Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Humber Bay and the First World War

The community of Humber Bay was located in the Township of Etobicoke but today is part of the City of Toronto.  It was bounded by the Humber River on the east, Berry Road on the north, Mimico Creek on the west and Lake Ontario on the south.

It was never an incorporated municipality such as nearby Mimico or Swansea but was a community nevertheless.  

Along the shore of Lake Ontario the thin strip of land between the Lake Shore Road and Lake Ontario was a popular place for pleasure day trips from the City of Toronto from the mid 19th century. In fact, the collection of hotels around the mouth of the Humber River made it a "noted centre for taverns and sporting and social life."

Establishments such as these began in the 1850s, and over the years more were built by the likes of Octavius Hicks, Charles Nurse and John Duck who "spared no expense in beautifying the extensive pleasure-grounds" of Wimbleton House. 

To the north brickworks were established.  Most notably those of the Butwell family.

North of the Lakeshore Road and further north of Queen Street (present day The Queensway) market gardens existed providing seasonal vegetables to the city.

Areas along Queen Street (The Queensway) would be subdivided for development between 1890 and 1910 leading to the construction of a number of houses and commercial properties.  The area had its own post office and a volunteer fire department which began in 1923.

According to the Humber Bay Public School Honor Roll 1914-1918 a total 71 men served in the First World War of which 18 made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.  

I would like to thank Harry and Blanch Hall (Gwilliam) for their book Memories Of A Place Called Humber Bay from which I was able to draw upon for the names of the men of Humber Bay who fought and died in the First World War.
 
All information and photographs on this site, other than those already attributed, are copyrighted and may not be used without my permission.

© Copyright Michael Harrison 2010.  All rights reserved.

Humber Bay War Memorial


Humber Bay War Memorial
© Michael Harrison 2010



Humber Bay War Memorial - WWI detail
© Michael Harrison 2010

The Humber Bay War Memorial contains the names of the men of Humber Bay who fought and died in both World War I and World War II.   The monument for World War I was dedicated in July 1922.

The memorial was originally located adjacent to the old Humber Bay School at Ringley and Stephen Drive, but was later moved to the front entrance of the new school when it was built behind the old school fronting on High Street.  When the school was demolished in 1986 the memorial was moved to the front entrance of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 217 located in the old Stock House on Royal York Road just north of the Queen Elizabeth Highway (now Gardener Expressway).  The Legion remained at the Stock House for a number of years and only recently sold it for development at which time the memorial was moved to its current location at the Sir Winston Spencer Churchill Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion at 150 Eighth Street in the old Town of New Toronto.

Driver George Allen - 302352

According to his attestation papers dated October 4, 1915 at Toronto, George Emerson Allen was born on May 1, 1894 in Humber Bay, Ontario.  He listed his father Joseph William Allen, Humber Bay, as his next of kin.  He was unmarried, a gardener and a member of the Humber Bay Home Guards for a period of 3 months.  He was 21 years and 5 months of age and stood 5 feet 8 1/2 inches in height.  He had brown eyes, fair hair and a dark complexion.  He was a Methodist.  

According to the 1911 census his father emigrated to Canada from England in 1874.  The family were living on Salisbury Avenue, Humber Bay. 

E. B. Almond

Thomas Armstrong

Private William Henry Bale - 691013

According to his attestation papers dated September 26, 1916 at Toronto, William Henry Bale of Humber Bay, Ontario, was born on June 23, 1887 in Lancashire, England.  He listed his father William Bale, 36 Hodgson Street, Darwen, Lancashire, England as his next of kin.  He was unmarried, a labourer and had no previous military experience.  He was 29 years and 3 months of age and stood 5 feet 4 1/2 inches tall.  He had grey eyes, fair hair and complexion.  He had a mole on his chest and a birthmark on the small of his back.  He was a Congregationalist.

He was a member of the "A" Company 116th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, Canadian Expeditionary Force when he was killed on August 27, 1918.  The CEF burial register indicates that he was "previously reported Missing, now reported Killed in Action".   He is listed as the son of William Edward and Hannah Bale.  He was buried in the Vis-En-Artois British Cemetery, Haucourt, France.

His name is not on the Humber Bay Cenotaph.

Private Albert Beggs - 138519

According to his attestation papers dated July 14, 1915 at Toronto, Albert Beggs was born on November 20, 1896 in Croyden, England.  He listed his brother George H. Beggs of Declare, Manitoba has his next of kin.  He was unmarried, a market gardener and a member of the 9th M.H. (Mississauga Horse).  He was 18 years and 8 months of age and stood 5 feet 10 1/4 inches tall.  He had blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion.  He was a member of the Church of England.

In the 1911 census he is boarding with the Kent family on Salisbury Avenue, Humber Bay.  He is listed as a gardener.  He emigrated to Canada from England in 1909.

