Soldier Spotlight: Jean Farmer Conrad

Image: Jack and Jean Conrad, with children Collin, Calvin and Ann, in front of the Christmas tree, 1955 (SPRA 259.08.06)

Jean Farmer was born, one of four children, in Scotland, north of Edinburgh. During the War, she worked as a cook for the Air Force, including two years with a Canadian Squadron at Lindon. There she met Jack Conrad. They were married June 9, 1945, and ten days later, Jack was shipped home. Jean followed in March, 1946, aboard the Aquitania with other war brides. She was sick for the first two days but then enjoyed the great food. At Pier 21, she remembers the Red Cross ladies taking them shopping – her first experience of an Eaton’s store. Jack met her in Edmonton and they came to Clairmont by train. When they got to Jack’s parents, his mother had saved her largest turkey for the occasion and had invited a Scottish family as well. They raised four children on their farm: Collin, Calvin, Ann and Holly.

Jean Farmer in uniform. Jean spent two years as a cook for the Air Force in England and two years with Canadian squadron 426 in Linton, Yorkshire, England. 1940 (SPRA 259.08.08)

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: Archie Delaney

Image: Archie Delaney, Ray Boyer, and Clarence Boyer. Italy. 1944 (SPRA 445.01.06, cropped)

Regiment: Royal Canadian Signal Corps
Force: Army

Archie Delaney was born on February 24, 1914 in Thessalon, ON, being one of 6 children. At age 5, he moved with his mother (who was a widow) and siblings to the Kleskun Hills area. His mother remarried to Isaac Boyer, and 4 more half siblings were added to the family. Archie attended East Kleskun school, and after he quit school he worked for various farmers in the area. In 1940 he joined the army and was posted in Holland, Sicily, and Italy. He married his wife, Alice “Aagtje” Renkema, in Holland in 1945, and he was discharged from the army in 1946. Their daughter June was born in Holland before Alice left to join Archie in Canada. They rented some farm land along the Teepee Creek Road, living in an old bunkhouse. Twin daughters were born, Eveline and Irene, and later a son, Ray. The Delaneys acquired a quarter section through the VLA: SW 13-72-4 W6. Archie farmed in the summer. Due to poor crops, he also drove truck hauling logs in the winters. He bought another quarter section after a few years: NW 13-72-4 W6. Tragically, Archie had a tractor accident in August 1954 and died after 6 days in the Grande Prairie Municipal Hospital. Many neighbors helped out the family that fall taking off crops. In late fall of 1955 Alice and the children moved to a new house in Grande Prairie which was built by members of the Legion, neighbors, and relatives. Alice remarried to Mr. Balmer, and she died at age 81 in 2000 in Grande Prairie.

Source: Smoky River to Grande Prairie pp. 125 – 128 (photos)
Herald Tribune (Newspaper) Aug. 19, 1954 p. 1 c. 3 (fatal accident)
AGS Obituary Index (Alice)

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 Henry Davidson

Image: Spirit River, 1917 (SPRA 2001.01.173)

Regiment: Sherbrooke Fusiliers – Tank Corps

Charles (Jr.) Davidson, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Davidson, was born around 1916 in Baldyquash Cottage Parish, County of Aberdeen, Scotland. On May 7, 1928, the Davidsons arrived in Canada. They lived for a year in Spirit River, and then moved to White Mountain where Charles Jr. and his 2 older brothers, William and Norman, attended school. The boys also took turns being janitor for White Mountain School in the 1930s. In 1938 the family had their own homestead in the Willowvale district. All 3 sons served for four years overseas in WW II. Charles, who enlisted in the Tank Corps in 1942, was active in Normandy on the D-Day (June 6, 1944) Invasion. He also battled in Caen and Falaise in France, losing three tanks within 3 months. Discharged in 1946, Charles married Elsie Jean Burton in January 1947 in Edmonton. Obtaining land in White Mountain area from Veteran’s Land Act, they farmed until 1979, and then retired to Spirit River. They had 5 children: Phyllis and Donna (twins), Marlene, Edith, and Ronald. Charles died in December 1991 at age 75 in Grande Prairie, and Elsie died in December 1998.

