Clarence Edmund Snider signature

On this day in 1918 Clarence Snider, an optician, was conscripted in Vancouver. He was born in Deseronto on March 24th or 25th, 1890, the son of George Edmund Snider and Ida (née Wartman). Clarence’s older brother, Leo, had enlisted in October 1917. When he was drafted, Clarence was living at 666 12th Avenue East in Vancouver.

Snider joined the 1st Depot Battalion of the British Columbia Regiment with the regimental number 2021635.He was five feet six and a half inches tall, with a fair complexion, brown eyes and light brown hair. His service record shows that he was transferred to 11 Special Service Company in Vancouver and served there until December 11th, 1918, when he was demobilized.

Clarence married Elizabeth Grey on November 2nd, 1932 in Vancouver, when he was working as an optometrist. He died in Vancouver on December 13th, 1972.


2009.20(55) Vernon Castle and Jeff

On this day in 1918 Vernon William Blyth Castle was killed in a flying accident at Camp Taliaferro in Texas. The official casualty report noted the following details:

…Date of Casualty: 15.2.18
Where occurred: Canada Camp Taliaferro
Type of Machine: Curtiss J.N.4. C663
Nature and Cause of Accident: In trying to avoid a mach[ine] which was taking off the pilot who was about to land took control and stalled his mach.
Result of Accident: Killed
Name of other Occupant of Machine: Cadet R.O. Peters. U.S.A. Injured
Remarks: Capt Vernon Castle instructing in the front seat giving some landings to Cadet Peters before sending him off on solo. C of I [Court of Inquiry] as over.

The finding of the Court of Inquiry on the reverse of the report card reads:

The Court having examined all witnesses, weighed all evidence and examined machine C.663, is of the opnion that Capt. Vernon Castle, while on duty in machine C.663 No.84 C.T. [Canadian Training] Squadron, in trying to avoid collision with machine C 449 of No. 85 C.T.Squadron did an Immelmann turn from which he was unable to recover before hitting the ground and was killed.

Castle was killed as a result of being in the front seat of the aircraft, a position he often took after being involved in the crash which killed Cadet Allan Walton Fraser in May 1917.

This photograph, from the collection of Sergeant Christopher Paulus Devos, shows the aircraft after the crash.
Devos’s annotations read:

Capt. Vernon Castle
How this brave man met his death.
Pinned under engine in front seat.

Castle’s death made front-page news around the world. Here’s the Seattle Star‘s report on the evening of the crash:

Seattle Star 15th Feb 1918

Front page of the Seattle Star, February 15th, 1918, courtesy of Chronicling America from the Library of Congress

In the Washington Times‘s version of the story, Castle was described as “America’s most famous dancer” and it was noted that:

Vernon Castle was the highest paid dancer in all dramatic history…During the height of the dancing craze Castle’s salary averaged $6,000 per week.

Castle was born in Norwich, England on May 2nd, 1887, the son of William Thomas Blyth and Jane (née Finley). He arrived in New York in July 1906 and started his career on the stage shortly afterward. He married Irene Foote on May 28th, 1911 and the two established themselves as dance stars in Paris and then on Broadway. Vernon learned how to fly at the Atlantic Coast Aeronautical Station in Newport News, Virginia, in early 1916, as this record from the Royal Aero Club shows:

Royal Aero Club Aviator Certificate details for Vernon Castle, courtesy of the Royal Air Force Museum

Royal Aero Club Aviator Certificate details for Vernon Castle, from Ancestry, courtesy of the Royal Air Force Museum

He travelled back to England to join the Royal Flying Corps in March 1916 and served on the Western Front until the following March, when he was transferred to Canada as an instructor at Camp Mohawk. With the rest of the Deseronto Wing, Castle spent the winter of 1917-1918 training cadets at Camp Taliaferro in Texas.

Vernon Castle was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York. In 1966 a memorial to Castle was erected at the site of his death in Benbrook, Texas.

Vernon Castle Memorial in Benbrook, Texas

Vernon Castle Memorial in Benbrook, Texas, courtesy of Flickr user QuesterMark

Ernest Arthur Denee signature

Ernest Arthur Dennee died on this day in 1918 of wounds received while he was serving in France with the 2nd Battalion. He died in Queen Mary’s Hospital in Stratford, London and was buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey, England. The headstone is inscribed “Gone but not forgotten by his loving wife”.

