Soldier Spotlight: Lance Corporal David Burrows

Image: David Burrows, 1940 (SPRA 2005.094.06)

Regimental No.: M.104378
Rank: Lance Corporal

At the age of 3, David Burrows came to Canada with his parents, Robert and Mary (Pollock), and siblings from Scotland, in 1927. They settled in the Glen Leslie district by Bezanson AB and operated a farm. David attended the Somme School from 1931 to 1939. He remained on the home farm until he enlisted in WW II service on October 14, 1942 in Grande Prairie. ( 7 Burrows/ Pollock siblings served in WW II). First he was in Edmonton for basic training, and then on December 29th, 1942 he left for Chilliwack BC for advance training until September 1943. Next, he took army training in Hamilton ON, returned to Chilliwack, and then to Truro, NS. Once in England, he was involved in the invasion of Normandy at Juno Beach, and then went into Caen. Later, he went to France and Holland, again to England, before returning home in 1945.

While posted overseas, he met and married his wife, Iris, in England. When they returned to Canada, they resided in Grande Prairie where David’s jobs included driving a horse-drawn milk wagon, and working at Imperial Motors. In 1956 the family returned to England. David and Iris had 3 children: Pete, John, and Judy. David passed away on February 6, 2014 in Grande Prairie at age 89.

Source:
Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 448
p. 422 Photo as a child with 3 siblings, George, Leslie and Helen
SPRA Family
Reference Files – (information by Helen Burrows Horrigan (sister)).
-Obituary
-Photo of David in uniform

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 Raymond Boyer

Image: Ray Boyer, the soldier on the right, in Amsterdam in May, 1945. Behind is the first “Butter Boat” that arrived after the end of the war. (SPRA 445.01.22)

Regiment: Seaforth Highlanders – 1st Canadian Division
Regimental Number: K 737
Rank: Private

Ray Boyer was born December 11, 1924 in Grande Prairie, AB, and raised in East Kleskun on a farm on the south banks of Kleskun Lake (NE 35-72-4 W6). His father, Isaac, came to the Peace country from South Dakota and travelled over the Edson Trail in 1912. His mother, Bertha Delaney, a widow with six children, came to the Peace country from Ontario in 1919 and married Isaac Boyer. Along with his three- half sisters and three half-brothers, Ray also had an older brother, an older sister and a younger brother making up their family of ten children. Ray started his education in the East Kleskun School in 1930. The school was located 3.5 miles from their farm so it was a treat when he could ride a horse, especially in winter. Midway through grade school, Rays’s older brother, Clarence became the lead brother on the farm as their father was an invalid in his later years due to arthritis. Ray’s mother and the younger children were responsible for milking the cows, tending animals and other chores.

At the age of fifteen, Ray had to quit school and go to work to help support the family. One of his first jobs was to deliver water and ice to residences in Grande Prairie with a team of Pat Croken’s horses. He also remembers working in George Vagt’s Butcher Shop in Grande Prairie making wieners and sausage in a smoke house in the back alley. For the next three years Ray worked on different jobs including hauling gasoline up the Alaska Highway as far as Watson Lake. In 1943, Ray left for Vancouver and joined the Canadian Army. From Vancouver, he went to Wetaskiwin for Basic Training, then to Calgary for Advanced Training, and eventually to England where he took Signal Training. As a member of the Seaforth Highlanders First Division, Ray landed in Italy at Avaleno. From there Ray was sent to the front lines where troops relieved the Royal 22 Regiment of Quebec and Ray remembers seeing his first badly wounded soldier. They advanced north of Russi and in Bagnacavello, Italy, and in 1944 spent Christmas with a dinner in a church. At this time Ray was thrilled to meet up with his brothers Clarence and Archie close to the Senio River.

After Italy, the Highlanders were trucked to Holland. They crossed rivers in “Buffalos” which were floating tanks. Once after getting across, they were fired on and Ray remembers lying behind a dead cow for protection. They were continuing to advance through two towns in Holland when the news came that the Germans had surrendered. The Seaforths were then stationed in Amsterdam and Ray finally came home to Vancouver in May, 1946. Back in Grande Prairie, Ray worked different jobs: hauling lumber, working a dozer and a caterpillar and survey work. In 1953, Ray married Rita Robideau and they had three sons: Eldon, Doug and Arnie. Ray began working for the County of Grande Prairie in 1954 and remained there until 1985. He served on County Council, and numerous Boards including South Peace Health, Education, Planning, Evergreen Park, and the Agricultureal Society.

