Soldier Spotlight: Private Alfred Cox

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 1039075
Rank: Private
Branch: 239th Battalion, Canadian Railway Construction Corps; 6th Canadian Railway Troops

Alfred was born on May 30, 1882 in London, England. He filed on a homestead at 23-76-3-W6. When he enlisted on July 7, 1916, Alfred wrote in his will that he bequeathed all his real estate to “some wounded returned soldier, who wishes to file on a homestead.” Towards the end of the war, he suffered severely from flat feet. Alfred died in Edmonton on August 26, 1963.

Soldier Spotlight: Francis Victor Tanner

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: M45546
Date of Birth: 1 April 1921
Regiment: 29th Canadian Armoured Regiment

Enlisted in Grande Prairie, Alberta on 14 June 1940.

Francis Victor Tanner (known as Fran) was born in 1921 in Mazanod, Saskatchewan. In the late 1920s the family moved to Grande Prairie where his father prepared ice for the Grande Prairie Curling Club in the Wapiti Arena.This was his introduction to the world of sports. During the Depression, Fran and the local boys played hockey wherever a patch of ice could be found and cleared of snow. When World War II began, Fran enlisted in the South Alberta Regiment and served his country in A Squadron 29th Canadian Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment in NW Europe as a radio operator. He returned to Grande Prairie in 1945 and picked up his interest in sports again. During his first winter home, he was hired by Bill Bessent to help make ice and operate the arena. For a brief time Fran played hockey in the South Peace Hockey League, but he is remembered more as the sports broadcaster on CFGP. His career there began in 1952 as a transmitter operator but soon developed into almost 20 years of announcing hockey games’ play-by-play and providing game analysis and conducting interviews. The South Peace Hockey League recognized his popularity and contribution to hockey by awarding him The Most Valuable Player, and later he became the first media person to be recognized as a Grande Prairie Hockey Legend. Fran died in Grande Prairie March 27, 1984. Fran was a brother to Vera, wife of Jack Soars, who also became a CFGP radio personality.

Photograph: Don and Fran Tanner, 1943 (SPRA 364.01.03)

Fonds 364 Francis Victor Tanner fonds

Soldier Spotlight: George Hawke Hiffernan

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 101471
Rank: Private
Branch: 8th Battalion

George was born in County Cork, Ireland on July 1, 1887. He came to the Peace country in 1914 to help put up telegraph line. George enlisted in Lake Saskatoon in October of 1915. He was wounded twice during the war; a gunshot wound to his left thigh in September of 1916 at the Somme, and once again to his left leg in May of 1917. George’s leg was fractured when he was shot the second time, and after it had healed, his left leg was about 2.5 inches shorter than the right. In his discharge papers, George stated: “I may say I have never received reparation for my mother, whom I can honestly say needs the money. Otherwise I am quite satisfied with everything. I am my mother’s sole support.” George married an Englishwoman from Bristol, who came to Canada on the first ship carrying civilians to North America after the Armistice. He died on August 10, 1973 in Victoria.

Soldier Spotlight: Michael Cashaback

Photograph: Community reception for approximately 100 men in civilian and military clothing during World War II, 1942 (SPRA 1969.39.723)

 

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

The only son of Nicholas and Pauline Cashaback, Mike was born on November 15, 1919 in Cochrane, ON. He moved with his family from Ontario to Edmonton in the mid 1920s, and 2 years later to Esher (now Silverwood near Rycroft) where he received his education to grade 8. In 1941 Mike joined the Canadian Army as a blacksmith, but was employed as a cook. Later he became a provost (with the military police). Mike married Evelyn Betty Lamper on July 21, 1942. While in Holland, Mike was wounded on March 19, 1945 at Niemagen, and he sailed back to Canada on the hospital ship S.S. Nelson, returning to Silverwood. After the war, Mike tried farming, then worked as a blacksmith and in a lumberyard. In 1958 he became the Rycroft Village Policeman. The Cashaback family had 4 children by this time: Michael, Ozann, Gail, and Debra, and they moved to Grimshaw AB in 1962. There Mike continued police work until 1964, and began building houses for J. B. Tissington in Grimshaw and Peace River. When Evelyn Betty and Mike divorced in 1975, he moved to Madeira BC, keeping active in the Legion and Lions club. He passed away in Vancouver on November 9, 1981, and his ashes were spread on Pender Harbour, his favourite fishing spot.

