Soldier Spotlight: Private Benjamin Gray

Image: Log house of B. T. and J. S. Gray. Crooked Creek, Alberta, August 16, 1933. Photographed by W. D. Albright. (SPRA 362.02.13.45)

Regimental Number: 160810
Rank: Private
Branch: 82nd Battalion

Benjamin was born in Wingham, Ontario on November 7, 1888. He was a furniture dealer when he enlisted in the Canadian army in 1915. At that time he was residing in Bassano, Alberta with his wife Matilda. He joined the Nova Scotia Machine Gun section and went overseas with the 82nd Battalion from Calgary and later was transferred to the 25th Nova Scotians. Benjamin was injured on April 9, 1917 at Vimy Ridge. He was shot on his right side shattering a part of his arm and breaking two ribs. He was transported to a hospital where he was treated; the wounds healed but the bones in his arm did not and he eventually was sent back to Canada. There they continued to work on his arm. He had an operation but the bones would not mend and in 1918 they amputated his arm. Benjamin settled in the Clarkson Valley and DeBolt district a few miles east of Crooked Creek and was known for the wonderfully constructed buildings on his farm. His homestead was located at S1/2 19-75-9-W6. Benjamin farmed and for a short time had a store on the farm. He opened the store on June 15, 1934. Benjamin died at the age of 58 on September 4, 1938.

Sources: Tales, Trails & Gumbo p. 449

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this 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.

Soldier Spotlight: Alfred Cecil Carder

Image: Farmstead at Beaverlodge Experimental Station showing house, gardens, barn and windmill, 1928 (SPRA 107.60)

Rank: Private
Force: Canadian Army

Born in Calgary on April 20, 1910, Al Carder was the fourth of 5 children of John and Harriet Carder. He grew up in the farm area of Cloverdale, BC, and as a young boy was fascinated with plants. In 1935 he had earned his BA and BSc from the University of British Columbia, and found employment at the Experimental Station in Beaverlodge, AB. When the war broke out, he joined the Canadian Army in 1941, and became a private with the Light Anti-Aircraft Division. Mostly he was shooting down enemy planes. Discharged in 1946, Al returned to work in field husbandry at Beaverlodge, later working in forage crop and weed control. Taking a leave from the Experimental Station, he earned his MSc from McGill University in 1948. In 1950 he met his future wife, Mary Elizabeth Wedd Tidman. They were married in 1954 in her hometown of Petersfield, England, and returned to Beaverlodge. The Carders had 3 children who were born there: Judith, Mary-Clare, and Andrew. Also in 1954, Al earned his PhD from University of Wisconsin, and concentrated his studies in the new science of agro-climatology, and his research was on plant responses to climate effects. He received the Canada’s Centennial Medal from the Canadian Department of Agriculture. Al and Mary moved to Cordova Bay (near Victoria BC) in 1970. In his retirement, Al was active in hiking, building a cottage, and doing more research. He wrote and published books about giant trees, and was bestowed the Ancient Forest Alliance’s Forest Sustainability Award. Mary passed away in 2008, and Al died on December 21, 2014, in Victoria at the age of 104.

Source: Family and Personal Life Reference files – GP Archives
Beaverlodge to the Rockies pp. 91-92

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this 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.

Soldier Spotlight: Lieutenant Delmar Pratt

Image: Group men in front of Selkirk Trading Company includes: Ike Nelson (young man at the door with white shirt and tie), Alex Wishart driving the team, Delmar Pratt sitting beside Mr. Wishart. (Could be Tom Paul in back of the wagon) 1915 (SPRA 024.01.09.57)

Regimental Number: 467208
Rank: Lieutenant
Branch: 63rd Battalion; 5th Reserve Battalion; 15th Reserve Battalion

Delmar was born on August 2, 1889 in Carleton County, Ontario. In 1913 he came to the South Peace and filed on NE 12-71-6-W6 (after the war, he also filed on SE 20-71-4-W6). In addition to homesteading, he worked in the Grande Prairie post office. Delmar enlisted in the RNWMP in August 1914. In September of 1915, he enlisted in the Canadian army. Delmar was wounded in action three times. In September of 1916, he received a gunshot wound to the head and a shell wound to his nose. At Vimy Ridge on April 10, 1917, he received gunshot wounds to his right arm and left wrist; there were four or more pieces of metal in his arm. On September 27, 1918 he received shrapnel wounds to the head. Delmar was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous bravery in March of 1919. In December of 1920, Delmar married Mabel Lucille McCordick in his hometown in Ontario. The couple returned to Grande Prairie after the wedding. Delmar died of a heart attack on February 26, 1959.