Ray wound down his career working as a Landman for Roy Northern working with landowners for approval of well sites, pipelines and right of ways. In 2000, Ray was the proud recipient of “Senior of the Year” from the Alberta Government. Ray has volunteered much of his retirement years developing the historic site at Kleskun Hill Museum. In 2001, Ray and his youngest son, Arnie, took a three week trip to Europe to revisit many of the sites he had been to during WWII.

Ray died in Grande Prairie on August 1, 2012.

Source: Rita Boyer
SPRA Family and Personal Life Reference Files (Obituary and news article)
Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 119

Ray Boyer fonds

Ray Boyer photographs

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: Sergeant Alexander Burrows

Image: Alexander Burrows, 1940 (SPRA 2005.094.04)

Regiment: 49th Loyal Edmonton Regiment
Regiment No.: M16403
Rank: S/Sgt

Alexander Burrows came to Canada from Scotland in 1927 with his father, Robert Burrows, and stepmother Mary (Pollock) Burrows , and siblings at age 9. They settled in the Glen Leslie district (near Bezanson AB) and he and his siblings attended the Somme School. Alec worked for several people in the community. Together with his brother Tom, he homesteaded in Fitzsimmons (in Bezanson area). On September 14, 1939 Alec enlisted in the 49th Edmonton Regiment to serve in WW II. ( 7 Burrows/Pollock siblings enlisted in the war.) He sailed for England on Oct. 15, 1939. In 1940 he headed to Norway, then England and Scotland. He was engaged in a raid on Spitzbergen, north of Norway. July 1941 they were successful in landing, and destroyed the coal mines and oil wells. He sailed to the Middle East in July 1943 to invade Sicily. In August 1943 he moved to Italy to fight in the battle of Ortona, and he was wounded and evacuated to the 13th General Hospital (Canadian) in North Africa. Returning to UK in 1944, he stayed at a camp at Aldershot before he was repatriated to Canada. While overseas in England he met and married his wife, Winnie. They had 4 children: Margaret, Janet, James, and Ian. The Burrows moved to Montreal and later to Ottawa. Alec died at age 80 on July 23, 1998 in Ottawa, and the remains of his cremation were buried in Grande Prairie AB.

I, Sargent Burrows (M16403) enlisted with the 49th Loyal Edmonton Regiment, Sept. 14, 1939. I sailed for England in an advance party of the 1st Division on Oct 15, 1939. In 1940 I went to Dunfermline to embark for Norway as the Germans had invaded from the south. I was back in England, prior to Dunkirk. I returned to Scotland to attend a commando course under the command of Lord Lovatt. I returned to England and prepared for the raid on Spitzbergen, located north of Norway, 500 miles inside the Arctic Circle. German Atlantic fleet had been using the island for a refueling base. 130 of our division were chosen to take part in the raid. In July, 1941, we were successful in landing and destroying the coal mines and oil wells. The Russian peasants were taken to Archangel, Russia and when we returned to Spitzbergen we loaded the Norwegians and brought them to Scotland. Not a living thing was left on the island. In July, 1943, we embarked and sailed to the Middle East to invade Sicily. In August, 1943,we moved into Italian mainland, fought our way up the mainland to Ortona in central Italy. I was wounded and evacuated to the 13th General Hospital (Canadian) in North Africa. In 1944, I returned to the UK and was posted to a camp at Aldershot where all Canadians were held prior to repatriation to Canada. I returned to Calgary and home.

Source: Smoky River to Grande Prairie p. 448 p. 422
Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune July 28, 1998 – Obituary
SPRA Family Reference Files – information written by Helen Burrows Horrigan (sister)
– Photo

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: Lance Corporal Roy Oliver Boyd

Image: A platoon of army recruits in training on parade along Richmond Ave. In the background are Imperial Bank of Canada, J.B. Oliver furniture store, Hudson Bay Raw Furs, Porteous Hardware, James Drug store. 1943 (SPRA 2005.052.01)

Regiment: Loyal Edmonton Regiment
Rank: Lance Corporal

Roy Boyd was born and grew up in the Wembley AB area. In October 1940 he enlisted for service in WWII in Grande Prairie. At first he joined the Edmonton Fusiliers, and then transferred to the Loyal Edmonton Regiment. For one and a half years he was posted overseas in England, North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. Roy was injured on December 26, 1943 in the Battle of Ortona in Italy and was the lone survivor of an Edmonton Platoon that was blown up by German pioneers. Roy was rescued after being buried for three and a half days and spent five months in Italian and English hospitals. He spent another year in hospitals back in Canada in Calgary and Edmonton. On December 24, 1944 Roy married Beryl Perves who was also from Wembley. He was discharged from the armed forces in July 1945, and shortly afterwards bought his father’s home quarter of land. The couple lived there until 1956 when they moved into Wembley. In 1968 they relocated to Grande Prairie. The Boyds had 7 children: Cheryl, Donna, David, Valerie, Vivian, Marilyn and Susan. Roy was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion. He passed away on January 16, 1985 at age 64 in Grande Prairie, and he was buried in the Lake Saskatoon Cemetery in Wembley.

