|Date of Birth||November 9, 1895|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mrs. Mary Coppard (mother), 514 Sixth Avenue South, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Place of Enlistment||Port Arthur, Ontario|
|Address at Enlistment||514 Sixth Avenue South, Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||04/06/1918|
|Age at Enlistment||22|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||14/10/1953|
|Age at Death||57|
|Buried At||Mountain View Cemetery, Thunder Bay, Ontario|
|Plot||Block 154, R-1, Lot 13|
Private George Coppard and his brothers William and Richard all served in the First World War. George and William survived the war but Richard died of wounds in May 1918.
George was born on 9 November 1895 in Rat Portage (later called Kenora) in northwestern Ontario, the son of Henry Coppard and Maria McPherson. Henry, also known as Harry, was from Rye, Sussex, England and his wife was born in Ontario to Scottish-métis parents. Henry and Maria had eight children, four sons and four daughters. Two of the girls died in 1907, Rosie Jane at age 15 and an infant at age 4 days. George’s surviving siblings were Richard (1890), Samuel (1893), William (1897), Maude (1900) and Nellie (1903). When the 1911 census was taken he was 15 years old, living with his family on Sixth Avenue South in Kenora and working as a planer for the Rat Portage Lumber Company. His two older brothers also worked there and his father was a labourer for the railway.
When the First World War started Richard was the first to sign up, enlisting with the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion in February 1915 in Kenora. William signed up next, joining the local 94th Battalion in February 1916. Conscription started in Canada in the fall of 1917 and single men age 20 to 34 were required to register. George reported immediately and had his medical exam which found him fit for overseas service. The following summer, in June 1918, he was called up. He was assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment and sent to Port Arthur for his training. Shortly after arriving there he was given conditional leave until further notice. The Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918 and George returned to Port Arthur on 9 January, getting his official discharge five days later.
His oldest brother Richard Coppard had been transferred to the 4th Battalion and he served in France and Belgium for two years. In March 1918 he was gassed by a German shell and he died in a hospital in England in May 1918. Their youngest brother William Coppard served with a machine gun unit and he was wounded twice but he survived the war. Their uncle Charles Miller of Kenora enlisted in November 1915 and he was killed at the Battle of Amiens on 10 August 1918, three months before the Armistice.
George’s father died in a railway accident in August 1916, while his brothers were overseas. Harry was working as a guard at a tunnel near Sioux Lookout when he was struck by a train.
After the war George lived in Fort William and worked as a labourer on the construction of the Great Lakes Paper Company pulp and paper mill, which was built in the 1920s. When the mill began production he was employed there as a millwright and millwright’s helper. George was married on 23 November 1923 to Beatrice May Hucker. Beatrice was living in Fort William at the time of their marriage. She was originally from England and she had immigrated to Canada with her family in 1905, when she was four years old. George and Beatrice had a son George Jr. and in the 1935 Federal Voters’ List they were listed at 377 Empire Avenue. By 1949 George was listed alone at 468 Mary Street East and his son was married, working as a mailman and living on Mary Street West. George suffered from a heart condition and around that time he began a less strenuous job as a security officer and gateman. He died at his home in Fort William on 14 October 1953, at age 57. He was survived by his second wife Hilda (née Davies), his son George Jr. and a daughter Faye Elizabeth (Mrs. Donald Tourand). He is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Fort William, now part of the city of Thunder Bay.
George’s mother passed away in 1936 and she’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. Also buried there are his brothers William (1897-1954) and Samuel (1893-1958), and his sisters Rosie (1892-1907), Maude (1900-1972) and Nellie (1903-1995). Maude’s husband Walter Bradley and Nellie’s husband Marcus Blight were both veterans of the First World War. Three of Maude’s sons served in the Second World War and one of them, Ernest William, was killed in action in France in June 1944, at age 21.
George is commemorated in Kenora on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.
By Becky Johnson