Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 18, 1895
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMiss A Bryant, cousin, 270 1st Street East, Vancouver, BC
Trade / CallingButcher
ReligionMethodist
Service Details
Regimental Number115438
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion2nd Army Troops Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentMay 5, 1915
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 9, 1969
Age at Death74
Buried AtYork Cemetery, North York, Toronto, Ontario
PlotB-478

Bryant, Alfred George

Alfred George Bryant was born on 18 September 1895 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His father George Paul Bryant was from Ashwell, Hertfordshire in England and had immigrated to Canada around 1887, settling with his parents and siblings Walter and Silas in the Miniota area in Manitoba where they farmed. His mother Mary Isabel Papworth was from Biddleswade, Bedfordshire in England, arriving in Quebec aboard the Parisian on 1 October 1893 on her way to Brandon, Manitoba. The couple married on 22 November 1893 in Miniota but soon moved to Rat Portage where George found work in one of the local mills. Other children born in Rat Portage/Kenora or in nearby Norman were Charles Paul (1904), Walter James (1905), Ruth (1906), and Margaret Lois (1910). By the time of Margaret’s birth George was working as a railroad car inspector, transferring to Broadview, Saskatchewan in time for the 1911 census.

By the time Alfred enlisted on 5 May 1915 in Regina the family unit had disintegrated. It is not known if George and Mary had died but Charles, Walter, and Ruth eventually ended up in the Independent Order of Foresters Children’s Home in Oakville, Ontario. Ruth had been living with her uncle Silas Bryant and family in Miniota at the time of the 1916 census, while the same census found Margaret living with her uncle Walter Bryant and family, also in Miniota. The orphanage, founded in the early 1900’s, was built as part of a plan to look after the children of deceased IOF members. In 1921 Walter and Ruth were still living in the home.

When Alfred signed his attestation papers his occupation was given as butcher and his cousin Miss A Bryant in Vancouver as next of kin. Alfred had a freckled complexion, brown eyes, and red hair. With a draft to the 10th Canadian Mounted Rifles, Alfred arrived in England aboard the Olympic in May of 1916. He was taken on strength with the Canadian Engineers Training Depot and in November transferred to the Canadian Engineers Pool. In the same month Alfred was transferred to the 2nd Army Troops Company, redesignated as 2nd Army Corps Troops Company, Canadian Engineers by the end of the month. Army Troops Companies and Canadian Engineers worked in the corps area on the construction of defences, accommodation and route communications. In addition, they ran corps workshops and parks, built positions for heavy guns and worked on water supply, frequently in forward areas.

Alfred was granted two fourteen day leaves to the UK, one in mid November of 1917 and the second leave in November of 1918. With the end of the war he returned to England in February of 1919 and was granted permission to marry that June. During the 3rd quarter of 1919, in Wandsworth, Alfred married Eva May Mortimer. Born in 1900 in Pimlico, London, Eva was the daughter of John and Agnes Mortimer. Alfred and Eva arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the Corsican on 10 December 1919 where Alfred was discharged from service on the 13th. Their proposed residence on the passenger list and discharge paper was given as Toronto.

After discharge, Alfred must have returned to Regina at least for a while. A newspaper article from Regina’s Morning Leader of 21 October 1924 spoke of a pawn broker going out of business and concerned about war medals Sapper AG Bryant, regimental number 115438, had pawned back in 1920, wanting to return them to him. Moving down east, an Alfred G Bryant, truck driver, and his wife were found on a 1935 Voters list for Scarborough, East York, and another one for 1962 for Bathurst Street, North York, with household members for the latter listed as Alfred (retired), Eva, and John A Bryant (stockkeeper). Over the years Alfred and Eva gave birth to eight children: Eileen, Jack, Donald, Walter, Patricia, Yvonne, June, and Gwen.

Alfred died on 9 November 1969 in the Willowdale/North York area of Toronto. At the time of his death he was survived by his children, siblings Charles, Margaret, and Ruth, and fifteen grandchildren. Eva died on 26 August 1973 and is interred with Alfred in the York Cemetery, North York, Toronto.

By Judy Stockham

gravemarker photo: courtesy of Islington, findagrave.com

Bryant-Alfred-George-2 Bryant-Alfred-George-3

 


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