Sunday, November 24, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance - Day 24 - Arthur Zimmerman

In memory of
Arthur Zimmerman
who died on November 9, 1917 

Military Service:

Service Number: 838216
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment)
Division: 58th Battalion

Additional Information:

Date and Place of Birth: January 6, 1893
Cemetery: BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY; Pas de Calais, France
Grave Reference: VIII. I. 115.
Commemorated on Page 355 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

Arthur Zimmerman was born in Wiarton ON, on Jan 6  1893. According to the 1901 census, his parents David Zimmerman and Mary Siep were both of German descent and Arthur and his siblings, Clara and Harvey were raised in the Lutheran faith. Shortly after that census, Mary Siep died and David Zimmerman remarried in 1904, to another German woman, Albertina Schroeder. David and Albertina had 4 children, half siblings to Arthur but it appears they didn't have a close relationship. On his attestation papers in Dec of 1915, Arthur Zimmerman listed his sister Clara as his next of kin.

 The Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919 record gives little information about the death Arthur Zimmerman other than he died of wounds at No. 13 General Hospital in Boulogne, France.
I could find no images for Arthur Zimmerman or his burial place but I located a few photos of the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery including this note:

On high ground overlooking the valley in which the town is situated. Boulogne was one of 3 Base ports most extensively used by the British Armies on the Western Front. Records 4696 UK, 438 Canadian, 307 Australian, 74 New Zealand, 38 British West Indies, 15 South African, 4 New Foundland 2 Bermuda and 4 Egyptian burials.

courtesy of

 Arthur Zimmerman died November 9, 1917

Saturday, November 23, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance- Day 24 - Theodore George Young

In memory of
Theodore George Young
who died on November 23, 1918 

Military Service:

Service Number: 3214692
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regiment)
Division: 21st Reserve Bn.

Additional Information:

Date and Place of Birth: March 12, 1884
Cemetery: BODELWYDDAN (ST. MARGARET) CHURCHYARD; Flintshire, United Kingdom
Grave Reference: 468.
Commemorated on Page 527 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

Unlike most of the soldiers I've researched, Theodore George Young was drafted to the Canadian forces, and signed up in Edmonton AB in June1918. At 34 he was considerably older as well. 

Theodore George Young was born in York (Toronto) on March 12 1884, to Samuel Young and Catherine Louisa Einboden. I was able to find him on the 1891 and 1901 Canadian census still in Toronto with his parents and 8 siblings but by 1911 he was no longer living at home and there are no Theo's and  far too many George Young's to be certain which, if any are him.

Theodore Young passed his army physical in July of 1918 and was presumably sent overseas shortly after. Without access to more of his military records it's impossible to know if he ever saw combat. Thirteen days after the armistice on 11 November,  Theodore Young died of influenza and cardiac arrest and was buried in a parish churchyard in Wales, UK.

Theodore George Young died November 23, 1818

Thursday, November 21, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance - Day 23 - James Joseph Wheeler

In memory of
James Joseph Wheeler
who died on November 21, 1916 

Military Service:

Service Number: 1432
Force: Army
Unit: Royal Newfoundland Regiment
Division: 1st Bn.

Additional Information:

Son of John Thomas and Agnus Wheeler. Native of Torbay, Newfoundland.
Cemetery: GROVE TOWN CEMETERY; Somme, France
Grave Reference: II. K. 25.
Commemorated on Page 129 of the Newfoundland Book of Remembrance.

In my lifetime Newfoundland has always been a province of Canada so it feels odd to think of a time when it wasn't.  It becomes very apparent however when searching for records; the Canadian military records from WWI don't include Newfoundland. James Joseph Wheeler was born in St John's Newfoundland about 1892 but a search of Ancestry left me with very little. A google search for Newfoundland military WWI brought up a multitude of websites

From a History of Newfoundland by Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College
In proportion to wealth and population, Newfoundland's contribution in the First World War was outstanding. Approximately 8,500 men were enrolled, nearly 7,000 in the Newfoundland Regiment and Forestry Corps, the remainder in the Royal Navy. Casualties were extremely high. In the Newfoundland Regiment about 1,300 were killed and over 2,300 wounded; of those who enlisted in the Royal Navy about 180 lost their lives and 125 were invalided home.
The most useful site for my purposes turned out to be The Newfoundland and the Great War database. There I was able to find an entire file on James Joseph Wheeler, including his Newfoundland Regiment attestation papers.

In the files was several communication to James' parents, John and Agnes Wheeler, including one that indicated that he had been wounded on  Oct 12, 1916 but remained on duty.