Ernest Dennee’s grave, courtesy of FindaGrave.com (uploaded by Charlie)

Ernest left all his possessions to his wife, Eliza, in his army will, which is to be found in his service record:

Ernest Arthur Denee's will

Eliza was living in Deseronto (where she had spent much of her life) when Ernest made his will.  This explains the presence of Ernest’s name on the Deseronto war memorial, even though Ernest himself seems to have had no direct connection with the town.

Deseronto memorial

Manyard Clark signature

On this day in 1918 Manyard Clark was conscripted in Kingston. He was born in Faraday, Hastings County on April 15th, 1890, the son of Sampson Clark and Emma Ellen (née Parks). By 1911 the family were living in Pearl Street, Deseronto.

Manyard joined the 1st Depot Battalion of the Eastern Ontario Regiment with the regimental number 3055795. He was five feet nine inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. His service record shows that on the day after enlisting he was admitted to Ongwanada Hospital in Kingston with suspected tuberculosis. A medical board convened on March 12th recommended that he be struck off the army’s strength as unfit for further service. He was discharged from hospital on April 16th and from the army on April 20th, 1918.

Clark married Helen Godfrey, a glass cutter, in Napanee on August 1st, 1922. His obituary in the Quinte Scanner reports that he worked as a chemist at the Eddy Match Company in Deseronto and was subsequently a commercial fisherman for 47 years. He and Helen had three children. Manyard died on Big Island, Prince Edward County on October 16th, 1970 and was buried in Cherry Valley Cemetery.

Harold Powless signature
On this day in 1918 Harold Powless was conscripted in Brantford. He was born in January 1897 in Deseronto, the son of Isaac Powless, a Mohawk, and Myrtle (née Thompson). On November 22nd, 1917 he married Leah Myrtle Culbertson in Midland, Ontario.

Powless joined the 2nd Depot Battalion of the 2nd Central Ontario Regiment with the regimental number 3310637. He was five feet seven and a quarter inches tall, with a sandy complexion, grey eyes and red hair. His service record shows that he was discharged on February 14th as “erroneously ordered to report”. Indigenous men had been exempted from conscription by an Order in Council of January 17th, 1918.

Archie Thornton Scott signature

Archie Thornton Scott, a teamster, was conscripted in Vancouver on this day in 1918. He was born in Tyendinaga on April 3rd, 1887, the son of Thomas Scott and Melissa Robinson. When he was drafted, Archie was living in Grand Forks, British Columbia.

Scott joined the 1st Depot Battalion of the British Columbia Regiment with the regimental number 2021327. He was five feet four and a half inches tall, with a ruddy complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair. His service record shows that he left Canada on February 28th, 1918 on the SS Metagama. He served in England with the 29th Battalion and spent a month in hospital with a fever in December 1918. He left England on the SS Belgic  on February 23rd, 1919 and was demobilized in Kingston on March 24th.

Archie married Althea Elizabeth Greeno in Greenwood, BC, on June 13th, 1923. He died in Grand Forks on May 10th, 1960.

Stephen Francis Carroll's signature

On this day in 1918 Stephen Francis Carroll, a shipbuilder, was conscripted in Oshawa under the Military Service Act. His birth was registered in Deseronto as being November 21st, 1887, although he said it was November 22nd, 1888 on his draft form. Carroll was the son of Thomas Carroll and Mary Ellen (née Murphy). The family were still in Deseronto in 1901 but had moved to Tay Township, Simcoe County by the time of the 1911 census, when Thomas and Stephen were both working in a sawmill. Carroll gave his home address as Midland in 1918.

Stephen joined the 2nd Depot Battalion of the 2nd Central Ontario Regiment with the regimental number 3317280. He was described as being five feet seven inches tall, with blue eyes, a dark complexion and medium hair. His service record shows that he arrived in England on April 19th, 1918 on the SS Metagama. He was transferred to the Canadian Machine Gun Depot in Seaford on May 25th, 1918 and went to France on November 2nd, 1918, just nine days before the end of the war. He returned to England on May 9th, 1919 and left Liverpool on the SS Belgic on June 23rd.

Carroll arrived in Halifax on July 1st, 1919 and was demobilized in Toronto on July 3rd. He married Louisa Ella Beam in Pembroke, Ontario on September 8th, 1924.

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