Source:
Along the Wapiti p. 412 – Name listed in WW II Veterans
p. 338
Grande Prairie AGS – Obituary Index, Cemetery Index

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: Matthew “Scotty” Boyd

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 0644.01.08)

Matthew “Scotty” Boyd was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1904, the eldest of 9 siblings. At a very young age, Matthew showed talent for singing, and he was also active in cricket, running, and swimming. At 12 years he apprenticed to be a butcher while still pursuing his education and sports. In 1928 he was selected for the British Diving Team in the Olympics in Amsterdam. That same year he immigrated to Canada, going to work on a ranch near Peace River. This was quite a culture shock for him, and he was given the nickname Scotty because of his accent. Soon after his arrival in Canada he met Yukola, who he married. Scotty obtained work as a butcher and they moved to Beaverlodge in 1931. Over the years they lived in various areas: Beaverlodge, Grande Prairie, Hythe, Sexsmith, Peace River and Spirit River. Scotty won medals at the Grande Prairie Music Festival, and he joined the B.P.O. Elks No. 249 at Beaverlodge in 1938. He enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces for 6 years, 3 of which were spent overseas. After 15 years in Canada he was able to visit his family in Scotland again. An interesting army prank (in Holland) was that Scotty and some pals stole a train and crossed the border into enemy territory, where they were captured by the Germans, and escorted on a tour of the city before being released and having to face their Staff Officers! In 1954 the Boyds operated Lee Borden’s locker plant in Hythe, and in 1958 they bought their own business which became Boyd’s I.G.A. in Spirit River. They had 4 daughters: Marion, Gladys, Yukola, and Sheila. In later years they enjoyed holidays together, and Scotty served in the Spirit River Town Council. Matthew died in December 1975, but even in his last days in the hospital he sang Scottish songs.

Source: Wagon Trails Grown Over (taken from Beaverlodge to the Rockies Supplement) pp. 578-581
Photos: pp. 1153, 1162, and 580

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.

From the Vault Friday: WWII Post Cards

Image: SPRA 676.01.04.03.07a

             ,   

                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPRA 676.01.04.03.02a                    SPRA 676.01.04.03.03a

SPRA 676.01.04.03.04a,                    SPRA 676.01.04.03.05a

 

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a selection of WWII post cards from the Vader-Grimm Family fonds (fonds 676), from the Jim Vader War Records Sub Series 676.01.04

Read more about the Vader-Grimm Family fonds (fonds 676) here.

View a selection of photos on Alberta On Record.

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

Soldier Spotlight: Flight Sergeant Walter George Bond

Image: A view of Beaverlodge’s main street, showing cars, numerous businesses, and a grain elevator, May 24, 1930 (SPRA 032.08.08.035)

Regiment/ Division: 358 Royal Air Force Squadron
Regimental No.: R/260658
Rank: Flight Sergeant
Force: Air Force

George Bond was born on February 25, 1924 in Dysart, SK. His parents were Walter and Edith (Bolingbroke), and he was the brother of Thomas Carlisle, Donald Gordon, Edith Hazel, Myrtle Munro, and Mildred Aida. The family homesteaded in the Beaverlodge, AB area. George was active in hockey, baseball, softball, football, and swimming. At age 19 George enlisted in the Air Force in Edmonton on July 2, 1943. Tragically he was killed in action in Burma (now Myanmar) on June 19, 1945. During his short WWII career George received the 1939-1945 Star, Burma Star, War Medal 1939-1945, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp. Posthumously he was awarded the RCAF Operational Wing on March 19, 1947. He was buried in the Kranjii Memorial Cemetery in Singapore.