I also located a service record for James Wheeler which indicated that he served 1 year, 219 day before dying of wounds to the arm, leg and chest.

His parents received a notice dated Nov 23 1916 to inform them that their son was gravely wounded; sadly James had already succumbed to his wounds and another notice was sent on Nov 28 to inform them of the death of their son James Joseph Wheeler.

James Joseph Wheeler was buried in Somme, France. His parents received a photo of his  grave marker.

It was later replaced by a more permanent marker bearing the Moose Emblem of the Newfoundland Battalion.

James Joseph Wheeler died Nov 21, 1916

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance- Day 22 - Walter Harry George Varney

In memory of
Walter Harry George Varney
who died on November 21, 1916 

Military Service:

Service Number: 163162
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment)
Division: 73rd Bn.

Additional Information:

Date and Place of Birth: December 27, 1896
Son of George and Frances Elizabeth Varney, of 10, Pendrith St., Toronto.
Grave Reference: VI. D. 15.
Commemorated on Page 176 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

Walter Harry George Varney joined the Canadian Forces on Sept 7 1915. According to his attestation papers, Walter Varney was born Dec 27 1896, in St Albans's, Hertfordshire, England. 

Walter gave his father George Varney as next of kin, with an address of 10 Pendrith St, Toronto. I couldn't locate the family on the 1911 Canadian census, although there were several other Varney families living on Pendrith St in 1911. A quick look at immigration records located a likely record, with 15 year old Walter Harry Varney arriving at Quebec, accompanied by his parents George and Francis Eliz Varney and 5 siblings, all bound for Toronto in Aug of 1913.
Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935,

Walter Varney was barely in Toronto for 2 years before joining the Canadian Forces but he obviously made strong ties in his new home, with two separate news articles reporting his death.

 Toronto Evening Telegram,  December 4th, 1916.   
Records from  Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919 for W H G Varney confirm his death from multiple wounds.

Walter Harry George Varney died Nov 21, 1916

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance - Day 21- Kenneth Urquhart

In memory of
Lance Corporal
Kenneth Urquhart
who died on November 18, 1916 

Military Service:

Service Number: 145006
Age: 19
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment)
Division: "A" Coy. 87th Bn.

Additional Information:

Date and Place of Birth: August 10, 1896
Son of Kenneth J. and Mina Urquhart, of Williamstown, Glengarry Co., Ontario.
Cemetery: REGINA TRENCH CEMETERY; Somme, France
Grave Reference: I. E. 3.
Commemorated on Page 176 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

Researching Kenneth Urquhart took me me through some strange twists and weird coincidences. It started out normally enough with his attestation papers. Kenneth Urquhart, birth date given as Aug 10, 1896, joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary forces at Cornwall ON, on Aug 16, 1915. He listed his father, Kenneth John Urquhart of Williamstown ON as his next of kin.

The first record for Kenneth Urquhart I located on Ancestry was the 1901 census for Glengarry ON, which listed his parents Kenneth J and Mina, as well as 3 younger siblings. The 1911 had them in the same district with a total of 10 children.  On both censuses Kenneth the younger's birth year was given as 1897. I searched for a birth record but couldn't find an exact fit until I took a closer look at one record that didn't have a first name listed. It did however list the parents names as Kenneth  J Urquhart and Mina Robertson.

The record was  mistakenly transcribed as being from Parry Sound ON but a closer look at the actual image showed that it was clearly from Glengarry. The main discrepancy however was the date of birth didn't match the one given on the attestation papers- not only was the year 1897 but the month was given as May 10, rather than Aug 10. I was about to give it up as a lost cause when I noticed something curious. A second listing for Urquhart with no first name given, this one a baby girl, with different parents (William and Margaret) and a date of birth of August 10, 1897. Although it would never pass genealogical proof standards, I'm convinced that the two Urquhart babies have their birth dates switched in this record, and the record for the  unnamed son of Kenneth J and Mina is indeed that of Kenneth.

The only other military record I could find for Kenneth Urquhart on Ancestry is from Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919. Under Cause and Place of Death it notes "Previously reported missing, now reported Killed in Action"
Under Place of Burial there are many notes in different hands and ink that seem to contradict each other so as a last resort I search for Kenneth Urquhart WWI using google and came up with something that seemed to make no sense at all!

From a website called WWI Cemeteries

Flying Officer Kenneth Robertson URQUHART. Royal Canadian Air Force, attached RAF, aged 23. Son of Kenneth and Mina Robertson Urquhart of Williamstown, Ontario, Canada.

