Thomas Climie headed across the Atlantic too. In June 1907 on his arrival in Philadelphia he sent his sister Kate a postcard. He settled in western Canada, using skills he had learned back home, working in the coal mines near Hosmer in British Columbia. On a postcard home, he wrote, “This photo is taken with one of our work cars. You must have seen this kind of wagon at home, Tom".

Like his brother in Alaska he became involved in the local trade union.


"At a meeting of the Hosmer local union No. 2497 of United Mine Workers of America (UMW of A) held last Saturday evening at the school house JA Tupper resigned his office of president and Thomas Climie was elected to fill the vacancy".


Another newspaper report in 1910 documents deaths and injuries to local mine workers including "a digger named Thomas Climie had his right wrist badly cut with a piece of rock last Friday". He was regularly singing at the local Presbyterian church and his wife was running a laundry in nearby Moyie.


However his name came up most often in the local newspapers with him playing football (the term soccer had not yet made it into the local vocabulary). Most reports are of matches between nearby towns. In one tale the trade union complains that the players from Hosmer got thrown off the train on their way to play a match in Coal Creek and had to walk the last 3½ miles to the game. The report complains that the miners had been on strike for three months and that nobody ever gets asked to pay for their ticket on their way to play football matches in Coal Creek.


One edition of the District Ledger, a newspaper produced by the UMW of A, reports on a football match in July 1909. When Bellevue "could not raise the expenses to attend their league game" in Hosmer. A game was therefore arranged between "Scotland" and "England" with Thomas Climie playing for Scotland in front of a "fair turnout of spectators".


The match report is quite entertaining and Scotland ran out 7-2 victors over the old enemy and Climie scored four goals.


At this time the beginnings of professional football was taking shape in Canada with soccer/association football following the lacrosse league by going professional. In 1910 the "British Columbia Professional Football League" was formed and on 25 March 1910, the first professional football match in Canada was played.


According to the contemporary newspaper reports this was between the "Rovers and Callies" although the newspapers don't give much more information than that. It was played at Recreation Park in Vancouver. These seemed to be the only professional teams in the league and it collapsed after one season. The "Callies" were The Calgary Caledonians, again showing the Scottish origins of much of the sport in the area. The Rovers are harder to pin down. They later seemed to evolve into the Sapperton Rovers. The New Westminster neighbourhood of Vancouver was called "Sapperton" after the Sappers, or Royal Engineers. In the first two decades of the 1900s their team was called the "Westminster Rovers". By the 1920s it was a team called Sapperton AFC that was playing at Con Jones Park in this part of Vancouver.


On 4 April 1916, aged 32 years of age, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was sent to Europe. His Canadian army papers show that he left Halifax on the SS Olympic on 14 November 1916 and arrived in England a week later. A month later, from Rugby in England Tom sent a cheery postcard back to his brother Charles in Kilmarnock, reporting that he had influenza. In Canada he left behind his wife and three children, Robert, George and Annie. "...and I have developed a lovely case of Influenza."


In June 1917 he was wounded in action, a gunshot wound to his right ear. The Canadian Expeditionary Force were involved in the Battle of Arras at this time. After three days at hospital he returned to his unit. In the Third Battle of Ypres he was wounded again in August 1917. He spends 16 days in hospital and doesn't return to his unit until December 1917. On 29 December 1917 he was granted permission to marry and given 14 days leave on 26 January 1918, where this presumably happens. In July 1918 he was given seven days detention for being in Boulogne without a pass. He was discharged in April 1919 at the rank of Corporal, with the "distinguishing feature" of a gunshot wound scar behind his right ear. He settled in Rugby with his new wife and lived there all his remaining days.


Thomas Climie, front left, in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

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 Thomas Climie

Rovers Football Team, Cranbrook BC, Canada. Thomas Climie, third on the left in the long white shorts.

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