Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 7, 1880
Place of BirthToronto, Ontario
Marital StatusWidower
Next of KinJames Wydeman, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingChauffeur
Service Details
Regimental Number514293
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionCanadian Engineers Mechanical Transport Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentToronto, Ontario
Address at Enlistment112 Ossington Avenue, Toronto, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentApril 23, 1917
Age at Enlistment36
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 12, 1944
Age at Death63

Wydeman, Victor Nugent

Acting Sergeant Victor Nugent Wydeman enlisted with the Canadian Army Service Corps in April 1917 and served in Canada, Great Britain and France. He returned home in July 1919.

Victor was born in Toronto on 7 July 1880 to James Wydeman (Weidman) and his first wife Harriet Adair. James was born in Pickering, Ontario and raised by his adoptive parents, Samuel and Hester Weidman. Harriet Adair was born in Markham, Ontario. James and Harriet were married in Brampton in 1874 and they had at least two children, Hilda (1876) and Victor, both born in Toronto. James was a printer, editor, newspaper publisher and journalist. His wife likely died at the time of Victor’s birth or shortly after.

By 1881 James was living in the town of Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. He married Eliza Jane Bamforth around 1881 and they had a daughter, Lila, born in 1882 in Rat Portage. In the mid-1880s they moved to the North-West Territories and spent about five years in Qu’Appelle, which is now in Saskatchewan. A son, Roy Walter, was born in Qu’Appelle in 1887. The family was still living there for the 1891 census but they returned to Rat Portage the following year. James was involved in the local newspaper and printing business for more than thirty years and he published the Rat Portage Miner, the Keewatin Enterprise and the Kenora Examiner.

Victor apparently moved to the U.S. around 1901 and he was married there in 1907. When the census was taken in April 1910 he was living in Manhattan, New York City with his wife, Juliette Brandin. His occupation was auto shop mechanic and he said he’d been married for three years. Juliette was born in 1888 in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Albert Jean (John) Brandin and Ada (Addie) Forrester. Her paternal grandfather was from France and her maternal grandfather from England. By the summer of 1915 Victor and Juliette were living in Jersey City, New Jersey and Victor was an auto salesman. They had no children. Sadly, Juliette died in January 1916, with the cause of death recorded as an ovarian cyst. She is buried with her parents in Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.

After being widowed Victor may have moved back to Canada or returned there to enlist. The U.S. entered the war in early April 1917 and he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 23 April 1917 in Toronto. His occupation was chauffeur, his address was 112 Ossington Avenue, Toronto and next of kin was his father in Kenora. Victor signed up with the No. 2 Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot and he was sent overseas in their 14th draft. He embarked on 25 June on the SS Justicia and arrived in England on 5 July. For the next year he served in the UK with the Reserve Depot and the Corps Depot of Canadian Army Service Corps.

On 9 July 1918 Victor was sent to France and transferred to the Canadian Engineers Mechanical Transport Company. The Canadians were heavily involved in the final months of the war, a period known now as the Hundred Days Offensive. Following the Armistice Victor stayed in France with his unit for another seven months. He was appointed Lance Corporal in December 1918 and Acting Sergeant in April 1919. He returned to England in early June and sailed for Canada on 2 July on the SS Olympic, arriving in Halifax about a week later. He was discharged on demobilization on 11 July in Toronto.

Victor moved back to the U.S. in September 1919. On the border crossing record his last permanent address was listed as Kenora, Ontario, his occupation was salesman and his destination was Jersey City, New Jersey. When the 1920 census was taken he was single, living in Jersey City and working as an automobile salesman. He was married again around 1923. His wife, Esther Jane Jones, was a school teacher who was born in Jersey City in 1889. Her parents, William Jones and Martha Conn, were both from Ireland.

Victor and his wife continued to live in Jersey City and they had a daughter, Jane Adair, born in March 1926. Victor’s stepmother had died in 1912 and his father passed away in February 1930, both in Kenora. They are buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery (under the surname Weidman). When the next U.S. census was taken in April 1930 Victor was employed as an auto parts salesman. By 1940 he was a shipyard mechanic.

The U.S. entered the Second World War in 1941 and Victor registered for the draft in April 1942. He was 61 years old, living at 108 Virginia Avenue in Jersey City and employed by the Federal Ship Building Dry Dock Company. He passed away just two years later, on 25 April 1944, at age 63. His daughter Jane married Charles Witherell in 1950 and she died in 2012. She’s buried in Monterey City Cemetery in California.

By Becky Johnson

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