|Date of Birth||October 26, 1892|
|Place of Birth||Bracebridge, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||John Heffren (father), Kelvington, Saskatchewan|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Wadena, Saskatchewan|
|Address at Enlistment||Kelvington, Saskatchewan|
|Date of Enlistment||January 4, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||23|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Age at Death||43|
|Buried At||Kelvingrove Cemetery, Kelvington, Saskatchewan|
Sergeant Charles Bertram Heffren enlisted in January 1916 and served in Canada for three years.
Bertram was the son of John Alexander Heffren (Heffern) and Margaret Malinda Clement. John was probably born in Quebec to Irish parents and Margaret was born in Ontario. They were married in 1881 in the District of Muskoka, Ontario. They had twelve children: Edith Adelle, James William, Annie May, John Edward, Mary Elizabeth, Charles Bertram, Arthur, Angus Langford, Robert Alexander, Ellen Margaret, Percy Ray and Gordon Clifford. Bertram was born on 26 October 1892. Although his attestation lists his birth place as Bracebridge, his birth was registered in the nearby Township of Ryde, where John was a farmer. Bertram’s brother Angus was born in the Township of Ryde in January 1898.
By the fall of 1899 John and Margaret had moved to the town of Norman (now part of Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. Sadly, they lost three of the children within just two months. Edith died on 20 July 1900, at age 18, and Angus passed away the next day, at age two, both from diphtheria. Annie died of typhoid fever on 10 September, at age 14. They are all buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. Two children were born in the Norman area, Robert (October 1899) and Ellen (May 1902). Percy’s birth was registered in Grandview, Manitoba in September 1905.
By 1906 the family had settled near Kelvington, Saskatchewan where the youngest son, Gordon Clifford, was born in June 1908. John took up farming and later became a store keeper in the town of Kelvington. Bertram was 21 years old when the war started and he enlisted about a year and a half later, on 4 January 1916. He was living in Kelvington at the time and he signed up in the nearby town of Wadena, joining the 214th Battalion. In the spring of 1917 he was transferred to the 95th Saskatchewan Rifles to serve on Home Defence. He became ill with diphtheria that summer and he recovered at the military isolation hospital in Regina from 19 June to 27 August.
On 24 October Bertram was assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, Saskatchewan Regiment, and on 17 November he was promoted to sergeant. Around that time he was also married and his service record notes that he was ‘Placed on Married Strength’ on 25 November. His wife, Margaret, was born in Scotland and came to Canada around 1912. Bertram served in Canada for another year, getting discharged on 30 December 1918, about six weeks after the Armistice. His brother Arthur Heffren also enlisted, serving in Canada for a year but suffering from illness for much of that time.
When the 1921 census was taken Bertram and Margaret were living in Kelvington, listed as store keepers. They had two children, Jack, age two, and Margaret, an infant, and two more followed later. Sadly Bertram passed away in 1935 or 1936, around age 43. He’s buried in Kelvingrove Cemetery in Kelvington. His wife died in 1949, at age 56, and she’s interred in Regina Cemetery in Regina.
By Becky Johnson
There is a photo of Bertram’s gravemarker on CanadaGenWeb’s online Cemetery Project.