|Date of Birth||December 5, 1882|
|Place of Birth||Kent|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Dorothy Durrant, Wife, 120 12th Ave. E., Calgary, Alta|
|Trade / Calling||Carpenter|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||1st Pioneer Battalion|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Calgary, Alberta|
|Address at Enlistment||120 12th Ave. E., Calgary, Alta|
|Date of Enlistment||August 24, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||32|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||November 3, 1944|
|Age at Death||62|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Birth and baptism: The birth of Frank Victor Durrant was registered in the 4th quarter Greenwich Index, volume 1d, page 968, 1877. He was christened on January 27, 1878 in the parish of his birth, Deptford, St. Paul, Borough of Lewisham, Kent, England. This birth year of 1877 is different than that on his Attestation Paper: December 5, 1882. Careful research, however, confirms that the Frank Victor Durrant on these documents is the same person.
Parents and siblings: Frank was the oldest son of Frank Thomas Durrant (1850 ) and Clara Dowers Hawkins (1856-1888), who married on December 23, 1875, in St. John, Deptford, Kent. Frank and Clara had 8 children: Clara Helen Laverna (born 1876); Frank Victor (born 1877); Percy William (born 1879); Louis Sidney (born 1880); Ethel Elizabeth (born 1882); Mabel (born 1883); Edgar Horace (born 1885); and, Morris William (born 1887). After Clara died in 1888, Frank married Ada Augusta Shardelow Brewer, (born 1850), on December 30, 1889 at Camberwell, St. Giles. They had no children together.
Early life: In the 1881 Census in England, the family is living at 11 Ravenbourne Street, Deptford. Frank was age 3. His father is employed as a commercial clerk (Oil Moler). The 1891 census records Ada as part of the family and Frank (Senior) is now employed as a foreman at factory CRR Varnish Paints Inc. The family moved to 54 Coldbath Street, Greenwich, Kent. Frank is 13. It is the last census in England for this family. Within two years, they were all living in Canada.
On April 16, 1892, the three oldest children, ‘Nellie’ (age 16), Frank (age 14) and Percy (age 13) sailed alone from Liverpool on the vessel, the Lake Huron. Their destination was Whitewood, Saskatchewan. Frank is listed as a mechanic. A year later, on April 15, 1893, Frank’s father, Ada and the five youngest children also left Liverpool on the Lake Huron, arriving in Quebec City in May, with Winnipeg as their destination. In the 1901 Census, Frank is living alone and working as a farmer in Whitewood, Assiniboia East, in present day Saskatchewan. In the 1906 census Frank’s father and Ada are also living in the town of Whitewood.
Frank married Dorothy Ethel Minnie Lappin in 1907. Dorothy was born in Wilsden, England (1877) and came to Wapella, Saskatchewan in 1906. By the time the 1911 census was taken, Frank, who is working as a driver, Dorothy and 3 children were living at 209, 1st S.E., Calgary, Alberta: Louisa Catherine Francis (born 1908), Clara Matilda (born 1910) and Josephine (born 1911). The two older girls were born in Wapella and the baby, in Calgary.
By 1916, shortly before he went to war, Frank and Dorothy were recorded on the census in Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan on Tolande Street. Frank was a dray worker. The family had added two more children: Frank Morris (born 1912) and Cecil Thomas (born 1915). Josephine is not listed in the census. Frank, a labourer and Ada were still living in Whitewood. By August, when Frank enlisted in the army, the address given for Dorothy, his next of kin, was back in Calgary, at 120 12th Avenue, East.
War experience: Frank, aged 39, enlisted August 24,1915 as a Pioneer with the 1st Canadian Pioneers and arrived in England, November 30th, 1915. He was embarked to France on March 9th and in the trenches in Ypres for seven weeks when he sprained his left foot. Over the next several months of treatment, hospitalization and convalescence in England, the condition only worsened, moving up his leg and into his hip. Frank was sent back to Canada to Winnipeg to continue treatment and was discharged May 3, 1917 as physically unfit to return to active duty. Frank’s final diagnosis was sciatica, a condition that was expected to affect him for life. He was granted a pension of $100 a month.
Life after the war: Frank returned to civilian life and, in 1921, was living with his family in the town of Broadview, District of Qu’Appelle. He was employed as a Telephone Agent. His family now consisted of seven children. New to the list were Alma (born 1916), Phillip (born 1919) and Patricia (born 1920). Little else has been learned about his life prior to his death; however, it is known that there were several more children, including Gordon, Stanley, Beatrice, Grace, Edna and Ellen. In 1937, he and Dorothy moved to Keewatin, Ontario where some of their adult children had moved, possibly because of employment opportunities available during the depression years at the flour and paper mills. Dorothy was active in the Keewatin Women’s Institute and the Ladies’ Auxilliary of the Keewatin Legion.
Children serving in World War II: Four sons were serving in World War II when Frank and Dorothy died in 1944. Stanley was with an anti-aircraft unit in England. Morris, Phillip and Gordon were all members of the Winnipeg Grenadiers and had been taken prisoners of war by the Japanese in Hong Kong in 1941.
Date of death and burial: Frank died November 3, 1944 at Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg. Dorothy died just a few months earlier on July 14th. They are buried in separate graves in the Teardrop Block of the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. Frank was buried in a Legion Plot.
Their obituaries identified 12 surviving children: 7 women and five men. Those who lived locally include Mrs. Jack Allen, Mrs. W. White, Ellen and Cecil of Keewatin; and Beatrice, Grace and Edna of Kenora. Frank’s Veteran Death Card lists his daughter, Mrs. Clara M. Allen of Keewatin, as his next of kin.
In Memoriam: In the Winnipeg free Press on July 14th, 1948, two In Memoriam messages remembered both Dorothy and Frank: one was from daughter, Edna, and the other from Philippe, Louise, and grandsons.
By Susan (Hillman) Brazeau in support of the Kenora Great War Project – honouring all who served, remembering those who died
SOURCES: Several of these sources are available on ancestry.ca
London England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906 (1876, 1877)
London England Marriages and banns, 1754-1921.
1891 Census of England
Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1953/UK Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 (April 1892 and April 1893)
1906 Canadian Census (re: Frank`s father)
Web: Saskatchewan, Birth Index,1875-1908 (re: Birth of Frank’s daughter and full name of wife, Dorothy)
1911 Canadian Census
1916 Canadian Census
Library and Archives Canada, First World War, Canadian Expeditionary Forces database: Attestation Paper and Service File
Canadian Soldiers of the First World War (ancestry.ca)
1921 Canadian Census
Kenora Daily Miner and News: 1944 Obituaries for Frank and Dorothy
Winnipeg Free Press: July 14, 1948-In Memoriam. One from daughter Edna and one from daughter Louisa and her family
Northern Ontario Canada Gravemarker Gallery
1st Pioneer Battalion Nominal Roll
Veteran’s Death card