Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 2, 1883
Place of BirthSouris, Manitoba
CountryCanada
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs Alice Clare Harrison, wife, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingMotor Mechanic and Horse Driver
ReligionMethodist
Service Details
Regimental Number2005859
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion9th Battalion, CE
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentBox 11, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentApril 24, 1917
Age at Enlistment33
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 22, 1963
Age at Death80
Buried AtWoodlawn Cemetery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Plot39A-L056-NH

Harrison, Edmund William

Edmund William Harrison was born on 2 September 1883 in Souris, Manitoba, birth registered in the RM of Glenwood. His father James Morrell Harrison was from Ontario while his mother Annie Phillips was born in Scotland. James was a Methodist minister and like many Methodist ministers of the day was sent west in the early days as it was being settled. It appears that the family first lived in the High Bluff and Poplar Point area of Manitoba where daughters Mary Edith (1879) and Ellie Knox (1881) were likely born. By the time of Edmund’s birth they were in Souris and then moved on to Emerson, Manitoba where daughter Beatrice Katherine was born in 1885. By the time of the 1891 census the family was in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and by the 1901 census had moved to Boissevain, Manitoba.

On 28 July 1906 in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Edmund married Alice Clare Ratchford. At the time his parents and sister Beatrice were living in Medicine Hat, Alberta where sadly sister Ellie died that year. Alice, daughter of Thomas and Hannah (née Dolan) Ratchford, was born in Minnesota in 1881. Her father was born in Quebec while her mother was from Massachusetts although the couple had married in Minnesota. The Ratchford family eventually settled in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario where Thomas was a well respected contractor. By the 1911 census Edmund and Alice were living in the Sturgeon Creek/St James area of Winnipeg where Edmund was working in the lumber industry. By 1916 they had a farm in the Pembina, Lisgar area of Manitoba, employing two labourers on the farm.

Edmund signed his attestation papers on 24 April 1917 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His occupation was given as motor mechanic and horse driver and his next of kin as Alice Clare in Kenora. He gave his date of birth as 2 September 1884. With the 28th Draft of the Canadian Engineers Training Depot he arrived in England on 11 March 1918 aboard the  Justicia.

On 24 June 1918 Edmund arrived in France and was taken on strength with the Canadian Engineers Pool as reinforcement. In early July he was transferred to the 9th Battalion, CE. On the night of September 7/8 in the vicinity of Arras, Edmund was delivering despatches on his motorcycle when a shell exploded nearby causing him to swerve into the path of a lorry. He sustained contusions to his head and forearm, reported as shrapnel and/or gunshot wounds although they were likely caused by the accident. He was admitted to the No 83 General Hospital in Boulogne on the 10th, transferred to the No 10 Convalescent Depot in Ecault on 6 October and then discharged to the No 5 Rest Camp at St Martins on the 9th. A Kenora newspaper of 21 September reported that Edmund’s wife Alice had received word that Edmund had been admitted to a Casualty Clearing Station with gunshot wounds to the head and fingers. Edmund went through a series of transfers, eventually transferred to England and posted to the Canadian Engineers Depot at Seaford on 30 December. Following another series of transfers Edmund embarked for Canada aboard the Royal George on 15 March 1919.

It appears that after the war Edmund returned to Saskatchewan where he was given a Veteran’s Land Grant in the area of Invermay/Okla in January of 1920. The 1921 census found his mother Annie living with daughter Beatrice Reed and family in Edmonton, Edmund’s father having died in Summerland, British Columbia in 1915. His sister Mary Edith Sibley, missionary, died in China in 1926. The Land Grant was abandoned by 1928 and at some point Edmund and Alice separated with Alice taking up residence in Winnipeg where she was at the time of her parents deaths in Kenora in 1937 (father) and 1940 (mother) as well as on various Voters Lists.

Edmund assumed the surname of Jackson and was living in Reserve, Saskatchewan at the time of his death on 22 December 1963 in the University Hospital in Saskatoon. Edmund was interred in a military plot in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Saskatoon. His gravemarker has the surname of Jackson although his Veteran Death card gives both surnames. Alice died in 1966 in Winnipeg. Although separated, her obituary listed her as the beloved wife of the late Edmund William Harrison. Edmund’s sister Beatrice Reed died in Surrey, British Columbia in 1975. His mother likely died in Alberta, date unknown.

by Judy Stockham

research, gravemarker photo, and Edmund’s obituary: Elsie Henry, Saskatoon
photo of Edmund’s family: Alyssa Tremblay

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