Lewis Gordon Wilson signature

Lewis Gordon Watson, an accountant, signed up in Winnipeg on this day in 1917. He was born in Deseronto on September 25th, 1898, the son of James William Gordon Watson and Mona (née Lewis). In 1901 the family were living in Picton and by 1911 they had moved to Brandon, Manitoba.

Watson joined the 76th Depot Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery with the regimental number 1250294. He was five feet nine inches tall, with a dark complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.

L. Gordon Watson survived the war and married Margaret Caroline Denison in Toronto on September 18th, 1923. In 1925 he moved to Ohio, where, according to his obituary, he married Rachel Milligan on February 2nd, 1929, in Springfield. The couple had two children. Watson died in Wooster, Ohio on June 19th, 1994. There is a grave marker for the Watsons in the cemetery at Hamilton, Ontario.

Jacob Bernhart signature

Jacob Bernhart joined up in Vancouver on this day in 1917. He was born in Tyendinaga on January 17th, 1877, the son of David Barnhardt and Susan (née Bey), who were both Mohawks. His younger brother Joseph had enlisted in June 1916. Jacob appears to have married Nellie May Myers (or possibly Nellie May Hayley) in Nelson, British Columbia on June 20th, 1914. When he enlisted, they were living at 132 Mile House on the Cariboo Road in BC.

Bernhart originally joined the Forestry Company (he was a woodsman and sawmill hand)  with the regimental number 2203445 and was transferred to the Railway Construction Company, according to his service record. He departed Halifax on August 11th, 1917 and arrived in England on the 28th. A month later he was admitted to hospital in Purfleet, Essex, suffering from pharyngitis. He was diagnosed with having syphilis and gonorrhea and transferred to Barnwell Hospital in Cambridge, where he was treated over the next two and a half months. He was discharged on December 4th and arrived in France to join the 1st Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops on December 19th, 1917.

Clarence Mickle Pasmore signature

On this day in 1917 Clarence Mickel Pasmore, a journalist, signed his officer’s declaration paper as a lieutenant in the 216th Battalion in Toronto. He was born in Conestego, Ontario, on February 11th, 1889, the son of William Pasmore and Laura (née Hendry). By 1901, when Clarence was 12, the family were living in Deseronto, where William was working as a doctor, his daughter Annie as a nurse and his son Robert as a druggist. Clarence attended the Deseronto High School. In 1911 he was working in Regina, Saskatchewan, as a journalist. When he enlisted he was living at 514 Pape Avenue, Toronto with his parents.

A report in the Toronto World of January 11th, 1918, gives us a glimpse into Pasmore’s early war experiences:

Clarence Pasmore wounded - Toronto World report

Lieut. C. M. Pasmore Is Now Attached to Royal Grenadiers’ Unit

News has been received by Mrs. L. O. Pasmore, 514 Pape avenue, that her son, Lieut. C. M. Pasmore, has been wounded in action. Lieut. Pasmore himself cabled his mother that he had been hit, but was remaining on duty. He received his wounds while serving with the 123rd Battalion (Royal Grenadiers), Lt.-Col. W. B. Kingsmill commanding. Prior to the outbreak of the war Lieut. Pasmore was employed as a newspaperman in Toronto. After he qualified for his commission he was ppointed to the 216th (Bantams) Battalion and being over six feet in height he boasted that he was the “tallest Bantam in captivity.” On the day the Bantams left Toronto to proceed overseas it was found that the quota of officeers was greater than the strength of the battalion permitted, and Lieut. Pasmore was therefore dropped, but he was determined to get overseas and he reverted to the rank of sergeant and proceeded eastward with the unit. Before reaching the port of embarkation, however, the strength of the battalion was augmented by drafts of Bantams from eastern towns, and Lieut. Pasmmore was reinstated in his rank.

On his arrival in England he took several courses in order to render himself more proficient, and crossed to France on the 24th of November and was attached to the Royal Grenadiers battalion.

Pasmore survived the war and married Estelle Maud Gordon in Deseronto on January 29th, 1921. At the time of the 1921 census the couple were living at 54 Fairview Boulevard in Toronto. Maud died in 1939 and Clarence in 1949. They are buried in Rockwood, Ontario.

William Skillen Stokes signature

William Skillen Stokes signed up in Toronto on this day in 1917. He was born in Deseronto on October 26th (or possibly 27th), 1897, the son of James Stokes and Cora (née Loucks). James was in charge of the wharf in Deseronto in the 1890s (he features in the 1892 Deseronto poem written by A. D. Macintyre). By 1901 the family had moved to Toronto and were living with Cora’s parents, James and Clarissa Loucks. In 1911 the only family member with a job was William. He was working as a stenographer in a brewery and was supporting four adults and two siblings (Clarence, 9, and Clarissa, 1). In 1913 three of the four adults died: William’s grandmother, Clarissa, died in February; his father, James, died in April in the Hospital for the Insane in Toronto, and his grandfather, James Loucks, died in June.