Source: Beaverlodge to the Rockies pp. 89-90

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: Francis “Graham” Bodeker

Image: Graham Bodeker home on leave – shown with his wife Eunice and two daughters Frances and Phyllis, ca. 1942 (SPRA 175.083.05)

Graham Bodeker was born in South Fort George BC (which is now Prince George) on June 28, 1913. His parents were Peter George Bendix (Ben) and Lutie Bodeker, and he had two younger siblings, Betty and Gordon. As a two and a half year old child, his family moved to the BC Peace Country, and canoed from Finlay Forks to Hudson Hope. They then moved to Dunvegan and Spirit River AB where Ben was the last factor in the Hudson Bay Company posts. Moving to Sturgeon Lake in the early 1920’s, Ben was transferred to another HBC post, while the children attended a mission school. By 1931 the family settled in the Valleyview area. Graham’s first job as a teenager was trucking freight to Grande Prairie. Other jobs included trapping, grader operator, carpentry, and sawmill work.

On March 9, 1937 Graham married Eunice Stenseth in High Prairie, and they settled on their own homestead south of Valleyview in 1940. They had 3 daughters: Frances, Phyllis and Beverly, and one infant son, Gilbert, who died. In the mid 1940’s, Graham served in the Royal Canadian Navy and was stationed in Halifax NS for two years. From 1952 to 1978 he worked in oilfields, first for Cantex Drilling, and, since 1957, for Amerada Petroleum. Eunice and Graham operated the Eaglesham, and Fox Creek golf courses for a few years, before retiring. Active in many sports and activities, Graham especially enjoyed swimming, ice-skating, and golf. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion in Valleyview, and served on the town council. At the age of 93, Graham died in the Valleyview Hospital on October 3, 2005.

Source: SPRA Family and Personal Life Reference Files (including obituary)
Where the Red Willow Grew pp. 50 – 54
Photo pp. 51 and 52

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: Sergeant Air Gunner Henry Robert “Bob” Bessent

Image: Bessent twins, Bill and Bob, with parents in August 1943. (SPRA 2005.073.04)

Regiment: 405 Pathfinder Squadron
Regimental Number: R/198740
Rank: Sergeant Air Gunner
Force: Royal Canadian Air Force

Bob Bessent was born in Windsor, ON on April 17, 1925 to parents Herbert Bessent and Elsie May Roberts Bessent. He had a twin brother, Bill, who also served in the RCAF. In 1927 the family moved to Grande Prairie AB where the twins eventually started school and were involved in various sports. At age 17 Bob and his brother joined the Air Force, first training in Edmonton, then Manitoba, and then in Quebec for gunnery training. They joined the 405 Pathfinder Squadron in England in 1943. Bob was killed in action in the early morning of December 17, 1943 when his Lancaster bomber crashed because it encountered heavy fog and ran out of fuel looking for a place to land. His mother became the Silver Cross Mother that year. In July 1946 Bob was posthumously awarded Operational Wings from the RCAF “in recognition of gallant service in action against the enemy.” Bob is buried in the Cambridge City (England) Cemetery. Grave Ref: 14558A

Source: Legion Album
Commonwealth War Graves – website
Grande Prairie Herald Tribune – September 23, 1987 – Obituary of Elsie May Roberts Bessent
SPRA Family and Personal Life Reference Files – newspaper articles, photos

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: Leonhart Beck

Image: A bird’s-eye view of several buildings, including “H” huts on the Grande Prairie Army Training Centre grounds, ca. 1941 (SPRA 2011.44.40, Fonds 478)

Regiment: Canadian Armoured Corps
Postings: England, France, Germany, Holland
Rank: Sergeant

Born in Saskatchewan on October 26, 1920, Leonhart Beck was the son of Emil and Barbara Beck, and he had 2 brothers and 2 sisters. The family moved to Sexsmith AB a few years later, and in 1929 they settled in Bay Tree AB where Leonhart took his education by correspondence. In the 1930s he worked odd jobs, and in the early 1940s he enlisted with the Canadian Armoured Corps in WWII. First he trained in Grande Prairie, then he took a course on tank warfare in Ontario. Posted in London, England, he was in the Second Canadian Division, where he worked in armoured reconnaissance. He was wounded in action in September 1944 while in France, and returned to the front lines a month later. Then in Germany he was wounded again in February 1945, and returned to fight before the war was over. For six more months Leonhart was in Holland in postwar service. Back in Canada he returned to Bay Tree and purchased a quarter of land and built a house in 1947. In 1950 Leonhart married Caroline Sutherland, and they had 3 children: Bryan, Barbara, and Yvonne. They bought a half section of land in 1960. Leonhart was active in community affairs in Bay Tree, and with the school district of Many Creeks. Leonhart and Caroline moved to Sidney BC (Vancouver Island) to retire in 1975.
Source: Homesteader’s Heritage pp. 32-33
Photos pp. 32 and 33

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.