Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful idea! I am just catching up now with your posts. Bless you for this.