And the following image:
Since Kenneth Urquhart was born in 1897, and had died in WWI, this couldn't be the same person but the parents were the same! I searched the Honour Roll for Kenneth Robertson Urquhart and there he was

In memory of
Flying Officer
Kenneth Robertson Urquhart
who died on July 19, 1944

Military Service:

Service Number: J/28220
Age: 23
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division:138 (R.A.F.) Sqdn

Additional Information:

Son of Kenneth Urqhart and Mina Robertson Urquhart, of Williamstown, Ontario.
Grave Reference: Coll. grave 1.
Commemorated on Page 467 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. 
A family grave marker gives Kenneth Robertson's year of birth as 1921, 5 years after his elder brother died. Their parents Kenneth and Mina Urquhart lost two sons named Kenneth, born  24 years apart, to two different world wars. Both brothers are buried in France.

Monday, November 18, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance - Day 20 - Austin Thomas

In memory of
Austin Thomas
who died on November 18, 1916 

Military Service:

Service Number: 127539
Age: 19
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regiment)
Division: 54th Bn.

Additional Information:

Date and Place of Birth: March 4, 1897
Son of the late Mrs. Kate M. Thomas.
VIMY MEMORIAL; Pas de Calais, France
Commemorated on Page 172 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

Austin Thomas couldn't wait to join the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Forces. According to his Attestation papers he was 18 years and 8 months when he signed up on Nov 1 1915

His birth record however shows that he was actually born on March 4, 1900, to William Austin Thomas and Kate Everleigh, in Parry Sound ON. His true age at the time of joining was just 15 years old!

Austin's father William Thomas passed away in 1912 of a cerebral hemorrhage when Austin was just 12. As the youngest child of 4, Austin likely felt the need to grow up quickly and what better way to prove that you are capable of adult responsibility than to give your life for your country?

I didn't locate a Circumstance of Casualty record for Austin Thomas and his record in the CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919 only lists that he was killed in action and is listed on the Vimy Memorial.

 Austin Thomas died November 18, 1916. He was 16 years old.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance- Day 19 - George Saville

In memory of
George Saville
who died on November 17, 1915 

Military Service:

Service Number: 412867
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment)
Division: 13th Bn.

Additional Information:

Date and Place of Birth: November 21, 1894
Grave Reference: I. B. 17.
Commemorated on Page 35 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

George Saville was born Nov 21 1894 in Leeds, England to Edward Saville and Lily Allison. In the 1901 UK census George, along with his parents and 2 sibling were still living in Leeds but in 1903 the family had moved to Canada. On the 1911 Canadian census for Mariposa township, ON, I found Edward and Lily Saville with 6 younger children; 16 year old George was working as a hired hand  for near-by neighbours.

According to his Attestation papers, George Saville signed up to go overseas in Feb 1915 at Lindsay ON. He was 20 years old and working as a farmer.

A few months later in July of 1915, his father Edward Saville also joined the Canadian Forces, at 41 years of age! Father and son were assigned to same battalion.

A clipping from an unidentified newspaper tells of the death of George Saville:

Oakwood, Dec 13 - Pte George Saville son of Mr and Mrs. E Saville of this village was killed by a German sniper on November 18th according to word received here. he was out collect fuel for a fire to cook breakfast, when he was discovered by one of the enemy's snipers and shot. Owing to its being daylight, he could not move until evening and lived only 3 hours after he was brought in.Pte Saville's father is also at the front in the same company as was his son.

 George Saville's Circumstance of Casualty record tells a slightly different version:

George Saville died November 17, 1915.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance - Day 18 - Stanley Arthur Rutledge

In memory of
Stanley Arthur Rutledge
who died on November 16, 1917 

Military Service:

Age: 26
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Flying Corps
Division: 28th Bn. and Royal Flying Corps.

Additional Information:

Date and Place of Birth: December 24, 1890 Fort William, Ontario, Canada
Date and Place of Enlistment: September 23, 1915 Montreal, Québec, Canada
Son of Edward S. and Anna J. Rutledge, of Fort William, Ontario.
Cemetery: HARLAXTON (SS. MARY AND PETER) CHURCHYARD; Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
Grave Reference: North of Chancel.
Commemorated on Page 320 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

Unlike the more recent subjects, there are many records available for Stanley Rutledge. For a relatively young man, he had accomplished much even before joining the Canadian forces in Sept 1915.

According to his Ontario birth registration , Stanley Rutledge was born on Christmas Eve 1889, to Edward Rutledge and Anna Jane Thibeaudeau  in Fort William (now Thunder Bay) ON,  He had several older sister and a young brother Wilfred. Both brothers were members of the 96th Lake Superior Regt before joining the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary force. The Rutledge brothers were quick to sign up: Wilfred joined in Oct 1914, Stanley followed a year later in Sept 1915, after graduating from Queens University in Kingston and completing two years of law school at Osgood Hall in Toronto.

