Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 9, 1899
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinH P Christofferson, father, Sleeman, Ontario
Trade / CallingFarmer
ReligionPresbyterian
Service Details
Regimental Number820095
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion141st Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentRainy River, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentSleeman, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 11, 1916
Age at Enlistment16
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 22, 1984
Age at Death85
Buried AtMiddlebro Community Cemetery, Middlebro, Manitoba

Christofferson, William Alexander

William Alexander Christofferson was born on 9 April 1899 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. He was the youngest child of Danish immigrants Hans Peter Christofferson and Ann Margaret Neilson (Nielson). After giving birth in Denmark to children Agnes (1884), Holger (1886), Johanna (abt 1887), and Elnora (1891), the family immigrated to Canada in 1893. Arriving in New York aboard the Hekla on 6 July, the family was living in Brantford, Ontario by the next year when they gave birth to daughter Alice. It appears likely that daughter Elsie was born in Brantford in 1896 before the family moved to northwestern Ontario. Only a short time in Rat Portage, by the time of the 1901 census the family was living and farming in the Beaver Mills area, a village a couple of kilometres east of present day Rainy River. Hans’ property was eventually listed as lots 7 and 8 in the Township of Worthington (Sleeman), likely the same property as given in the 1901 census. Sadly, Ann died in 1913, with Hans marrying widow Jane (née Walton) Naish the next year. Hans later died in 1933 in Victoria, BC.

With occupation given as farmer and his father Hans in Sleeman as next of kin, Alexander signed his attestation papers with the 141st Battalion in Rainy River on 11 January 1916. Underage, he gave his date of birth as 9 April 1897. While training with the battalion, Alexander was first admitted to a hospital in Port Arthur on 9 December 1916 for seven days with bronchitis. On the way to Halifax with the battalion to embark for overseas, he was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal on 24 April 1917 with an abscess on his tonsils. Refusing an operation, Alexander was discharged to a convalescent home in mid May, only to be admitted to the Montreal General Hospital on 18 July when the surgery was performed. In late August he was released to a convalescent home for ten days, then discharged to a clearing station for transfer to Casualties MD #4 fit for duty. In December of 1917 Alexander was to spend another ten days in the Saint Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg with a ruptured abscess, discharged on the 18th.

In mid May of 1918 Alexander was transferred to the Depot Squadron of the 34th Fort Garry Horse, and arrived in England aboard the Thongwa with the 66th Draft to the 34th Fort Garry Horse on 22 July. In late October he was taken on strength with the Fort Garry Horse in France but by November he was having interconnective tissue issues with his right knee. He was admitted to the No 6 General Hospital in Rouen on 7 December, transferred to No 72 General Hospital in Trouville on the 16th. In January of 1919 Alexander was admitted to another hospital and then transferred to England by the end of the month. That April he suffered a bout of influenza and by May he was on his way back to Canada, embarking from Liverpool aboard the Caronia on the 14th. Alexander was discharged from service on 26 May 1919 in Winnipeg.

Alexander returned to the Sleeman area, and on 1 June 1920, in nearby Pinewood, he married Catherine Vellieux. Born in 1896 in Pinewood, Catherine was the daughter of Louis Vellieux (Veillieux) and Alphonsine Cyr. After spending a short time in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba where daughter Margaret Catherine was born the next year, by the time of the 1921 census they were listed as living in Sprague in the southeastern corner of Manitoba. Alexander and Catherine were to settle in nearby Middlebro where Alexander first operated a sawmill in the area. By 1926 he had become the postmaster of Middlebro, retiring 21 years later.

Alexander and Catherine gave birth to nine children: Margaret Catherine (1921-1992), Edmond Arthur (1922-1942), Evelyn Gladys (1925-2000), Violet May (abt 1927- 2004), Dalton Edward (abt 1929-1997), stillborn male infant (1930), Elmer William (1931-1976), Herbert Charles (abt 1933-2014), and Ronald Alexander. During WW2, while training in Fiddleworth in England, Edmond died on 5 October 1942 as a result of an accidental gunshot wound to the shoulder during a battle drill. He is interred in the Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey.

Predeceased by his wife Catherine on 8 July 1971, Alexander died on 22 October 1984 in the Bethesda Hospital in Steinbach, Manitoba. At the time of his death he was survived by his three daughters Margaret (Edwin) Blackburde of Middlebro, Evelyn (Morris) Taylor of Warroad, Minnesota, and Violet (Roland) Olson of Sprague, and sons Dalton (Edith) of Prince George, BC, Herbert (Ruth) of Atikokan, Ontario and Ronald (Barbara) of Middlebro. Also surviving were 26 grandchildren and 33 great grandchildren. Alexander and Catherine are interred in the Middlebro Community Cemetery in Middlebro.

By Judy Stockham

Family photo: Milne Family Tree (michellehadfield) as found on ancestry.ca

Christofferson-William-Alexander-1 Christofferson-William-Alexander-2 Christofferson-William-Alexander-3 Christofferson-William-Alexander-4 Christofferson-William-Alexander-5


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