Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 16, 1893
Place of BirthToronto, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinReverend Arthur Alfred Adams (father), Sioux Lookout, Ontario
Trade / CallingStudent at Law
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number911263
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion2nd Battalion 3rd Gaur Brahmans
ForceBritish Army
BranchBritish Indian Army
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentEdmonton, Alberta
Address at Enlistment9731 - 107th Street, Edmonton, Alberta
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 23, 1916
Age at Enlistment22
Theatre of ServiceFrance, India and Afghanistan
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 1, 1966
Age at Death73
Buried AtCremated (Vancouver Crematorium, Vancouver)

Adams, Arthur Charles Lewer

Second Lieutenant Arthur Charles Lewer Adams was a law student when he enlisted in Edmonton in February 1916. He served in France with the 46th Battalion then received a commission in the Indian Army. He was sent to India and Afghanistan and returned to Canada in December 1919.

Charles was the only son of Reverend Arthur Alfred Adams and his wife Kate Daw. Arthur was born and raised in Toronto and Kate was from Tavistock, England. They were married in Toronto in 1889 and Arthur was a printer at the time. Their daughter Bessie Lewer was born in 1891 and Charles was born on 16 July 1893, both in Toronto. The family was still living in Toronto at the time of the 1901 census. Arthur became an Anglican Deacon in 1904 and a Priest in 1905. By 1906 the family had moved to Kenora, Ontario. They lived there for about five years and Charles attended the local high school.

Reverend Adams served as the assistant minister at St. Alban’s Anglican church in Kenora, which was in the diocese of Keewatin. He also did general missionary work in the diocese and spent time in Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba. In 1910 he became the rural dean in Dryden, Ontario and in 1915 the incumbent in Sioux Lookout. His daughter Bessie attended normal school in North Bay, Ontario, training to be a teacher. She was married in Sioux Lookout in August 1915 to John Hay McDonald.

Charles moved west around 1911 and worked in real estate and insurance, first in Winnipeg then in Edmonton. In 1915 he began studying law and the following year he enlisted. He was living in Edmonton at the time and he signed up on 23 February 1916 with the 196th (Western Universities) Battalion. Many of the recruits in the unit were from colleges and universities in the western provinces. In March Charles was sent to Calgary’s School of Infantry and he rejoined his battalion on 30 April. That summer they trained at Camp Hughes in Manitoba and in July Charles spent two weeks in the hospital suffering from parotitis (mumps).

The 196th Battalion left for the east coast in late October. They embarked from Halifax on 1 November on the SS Southland, arriving in Liverpool about ten days later. On 1 January 1917 Charles was transferred to the 19th Reserve Battalion. On 16 February he was drafted to a front line unit, the 46th Battalion, and sent to France, joining them in the field about a week later. That winter the Canadians were in the Lens-Arras area, across from Vimy, and by early 1917 preparations were underway for the Battle of Vimy Ridge (9-14 April 1917). When the operation ended Charles reported sick and he spent two days at the 2nd Australian General Hospital in Boulogne, suffering from trench foot. From there he was evacuated to England and admitted to the Huddersfield War Hospital on 18 April.

Charles was moved to Woodcote Park Convalescent Hospital in early May and discharged to duty on 9 July. He served with the 19th and 15th Reserve Battalions for the next seven months. On 8 February 1918 he was attached to a British unit, No. 5 Cadet Battalion in Cambridge, with the view of getting a commission. On 27 August he was discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force and the following day he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the British Indian Army. He served in India and Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion 3rd Gaur Brahmans. He returned to England after the Afghan War and sailed for Canada in December 1919 on the SS Carmania. He was awarded the British War medal, the Victory medal and the India General Service medal with the 1919 Afghanistan clasp.

Charles’ parents had moved to Edmonton while he was overseas and he returned there after the war. He was called to the bar in 1921 and he practised law in Edmonton for about five years, then spent some time in Calgary. In January 1928 he was appointed provincial commissioner for the Canadian Red Cross Society and he returned to Edmonton. He was married there on 26 June 1928 to Florence Gwendolyn Stoddart, the daughter of George and Caroline Stoddart. In November that year Charles had one of his feet amputated after being injured in a gun accident.

Charles resigned as Red Cross commissioner in February 1931 and began working for the Canadian Life Assurance Company. His mother had passed away in 1928 and his father died in 1934. They are both buried in Edmonton Municipal Cemetery. By 1941 Charles was living in Ottawa and serving as private secretary to the Minister of Trade and Commerce. He went on to have a twenty-year career in the civil service and his work took him to the Yukon and to South America.

It’s not known if Charles was widowed or divorced but he married his second wife, Eileen Bessie Steele, on 11 May 1942 in Toronto. Eileen was born in Calgary in 1909, the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Steele. In 1953 Charles and his wife moved to Whitehorse, Yukon and he worked as Pipeline Commissioner for the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources. He was very involved in the community and with his church, Christ Church Cathedral. He became a Police Magistrate in Whitehorse in 1957. Charles and Eileen moved to Vancouver in 1963 and the following year he was appointed magistrate for the District of Fraser Mills. He retired in September 1965.

Charles passed away in the Vancouver General Hospital on 1 October 1966, at age 73. He was survived by his wife and one son, Arthur. Eileen died in 1991, at age 82. Charles’ sister Bessie, wife of judge John Hay McDonald, lived in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario for many years and she passed away in March 1954.

By Becky Johnson

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