. They put me in a tent along with other sick soldiers and just waited to see if I was going to make it.”
Like many men born near the rugged Bay of Fundy in the 19th century, Josh Hazel (1875-1957) went to work while still a boy; he farmed, fished and by necessity was a jack-of-all-trades. “He grew up in tough times and probably was a hard person to get along with; but he was a good man who had many interests,” Lewis Hazel says of his father. “In his early days he was a carpenter; he made wagons, played the fiddle and organ and was a good singer. He didn’t have much schooling but was well educated from reading a lot.”
Born in the Arlington area of the North Mountain, Josh Hazel operated a farm and weir. Hazel owned about 500 acres of timberland at Black Hole, a tiny community immediately east of Baxter’s Harbour on the Bay of Fundy.
Farming the few acres of cleared land on his holdings, tending weir on the Bay and logging pulpwood on his timberland should have kept Hazel busy year around; but for 40 years Josh also ran a mail route in North Mountain communities near Canning. Then there was his other interest, an avocation that became a life-long passion. When he was a young man, the treasure-hunting bug bit Hazel; he spent decades searching the Fundy shore, becoming a legend of sorts in the folklore of the area.