Source:
Chepi Sepe p. 183 (photo)
Wheatfields and Wildflowers p. 461

Soldier Spotlight: Clement “Jim” Mead

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Rank: Captain
Branch: 49th Battalion

Clement “Jim” Mead was born in Balcombe, Sussex, England on July 25, 1880. He came to the South Peace in 1905; his filed on the following homesteads: 32-72-7-W6; 7-72-7-W6; 16-71-2-W6; 21-71-2-W6; 12-72-8-W6; 7-72-7-W6. In 1913, Jim married Kate Thompson. They had a daughter named Kathleen, born on March 14, 1915. Prior to serving in World War I, Jim had served in the Boer War. He secured a commission as a lieutenant in the 66th Battalion and was placed in command of the Grande Prairie contingent. In September of 1916 Jim was wounded in the foot. In August of 1917, he was awarded the Military Cross:

“Awarded the MILITARY CROSS for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when on command of a raiding company. He led his men with greatest courage and aggressiveness, reorganizing them in spite of severe casualties, and very largely contributes to the success of the raid.”

Jim was wounded a second time in October of 1917, this time receiving severe gunshot wounds to the face. He was killed in action in the trenches west of Lens on January 18, 1918.

Sources: Pioneers of the Peace p. 19-21; Lake Saskatoon Reflections p. 147-150, 181-183; newspaper clippings (see Jim’s biography on our Soldiers Memorial for more links)

Grande Prairie Herald ~ January 31, 1918

Soldier Spotlight: Daniel Rycroft

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Daniel Rycroft was born in Spirit River on October 24, 1924 to Helen and Robert Henry Rycroft. In 1928 the family left the area to eventually reside in Smoky Heights where Danny took all of his school. In November 1942, shortly after his eighteenth birthday, he enlisted in the RCAF. He was on duty overseas in 1944 when he was reported missing in action. A month later his mother received news that he was alive. His plane had been forced down but he had bailed out and had been taken in by a French family. The French underground were able to assist his return to England where he was hospitalized for a fractured spine and ribs. After returning home, he married Violet Spry in May 1945. They raised a family of six children: Loraine, Greg, Bill, Neil, Jean, and Jack. Danny became a grain buyer for National Grain Co. and then Alberta Wheat Pool for eighteen years. In 1974 he went to work for the County of Grande Prairie. Danny Rycroft died on April 13, 2011.

Photograph: Home on a Christmas leave in Sexsmith, 1944. Picture taken at Sexsmith Train Station. From Left: Ross, Hawkstead, J. Johnson, Danny Rycroft, Sorken. (SPRA 292.02.06)

Read about the Daniel Rycroft fonds here at the Archives

View photographs from Daniel’s collection

Soldier Spotlight: James & Dorothy Eastman

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 19393
Rank: Private
Branch: 9th Battalion; 14th Battalion; 1st Division Cycle Company; Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion

James was born in Grenfell, Saskatchewan in March of 1899. He later moved to the Edmonton area with his parents. In order to enlist in the Canadian army in 1914, James lied about his age, stating that he had been born in 1896. In September of 1915 James was put in confinement to await trial for having left his post before being relieved. He was sentenced to six months of hard labor; however, this order was revoked in October.  James was engaged in the battle of the Somme, the Second Battle of Ypres, Passchendaele, Mons, and Vimy Ridge, and was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery. This award was noted in the London Gazette on March 11, 1919.

At some point, possibly while on leave, James met Miss Dorothy Margaret Thomas, a Red Cross volunteer, in London (see a page from her Red Cross records above).  Dorothy was an Englishwoman, born in London on September 19, 1901.  They were married in the parish church of St. Barnabas Southfields in London in March of 1919.  Following the wedding, the sailed for Canada and eventually made their way to the South Peace.  In 1923, James filed on a homestead at SE34-70-11-W6, near Halcourt.  They remained on the farm for many years and raised seven children.

