Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 28, 1899
Place of BirthPutney, London
CountryEngland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinAlbert James Humphreys (father), 529 Wiley Street, Fort William, Ontario
Trade / CallingClerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number2265586
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionReserve Brigade
ForceArmy
BranchCanadian Field Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentFort William, Ontario
Address at Enlistment529 Wiley Street, Fort William, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMay 30, 1917
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 27, 1976
Age at Death77

Humphreys, Hugh Gordon Albert

Signaller Hugh Gordon Albert Stuart Humphreys enlisted in 1917 at age 18 and served for two years in Canada and England. He enlisted again in the Second World War then continued to have a career in the armed forces until 1958, attaining the rank of Captain.

Hugh Gordon Albert Stuart, sometimes known as Bert, was the oldest son of Albert James Humphreys and Florence Emily Maud Cahill Stuart. Albert grew up in London, England and his wife was born in Adelaide, Australia. They were married in Fulham, London on Christmas Day in 1896 and their first three children were born in London: Dorothy (1897), Hugh (28 January 1899) and John (1906). In1906 Albert and his family immigrated to Canada along with Florence’s brother William, arriving in August on the Empress of Britain. They settled in Kenora, Ontario where both Albert and William found work with the CPR. The following summer Florence’s sister Ella Ackerman and her mother and stepfather also immigrated and joined the family in Kenora. Ella was a widow and she died tragically in July 1908, leaving a young son Cyril, age 10. Albert and Florence’s next child, daughter Ella, was born in Kenora in January 1909 and not long after that they moved to Fort William, taking Cyril with them. Their youngest child, Irene, was born in Fort William in 1913.

Hugh enlisted in Fort William on 30 May 1917, four months after his 18th birthday. He was working as a clerk at the time and he signed up with the 4th Divisional Signal Training Depot. He was promoted to Sergeant on 16 November, transferred to the 3rd Special Service Company on 31 December then to the 75th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery on 28 February 1918. About two months later Hugh was sent overseas and he arrived in England at the end of April on the SS Telea. He was posted to the Canadian Field Artillery Reserve Brigade and he served with them for the next year, with the rank of Signaller. Signallers could work in telegraphy, visual signalling, telephone and wireless technology and the pigeon service. In January 1919 Hugh became ill with tonsillitis and he spent about three weeks in the hospital at Bramshott. He returned to Canada in June 1919 on the SS Lapland and was officially discharged on demobilization on 11 June in Kingston, Ontario. His cousin Cyril Ackerman, who was raised by the Humphreys family, also enlisted and served in Canada with the Canadian Army Service Corps.

Hugh returned to Fort William after the war and when the 1921 census was taken he was living at home and working as a weighman in a mill. Not long after that he moved to Winnipeg where he was married on 3 November 1923. His wife, Bessie Barnsley, was born in 1904 in Staffordshire, England and she’d come to Canada in 1921 with her parents, Harry and Florence Barnsley. Hugh and Bessie made their home in Winnipeg and they raised two children, Barry and Betty Joan. Hugh became an accountant, working first for the Northland Elevator Company then for Searle Grain. He was also active in the local militia and served as Captain with the 10th Battalion, Canadian Corps of Signals. Hugh and Bessie moved to Toronto in the early 1930s and when the Second World War started Hugh enlisted again. He went overseas with the Canadian Signal Corps and returned to Canada in 1946. Afterwards he decided to stay in the Canadian Armed Forces and he served for another 12 years. During that time he moved his family to Nova Scotia and they lived in Halifax and Wolfville.

Hugh retired from the army as a Captain in 1958. He passed away in Windsor, Nova Scotia on 27 November 1976, at age 77. He was survived by his wife Bess, their children Joan and Barry, and his two youngest sisters Ella and Irene.

By Becky Johnson

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