|Date of Birth||December 25, 1878|
|Place of Birth||Brentford, Middlesex|
|Next of Kin||Helen Myrtle Dean (wife), General Delivery, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Locomotive fireman|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||No 13 Light Railway Operating Company|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Railway Troops|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||General Delivery, Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||14/03/1917|
|Age at Enlistment||38|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||30/09/1955|
|Age at Death||76|
|Buried At||Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver|
Sapper George Frederick Dean served with the British army in the Second Boer War. After immigrating to Canada he enlisted again during the First World War and served overseas for two years.
George was the oldest son of George Frederick Dean Sr. and Margaret Frances Small of London, England. His parents were both born in the county of Middlesex and they were married in early 1878. George was born on 25 December 1878 in Brentford, on the outskirts of London. He was one of six children including two who died young. His father was a hairdresser by trade.
George enlisted with a militia unit, the 3rd Battalion Manchester Regiment, on 8 August 1896 at age 17. He was living at home in Battersea at the time and he listed his occupation as boiler maker. He signed up in London and served with his unit for nine months, getting discharged by purchase in May 1897. He later enlisted as a Trooper with the 128th Imperial Yeomanry Company (Westminster Dragoons) and he served in the Second Boer War. He was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with clasps for Cape Colony and South Africa 1902.
By 1916 George had immigrated to Canada and settled in the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario, where he worked as a locomotive fireman for the Canadian Pacific Railway. In the fall of 1916 the war entered its third year and he signed up in Winnipeg on 14 March 1917, joining No. 2 Section Skilled Railway Employees. He was married by then and his wife Helen Myrtle Dean was listed as his next of kin. They had one child, Margaret Edith, who was a month old at the time. George was one of about ten recruits from the Kenora area who enlisted with No. 2 Section. They embarked from Halifax on 16 April on the SS Grampian and arrived in England at the end of the month. In England their unit was renamed No. 13 Light Railway Operating Company, Royal Engineers. After a few weeks of training the company was sent to France, arriving at Le Havre on 10 June 1917. That fall they were renamed once again, becoming No. 13 Canadian Light Railway Operating Company.
Between June and November 1917 the Allies took part in several major battles, including Hill 70 and Passchendaele. Over the winter and spring the Canadians held a long section of the front line in the Lens-Arras sector in France. Railways were vital for moving troops, equipment and supplies as well as evacuating the wounded. In September 1918 George had two weeks leave in the UK and he rejoined his unit on 10 November, the day before the Armistice was signed. The railway troops were kept busy for several more months and George returned to England with his unit at the end of February 1919. He was attached to the Canadian Railway Troops Depot until late March when his unit embarked for Canada on the SS Saturnia. They arrived in St. John, New Brunswick on 10 April and he was officially discharged on 13 April in Port Arthur, Ontario.
George returned to Kenora after the war but by 1921 he and his wife were living in Winnipeg, where they made their home for at least twelve years. He continued to work for the CPR and Helen was employed at Eaton’s. George was retired by the early 1940s and at some point he moved west and settled in Vancouver. He passed away at home on 30 September 1955, at age 76. A coroner’s report said his death was due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. George is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver.
By Becky Johnson
Photo at the top: Queen’s South Africa Medal