According to an obituary published in the Toronto Star Dec 3 1917, Stanley Rutledge served 18 months overseas with the Princess Pats before singing up with the Royal Flying Corp.

Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919 for S A Rutledge confirms his death as accidental, without giving any additional detail.
Stanley Arthur Rutledge died Nov 16, 1917. His name is inscribed on the First World War Memorial at Osgood Hall.

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance- Day 17 - John Quick

In memory of
John Quick
who died on November 14, 1917 

Military Service:

Service Number: 440544
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment)
Division: 52nd Bn.

Additional Information:

Grave Reference: Panel 24 - 26 - 28 - 30
Commemorated on Page 312 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

I almost skipped the letter "Q". There are very few names on the Honour Roll that begin with Q and none on Nov 15. But I did locate the above John Quick and once I started looking at him things got really intriguing and I decided his story, or what little I can find of it, deserved to be told.

As usual I looked for his attestation papers: there were several John Quicks listed at Soldiers of the First World War  but only one had the matching Service number. Oddly there was no Attestation papers nor date of birth with John Quick's file but there was an entry under Other Name: McGregor, Richard. so I did a second search using that name and came up with a a similar file, with the names reversed but still no further info. Very odd and not much help.

With little to go on I did a search on Ancestry by entering John Quick, his date and location of death  and lived in Manitoba (from his regiment listed above.). I went straight to military records and found a Circumstances of Casualty record for him.

In the box for circumstances of casualty it reads " This soldier enlisted under an assumed name, for full particulars see sheet for 440544, Pte MacGregor, R."

So I returned to Ancestry and searched the same methods as above for Richard Mac/McGregor. Again I found a Circumstances of Casualty record:

But instead of clearing up the confusion, this record only deepens it! In the circumstances box it reads "Previously reported Missing, believed killed, now for official purposes assumed to have died."  Location : Trenches of Passchendaele, Date: on or since Nov 14, 1917.  But the really mysterious part is the handwritten in ink note that reads: "Not a Fatal Casualty See Regtl Document Envelope"

So what does this all mean? Did John Quick, aka Richard MacGregor die at Passchendaele but his body was never recovered? Did he survive but die elsewhere? There is no mention of Richard MacGregor on the Honour Roll so the latter seems unlikely.  Without an approximate age I can find nothing of him on Ancestry that sheds any light on who he was or when he died.

The few clues from his military records don't lead anywhere I can access online. Perhaps one day I'll see what I can uncover at Library and Archives Canada. Until then, John Quick/ Richard MacGregor remains a mystery!

30 Days of Remembrance - Day 16 - Arthur Stacey Payne

In memory of
Lance Corporal
Arthur Stacy Payne
who died on November 14, 1920 

Military Service:

Service Number: 681577
Age: 33
Force: Army
Unit: Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment)
Division: 58th Bn.

Additional Information:

Husband of Ada Elizabeth Payne, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference:
Veterans 922.
Commemorated on Page 552 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

At first glance it appeared that Arthur Stacy Payne wasn't actually a casualty of war, since he died in 1920 in a Toronto Hospital. I found his attestation papers which showed that he signed up for the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary force on March 27 1916. So it would seem likely that he saw some combat action.

Searching for Arthur Payne on Ancestry left me a bit puzzled. I found a tree that seemed to match with the correct wife (as well as a number of children and step children), but no sources. I decided to use the FreeBMD site to look for a birth registration for Arthur that matched his date of birth of  June 17, 1887 and came up with this:

Surname   Given Name   District   Volume   Page   Transcriber  

Births Sep 1887

PAYNE Arthur Stacey Lewes 2b 177 radiomick

This site does not give detail and the dates are by quarter so the registration for Arthur Stacey Payne's birth could have occurred anytime in the 3 months prior (and the actual birth even earlier) but it seemed like I was on the right track. I couldn't locate a baptism however so no help with parents names. I went back to Ancestry to see what I could find on Arthur's marriage and wife. I had no luck with a marriage but I found what looked to be the correct family on the 1911 Canadian census living in Halifax, Nova Scotia - Arthur Pane born July 1887, his wife Elizabeth b 1880, a daughter Mary 4 months, and a stepson Vincent Fagan. Arthur is listed as born in England, immigration year 1907. Elizabeth and both children are listed as born in Nova Scotia. So far it all seemed plausible and fit the tree to a point. I had a look for other children and found an Arthur Henry Payne b 1913 in Toronto to Arthur Payne and Ada Elizabeth Waterman which lined up with the other info I had but one little detail stood out- the birth registration indicated that the parents were married in England in 1912, a year after Mary's birth. Back to the Free BMD and found a registration for the marriage in Lewes, Sussex, in the April - June quarter, 1912.