Sources: Pioneers of the Peace p. 291-292; check database for clippings

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this 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.

Soldier Spotlight: Glen Carpentier

Image: A portion of the newly built Alaska Highway at Ft. St. John, 1942 (SPRA 2000.31.6)

Regiment: Royal Canadian Electric Mechanics

Born in Saskatchewan, to parents Charles and Alma Carpentier, Glen was one of 9 siblings. His family moved in 1930 to Little Smoky AB area, and later they moved to New Fish Creek (Valleyview area). From 1935 to 1942 Glen worked on Highway 34 as a road grader with four mules, and was known as “Mule Man.” He married Chrissie Cunningham from Little Smoky in June 1940 in Grande Prairie. Coming home from their honeymoon, they found their log cabin (on Glen’s homestead called “Sleepy Hollow”) on fire. With help of wonderful neighbours, a new house was constructed in 4 days. After two years they moved to Vancouver Island. There Glen joined the army with the RCEM, and he was posted in England. In 1946, after his discharge, the Carpentiers returned to New Fish Creek, and Glen obtained more land through Veterans’ Land Act (VLA). In their new house they had 3 children: Kathy, Gary, and Susan. Chrissie died in 1956 from cancer, and Glen remarried in 1957 to Katherine, a widow with 5 children. Glen worked for the town of High Prairie, then for the Alberta government maintenance department. In 1960, he began a job on the Alaska Highway as maintenance equipment operator for the Canadian Army. Fourteen years later, when Glen was disabled, he and his wife retired in Sicamous BC.

Source: Where the Red Willow Grew pp. 420-422 Photo pp. 420 and 421
Grande Prairie Herald Tribune – June 13, 1940 p. 6 c. 4 (marries)
Grande Prairie Herald Tribune – June 23, 1956 p. 3 c. 5 (wife dies)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this 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.

Soldier Spotlight: Lieutenant Donald Patterson

Image: Archie Mathieson’s birthday celebration taken in Patterson’s front yard. D. W. Patterson (2nd from left) and Dr. L. O’Brien (far right). 1952 (SPRA 152.01.01)

Regimental Number: 301968
Rank: Lieutenant
Branch: Canadian Field Artillery

Donald was born on March 20, 1888 in Auburn, Ontario. He got his teacher’s training in Regina and studied law at the University of Alberta. Donald enlisted in the Canadian army in October of 1915 and arrived in France in July of 1916. He was in the Ypres salient until August 24, then at “Dead Dog Farm” near Kemmel until September or October. From there he moved to the Somme and Arras. On March 8, 1917 Donald arrived at Careney, where supplies were being piled for Vimy Ridge. He had to count 36,000 rounds of ammunition. While at Careney, Donald witnessed the Red Baron take down multiple observation balloons, and the whole battery was strafed by the Red Baron. To his knowledge, no one was killed. In his memoirs, Donald notes that graves were dug for the expected casualties in preparation for Vimy Ridge. On April 6, 1917 Donald got a bullet in the back of his neck; he was sent to a hospital in Manchester. While recovering there, he told a minister – “I wouldn’t go across the road to fight for the King. I’m fighting for my country. What has the king ever done?” In September or October of 1917, Donald’s regiment was moved from Vimy to Passchendaele. In June of 1918 he was sent back to England to train for his commission and did not return to France. He was sent back to Canada in January of 1919. Donald met a lawyer in Calgary who worked in Grande Prairie and eventually moved here to set up his practice. He also served as Grande Prairie’s mayor. Donald filed on the following homesteads: 18-73-7-W6; 11-73-8-W6; 14-72-1-W6; 7-72-26-W5; 19-72-11-W6. In January of 1923, Donald married Rose Devlin. He died on October 27, 1971.

Sources: surname index; see our Family Names database for more clippings; memoir

Rose & D.W. Patterson on their wedding day, January 1, 1923. (SPRA 152.02.01.01)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this 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.

