Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 26, 1898
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Agnes Brock (mother), Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingClerk
Service Details
Regimental Number1250379
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionReserve Brigade
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Field Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentMay 22, 1917
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 26, 1974
Age at Death75

Brock, Earl Meadows

Driver Earl Meadows Brock enlisted at age 18 and served in Canada and the UK for just over a year, most of that time with the Canadian Field Artillery.

Earl was the son of Robert Meadows Brock and Agnes McKechnie Francis of Kenora, Ontario. Agnes came from a large family in Stirlingshire, Scotland and she immigrated to Canada in the late 1880s. Robert was born and raised in Belfountain, Peel County, Ontario, where he worked as a quarryman. He married Agnes in 1890 in Belfountain and their first two children, Pearl and Clifford, were born there. By 1898 they had moved to Rat Portage (later called Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. They had another daughter and five more sons: Earl (born 26 September 1898), Eunice, Ewart, Lester, Stanley and Quinton (born 1908, died as an infant). When the 1911 census was taken the family was living in the Rideout area of Kenora, with Robert listed as a farm labourer. A few years later they were able to get a homestead in Melick Township and Robert set to work clearing the land for farming. Sadly, he died on 29 January 1917, at age 52, from injuries received in an accident five days earlier.

By the spring of 1917 the war was in its third year and Earl enlisted on 22 May. He was 18 years old and working as a clerk for Dominion Express at the time. He joined the 76th Depot Battery, which had been organized in Winnipeg the previous summer. On 13 June he was transferred to No. 10 Special Service Company and on 4 July he was discharged as medically unfit. Earl enlisted a second time on 9 March 1918, joining the 76th Depot Battery again. He spent all of April in St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, where he had an operation to repair a hernia. He was discharged from the hospital on 1 May and at the end of the month his unit was sent to Camp Petawawa in Ontario. The train passed through Kenora on the evening of 28 May and friends and relatives gathered at the station to see the local lads off. The 76th Battery was a reinforcement depot that sent drafts of recruits overseas as needed. Earl was assigned to the 32nd Draft and he embarked for the UK with other recruits on 20 June on the SS Waimana.

In England Earl was transferred to the Canadian Field Artillery Reserve Brigade and sent to Frensham Pond, a segregation camp in Surrey. New arrivals from Canada spent at least a month in segregation to avoid spreading influenza and other diseases. Earl was at Frensham until 26 August when he rejoined the Reserve Brigade, and he trained with them for the next five months. The Armistice ended hostilities in November and in January 1919 Earl was sent to Kinmell Camp in Wales, to await his return to Canada. He embarked from Liverpool on 23 February on the SS Belgic, arriving in Halifax on 2 March. He was posted to No. 10 District Depot and given two weeks landing leave before getting his official discharge on 31 March in Winnipeg. His older brother Clifford had joined the Royal Air Force in April 1918 and he served in Canada for eight months. Their uncle and a cousin, John and David Francis of Kenora, were both killed in France on the same day, 8 October 1916, at the Battle of the Somme.

Earl returned to Kenora in March 1919 and resumed his job with Dominion Express. He had a long career with the company, which became Canadian Pacific Express in 1926. He was employed as their agent at several locations including Shaunavon, Saskatchewan and Port Arthur, Ontario. His family had moved to Winnipeg just after the war and he was married there on 7 June 1930. His wife, Mabel Rhea Sparrow, was born in 1903 in Quebec and came to Manitoba as a child with her family. She trained as a nurse and worked at the Winnipeg General Hospital before getting married. Earl and Mabel had one son, Allan Grant, born in 1932 in Shaunavon. By the late 1930s they were living in Portage la Prairie and around 1941 Earl was transferred to Brandon, where they spent about six years. In 1947 he was appointed as the company’s western representative, working out of the headquarters in Winnipeg, and he was there until he retired in 1963.

Earl passed away in Winnipeg on 26 February 1974, at age 75, and Mabel died in March 1980, at age 76. Their son Allan passed away in Winnipeg in June 2016.

By Becky Johnson

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