|Date of Birth||October 16, 1894|
|Place of Birth||Newdale, Manitoba|
|Next of Kin||Thomas William Preece (father), Portage la Prairie, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Machinist|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Place of Enlistment||Brandon, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||160 Smith Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||April 18, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||23|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||October 18, 1972|
|Age at Death||78|
|Buried At||Cremation (Royal Oak Crematorium, Victoria, BC)|
Private Alfred Preece was born on 16 October 1894 in Newdale, Manitoba. His birth name was Abraham Alphonse Preece and his parents were Thomas William Preece and Mary Jane Threadkill. Thomas was born in England and immigrated to Canada as a child. Mary was born in Ontario and both of her parents were from England. Her family had moved to Manitoba by 1891. Thomas and Mary were married in 1892 and Alfred was the second of at least eight children: William Henry (Harry), Alfred, Irene, George Charles (died at age one), Charles James, Arthur Brooks, John Lundy and Mary.
Alfred spent his early years in the Minnedosa area and his family moved to Portage la Prairie when he was about ten years old. His father worked as a foreman for the Canada Pacific Railway. Alfred started as an apprentice machinist with the CPR around 1911, at age 17. He completed the apprenticeship in 1916 and went on to have a long career with the company. The war had started in 1914 and conscription was introduced in 1917. Alfred registered as required and had his army medical on 4 October 1917 in Brandon. He was called up for service the following spring, on 18 April 1918. He was working in the CPR Weston shops in Winnipeg at the time and next of kin was his father in Portage la Prairie.
Alfred was attached to Company ‘F’ of the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment, which trained at Camp Hughes. He attended a non-commissioned officers’ course in Winnipeg for most of June and in November he was quarantined due to illness. He was discharged from service in Brandon on 4 December 1918, due to being a railroad employee, and he returned to his job with the CPR.
According to an article in the Winnipeg Tribune, Alfred married Sadie Marion McKay in August 1919. Marion was born in High Bluff, Manitoba and she was 21 years old at the time of their marriage. Alfred and Marion had a daughter, Muriel Isabel, born in December 1920 followed by a son James. For most of the 1920s Alfred worked as a relief foreman in the Manitoba district. Another daughter, Doreen Marion, was born in Souris in 1926. Over the winter of 1927-28 Alfred worked in Kenora, Ontario. Sadly Doreen died there on 31 January 1928, at age 18 months, and she’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. Alfred returned to Winnipeg but worked in Kenora again for three years, from 1931 to 1934, as locomotive foreman.
In March 1934 Alfred was promoted to general locomotive foreman and sent to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He was living back in Winnipeg by 1941. His wife Marion passed away on 12 January 1948, at age 50. She’s buried at Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg. Alfred continued living in Winnipeg and remarried within a few years. His second wife, Edith Evelyn Sandison (née Dow), was born in Winnipeg in 1900, the daughter of John Dow and Martha Hunter. She had married James Alexander Sandison in 1924 and he died in 1948.
Alfred retired in 1959 after 48 years with the CPR. He and his wife moved to Victoria, British Columbia about five years later. He passed away in the Glengarry Private Hospital in Victoria on 18 October 1972, at age 78. Edith died in New Westminster, BC on 29 October 1985, at age 85.
By Becky Johnson