Soldier Spotlight: George Telford Cameron

Image: The returning Sexsmith soldiers after WWII. Back – Bill Card, Dan Rycroft, Simon Haakstad, Jack Campbell, Andy Innes, George Cameron, Dale Harris, T. Copeland, Samuelson. Middle – J. Bond, G. Gerow, E. McDonald, G. Rix, Scotty Boyd, J. Siluch, Bryce Burns, L. Rasmussan, D. McNaughton, T. Forsythe Front – Jack Waters, H. Knight, B.Brown, L. White, C. Foote, C. Thomson, D. Wright, B. Murray, G. Kusyk, B. Moody, G. McQuitty, J. Thorpe. Photographer’s stamp: Art Craft, Grande Prairie, Alta. 1945 (SPRA 644.01.08)

George Cameron was the stepson of William Umbach, and his step-brother was Norman Umbach who also served in WW II. In 1933 he moved (from Edmonton) to Sexsmith AB, taking a position at Sexsmith Supplies Ltd. Also he took over the hardware and machinery in the L. C. Howard Hardware Store in Sexsmith which his step-father purchased in 1930 for George and Norman. Being a hockey goalie previously in Calgary and Edmonton, he joined the Sexsmith Hockey Club, and soon became the manager. George was married in 1936 to Gertha Hillman of Sexsmith, and they had 2 daughters, Donna and Heather. After serving in the Armed Forces in WW II from 1940 to 1945, George returned to Sexsmith and the hardware business, which he eventually sold in 1956. George was active in social and athletic activities, especially baseball. Gertha died in 1971. Remarrying in 1978 to Dorothy McDonald (McMillan), George and his new wife moved to Fort Saskatchewan AB. He passed away at age 71, in 1981, in Fort Saskatchewan.

Source: Wagon Trails Grown Over p. 715, p. 1149 – name in Roll of Honour, p. 1162 – Photo
AGS Website – Obituary Index
Northern Tribune Oct. 26, 1933 p. 4 c. 1
Northern Tribune Feb. 8, 1934 p. 4 c. 2
Northern Tribune Sept 3, 1936 p. 4,7 c. 1,4

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this 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.

Soldier Spotlight: Charles & Phoebe Buck

Image: Homestead home of Charles William Buck, 1910 (SPRA 298.01)

Charles William Buck

Regimental Number: 1352, 300485
Rank: Private; Gunner
Branch: 2nd King Edwards Horse; British Tank Corps

Charles William Buck was born in 1886. He and his younger brother emigrated to Canada. On August 12,1910 Charles filed on N.E. 32-72-8 W6 and also on a 1/2 section of South African Script -S 1/2 33-72-8 W6. On his return from WWl, on July 3, 1918, he filed on N.E. 6-74-8 W6. His farm was called Poplar Grove Farm in the Lake Saskatoon district. He enlisted with the British military in WWl as a private with the 2nd King Edwards Horse (1352), later becoming a gunner in the Tank Corps (300485). He returned to Canada a sick man after the war, married to Phoebe “Cis” Lawrence, an English nurse, who followed him back to Lake Saskatoon. It was understood that he had been badly gassed during the war. In a letter from the farm to his sister Edith Mary, dated 12 February 1920, Charles said he was staying with a Mrs. Moore. He had been ill for over a year and intended to apply to the military doctor in Edmonton for help. He died on March 4, 1920 and was buried in the St. Andrew’s Anglican Church Cemetery. Charles’ widow, Phoebe Elizabeth (Lawrence) Buck, married Norman Anderson in 1921.

Sources: Lake Saskatoon Reflections p. 11, 95

Phoebe Elizabeth Lawrence Buck Anderson

Rank: Nurse
Branch: Medical Corps

Phoebe Elizabeth Lawrence was born in Stourbridge, England in 1878. She married Charles Buck in England on March 11, 1918 and followed him home to Canada after the war. Charles had been badly gassed during the war and died in 1920. Phoebe married Norman Anderson in 1921. In the mid-twenties she operated a post office and store on their farm (6-74-8-W6) while her husband hauled the mail to Lake Saskatoon from Wembley. Phoebe died in January of 1963.

Sources: Lake Saskatoon Reflections p. 95

Charles Buck in uniform, 1915 (SPRA 298.34)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this 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.

