|Date of Birth||September 12, 1884|
|Place of Birth||Hull, Yorkshire|
|Next of Kin||Elizabeth Stanbrook (wife), Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Trimmer|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Branch||Royal Garrison Artillery|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||August 12, 1914|
|Age at Enlistment||29|
|Theatre of Service||Europe and India|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||1946|
|Age at Death||61|
Gunner Albert Stanbrook was living in Canada when the war started. He was called up as a British army reservist in August 1914 and he served in England, France, Belgium and India until June 1919.
Albert was the son of Richard Stanbrook and Annie Letitia Haywood of Southampton, Hampshire, England. Richard was born in Yorkshire and Annie in Derbyshire. They were married in 1880 in Owlerton, Yorkshire. They had a son John Tom born in 1881 in York, Yorkshire but sadly he died as an infant, shortly after the 1881 census was taken. He was followed by a daughter Margaret (Maggie) Elizabeth in 1882 and Albert on 12 September 1884, both born in Hull, Yorkshire. The fourth and youngest child, Mary Alice, was born in 1894 in Southampton, Hampshire. Richard had worked as an attendant at an insane asylum but for both the 1891 and 1901 census his occupation was cement tester.
In 1901 Albert was 16 years old and working as a bricklayer’s labourer. He joined the British army on 13 August 1903, a month before his 19th birthday. He passed himself off as twenty years old and listed his occupation as carpenter’s labourer. He signed up in Southampton, joining the Royal Garrison Artillery, and he said he was currently in a militia unit, the 3rd Hampshire Regiment. Albert served in the UK until November 1904 when he was sent to Gibraltar. He spent the next five years there with No. 8 Company, Royal Garrison Artillery. He returned to the UK in December 1909 and served in England until August 1911, to complete his eight years with the colours.
Albert was transferred to the reserves on 12 August 1911 and he was married two weeks later. His wife was Elizabeth Fray and they were married on 26 August at the registrar’s office in Sheerness, Kent. Elizabeth was born in Sheerness on 8 September 1891, the daughter of Alfred William Fray. Alfred had served for ten years as a stoker with the British navy then worked as a ship stoker in civilian life. He married his first wife, Eliza Jacobs, in 1886 and they had two children, Alfred Jr. and Elizabeth. Alfred married his second wife, Lilian Helena Watson, in 1898 and they had five children.
Albert and Elizabeth’s first child, Albert Edward, was born in Southampton in June 1912. Albert’s sister Maggie had married Richard Hinton in 1902 and they immigrated to Canada a few years later and settled in Kenora, Ontario. Albert’s mother and sister Mary Alice also moved to Kenora, arriving from England in July 1912. Albert and his family joined them there the following year, sailing from Southampton in July 1913 on the SS Andania, their destination listed as Kenora, Ontario. Albert found work at the Maple Leaf flour mill and he and his wife had another son, William Alfred, who was born on 23 July 1914. The war started twelve days later.
Along with several other local men Albert was called up as a British reservist and required to report to his regiment in England. Albert and reservists John Freeman and Bertie Woodrow left Kenora by train on 17 August and a large crowd gathered at the station to see them off. Albert spent several weeks training in England before being sent to France on 4 October. His wife and children arrived from Canada on 31 October and they lived in Sheerness while he was overseas.
Albert served in France and Belgium with the Royal Garrison Artillery for the next three years. According to a letter in the Kenora Miner and News in December 1914 he was with the 3rd Battery, Heavy Brigade in the British Army’s 7th Division. He likely had regular leave in England and he and his wife had twins, Dorothy Violet and Leslie Henry, who were born in Sheerness in August 1917. Albert returned to England in October 1917 and served there for almost a year. In September 1918 he was sent to India where he spent seven months. He was back in England in April 1919 and discharged from the army on 25 June due to being no longer physically fit for service. He was awarded the 1914 Star.
Albert and Elizabeth stayed in England after the war, probably living mostly in Southampton. They had five more children between 1920 and 1932: Elsie, Marjorie, Lilian, Bernard and Christina. Albert’s sister Mary had married Arthur Frederick James in 1916 in Fort William, Ontario. Their mother Annie Letitia was also married in Fort William in 1916, to Henry Newsum. Annie and both of her daughters, Maggie and Mary, moved to British Columbia. Annie died in Vancouver in 1937 and she’s buried in Mountain View Cemetery.
In the 1939 Register for England Albert and his wife were listed in Southampton, with three children still at home, and he was a general labourer. Their oldest son Albert had a long career in the merchant navy, starting when he was a teenager and serving with them through the Second World War and into the 1950s or longer. His job took him to New York many times as well as Cuba and the Bahamas.
Albert passed away in Southampton in 1946, at age 61, and Elizabeth in 1975. Albert’s sisters both died in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Mary (Mrs. Arthur James) in 1975 and Maggie (Mrs. Richard Hinton) in 1977.
By Becky Johnson