Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 19, 1875
Place of BirthNorwich, Norfolk
CountryEngland
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinEdith Mabel Dawson (wife), 568 Brandon Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingCNR Storekeeper/butcher
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number532275
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo. 12 Canadian Field Ambulance
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Medical Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at Enlistment568 Brandon Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of Enlistment01/04/1916
Age at Enlistment40
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death03/11/1936
Age at Death61
Buried AtBrookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
PlotD2-1663

Dawson, Arthur Ernest

Private Arthur Ernest Dawson signed up with an ambulance unit in April 1916 and served for eight months in France and Belgium. He was invalided home due to illness in October 1917.

Arthur was born on 19 September 1875 in Norwich, Norfolk, England. His parents were Jonathan William Dawson and Hannah Scatley Hinde. Jonathan and Hannah were married in 1871 and they had ten children, seven sons and three daughters, all born in Norwich. Jonathan worked as a butcher, farmer and cattle dealer. When the 1891 census was taken Arthur was 15 years old and listed as a butcher’s apprentice. He was married in Norwich in 1896, at age 19. His wife, 19-year-old Edith Mabel Redgrave, was from the nearby village of Kirstead, the daughter of Michael Redgrave, a shopkeeper and farmer, and his wife Ann. At the time the 1901 census Arthur was working as a butcher and he and his wife had two children, Ernest and Hilda.

Arthur and his family immigrated to Canada in 1906, arriving in Montreal on 3 June on the SS Dominion. They spent a short time in Winnipeg but by 1911 they had settled in the town of Kenora, in northwestern Ontario, where Arthur was employed as a railway clerk. His brother Harry had also immigrated and he stayed with them for awhile. Another brother, Jonathan, came to Canada and settled in Winnipeg. After a few years Arthur and his wife moved back to Winnipeg and he worked as a storekeeper for the CNR. They had five more children: Winifred, Frank, Grace, Percy and Doreen.

Arthur’s oldest son Ernest enlisted on 1 July 1915, at age 17, and he went overseas that fall. Arthur enlisted the following spring, signing up in Winnipeg on 1 April 1916 with No. 12 Field Ambulance, Canadian Army Medical Corps. The unit had just been organized in March and they were sent overseas that summer, embarking from Montreal on 23 June on the SS Scandinavian and arriving in England on 3 July. A few weeks before they left Arthur’s son Ernest was seriously wounded at the Battle of Mount Sorrel. He spent a year recovering in hospitals in England and was unable to return to active service. Arthur’s unit, No. 12 Field Ambulance, was sent to France on 11 August 1916 and attached to the 4th Canadian Division. That fall they were at the Somme Offensive, where the Canadian Corps suffered 24,000 casualties in less than three months. In November Arthur’s right ear was damaged by the explosion of an artillery shell and he suffered permanent hearing loss. Sadly, his son Frank died in Winnipeg in December 1916, at age 7.

The Canadians captured Vimy Ridge in April 1917 and later that month Arthur became ill with bronchitis. He was evacuated to England on 5 May. He spent two months at the VAD Hospital in Naunton Lane, Cheltenham followed by two weeks at the convalescent centre at Epsom. He was suffering from chronic bronchitis and he was back in the hospital in August, this time at Moore Barracks. He was diagnosed with suspected tuberculosis and invalided to Canada, embarking on the hospital ship Araguaya on 17 October and arriving eight days later. Arthur received treatment as an outpatient at the sanatorium in Ninette, Manitoba. He was discharged from the army on 18 June 1918, at age 42, listed as medically unfit for further service. His brothers Harry and Jonathan also enlisted and they both survived the war. His son Ernest had suffered a broken jaw and clavicle and he lost the sight in one eye. He was invalided to Canada in June 1917.

After the war Arthur returned to his job with the CNR and he became foreman of the stores department in their Fort Rouge shops. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks and Freighthandlers, serving as president for awhile, and he belonged to the Fort Rouge branch of the Canadian Legion. He retired in 1933 and passed away in St. Boniface Hospital on 3 November 1936, at age 61. Edith died in 1950 and they are both buried in Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg.

By Becky Johnson

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