Soldier Spotlight: Gunner George Burrows

Image: George Burrows, 1940 (SPRA 2005.094.07)

Regiment: Royal Canadian Horse Artillery
Regiment No.: M/66193
Rank: Gunner

George Burrows was born in Glasgow, Scotland on September 9, 1923. He came to Canada with his parents, Robert and Mary (Pollock) Burrows, and siblings in 1927, and they settled on a farm in the Glen Leslie district by Bezanson AB. He attended the Somme School from 1930 to 1939, and then worked and stayed on the farm until he enlisted in WW II in 1941. (7 Burrows/Pollock siblings served in WW II). Signing up in Edmonton, he took basic training in Camrose AB, and then to Brandon MB, and Sussex NB. George joined the R.C.H. Artillery and was posted overseas to different parts of England. In July 1944 he sailed for France and was wounded while serving in Belgium, and spent time in hospital. He returned to his regiment just 2 weeks before the end of the war. Going back to Holland, he stayed there until he was discharged February 6, 1946. George also served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1952, and in the Peacetime Army from 1956 to 1959. He moved to Victoria BC, and then to Calgary AB, where he died in the Holy Cross Hospital on February 17, 1992, at age 68. He was buried in the Field of Honor in Queen’s Park Cemetery in Calgary.

Source: Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 448
p. 422 Photo as child with siblings David, Leslie and Helen
G.P. Daily Herald Tribune February 27, 1992 – Obituary
SPRA Family Reference Files – information written by Helen Burrows Horrigan (sister) – photo of George in uniform

Portrait and biographical information available here

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this 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.

Soldier Spotlight: Corporal Charles Sims

Image: Charles, Edith, and their children, ca. 1926 (SPRA fonds 670)

Regimental Number: 10784; 373463
Rank: Corporal
Regiment: 2nd Sherwood Foresters; Army Service Corps

Charles “Harry” Sims was born on February 18, 1890 in Spondon, Derbyshire, England. He joined the Sherwood Foresters at the age of 18. He fought in the battles at Mons and Aisne, where his foot was injured. On February 22, 1915 he was discharged from the army because of his injuries, but in 1918 he reenlisted as a truck driver. On June 23, 1921, Charles married Edith Annie Puckering. Charles had developed malaria while stationed in Malta and his doctor told him his lungs could no longer handle the moist English air. In 1926, he, his wife, and their three children (Edith was also pregnant with twins at the time) sailed to Canada and settled east of Grande Prairie, where Charles had been given land by the Soldier Settlement Plan. His land was located at NW 28-79-13-W6. They eventually moved to Magrath, Alberta, where Charles died on July 25, 1975.

Sources: Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 236; a few news clippings

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this 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.

Soldier Spotlight: Arthur “Archie” Calliou

Image: Grande Prairie Friendship Centre Float, 1979 (SPRA 190.02.01.0288.136)

Regiment: British 6th Airborne (Artillery) Division

Archie Calliou was born around 1924 in the Flying Shot Lake district (near Grande Prairie AB.) His father, David Calliou, was of the Cree tribe, and his mother was Clarisse Campbell. Archie had a younger brother, Eddie. When Archie was 16 years old he misrepresented his age and enlisted in service in WW II. His quote from a news article was, “ I joined because I thought Canada needed help and I was scared we’d lose the country, so I thought I’d pitch in but I had to lie.” He was posted in Europe, and he received several medals. He was loaned to the to the British 6th Airborne (Artillery) Division. Archie was an advocate for Canadians and native people, and he described himself as “Canadian”. Founder of the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre in the 1960’s he believed it should be a place for all Canadians. During his life of 74 years, he held many jobs: trapper, farm hand, lecturer, entertainer, and alcoholism counsellor. In 1985 he released his first record, and he played in Nashville in the 1970s with his band, “The Northern Echoes.” He was involved in the Chambers of Commerce in Valleyview and Fort St. John, and in several political parties. In the 1980s he was Sergeant at Arms in the Fort St. John Royal Canadian Legion. Archie was married to Dorothy for 30 years, and they lived in Beaverlodge AB. He died in August 1998 from pancreatic cancer in Beaverlodge.

Source: Where the Red Willow Grew p. 303 (Name in Roll of Honour)
Pioneers of the Peace p. 8
SPRA Family and Personal Life Reference Files – News articles : HT June 30, 1995 and Aug. 19, 1998

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this 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.