Source: Memories and Moments of White Mountain, Willowvale, Bridgeview pp. 85-86 (story); p. 276 (photo)
Chepi Sepe – Spirit River p. 184 (photo); p. 341 (story)
AGS – Obituary 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: Jack Conrad

Image: Jack Conrad holding a baby while sitting on a horse drawn wagon, 1945 (SPRA 259.08.09)

Force: RCAF

Jack Conrad, the second oldest of 6 siblings, was born on April 4, 1920 to parents Harlie and Florence (Davis) Conrad, in Grande Prairie AB. He took his early schooling at MacHenry (southwest of Sexsmith AB), then at Wellington (near Clairmont AB), and he finished his education at Clairmont Lake School. During WW II Jack joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. For the first two years he was stationed at the west coast of Vancouver Island, and then he was posted in England. There he met and married, Jean Farmer. (Jean was a Scottish W.A.A.F. who was serving in the R.A.F.). After the war they made their home in the Sexsmith area where Jack acquired a half section from the Veterans Land Act (S ½ 12-17-6-W6, the original homestead of David Sexsmith.) In the 1960`s he also purchased the north half of the section. Jack and Jean had 4 children: Colin, Calvin, Anne, and Holly. Jack, who was active in agricultural and community organizations, died suddenly at age 58 in March 1979 in Sexsmith.

Source: Wagon Trails Grown Over pp. 1149 (Name in Roll of Honour), 1154 (photo), 1128
Daily Herald Tribune Sept. 17, 1953 p.13 c. 3, July 29, 1954 p. 11 c. 2
AGS website – Obituary 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: Russell Theodore “Ted” Chambers

Image: Grande Prairie City Flour Mill, built in 1912. Machinery for this mill was hauled in over the Edson Trail and its generator produced the first electrical power for Grande Prairie. Ca. 1915 (SPRA 1998.8.1)

Regiment: Edmonton Fusiliers

Ted Chambers, born in 1903 in Puslinch ON, was the only son of Mr and Mrs Daniel and Bertha (Cummins) Chambers. He moved to the Peace River country over the Edson Trail with his parents and sister Rhea in 1912. The family settled on a homestead in the Two Rivers district (Southeast of Beaverlodge AB). The children attended a makeshift school in the Halcourt church, and later went to school in Grande Prairie. In the early 1930’s Ted worked for Bob Kranz constructing the Flour Mill. He married Madeline Ada Tyrrell (daughter of Arthur and Marie Tyrrell) on April 21, 1934 in Wembley AB, and the couple farmed in Two Rivers. Ted and Madeline had two children: Joan and Dale. During the Second World War, Ted served with the Edmonton Fusiliers for 5 years. Having a hobby of finding fossils, Ted found a huge hip bone on the banks of the Beaver Lodge River, which was believed to be from a mammoth dinosaur, in September 1938. Ted was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was killed in an accident on the Wapiti bridge on July 5, 1965. Madeline died in December 1992 in Beaverlodge.

Source:
Beaverlodge to the Rockies pp. 549-550
Along the Wapiti – p. 412 (name)
p. 346
Northern Tribune April 26, 1934 p. 5 c. 3 (marries), and September 22, 1938 p. 1 c.2 (fossil)

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: Michael Bzowy

Image: Clipping from an October 12, 1944 Grande Prairie newspaper.

Rank: Warrant Officer 2nd (WO2)

On June 13, 1944 during a raid on Cambrai, France, Michael Bzowy’s aircraft (The Thunderbirds) was attacked by a Ju 88 (German combat aircraft) night fighter and went down in flames. Friends thought he was killed, but a week later was found alive.

Michael’s mother in Rycroft received a letter from the mother of one his fallen comrades, Thomas F. How, who mentioned Michael in his diary and had a photo of him. A week later, Mrs. Bzowy received confirmation that Michael was a Prisoner of War.