William joined the 70th Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery with the regimental number 341188. He had previously served in the Canadian Army Service Corps as a private for five months. He was five feet six and a half inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.

Stokes survived the war. His brother Clarence enlisted on April 3rd, 1919 (aged 17 but claiming to be 19) and his mother, Cora, died of pneumonia eight days later at home in Shaw Street. William’s sister, Clarissa, was adopted by Samuel and Mary Davis and was living with them in Follis Avenue, Toronto, at the time of the 1921 census. Clarence also survived the war and married Kathleen Florence Ellery in Toronto on March 4th, 1922. William was one of the witnesses to his brother’s wedding and he married Melissa Maud Burger on July 14th, 1922.

Harold McAfee signatureOn this day in 1917, Harold McAfee died of pneumonia at Queen Mary’s Royal Naval Hospital in Southend, Essex, England. The hospital was a wartime conversion of the Palace Hotel building in Southend.

Palace Hotel, Southend

The Palace Hotel in Southend, from Flickr user Jim Linwood

McAfee was buried in the Sutton Road Cemetery in Southend.

Harold McAfee's gravestone

Harold McAfee’s gravestone, from the Find A Grave site

The Chaplain of the York Road Wesleyan Methodist Church in Southend wrote a letter to Mrs McAfee, a copy of which was donated to the Deseronto Archives: Letter from Arhtur S. Lyne to Mrs McAfee

March 16th, 1917

Dear Mrs. McAfee:-

I have this morning officiated at the interment of your son Harold, who as you will have been informed passed away on Sunday last at Queen Mary’s Hospital here. he was interred as a Methodist and hence I was able to see him in the Hospital and asked to conduct his funeral. I had a chat with him some two weeks ago, when he spoke to me of home and you. At that time his illness was not regarded as serious. The Anglican Chaplain who lives close to the hospital was called in on Sunday and I believe will be writing to you direct. But I understand that Harold received the Lord’s supper on Sunday, gratefully and humbly; and that he died trusting in his Saviour. All of us who are connected with the hospital feel very deeply for you and the rest of his family. One young Canadian soldier who told me he was Harold’s nephew and was present at the grave-side. From him you will also probably hear. All that could be done, was done for him, the hospital is a lovely place, and the nursing staff, kindness itself. The funeral was a military one, the body being carried on a gun carriage with the old flag over it, and a lovely wreath from the hospital. A body of troops followed and the salute was fired over the grave; and the last post sounded by the buglers. With deep sympathy believe me

Yours very sincerely

Arthur S. Lyne

Wesleyan Methodist Chaplain

He is also remembered on the Deseronto war memorial.

Deseronto memorial

 

And on the cenotaph in Napanee.

Napanee cenotaph, east side

Arthur Dean signature

Arthur Dean, a machinist, signed up in Picton on this day in 1917. He was born in Deseronto on September 6th, 1885, the son of Paul Dean and Samantha (née Lindsay). He married Lottie Humphrey in Deseronto on August 27th, 1903, when he was working as a miller.

Arthur joined the 254th Battalion with the regimental number 1093348. He was five feet five and a half inches tall, with a ruddy complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair. His service record shows that he went overseas on the RMS Olympic, arriving in England on June 9th, 1917.

Dean joined the 6th Reserve Battalion in Seaford, but was admitted to hospital in Eastbourne suffering from rheumatic fever in September 1917. In October he was in hospital again, this time with influenza, in Hastings. He was transferred to the Canadian Special Hospital in Buxton in December and did not rejoin his battalion until March 1918. He then served with various units in England before leaving that country from Liverpool on December 15th, 1918. Dean was demobilized in Kingston on January 29th, 1919. Family tree information on Ancestry suggests that he died on December 13th, 1940 in Rochester, New York.

Henry Kerr Coleman signature

Henry Ker Coleman, a bank clerk, signed up in Kingston, Ontario on this day in 1917. He was born in Deseronto on January 30th, 1897, the son of John Coleman and Julia (née MacMorine). By 1901 the family had moved to Stirling and they were living in Merrickville in 1911. When he enlisted, Henry gave his father’s address as Napanee and his own as 15 Court House Avenue, Brockville.

Henry joined the 72nd Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery with the regimental number 342974. He was five feet six and a half inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. His unit arrived in England on the SS Ausonia on April 29th, 1917. His service record notes that he joined the 1st Canadian Divisional Ammunition Column in France on August 24th, 1917. He returned to England on March 30th, 1919.

Coleman left England on the RMS Olympic on April 15th, 1919 and was demobilized in Kingston nine days later. He married Stella Agnes Sweitzer on April 3rd, 1923 in Napanee, when he gave his occupation as ‘Clerk in Holy Orders’. Family tree information on Ancestry suggests that he died on November 30th, 1980, in Brockville.