Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 15, 1893
Place of BirthWalsoken, Norfolk
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Clara Reed (mother), Walsoken, Norfolk
Trade / CallingButcher
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number318338
Battalion1st Cambridgeshire Regiment
ForceBritish Army
BranchBritish Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWisbech, Cambridgeshire
Address at EnlistmentWalsoken, Norfolk
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 4, 1914
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 27, 1967
Age at Death73
Buried AtCedar Valley Memorial Gardens, Cedar, British Columbia

Reed, Charles

Sergeant Charles Reed was born in England and served in the British army during the war. He immigrated to Canada in 1924 and spent some time living and working in the Kenora area.

Charles was the son of Richard Reed and Clara Ellen English. Richard was born in Cambridgeshire, England and Clara in Norfolk. They were married in 1881 in Wisbech and they had ten children: Richard, John, Eveline, Clara, Charles, Frederick, Violet, twins Hugh and Hilda, and Eva. Charles was born in the Wisbech district on 15 December 1893. The registration district of Wisbech was in both Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. Census records place Charles’ birth in Walsoken, Norfolk, a suburb of the town of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.

Charles’ family lived in Walsoken and worked in agriculture. His oldest brother Richard was a horse slaughterer/butcher and Charles followed the same trade. His father died in 1909. When the 1911 census was taken Charles was living with his widowed mother and six of his brothers and sisters. The war started in August 1914 and he enlisted the following month, signing up in Wisbech on 4 September with the 1st Cambridgeshire Regiment. His occupation was butcher/horse slaughterer and he said he was employed by a Mr. R. Baxter in Walsoken. He was sent to France on 13 February 1915 and he served in France and Belgium until November 1916.

In May 1916 Charles was promoted to Corporal and in October he became ill with tonsillitis and diphtheria. He spent a short time at No. 24 General Hospital in France before being evacuated to England. The diphtheria had affected his heart and he spent the next year serving in the UK. He was promoted to Sergeant on 8 March 1917 and sent back to France that December. In April 1918 he began suffering from trench feet. He was admitted to a hospital in Etaples, France then evacuated to England. He recovered for six weeks at the 1st Birmingham War Hospital. Afterwards he served in the UK until the end of the war. At some point he was transferred to the 5th Reserve Battalion, London Regiment, and he was disembodied on 20 April 1919. He had been in the army for four and a half years, from age 20 to 25.

Charles immigrated to Canada in the summer of 1924, sailing on the SS Ausonia on 22 August. He said he was single, age 30, presently a tool maker and on his way to Winnipeg, Manitoba. By October 1925 he was living at the YMCA in Kenora, Ontario and he became a member of the Kenora branch of the Great War Veterans’ Association. Three years later, in October 1927, he joined the Kenora branch of the Canadian Legion. His address at that time was Calm Lake, which is just west of Atikokan, Ontario. Around this time Charles also began working in the mining industry.

By the early 1940s Charles was living in Flin Flon, a northern mining community located on the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border. Also living in Flin Flon and working at a clinic there was Vivian Kathleen Coyne. Vivian, a nurse, was born in 1915 in Stenan, Saskatchewan, the daughter of John and Theresa Coyne. John was a blacksmith and the family moved to Swan River, Manitoba when Vivian was still a child. By 1945 Charles and Vivian were married and they continued to live in Flin Flon where Charles worked as a shift boss and foreman.

Charles retired in 1959 and he and his wife moved to Nanaimo, British Columbia about two years later. Charles passed away in the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital on 27 June 1967, at age 73. His wife died on 13 February 1998, at age 82. They are buried in Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens in Cedar, British Columbia.

By Becky Johnson

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