Thursday, October 31, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance- Day 3 - James Sandeman Cunningham

From the website: Photo of James Cunningham – Photo taken from A Short History and Photographic Record of the 73rd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Royal Highlanders of Canada Page 20. I don't think there are copyright issues with this publication

In memory of
James Sandeman Cunningham
who died on October 31, 1916 

Military Service:

Service Number: 132009
Age: 31
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment)
Division: 73rd Bn.

Additional Information:

Son of James and Anna Fraser Sandeman Cunningham, of Argyll Lodge, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
Grave Reference:
VI. D. 23.
Commemorated on Page 73 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

Unlike the previous soldiers, there is a bit of additional information on James Cunningham's Memorial entry, including the photo. With no birth date listed however, I wasn't able to locate any additional info from Ancestry so I again used the Soldiers of the First World War to get a copy of James Cunningham's attestation papers

From this I learned that he was born in Broughty Ferry, Scotland. I used Scotland's People to find his birth registration (it cost me 6 credits, I could have tried to find it for free on Family Search but I like to have copy of the actual document).

The other useful thing I found from James' attestation papers is that he was a chartered accountant. This proved helpful in finding a record showing one James Cunningham, accountant, who crossed the Canadian border at St Albans Vermont in 1913. His address of residence is given as Montreal, Quebec. I was unable to find anything definite to show when James originally immigrated to Canada but his attestation papers show that he joined the Canadian Army on July 31, 1915, in Montreal. He was unmarried so his father James Cunningham of Argylle Lodge, St Andrews, Scotland  is listed as his next of kin.

The curious thing for me is why James opted to join the Canadian forces instead of the British other than his location at the time. There's no indication of citizen requirements on the attestation forms that I've seen, only an oath swearing allegiance to King George the 5th.

James Sandeman Cunningham was killed in action Oct 31 1916, near Somme, France.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance- Day 2 - Joseph Marc Babineau

In memory of
Joseph Marc Babineau
who died on October 30, 1918 

Military Service:

Service Number: 258335
Age: 24
Force: Army
Unit:1st Canadian Mounted Rifles (Saskatchewan Regt.)

Additional Information:

Date and Place of Birth: February 14, 1894
Grave Reference: II. E. 15.
Commemorated on Page 362 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

Joseph Marc Babineau wasn't as easily located on Ancestry. The only record I could find initially was from Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948.  

This gave a detailed account of his death on Oct 30, 1918: 
"Killed in Action"
While on outpost duty, this soldier was instantly killed by enemy shellfire.

I had to go to the Library and Archives Canada site and search the Soldiers of the First World War data base to locate Joseph's attestation papers.

From this document I learned that Joseph born in Quebec but was working as a labourer at a lumber camp in Prince Albert when he signed up on Mar 9 1918. He joined the Saskatchewan  Regiment of  the Canadian Mounted Rifles- perhaps he rode a horse in battle. He was 5' 5" tall with a dark complexion, hair and eyes. He wasn't married so he listed his father, a D. Babineau of Biddeford Maine, US as his next of kin. With those details I took another look at Ancestry and found a baptism for a Joseph Marc Babineau on Feb 14 1894, father Dominique Babineau and mother Flavie Patrey. Oddly the baptism lists Joseph's birth as the previous day but since baptismal records were the only record of birth in Quebec for many years perhaps the date was mistakenly recorded on his attestation papers. Or perhaps Joseph just preferred to celebrate his birthday on Valentine's day!

Like John Franklin Anderson, Joseph Babineau was killed a mere seven months after signing up and is also buried in France.

30 Days of Remembrance

On Facebook yesterday I saw a post from Canada Remembers, a branch of Veterans Affairs Canada. It is part of a promotion  surrounding Remembrance Day called 30 Ways to Remember. This particular post, Day 17 of the series, had this suggestion: 

Search the Honour Roll for the names of those Canadians who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Make a commitment to share a name every day on your social media channels for a month and remind your followers and friends about their sacrifice.

I shared the post on my page and even went so far as to click on the link which led to the Canadian Virtual Memorial featuring an Honour Roll of names of of soldiers who died on this day in service of their country.  The first name to jump out at me was a young man by the name of John Franklin Anderson.

In memory of
John Franklin Anderson
who died on October 29, 1918

Military Service:

Service Number: 3057483
Age: 28
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regiment)
Division: 38th Bn.

Additional Information:

Date and Place of Birth: July 13, 1890
Grave Reference:
C. 23.
Commemorated on Page 359 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

As it happens I also had open so I did a quick search for him and found his attestation papers.
From this I was able to discover that he was born in Warkworth Ontario and was married to Ellen Beatrice Anderson. He was 5' 5 1/2 " tall and had brown hair and grey eyes. He joined the army on March 20 of 1918 at Kingston. Just over 7 months later he was killed in action, presumably somewhere in France since he was buried in Nord.

Looking further, I found a marriage for John Franklin Anderson, to Ellen Beatrice Yule on Feb1 1918. He was married just six weeks when he joined the army and it's doubtful that he saw much of his young wife once he signed up.  Ellen Beatrice was just 18 when they married and a widow within a year. I was able to locate her on the newly indexed census of 1921, living with her parents, and a daughter Elizabeth Jean, born 1918. I haven't located an exact date of birth for Elizabeth but it's almost certain she never met her father.

War is full of stories like these. Hundreds of thousands of young men went off to fight in the great wars, many leaving wives and young children to whom they never returned. In my lifetime, all of the surviving veterans of WWI and, assuming I live that long, those of WWII, will all be gone. There will soon be no one left alive who remembers the fallen for the people they once were.

My plan for the next 30 days is to pick a name at random (alphabetical for the first 26 at least) and see what I can discover about their lives. I will post a name daily on my facebook page, and notes on whatever I can find about them here on my blog. It's not much but perhaps it will help a little to keep their memories alive.