Soldier Spotlight: The Bostock Brothers

Image: An item from Neville’s military service file (Library & Archives Canada)

Edward Lyon Bostock

Regimental Number: Second Lieutenant
Rank: 13778
Branch: The Duke of Edinburgh’s (Wiltshire Regiment); Princess Charlotte’s of Wales (Royal Berkshire Regiment), 4th Battalion; Royal Sussex Regiment

Edward was born in Horsham, Sussex, England on November 9, 1886. He and his brother Neville came to the South Peace in 1913; Edward filed on SW 22-80-14-W6. When the First World War broke out, Edward returned to England to serve in the British Army. He was wounded twice, the first time just ten days after landing in France in March/April of 1915. Two years later, in April of 1917, Edward was leading his men in an attack on three villages at the Somme. He was wounded in action and taken to the hospital at Bray. Edward died on April 5, 1917. Five of his brothers also served in the war, and two more were killed, including Neville.

Neville Stanley Bostock
Regimental Number: 117155; 6254

Rank: Private; Second Lieutenant
Branch: 12th Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles; Royal Field Artillery

Neville was born in Horsham, Sussex, England on April 6, 1888. In 1913, he and his brother Edward came to the South Peace; Neville filed on SE 21-80-14-W6. He joined the RNWMP on September 15, 1914 and served for one year. In September of 1915, he enlisted in the Canadian Army. Neville was discharged in January of 1916 on appointment to Commission in Royal Field Artillery. On April 22, 1917 near Arras, Neville was killed instantly by the explosion of an enemy shell. His major wrote to his mother saying, “He is a great loss as an officer and is dreadfully missed. His knowledge of horseflesh and horsemanship made him invaluable.” The Captain of his Battery wrote to his parents, “Your son was always cheery and capable and I miss him more than I can say.” Five of his brothers served in the war, two more of whom were killed, including Edward.

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: Sapper Robert Kater

Regimental Number: 505882
Rank: Sapper
Branch: 1st Tunnelling Company, Canadian Engineers

Robert was born in May of 1884 in France. He was working as a stonemason in Grande Prairie at the time of his enlistment in August of 1916. Robert was buried under 16 feet of earth when a tunnel he was working in was bombarded by German shells. During his recovery in Brocklan, Robert met Anna Edith Card, whom he married in London in 1918. In January of 1919, they returned to Grande Prairie. A lung condition caused by gassing during the war necessitated a move to a warmer climate, and the Kater family moved to Victoria. Robert died in Victoria on March 14, 1943.

Sources: Along the Wapiti p. 158

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: Staff Sergeant Major Charles Turner

Photograph: Charles T. M. Turner and his army friend outside a tent during World War I, ca. 1915 (SPRA 2011.44.05)

Regimental Number: 30650
Rank: Staff Sergeant Major
Branch: Canadian Army Service Corps

Charles was born in Chilliwack, British Columbia on December 7, 1891. He traveled to Valcartier to enlist in the Canadian Army in September of 1914. While serving in France, Charles was billeted at the Dubois home. He married daughter Jeanne in 1916. They made their home in England for a time, and their first son, Charles, was born on March 13, 1917. From February 1918 onward, Charles served only in England. In January of 1919, he spent some time at an RFC base. After the war, the Turners moved to Calgary, then to Bezanson, where Charles filed on the western half of 33-71-26-W5 in 1919, and finally into Grande Prairie around 1921. Charles died in early 1976 and was buried in the Grande Prairie Cemetery.

Sources: surname file; news clippings

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: Sergeant Harry Croft

Image: Notes from Harry’s military service file (Library & Archives Canada)

Regimental Number: 79815
Rank: Sergeant
Branch: 31st Battalion

Harry was born in Walsall, England on July 19, 1885. It is unknown when he first came to Canada, but he enlisted in the Canadian Army in Edmonton on November 25, 1914. Harry suffered from gunshot wounds to his “upper extremities” in September of 1916. He was awarded the Military Medal:

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Courcelette on 15th, Sept 1916. He was wounded at the commencement of the attack but refused to leave the field. His actions though out the day were most conspicuous, and his fine example and courage had a great effect upon the men under his immediate command.”

On June 29, 1918 he was discharged due to “defective feet,” or flat feet, which had begun to trouble him on the march to the Somme in September of 1917. Harry also had varicose veins, which caused swelling in his legs. When he returned to Canada in 1918, Harry filed on NW 15-79-5-W6 and SE 15-79-5-W6. He died at the Veterans Pavilion in Edmonton on December 12, 1952.

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: Private Roy Cameron

Image: Notes about Roy’s ankle injury from his military service file (Library & Archives Canada)

Regimental Number: 904582
Rank: Private
Branch: 194th Battalion; 10th Battalion

Roy was born in Wheeler, Ontario on November 3, 1885. In 1913, he filed on LT 29 in Spirit River. He enlisted in the Canadian Army in March of 1916. On June 30, 1917, while taking refuge from shellfire at Vimy Ridge, Roy fractured his os calcis (heel/ankle) when he dropped down a shaft. A shell casing struck his foot, causing the fracture. Roy’s military service file include many detailed reports about the injury. He had a mild degree of claw foot on his left foot. Another report also indicates that Roy had nervous systems. On page 31 of Roy’s service file is a telegraph sent to his father, informing him of Roy’s hospitalization. Roy was invalided to Canada in late 1917 and discharged on September 3, 1918. Roy eventually left the South Peace. He died on August 20, 1967 and was buried in Santa Barbara, California.

