Flipping through the pages of the recent publication, “Lest We Forget, a book of short biographies of men who fought in the Great War with connections to Kennebec and Olden Townships,” by Malcolm Sampson and Rhonda Noble, it becomes clear how present the war was to the lives of people in rural Ontario communities at the time. The biographies tell the basics of what happened to the men who left and either returned physically intact, with injuries that impacted the rest of their lives, or did not come back at all. It also shows how the war’s impact on their lives has reverberated in the local communities in the 100 year since the war ended.
To mark 100 years since the end of the war, we are printing a selection of excerpts from those biographies.
CRAIN, George, was born in Oso Township on July 29, 1894. He enlisted on May 6, 1916 at Sharbot Lake and gave his father, who lived at Clarendon Station as next of kin. He was single and gave his occupation as a farmer. After training, he sailed to Europe on the SS ‘Southland’ in September 1916, arriving at Liverpool on October 6, 1916. On August 25, 1917 he was wounded and taken to the 3rd Australian Hospital at Abberville, France He eventually made it back to the 20th Battalion on April 9, 2918. On October 18, 1918 he was again wounded, gunshot wounds to his right thigh and shrapnel wounds to his right arm. After recovery he returned to Canada and was discharged at Kingston, Ontario on February 17, 1919. After the war George returned to the Elphin area and farmed. He never married and died on February 2, 1986.
BEVERLEY, George Francis. George was born July 9th, 1895. He attested March 9th, 1916 and his occupation was a farmer. His next of kin was Francis H. Beverley, his fatherHe joined the 146th Battalion and while overseas he served with the 4th Canadian Mounted Regiment. He was wounded at Vimy Ridge in the right knee on December 20th, 1916 and transferred to England. He spent 3-1/2 months in England and sailed for Canada on SS‘Letitia’ on May 13th, 1917 and reached Halifax on May 23rd, 1917. He convalesced in Kingston and was discharged January 31st, 1918. He died September 5th, 1969 and is buried in Mountain Grove.
LOYST, Roy, Private was born in Arden on November 8, 1896. His father was Christopher and his mother was Addie. Addie died in 1899 and Roy was raised by his grandparents, Christopher and Sara Boomhower. He sailed for Europe on September 22, 1915 and was reported missing in France on June 21, 1916. On the 28th of June the report changed to “wounded and missing”. He was finally reported as “killed in action ”February 16, 1917 at only 19 years old. Although he had given his next of kin as his grandparents, his war service medals were sent to Mr. W.S.C. Loyst of Arden, his brother. His name is commemorated on the Menin Gate in France.
LEWIS, David “Austin”, Private was born 27th August 1885 in Olden Township. He was the son of George Lewis and Margaret (nee Laidley). When he attested on January 17, 1916 he worked as a farmer. He enlisted with the 146th Battalion and sailed to Europe on the SS ‘Southland’ from Halifax on September 25, 1916 arriving in England October 6, 1916. He was sent to France December 1, 1916. In June of 1917 he was serving with the 4th Canadian Mounted Regiment when he died of shrapnel wounds to his arms and chest on the 4th June 1917 at age 31. He is buried at Bruay Cemetery in France. e. Austin was the second son of George and Margaret to die within 2 months of each other. The cenotaph in Mountain Grove indicates that he was gassed.
MEEKS, Archie, was born in Cloyne on August 18, 1897. His parents were Ian and Annie Meeks. When he attested at Flinton on January 17, 1916 he was 18 years and 5 months old. He went overseas with the 146th Battalion on September 25, 1916 on the SS ‘Southland’. He served as a machine gunner and on April 9, 1917 at Vimy Ridge was shot in the head and was blinded. He returned to Canada and spent time in Queen Military Hospital and was discharged on September 27, 1919 and received a $20 monthly pension for his wounds for the rest of his life. He married Azeta Lyons and they had eight children, 5 girls and 3 boys and lived in the Northbrook/Cloyne area. He died on November 11, 1965 at 11:00 am while the 1 minute silence was being observed, according to family members. Archie was a founding member of the Northbrook Legion, Branch 328.
PALMATEER, Marshall Bidwell was born in Kennebec Township on March 18, 1893 to Jacob Palmateer and Elizabeth Martha Larabee. He attested on January 14, 1916 and went into the 146th Battalion. He was single, his occupation was a labourer He sailed to England on the SS ‘Southland’, arriving October 6, 1916 and on October 6th, 1916 was transferred to the 95th Battalion. On February 17, 1917 he was transferred again to the 20th Battalion and sent to France. Marshall was reported killed in action on August 18, 1917 and is buried at Aix-Noulette in France.
PARKER, Clare. Clare was born May 22, 1894 in Olden Township. His parents were Alexander (Alec) and Edith Parker. When he attested on August 16, 1915, he gave his occupation as a farmer. He served first with the 2nd Reserve Depot and later with the 1st Brigade, Canadian Field Artillary. While in France he was reporetd wounded in the face and right shoulder and arm on May 2, 1917. He healed and went back to action and while serving with the Field Artillary was killed in action on October 1, 1918 just 6 weeks prior to the Armistice. He was 24 years old and is buried at Haynecourt British Cemetary in France.
SELMAN, Norman Curtis. Norman used his middle name Curtis. He was born in Kennebec Township on March 27, 1888. When he enlisted on December 23, 1915 he was living in Harlowe. He listed his mother, Jane Anne Selman as next of kin; she was living in Northbrook. He was single, his occupation was a farmer. and he had previous experience with the 47th Militia. He joined the 146th Battalion and sailed on the SS ‘Southland’ to England on September 25, 1916. When he arrived in France he was transferred to the 20th Battalion. He was reported “missing” at Passchendaele on November 12, 1917. The report was later updated to reflect that he had, in fact, been captured and was a prisoner of war. Later reports showed him at P.O.W. camps at Dulmer or Dalmen, Westfalen and Brandenberg. Records dated January 8, 1919 shows “Now released, arrived at Ripon, England, January 4, 1919”. He was later returned to Canada and was discharged on May 14, 1919.