 I decided to go looking for Ada Elizabeth Payne in 1921 to see if there were more children and this is where things got muddled. The only census record that seem to fit was also in Halifax but under the last name of Payne there were 2 entries- an A.S. Payne, (initials only) head of the family, born England age 34 and E Payne, wife, 42, born Nova Scotia. There were no Payne children listed but there was a stepson, V. Fagan, age 14, all of which fit the 1911 census but not the death of Arthur in 1920! I'm left with a mystery.

Arthur Stacey Payne's Circumstances of Casualty record shows only that he died at Davisville Hospital in Toronto and was buried in Prospect Cemetery.

 but the Ontario Death registration shows that he died of cardiac failure as a result of sub-acute endocarditis  which he had suffered from for 3 years and likely contracted during the war.

 Arthur Stacey Payne died Nov 14, 1920

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance - Day 15 - Albert Hugo Oder

In memory of 
Albert Hugo Oder 
who died on November 13, 1917

Military Service:

Service Number:
Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment)
54th Bn.

Additional Information:

Son of Gustave and Jenny Oder; husband of Ella McLoughlin (formerly Oder), of Hamilton, Ontario.
Grave Reference:
Panel 18 - 24 - 26 - 30
Commemorated on Page 303 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

On his attestation papers, Albert Hugo Oder gave his birthdate at Sept 3, 1897 when he joined the Canadian on Nov 23 1915, in Hamilton ON, He listed his occupation as a glassblower, and his next of kin as his father Gustave Oder.

However, a quick look at his birth record from Ancestery reveals that he was actually born Sept 3 1899, to Gustave Oder and Jennie Wilson making him just 16 when he signed up.

On Feb 3 1917, Albert married Ella Ince. Both parties are listed as 18 although Albert was still 7 months shy of his eighteenth birthday.

Albert Hugo Oder was killed in action at Passchendaele, on Nov 13, 1917. 

He was finally 18 years old.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

30 Day of Remembrance- Day 14 - Dominick Naplava

In memory of 
Dominick Naplava 
who died on November 12, 1917

Military Service:

Service Number:
Canadian Pioneers
107th Canadian Pioneer Battalion.

Additional Information:

Date and Place of Birth:
February 11, 1892
Son of Josef and Kristina Naplava, of Zadovice, Morava, Czechoslovakia.
Grave Reference:
Levi Cottage Mem. 2.
Commemorated on Page 300 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.

Unlike all of the previous soldiers I've researched, Dominick Naplava was neither Canadian nor UK born. According to his Attestation papers, Dominick was born in Zadovice, Moravia, Bohemia,one of the historical Czech lands which became part of Czechoslovakia after 1918, (and currently Czech Republic).
How Dominick came to join the Canadian Forces is a bit of a mystery. Searching on Ancestry gave me 3 possible immigration records that seemed likely; a Dominick Zaplava born 1892 in Moravia, left Germany and arrived in Galveston Texas in May of 1911, and again in Feb 1914. I haven't found anything to indicate how or when he arrived in Canada but he signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg in 1917.

Dominick was killed in action near Wieltje, Belgium and buried in the Levi Cottage Cemetery.

Sadly his grave was completely destroyed by shell fire so Dominick Naplava is memorialized at the Tyne Cot Cemetery.

Dominick Naplava died Nov 12, 1917

Monday, November 11, 2013

30 Days of Remembrance- Nov 11, 2013 - Remembering the Great War

At the start of WWI in 1914, the Dominion of Canada had existed for not quite 50 years. Newfoundland was still a British colony. The population of the remaining 9 provinces was about 8 million at that time. 

During the next 5 years 619,363 men and women served in the Canadian forces, more than 400,000 of those overseas. 66,655 of them died during the conflict, about 1 in 10 and another 172 950 were injured.

Pte. George Lawrence Price of Moose Jaw Saskatchewan (born Dec 15 1892  in King's County Nova Scotia) was killed in action, two minutes before the armistice went into effect, at 10:58 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. He was the last known soldier of the Commonwealth to die in WWI

The last Canadian veteran of WW1 John Henry Foster Babcock, (Born July 23, 1900 in Lober township, near Kingston ON) died in February 2010 at the age of 109. 

John Babcock, 1920 - from wikipedia

Sources-, .CBC