Joseph Allan Embury signature

Joseph Allan Embury, a billing clerk for the Canadian Pacific Railway, signed up in Peterborough on this day in 1916. He was born in Deseronto on October 2nd, 1900, the son of Thomas Embury and Nora (née Meagher), although he claimed to have been born in 1898.

Embury joined the 74th Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery with the regimental number 344926. He was five feet four and a quarter inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. His service record shows that he left Canada on April 28th, 1917, aged 16, on the SS Olympic, which arrived in England on May 7th.  On May 16th he was admitted to hospital for a month, suffering from gonorrhea. He served in the Artillery’s reserve brigades in England until December 19th, 1917, when he was sent to France.

The fact that Embury was underage was detected on January 9th, 1918 and he was transferred back to England as a minor. There is a copy of his birth registration on his file, supplied by the Deseronto Registrar on February 2nd, 1918.

Joseph Allan Embury birth registration copy

In March Joseph was sent home to Canada, where he was discharged from the army on May 14th, 1918 in Kingston, for being underage. He died in Saanich, British Columbia on May 20th, 1961.

David Morley Jackson signature

On this day in 1916 David Morley Jackson, a clerk, signed up in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. He was born in Deseronto on July 16th, 1898, the son of George Ernest Jackson and Elizabeth (née Jamieson). The family were living in Deseronto in 1901 and had moved to Point Anne by 1911.

David joined the 249th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, with the regimental number 1069227. He was five feet eight and a half inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair. His service record shows that attained the rank of lance corporal and he was discharged in Halifax on November 27th, 1918 as he was a railway employee (a telegraphist).

Jackson married Mae Marguerite Kerr in Belleville on November 24th, 1922. Family tree information on suggests that he died in Oshawa on September 25th, 1969.

Clarence Merritton Giffin signature

Clarence Merritton Giffin, a railway clerk, signed up in Windsor, Ontario on this day in 1916. He was born in Maitland, Ontario, the son of William Ernest Giffin and Margaret Grace (née McMullen) on September 16th, 1898. In 1901 the family were in Belleville and in 1911 they were in Deseronto, where William was working as a druggist. Clarence attended Deseronto High School.

Clarence Giffin joined the 63rd Depot Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery with the regimental number 334088. He was five feet five inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and black hair. His service record shows that he arrived in England in December 1917 on the SS Megantic and went to France on April 2nd, 1918. In July he reported sick and he spent the rest of the war in various hospitals, suffering from nephritis. He was invalided home to Canada on the hospital ship Essequibo in January 1919 and discharged as medically unfit for service on May 12th, 1919.

In 1921 Giffen was back in Windsor with his parents and sisters, working as a salesman. He moved to the United States and died in Rocky River, Ohio, in 1974.

Harry Stiner, who had enlisted on January 15th, wrote a letter home to John ‘Jack’ Evans on this day in 1916. At the time Harry was stationed in Camp Bramshott in Hampshire, England and was hoping to be posted to France. His letter was published in the Deseronto Post of December 14th, 1916:

Deseornto Post 14 Dec 1916 Letter from Harry Stiner

Letter from Harry Stiner
Bramshott Camp, England,
Nov. 29th, 1916
Mr John G. Evans
Deseronto, Ontario.
Dear Jack, —
Just thought I’d drop you a line. We have just given a draft of one hundred men to go to France and another will be made up in a day or two. I offered myself for the first but my company commander scratched me and would not hear of my going. I have been examined for the second and I am marked for medical board, as owing to the climate I have a severe attack of asthma so I may not see the scrap at all well I saw the big draft move out and it was a wonderful sight-ours was only a small part of it.
It made every body feel a bit blue knowing that in less than 24 hours they would be in the danger zone but when the massed bands started their music about 200 strong it made things a bit more lively; our Brigadier who is an officer of the famous P.P.C.L.I. [Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry] made a very good speech after which the Bands played, “Hats off to Tommy Atkins” and the boys were cheered to the echo. They marched away very cheerful and made an excellent showing.
Herb left me today and I don’t expect to see him again as the section is transferred from us to the machine gun Brigade School somewhere on the coast. If I don’t get to France I’ll hardly see him again until the war is over. He and Hogan are McGee’s right bowers and he will look after them well.
Well Jack, there is not much to tell you. Its a great country but I would sooner have Canada. I saw some of the greatest sights and now I am satisfied that I wouldn’t care to stay here. All for now.
Yours truly.

Editor’s Note-The draft spoken of was made up of, as well as others, Isaac Maracle, Hugh Brant, Rendall [Randall] Brant, Harry Corby, Jake Green, Bill Sero and Alex Bardy. Those rejected for this draft were highly disappointed but will leave in about 11 days with the second draft.

Frank Waterbury signature

Frank Waterbury, a carpenter, signed up in Deseronto on this day in 1916. He was born in Deseronto on September 15th, 1890, the son of James Waterbury and Minnie (née Solmes). He gave his next of kin as Bertha Waterbury, his wife.

Frank joined the 235th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force with the regimental number 1027511. He was five feet nine and a half inches tall, with a fair complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.

During the war, Frank Waterbury married Elizabeth Davis in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England in 1917. They had a son, Francis, who was born in Windsor in 1918. The family travelled to Canada on the SS Metagama, arriving on May 2nd, 1919. In 1921 the Waterburys were living in Thomas Street, Deseronto, with Francis and another son, Edward.

Gilbert Dionne signatureOn this day in 1916 Gilbert Dionne died in No. 12 Canadian General Hospital in Bramshott, England nine hours after an operation to repair a perforated duodenal ulcer. He had made an army will five weeks before his death, just before he left Canada, in which he left all his possessions to his wife, Evelyn.

Gilbert Dionne's will, from his service record at Library and Archives Canada

Gilbert Dionne’s will, from his service record at Library and Archives Canada

In addition to his will, Dionne’s service file at Library and Archives Canada also contains a description of his funeral, signed by Lieutenant Vincent James Lynch on behalf of the commanding officer of the 157th Battalion:

Description of the funeral of Gilbert Dionne

Funeral: The funeral of the deceased took place from the Hospital Morgue at 2.00 p.m. the 20th. six of his own friends acted as pall-bearers, firing party from his own platoon, and the whole of “C” Company, Officers and other ranks, and three Staff Officers formed an escort in taking the remains to the Cemetry. He was buried in the corner of a little enclosure of ground about the Convent, near Grayshott.

Two Roman Catholic Chaplains conducted the burial service, and a little white wooden cross with name, rank, number and Battalion marks the grave.

Later, the wooden cross described by Lieutenant Lynch was replaced by a War Graves Commission headstone in the St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Cemetery in Grayshott, Hampshire, England.

Photo courtesy of (uploaded by Don Knibbs)

James Malcolm Wright signature

James Malcolm Wright signed up in Kingston on this day in 1916. He was born in Elzevir on September 24th, 1885, the son of John Wright and Sarah Ann (née Juby). By 1901 the family were living in Deseronto and James was a labourer in the Rathbun Company’s sash and door factory in Mill Street. He married Lily May McConnell in Belleville on November 22nd 1909, two weeks after his father had died. His mother died in 1911.

RATHCO-06-28 Rathbun Company’s sash and door factory in Deseronto

Wright had previously served in the 155th Battalion. On this day he joined the 207th Battalion with the regimental number 636838. He was five feet four inches tall, with a medium complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.

James survived the war and was living in Adolphustown with Lily May and their three sons in 1921.