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: Sapper Alexander Cameron

Image: Stopping place at Little Smoky River on the Edson Trail in 1911. (SPRA 032.08.07.085)

Regimental Number: 505877
Rank: Sapper
Branch: Canadian Engineers

Alexander “Sandy” Cameron was born on March 28, 1879 in Strontian, Argyll, Scotland. He came to Canada in the early 1900s with his brother Donald. They worked several years in Manitoba before coming to the Peace Country and filing on homesteads in 1912. After the war Sandy and Donald ran a stopping place for travelers on the Edson Trail. They also ran the only feed grinding outfit in the area from 1919 until 1929. Sandy’s land, which he filed on in 1927, was located at NE 8-72-4-W6. Sandy went to Edmonton in 1954 to seek treatment for corns on his feet and no trace of him has ever been found.

Sources: Smoky River to Grande Prairie, p. 89

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: Driver Arthur Betteley

Image: Arthur’s description of his injury from his service file (Library & Archives Canada)

Regimental Number: 12969
Rank: Driver
Branch: Canadian Army Service Corps

Arthur was born in May Bank, Staffordshire, England on May 19, 1894. It is unknown when he first came to Canada. On September 23, 1914, Arthur enlisted in the Canadian Army at Valcartier. At the time he stated that he was working as a ranch hand. In April of 1915, Arthur received gunshot wounds to his leg. On September 21, 1916, Arthur slipped and fell while carrying a table into a marquee. The floor was wet, having just been scrubbed, and he fell while walking backward carrying the table, which subsequently fell on his leg. He was carried out on a stretcher and it was discovered that his left fibula was fractured (see pages 68 and 69 of Arthur’s service file for the story and witnesses’ testimonies). In 1927, Arthur filed on the northern half of 19-69-11-W6. Arthur was in the Veterans Guard and may have seen action in World War II as well. He died in 1960 and was buried in the Beaverlodge Cemetery.

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: Sapper Rowland George Absolon

Image: Rowland’s letter asking for assistance to purchase glasses (National Archives of Australia)

Regimental Number: 6211
Rank: Sapper
Branch: 16th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force; 4th Field Company, Australian Engineers

Rowland was born in Hanley, Staffordshire, England on June 15, 1879. He and his wife Polly (nee Batkin) were living in Trayning, Western Australia at the time of his enlistment in 1916. Rowland was wounded in May of 1918, but remained with his unit. In July of 1918, was absent without leave overnight. In 1929, Rowland requested a replacement for his discharge certificate as his had been lost and he needed the documentation in order to file on a homestead in the South Peace. He was successful, and filed on NE 13-74-13-W6 in 1929. Rowland’s vision was poor, however, and he struggled to succeed as a farmer. He and Polly moved to Vancouver, and in 1938, he contacted the Australian government asking whether there was any assistance available for returned Australian soldiers living in Canada. Rowland’s vision and hearing were failing, so he was having difficulty finding work and providing for himself and his wife. He hoped that government assistance might enable him to get his eyes treated and purchase glasses (view page 17 of his service file for more details). Rowland died in Vancouver on February 25, 1962.

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: Private James Walter Aylesworth

Image: Students in front of Flying School Lake School, 1918. Their teacher was Margaret McDonald, later Mrs. Adams of Long Beach, California, 1918 (SPRA 032.08.08.0938)

Regimental Number: 256387
Rank: Private
Branch: 1st Depot Battalion, Saskatchewan Regiment; 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion; 15th Reserve Battalion

James was born on April 2, 1883 in Odessa, Ontario. He was drafted near the end of the war and settled in Flying Shot in 1921. James loved young people, and one Christmas he knit and hung 500 pairs of mittens on the tree at the Flying Shot Lake School for the children of the district. He died in Grande Prairie on January 7, 1964.

Sources: Along the Wapiti, p. 135 & 411

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 William Brown

Image: notes from William’s service file detailing his football injury

Regimental Number: 629448
Rank: Lieutenant
Branch: 47th Battalion; 16th Reserve Battalion; 1st Reserve Battalion

William was born on July 12, 1892 in Hamiota, Manitoba. He joined the army in 1915. At that time he had been surveying on the west coast of BC. William received the Military Medal for bravery (Wagon Trails says at Ypres in 1915, though his service files indicate that the medal was received in 1917 in France). During officer’s training in Bexhill, England, he played soccer for the Canadian Army and broke his leg there on December 12, 1917. William had an opportunity to stay in England to play professional soccer, but returned to Canada in 1919. In 1918, William met Melanie Grandsard, a Belgian refugee, who was working as an interpreter for the Rolls Royce Company in Derby. They were married on June 20, 1918 in London. William arrived in Sexsmith in May of 1919 and settled on SW Section 9 in the Mount Star area, and Melanie followed him in August. The couple had one son, Cecil Robert, and one daughter, Delphine. William once again joined the army in 1940 and was discharged in 1947 with the rank of major. He died on February 7, 1977.

Sources: Pioneers of the Peace p. 303; Wagon Trails Grown Over p. 408, 1147

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.