Private Frank Blake - 412656

According to his attestation papers dated March 4, 1915 at Lindsay, Ontario, Frank Blake was born on December 6, 1894 in Hamilton.  He listed his mother Lillian Blake, Humber Bay as his next of kin.  He was a labourer and indicated that he had no previous military experience.  He was 21 years and 3 months of age and stood 5 feet 7 inches tall.  He had brown eyes, black hair and a dark complexion.  He had a scar on his left elbow.  He was a member of the Church of England.
 
Frank Blake was a member of "C" company, 14th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment) when he was killed on June 12, 1916 "by an enemy shell during the counter-attack at Mount Sorrel".  His remains were never found and he is listed on the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.

He was the son of Mrs. Lillian Blake of 175 Argyle St., Toronto. 

According to the 1911 census, Frank was actually born in 1893 and so was one year older than on his attestation papers.  He was working as a labourer in a brickyard.  The family lived on Amelia Street, Humber Bay.   

G. Blake

Private Ernest Lionel Boniface - 136449

According to his attestation papers dated October 5, 1915 at Toronto, Ernest Lionel Boniface was born on February 5, 1881 in Aldershot, England.  He listed his wife Lottie Boniface, Humber Bay as his next of kin.  He was a "brickyard man" and had no previous military experience.  He was 34 years and 8 months of age and stood 5 feet 5 inches tall.  He had brown eyes, dark brown hair and a dark complexion.  He had a tattoo on his right arm of a "Love & Heart & Soldier".  He also has a 2 1/2 inch scar on his left hand.  He was member of the Church of England.  

According to the 1911 census the family was living on Queen Street, Humber Bay.  Ernest was listed as a labourer in a brickyard.  The family emigrated to Canada from England in 1909.

In the 1921 Toronto city directory he is listed as a labourer living on the west side of Amelia Street, Humber Bay.

He is most likely the brother of George Boniface.

Private George William Henry Albert Boniface - 775016

According to his attestation papers dated January 11, 1916 at Toronto.  George William Henry Albert Boniface of Humber Bay, Ontario was born on July 1, 1876 in Aldershot, England.  He listed his wife Mrs. Mary Boniface, Humber Bay, as his next of kin.  He was a teamster and had no previous military experience.  He was 39 years and 6 months of age and stood 5 feet 3 inches in height.  He had hazel eyes, hair turning grey and a fair complexion.  He was a member of the Church of England.  

According to the 1911 census, George went by the name Albert.  His family is listed as living on Frederick Street, Humber Bay and he is listed as a labourer in a brickworks.  The family emigrated to Canada from England in 1909.

According to the 1921 Toronto city directory George A Boniface as a teamster living at 11 Queen Street (south side), Humber Bay.

He is most likely the brother of Ernest Boniface.

Private Louis Bradbury - 766132


Louis Bradbury
courtesy of the Canadian Virtual War Memorial

According to his attestation papers dated December 2, 1915 at Toronto, Louis Bradbury, of 114 Helens Avenue, Toronto was born on January 13, 1888 in Nottinghamshire, England.  He listed his wife Florence Bradbury of 114 Helens Avenue as his next of kin.  He was a Gardener and had no previous military experience.  He was 27 years and 11 months of age and stood 5 feet 2 inches tall.  He had blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion.  He had a mole on his left abdomen.  He was a member of the Church of England.

Louis Bradbury was a member of the 19th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), when he died on April 17, 1917.  According to the CEF burial register he was "wounded in the abdomen by shrapnel just before the commencement of the attack on April 4, 1917.  He was evacuated to No. 22 Casualty Clearing Station where he succumbed to this wounds".  He is buried in the Bruay Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France.  


Obituary of Louis Bradbury
courtesy of the Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Louis was an employee of the City of Toronto and as such his name appears on the Memorial Tablet in the entrance lobby of Old City Hall. 

C. Bradley

Private Lewis Thomas Bradley - 678776

According to his attestation papers dated February 16, 1916 at Toronto, Lewis Thomas Bradley, Box 9, Humber Bay, was born on June 23, 1885 at Sittingbourne, Kent, England.  He listed his wife, Annie Bradley, Box 9, Humber Bay as his next of kin.  He was a market gardener and had no previous military experience.  He was 30 years, 8 months of age and stood 5 feet 3/4 inches tall.  He had brown eyes, black hair and a medium complexion.  He had a scar through his left eyebrow.  He was a member of the Church of England.  

According to the 1911 census the family lived on Queen Street, Humber Bay.  Lewis Bradley emigrated to Canada from England in 1906.  His wife Annie followed in 1907.  It looks like his brothers Robert and George followed him in 1911.

A "Louis" Bradley is listed in the 1921 Toronto city directory as a tire builder living on the north side of Orchard Avenue, Humber Bay. 

Private Thomas Bragg - 412659

According to his attestation papers dated March 4, 1915 at Lindsay, Ontario, Thomas Edward Bragg was born on June 16, 1872 at Plaistow, Essex, England.  He listed his wife Annie Bragg, 5 Queen Street, Toronto (Humber Bay) has his next of kin.  He was a teamster and had no previous military experience.  He was 42 years and 9 months of age a stood 5 feet 6 inches tall.  He had dark blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion.  He was a member of the Church of England.

