Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 18, 1887
Place of BirthFoxboro, Ontario
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs Catherine Barker, wife, 2011 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC
Trade / CallingCook
Service Details
Regimental Number180581
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion4th Divisional Train
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment2011 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC
Date of EnlistmentNovember 12, 1915
Age at Enlistment28
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 26, 1963
Age at Death76
Buried AtHatley Memorial Gardens, Colwood, BC

Barker, Francis Oliver

According to his attestation papers Francis Oliver (Frank) Barker was born on 13 January 1887 in Foxboro near Belleville, Ontario. A birth record was not found and his BC death record gives his place of birth as Belleville. His father Frederick (Fred) Joseph Barker was from Shoreditch, London, England and had immigrated to Canada in 1873 with his parents who settled in the Faraday, Hastings, Ontario area. His mother Mary Lydia Allcock was born in Faraday to recent English immigrants. Frank’s parents Fred and Lydia married on 20 January 1885 in Faraday. They first farmed in the area, giving birth to children Bertha Lydia (1886), Frank, Henry Herbert (Harry) (1888), and Joseph Stephen (1890). By the birth of son Frederick Charles in 1894 the family was living in Melita, Manitoba and by 1897 had relocated to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. Lydia’s parents and some of her siblings had previously moved to Rat Portage. While in Rat Portage Fred found work as a teamster. Children born in Rat Portage were Amy Maud (1897), Albert Wesley (1899), Hazel Olive (1900), Lenora Elsie (1901), Inza Kenora (1905), and Ernest Chester (1907). The family next moved to Regina, Saskatchewan where daughter Regina Bernice (Bessie) was born (1912) and then on to Victoria, British Columbia a short time later.

By the time he signed his attestation papers on 12 November 1915 with the 88th Battalion (Victoria Fusiliers) in Victoria, Frank had married Catherine Kay Smith. Born on 6 July 1886 in Motherwell, Dalziel, Lanarkshire, Scotland, Catherine was the daughter of George and Elizabeth (née Mc Pherson) Smith. Her parents and some of her siblings had immigrated to Canada in 1907, settling in Winnipeg where George worked as a blacksmith. At the time of attestation Frank’s occupation was given as cook and his wife Catherine on Douglas Street as next of kin. His brother Fred had enlisted the day before and was to serve with the Canadian Field Artillery while his father Fred enlisted the same day as Frank with his brother Joseph enlisting a few days later.

As Privates with the battalion, Fred Sr, Frank, and Joseph Stephen embarked from Halifax on 31 May 1916 aboard the Olympic, transferring to the 30th Reserve Battalion a short time after their arrival in England.In August Frank was transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot. In late January 1917 he was admitted to Moore Barracks Hospital with the measles, discharged on 7 February. Along with his father, Frank returned to Canada aboard the hospital ship Esquibo, leaving Liverpool on 19 February 1917, reason given as debility. After spending time at the military hospital at Esquimalt, Frank was discharged as an outpatient on 11 March. By May Frank was back in England, taken on strength with the Canadian Army Service Corps Regimental Depot. On 12 November he was awarded a Good Conduct Badge. In December of 1917 Frank was struck in the head by a falling door, a concussion resulting in some deafness and troubles with his ear. Following treatment he was reclassified as medical category B2. In May 1918 Frank proceeded overseas to join the 4th Canadian Divisional Train in the field. In January he was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK, with extensions granted until 9 March. After returning to France, in May Frank proceeded to England and embarked for Canada on 6 June aboard the Olympic. He was discharged from service on 17 June in Winnipeg. Frank’s wife Catherine had travelled to Great Britain during the war, living for a time in England as well as in Dalziel in Scotland. She returned to Canada in March of 1919, arriving in St John’s, Newfoundland aboard the Scotian on the 1st.

By 1923 Frank and Catherine were living in Bellingham in Washington, USA, with Frank working as a cook. At some point in the 1930’s the couple returned to Victoria, BC where Catherine died on 2 April 1939. Frank remarried, his wife’s name given as Nellie Margaret Dudley Baynes on his BC death record. Over the years he worked at the Provincial Mental Home and Veteran’s Hospital as a chef. After retiring Frank and Nellie lived in Esquimalt.

Frank died on 26 June 1963 at the Veteran’s Hospital in Saanich. He was predeceased by his parents Lydia (1935) and Fred (1944), and siblings Bertha (bef 1891), Amy (1898), Ernest (1907), Albert (1909), and Joseph Stephen (1951). At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Nellie, daughter Pat and son David at home, son Joe with the RCAF at Kamloops, BC, daughter Joan (Albert) Guthrie of Manson’s Landing, BC, and siblings Harry, Fred, Hazel (William) Edwards, Lenora (Thomas) Appleby, Inza (Harold) Nuttall, and Bessie (Basil) Kendall. Frank, Catherine, his parents, and some of his siblings are interred in Hatley Memorial Gardens in Colwood.

By Judy Stockham

Photo of Frank and his brother: courtesy of his great niece Kris Fernando

Barker brothers Hatley Memorial Gardens

« Back To Soldier Biographies