An article in the December 2016 issue of Telling Our Stories caught the attention of researchers Jean Claude Charlebois and Lloyd Truscott, who shared with us a link to the diary of David Scott, a World War II soldier who served with Mike.  Below is an excerpt from David’s diary, as he describes his journey to a POW camp near the Polish border:

Bankau, August 1944: As soon as I got on board I recognised Mike Bzowy, who was at Linton with me and had been shot down a few weeks previously. The trip was scheduled to take three days to Bankau. The worst was the crowded compartments with hard wooden seats. It was definitely not the ideal form of transportation and at night it was torture trying to sleep. The general feeling of the men was good; all were a little excited, for who isn’t excited on a train journey through a strange country, even if the circumstances are not the best? The guards were not too bad; they got us hot water and gave us plenty of bread so we were well fed…

…At last we arrived at the tiny Bankau Station on Saturday 5th August, 7pm. We walked up the long road from the station preceded by wounded in a farm cart and were amazed to see our new camp. It was in the process of being built; the accommodation was in sheds. There was a goodly crowd watching us entering the camp, for there were quite a lot of us and we formed an entire new section. Mike was put in charge…

…Note. Mike Bzowy was a very interesting character. He was a Canadian of the first generation and his parents were Russian. His particular talent was in languages and he could make himself understood in the majority of European and Slavic tongues. He was also a natural leader and was good friends with everyone; when you talked with him he was always interested in you and what you wanted to say.

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: Ray Carleton

Image: Bird’s eye view of Hythe, Alberta seen from the south-west in 1929. The Donald Hotel is on the far right. 1929 (SPRA 610.01.20)

Ray was born in Keremeos BC, the son of Ben and Ellen Carleton, and one of 8 siblings. The family moved to Saskatchewan in 1922 where they farmed. The drought hit in the late 20’s, so they moved to the Goodfare AB area and continued farming in 1929. They left the area in 1935 and returned to Keremeos where Ray settled. In 1940 he joined the Canadian Armoured Corps and was posted overseas. According to Ray, he had some “harrowing experiences” while being a Prisoner of War. Fortunately he was able to escape, and he was awarded the “Oak leaf and Cluster” for being the most escaped POW. After the war, Ray married Gertie Stevens from Hythe, the daughter of Charlie Stevens. On December 4, 1946 he received a citation for distinguished service. Ray’s brother Lloyd also served overseas in WW II.

Source: Pioneer Round-Up pp. 70-71

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 Thomas Burrows

Image: Thomas Burrows, 1939 (SPRA 2005.094.03)

Regiment: R. C. A. M. C. 4th Casualty Clearing Station
Regiment No.: M25812
Rank: Sergeant

Thomas Burrows, born in 1911, arrived in Canada from Glasgow, Scotland in 1927 with his father, Robert Burrows, step-mother, Mary (Pollock) Burrows, and his siblings. The family started farming in the Glen Leslie district, near Bezanson AB. Before the Second World War, Thomas worked on the farm, and for local farmers in Bezanson. He also homesteaded for 3 years in the Fitzsimmons district.

On September 9, 1939 Thomas joined the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. He was then stationed overseas on January 25, 1940. Due to medical reasons, he was sent home to Edmonton. Diagnosed with lip cancer, he received treatment in England. Thomas returned to Edmonton on February 26, 1941 and then worked at Prince of Wales Armories. After that, he was in Suffield AB at an Experimental Station for 4 ½ years. Thomas was discharged in Calgary on October 1, 1945. Six more of his siblings also served in the war.

Thomas married Vera Rees of Edmonton. Moving back north, the couple farmed in the Crystal Creek district. (Between Bezanson and Grande Prairie.) Then they returned to Edmonton where Thomas worked for the government. He retired in 1975, and they moved to Ladysmith BC, where he passed away 2 years later at age 66. Thomas and Vera had 10 children.

Source: Smoky River to Grande Prairie pp. 422 and 448
AGS Website – Obituary Index
SPRA Family Reference Files – written by Helen Burrows Horrigan, including photo
Source: Smoky River to Grande Prairie pg. 422

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: 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.