Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 17, 1894
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJohn Bosman (father), 258 First Street, Brandon, Manitoba
Trade / CallingChauffeur
Service Details
Regimental Number2747
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion5th Canadian Cavalry Divisional Supply Column
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentBrandon, Manitoba
Address at Enlistment258 First Street, Brandon, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 22, 1915
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 26, 1929
Age at Death34
Buried AtBrandon Municipal Cemetery, Brandon, Manitoba
PlotSec 10 - D 56

Bosman, Russell

Private Russell Bosman enlisted in January 1915 and served in France as a lorry driver with a supply column. He returned home to Canada in 1917 after his father died and he was discharged from service on compassionate grounds.

Russell was the oldest son of John and Laura Bosman of Brandon, Manitoba. John grew up in a large family in Morris Township, Huron County, Ontario, where his father was a farmer. He found work with the railroad and by 1891 he was living in Rat Portage (later called Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. He married Laura Sellars in Morris Township in April 1893 and they settled in Rat Portage, where their four children were born: Russell (17 May 1894), Melville (1895), Gladys (1898) and Zelda (1900). When the 1901 census was taken they were enumerated in both Rat Portage and the town of Wingham in Morris Township, so they may have moved back home for awhile. By 1906 they were living in Brandon, Manitoba. At the time of the 1911 census John was a railway engineer and Russell, age 17, was working in a butcher shop.

The war started in August 1914 and Russell enlisted five months later, signing up in Brandon in January 1915 with the Canadian Army Service Corps. He was 19 years old, a chauffeur and he’d been training with a local militia unit, the 12th Manitoba Dragoons. About a week later Russell was sent to Toronto where he attested on 22 January. He was assigned to the 2nd Canadian Divisional Ammunition Park. In May they left for England, embarking from Montreal on the SS Megantic and landing in Liverpool nine days later. In September Russell was posted to the Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot and three months later he was transferred to a newly organized unit, the 1st Canadian Cavalry Brigade Supply Column. They were sent to France at the end of January 1916, sailing from Southampton on the HMS Transport Tudno, and in February the unit was re-designated the 5th Canadian Cavalry Divisional Supply Column. Russell served with them as a lorry driver for a year and a half.

The 5th Supply Column had a strength of about 200 men and officers with an average of 40 to 50 motor lorries as well as other motorized vehicles. Most of their work involved moving supplies from railheads to supply dumps but also mentioned in the war diary were transporting coal, wood, oats and other forage, troops and loads of ammunition. Their first two months in France were spent at Woincourt, not far from the coast, and over the next year they moved to several different locations as far southeast as Amiens.

Back in Brandon Russell’s father was killed in a train accident at work on 2 April 1917. Russell returned to England in June and he was granted a ten week furlough to Canada. He left from Liverpool on the SS Megantic and landed at Halifax on 24 August. While he was home his furlough was extended and he was discharged on compassionate grounds on 31 December 1917 in Winnipeg. His brother Melville Bosman had also enlisted, signing up Brandon in March 1916. He served in France and Belgium with the 8th Battalion and he was wounded as Passchendaele.

After returning to civilian life Russell found work with the Canadian National Railway and by 1928 he had moved to British Columbia. He was married in Vancouver on 1 October 1928, at age 34. His wife, 26 year old Laura Agnes Hunter, was a schoolteacher. She was born in Souris, Manitoba and lived in Vancouver with her family. Sadly, their marriage would be very short. Like his father, Russell was injured in an accident at work, apparently getting thrown from the engine of a moving freight train while he was on duty as a brakeman. He died in a hospital in New Westminster, BC on 26 March 1929. Russell’s body was returned home and he is buried near his father in Brandon Municipal Cemetery. He was survived by his wife Laura, his mother, his brother Melville and his sisters Zelda and Gladys (Mrs. Norman Cummings). His wife never remarried and she died in Vancouver in 1963, at age 61.

By Becky Johnson


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