Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 4, 1881
Place of BirthAston, Birmingham, Warwickshire
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs Nellie Charge, wife, 24 Tudor Sreet, Birmingham, England
Trade / CallingDriver
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number503715
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionCanadian Engineers
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 17, 1916
Age at Enlistment34
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 9, 1959
Age at Death78
Buried AtBrookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Charge, Frank

Frank Charge was born on 4 June 1881 in the inner parish of Aston in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. His father Leonard Charge, grocer and baker, was from Worcester, Worcestershire while his mother Frances Adams was from Taunton in Somerset. The couple had married on 5 October 1879 in Aston. Their first two children, Arthur (1880) and Frank, were born in Aston, followed by Leonard (1882) in Worcester, and Beatrice (1883), Ethel (1885), Albert (1886), and Ida (1891) all in Suckley, Martley in Worcestershire, and Philliss (1907) in Smethwick, Staffordshire.

On 13 January 1901 Frank married Nellie Knibbs in Aston. Born in Birmingham in 1870, Nellie was the daughter of Edward and Harriet (née Rooney) Knibbs. The 1901 England census found Frank and Nellie with a one year old child, Dorothy, living in Aston where Frank and Nellie were working as fruiterers. Two children were born in Birmingham, Beatrice in 1901 and Evelyn in 1903, followed by Edna (1906) and Francis (1908) in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. By the 1911 census Frank and Nellie were living in Smethwick in Staffordshire where Frank was working as a dyers porter. The couple had given birth to daughter Frances just prior to the census.

Frank was next found on the passenger list of the Empress of Ireland that arrived in Halifax on 17 August 1911. His destination was given as Kenora, Ontario and intended occupation as dyer. With occupation given as driver and his wife Nellie back in Birmingham as next of kin, Frank signed his attestation papers with the Engineer Training Depot in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 17 February 1916. A Kenora newspaper cited his enlistment, reporting that he was a well known machinist for the Canadian Pacific Railway roundhouse and was on his way shortly to Ottawa to train. A few days later the newspaper reported that Frank, along with a couple of other Kenora fellows, had left for Ottawa as part of the 2nd Field Company, Canadian Engineers.

Frank arrived in England aboard the Baltic on 29 May 1916. Upon arrival he was taken on strength with the 4th Divisional Engineers and posted to the 10th Field Company. Frank was to spend the duration of the war in England, going through many, many postings at Bramshott, Folkstone, Crowboro, Hastings, Shoreham, Seaford, and Witley. He had deformed feet and toes that made overseas service impossible. With the rank of Sapper with the Canadian Engineers, Frank arrived back in Halifax aboard the Minnekahda on 14 September 1919, destination given as Kenora. Nellie and the children stayed in Birmingham where Nellie passed away in 1922.

By the 1921 Canada census Frank was living in Winnipeg and working as a crew clerk for the Canadian National Railway. Living with him was Kate Luff and her daughter Dorothy. Born in 1886 in Bramshott, Hampshire, Kate was the daughter of Jacob and Louisa (née Baker) Adams. In 1911 she had married Lancelot Luff who died of his wounds in France in late 1918. Kate and Dorothy had arrived in Canada aboard the Megantic in late November of 1919, destination given as Winnipeg and Frank Charge. Frank and Kate married in Winnipeg on 19 May 1927. It appears that the marriage failed and by 1947 Kate was living in North Vancouver where she was working as a housekeeper. Her daughter Dorothy had married and was also living in North Vancouver. Frank worked for the CNR for 27 years, was a member of the CNR Employees Association and the Monte Cassino Branch No 178 Canadian Legion.

Frank died on 9 March 1959 in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg. His Veteran Death card listed his friend, Mr. W. C. Lovatt of Winnipeg as his next of kin. According to his obituary at the time of his death he was survived by his brother Albert of Port Credit, Ontario. Frank was interred in Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg. Kate died in 1968 in North Vancouver.

by Judy Stockham