According to the 1911 census Thomas Bragg and his family were living on Davidson Crescent, Humber Bay.  He emigrated to Canada from England with his family in 1905.  At the time he was working at the local boltworks.

Sapper Francis John (Frank) Brown - 2265394

According to his attestation papers dated April 16, 1917 at Toronto, Francis John (Frank) Brown was born on March 25, 1899 in Humber Bay, Ontario.  He listed his mother Roxanna Grace Brown, Humber Bay as his next of kin.  He was unmarried, a student and had no previous military experience.  He was 18 years of age and stood 5 feet 5 3/4 inches in height.  He had dark grey blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion.  He had eight moles on his face, one on his left side, one on his stomach, two on the front of his neck and one on the back of his neck.  He was a member of the Church of England.

In the 1911 census the family appears on two pages. He is the son of John and Roxanna Brown.  The family was living on Salisbury Avenue, Humber Bay (present day Park Lawn Road).

In the 1921 Toronto city directory he is listed as a student living with his father John G. Brown.  John Brown his listed as a market gardener living on the east side of Salisbury Avenue. 

Herbert Brown

Friday, December 31, 2010

Private Alfred W. Bryan - 159655

According to his attestation papers, dated January 4, 1916 Alfred Walter Bryan of 540 Adelaide Street, Toronto was born on August 17, 1896 in Blackwater, Hampshire, England.  He listed his mother, Lucy Bryan, Plantation Road, Frimley Rd, Camberley, Surrey, England as his next of kin.  He was a teamster and indicated that he had was an active member of the G.G.B.G.  He was 29 years and 6 months of age and stood 5 feet 9 inches tall.  He had grey eyes, dark brown hair and a dark complexion.  He had marks on his left arm and a scar over the lower end of the left radius. He was a member of the Church of England.

Alfred Walter Bryan was a member of the 19th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment) when he was killed on September 12, 1916.  According to the CEF burial register he was killed "while on sentry duty in the front line trenches".  "He was shot and instantly killed by a bullet from the rifle of an enemy sniper".  He is buried in the Sunken Road Cemetery, Contalmaison, Somme, France. 


His brother Lawrence also enlisted but survived the war.

He was the son of Mrs. Lucy Bryan, of 16 Plantation Row, Camberley, England.

Sapper Lawrence Sydney Bryan - 778601

According to his attestation papers, dated January 21, 1916 at Mimico, Lawrence Sydney Bryan of Swansea, Ontario was born on November 30, 1888 in Yorktown, Surrey, England.  He listed his mother Lucy Bryan, Yorktown, Surrey, England as his next of kin.  He was a labourer, unmarried and an active member of the 12th Regiment, York Rangers.  He was 27 years of age and stood 5 feet 4 1/2 inches tall.  He had blue eyes, dark hair and a fair complexion.  He was a member of the Church of England.

His brother Alfred also enlisted but did not survive the war.

Private Arthur Butwell - 123525

According to his attestation papers dated September 22, 1915 at London, Ontario, Arthur Butwell was born December 12, 1891 in Toronto.  He listed his mother Ada Butwell, Humber Bay, as his next of kin.  He was an engineer and unmarried.  He had no previous military experience.  He was 24 years of age and stood 5 foot 2 3/4 inches high.  He had blue eyes and fair hair and complexion.  He had a mole on his right arm 3 inches above his elbow.  He was a Presbyterian.

Private William Chowns - 3107824

According to his draft paper, dated February 20, 1918 at Hamilton, William Chowns of Humber Bay was born on January 24, 1889 at Thame, Oxfordshire, England.  He listed his mother, Emma Chowns, Humber Bay as his next of kin.  He was a labourer and had no previous military experience.  He was 29 years and 10 months of age and stood 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall.  He had grey eyes, dark hair and a medium complexion.  He had a nasal spur. 

According to the 1911 census the Chowns family was living on Davidson Crescent in Humber Bay.  The records indicate that William emigrated from England in 1906 while other members of the family arrived at different dates.

William Chowns was a member of the 19th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), when he was killed on November 10, 1918 (one day before the November 11th armistice that led to an end of the war) .  According to the CEF burial register he was "instantly killed by a machine gun bullet through the head".  He is buried in the Mons (Bergen) Communal Cemetery, Belgium.

William Clarke

George Cook

William Henry Cook

Sergeant Alexander Cameron Craib - 405231

According to his attestation papers dated August 21, 1915 at Toronto, Alexander Cameron Craib was born on March 18, 1890 in Insch, Scotland.   He listed his mother, Margaret Craib, 173 Fern Avenue, Toronto as his next of kin.  He was a piano tuner, unmarried and had no previous military experience.  He was 25 years and 5 months of age and stood 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall.  He had brown eyes, black hair and dark complexion.  He had an appendicitis operation scar.  He was a Presbyterian.

His brother William also enlisted.

In the 1914 Toronto city directory he is listed as a labourer living on the north side of the Lake Shore Road, Humber Bay.