|Date of Birth||August 7, 1899|
|Place of Birth||Wallington, Surrey|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Force||British Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||King's Royal Rifle Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Date of Death||October 30, 1964|
|Age at Death||65|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Thomas Noel Harvey was born on 7 August 1899 at Fern Villas, Beddington Corner in Wallington in the registration district of Croydon, Surrey, England. His father Noel Augustine Harvey, a third generation floorcloth manufacturer, was from nearby Mitcham while his mother Elizabeth Margaret Hazell was from Wallington. The couple married on 13 March 1895 in the Parish of Beddington Church, Surrey. At the time of the marriage Noel had been living in Mitcham while Elizabeth was living in Beddington Corner. Children born to family were Gwenyth Audrey (1897), Constance Margaret (1898), Thomas, Wyndham May (1902), and Noel Austine (1907). All the births were registered in Croydon, with Gwenyth, Constance, Thomas, and Wyndham baptized in the Parish of Beddington Church while Noel was baptized in the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul in Mitcham. At the time of the 1901 England census the family was still living at Fern Villas with Noel Sr’s occupation given as Floor Cloth Manufacturer Employer. By the 1911 census the family was living in Earlswood in the registration district of Reigate in Surrey. Noel Sr was listed as an out of work maker in the Floor Cloths Trade while Elizabeth was listed as a grocer working out of their house.
Although his service record is not available, Thomas, although underage, likely enlisted during the last two years of the war. From his Medals Rolls Index card and the entry for him on the WW1 Service Medals and Award Rolls, he first enlisted with the London Regiment, service number 242047. Service was indicated in the 2nd and 9th Battalions before transferring to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, service number 52131, where he served overseas. Both sources gave his rank as Private while his military grave marker gave it as Rifleman. Although further details of his service are unknown, Thomas was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service during the war.
Thomas immigrated to Canada in 1920, arriving in Quebec aboard the Minnedosa on 27 June. His passage paid for by the government, he was on his way to the Athabasca area of Alberta to farm. At the time of the 1921 Canada census Thomas was listed as the head of the household on his farm near Athabasca. Abandoning the farm, he later worked as a prospector/miner in the Sioux Lookout area in northwestern Ontario before returning to England for a visit in 1929. Departing from Montreal, Thomas arrived in Liverpool on 18 October aboard the Duchess of Bedford. The next year he was listed with his parents and sister Wyndham as living on London Road in the Parish of Wallington, Mitcham. Later that year Thomas returned to Canada, arriving in Montreal on the Montrose on 8 August, on his way back to Sioux Lookout to mine.
At the time of a 1935 Voters list, Thomas was found working as a trapper out of Sunstrum, a very small remote community on the Canadian National Railway line about 60 kilometres west of Sioux Lookout as the crow flies. At some point Thomas met and married Mabel/Mable Elizabeth Durfey. Born in 1914 in Oxdrift, Ontario, Mabel was the daughter of Lewis Henry Durfey and Ethel Irene Robinson. The families farming at the time, her parents had married in 1909 in Oxdrift. They later lived in the Osaqaun lumber community and company town near Ignace in northwestern Ontario. According to his obituary, Thomas and Mabel lived in Winnipeg before moving to Kenora in 1947. Together they gave birth to two sons, David Thomas and Robert Charles. Thomas worked as a salesman for the WT Rawleigh Company, long time seller of vitamins and health supplements. Retiring by 1962, a Voters list of the day for Kenora listed him as a taxidermist and then as a pensioner in 1963.
Thomas died on 30 October 1964 in St Joseph’s Hospital in Kenora. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Mabel, son David at home and son Robert away at university. He was also survived by his siblings Gwenyth (Ralph) Hitchman, Wyndam (Reginald) Birch, and Noel (Eileen Heard), all back in England. He was predeceased by his parents, and by his sister Constance (Charles) Wookey in 1962 in England. Mabel later died on 24 September 1990 in the Lake of the Woods District Hospital in Kenora. Thomas and Mabel are interred together in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
By Judy Stockham
There are many inconsistencies in Thomas’ obituary that are not supported by the records found in Canada.
Many thanks to George Gilchrist for his family tree on ancestry.ca.