When World War II was declared in 1939, James once again volunteered to serve.  This time he served as a sergeant of the detention barracks in England.

James died in Halcourt on October 4, 1964.  After his death, Dorothy moved to Victoria.  She died there on July 7, 1990.

Source: Beaverlodge to the Rockies p. 340

A page from James’s military service file (Library & Archives Canada). The note at the bottom reads: “Man says feet do not bother him except on standing on hard pavement any length of time.  Feet flattened but no disability on marching 8 or 10 miles.  After that they tired and ache.”

Soldier Spotlight: Helen Mary “Nellie” Craig

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Force: R. C. A. F. (W. D.)

Nellie Craig was born in Scotland in 1920 to parents James and Sibella (Muir) Craig. With her parents and 3 siblings she immigrated to Canada and settled in the Peace River Country in 1930. The parents rented farms in the Wembley area for 13 years, and the children attended Hermit Lake School and the Klondyke Trail School. Both Nellie and her brother, Charlie, served in World War II. Nellie enlisted in June 1942 with the Women’s Air Force, and she was posted in Davidson, Saskatchewan and Penhold, Alberta in the Post Office Division. Previously, Helen had worked at the Wembley post office for 3 years. Upon her discharge in May 1945, Helen worked as the secretary for the Assistant Minister of Education in Edmonton. In November 1948 she married James Coulson, and the couple had two children: Tom and Maureen. Nellie died at age 85 in May 2006 in Edmonton.

Photograph: The Craig family, from Along the Wapiti, p. 213

Source:
Along the Wapiti p. 213 (story & photograph); p. 412 (Name in WWII Veterans list)
Lake Saskatoon Reflections p. 122-124
AGS website – Obituary Index

Soldier Spotlight: Philias Durand

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 736927
Rank: Private
Branch: 43rd Battalion

Philias was born on June 17, 1888 in Wotton, Wolfe County, Quebec. It is unknown when he first came out west.  In 1913, there was an explosion in the mine where Philias was working in Fernie, British Columbia. His skull was fractured and he suffered from headaches as a result; not surprisingly, the headaches worsened after joining the army. Philias was wounded at Vimy Ridge in January of 1917; he fractured the middle finger of his right hand and there was shrapnel in his right elbow and left leg. He was also struck in the head and was unconscious for four hours after being wounded and had two fits on the way to England. Philias was sent to a convalescent home in Edmonton, and discharged on November 30, 1917. Numerous disabilities were listed on his discharge paper: loss of function in his right hand, dizziness, pains in his head, poor memory, fits, nervousness, and weakness in his left leg. In the board’s opinion, Philias was mentally deficient. After discharge, in 1918, he settled in the Elmworth area (3-70-11-W6) with his Irish wife. Philias died on February 26, 1962 at the Shaughnessy Hospital, Vancouver.

Philias’s entire military service file has been digitized by Library & Archives Canada.

A page from Philias’s military service file (Library & Archives Canada)

Soldier Spotlight: Frederick Bruce Albright

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Service Number: R76714
Force: Air
Regiment: Royal Canadian Air Force
Rank: Flight Sergeant

Bruce Albright was born March 2, 1914, the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Albright of Beaverlodge, AB. At age 26 in 1940 he enlisted in the RCAF as a pilot, and was stationed in Yorkton, SK. On August 16, 1941 Bruce was given his wings. He was sent overseas and took part in at least two big German raids. According to a news article, Bruce was captain of a Wellington bomber, and promoted to Flight Sergeant on June 1, 1941. It is believed that he was killed in action on June 2, 1942 while being east of Brussels in Belgium. Bruce was the first communicant of the United Church in Beaverlodge to give his life in WWII.  He is remembered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Source: Grande Prairie Herald Aug. 28, 1941; Sept. 4, 1941; Aug 27, 1942; Nov. 25, 1943; Beaverlodge High Year Book 1947-48 p.26

Photograph: Bruce Albright and his woodpile, 1928