Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 13, 1893
Place of BirthBradford on Avon, Wiltshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinEdward Mizen (father), Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, England
Trade / CallingMiller
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number301744
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion38th Battery
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Field Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentAugust 3, 1915
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 29, 1959
Age at Death65
Buried AtBeechmount Cemetery, Edmonton, Alberta
PlotBlock 232, Plot 0015

Mizen, Wilfred James

Driver Wilfred James Mizen enlisted in August 1915 and served overseas with the Canadian Field Artillery. He spent more than two years in France and Belgium and returned to Canada in March 1919.

Wilfred was born on 13 September 1893 in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, England. He had an older brother, Cecil Edward, and three younger sisters, Ivy May, Ada Victoria and Pansy Gladys, all born in Bradford on Avon. His parents, Stephen Edward James Clark Mizen and Ada Emmeline Maundrell, had married in 1892. Stephen was a solicitor’s clerk in 1891, a tax collector in 1901 and a dairy farmer in 1911.

Wilfred immigrated to Canada in March 1911, at age 17, sailing from Liverpool on the Lake Manitoba. His brother Cecil came the following year, his destination listed as Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. By the time Wilfred enlisted he was living in Keewatin, Ontario and working as a miller for the Lake of the Woods flour milling company. He signed up in the neighbouring town of Kenora on 3 August 1915, joining the No. 1 Field Ambulance Depot, Canadian Army Medical Corps. In early November he was transferred to the 38th Battery, 10th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery and four months later he was on his way overseas with his unit. They sailed from St. John, New Brunswick on 2 March on the SS Missanabie and disembarked at Plymouth about ten days later.

Two months after arriving in the England Wilfred contracted rubella (German measles) and he was in the military isolation hospital in Aldershot for ten days. His unit trained in Great Britain for several months and in mid-July 1916 they were sent to France. That fall the Canadians took part in the Somme Offensive and they spent the winter of 1916-17 in the Arras area, across from Vimy. Wilfred developed an infection in his hand in January 1917 and he was in No. 2 General Hospital in Le Tréport from 23 January to 8 February. Afterwards he spent three weeks at a convalescent depot and three weeks at the Canadian Base Depot, rejoining his unit in late March. The Battle of Vimy Ridge started on 9 April and after capturing the ridge the Canadians stayed in the area holding the new front line. There were several smaller operations over the summer and in August the Canadian Corps took part in the Battle of Hill 70.

In the fall of 1917 Wilfred became ill with rheumatic fever. He was admitted to No. 2 Australian General Hospital on 27 October and transferred to No. 3 Rest Camp at Trouville on 7 November. He had a leave of absence starting on 29 November and it was mid-December when he rejoined his unit in the field. The Canadians were in the Arras area again over the winter and spring. In the summer of 1918 they were given several weeks of intensive training in open warfare and they were heavily involved in the last months of the war, a period known now as the Hundred Days Offensive. Wilfred was ill with trench fever at the end of June but he returned to his unit in time for the opening offensive, the Battle of Amiens (8-11 August).

The Armistice ended hostilities in November and Wilfred had two weeks leave in December. The 38th Battery stayed in Belgium and France for another two months, returning the England on 20 February 1919. A month later the troops were on their way back to Canada on the SS Cedric. There was a huge welcome for them when they arrived in Winnipeg on 31 March. Wilfred was discharged on demobilization that same day, with his intended residence listed as Keewatin. Keewatin had its own large celebration on 4 August, when medals and badges were awarded to returned soldiers and the families of fallen men. Wilfred was one of the recipients, as listed in the Kenora Miner and News on 9 August.

Wilfred’s brother Cecil had applied for a homestead in 1917 and his land grant was in a township northeast of Edmonton. Wilfred applied for his own homestead in April 1921 and his grant was in a neighbouring township. Little else is known of his life after the war. He passed away in Edmonton on 29 July 1959, at age 65. He was predeceased by Cecil in 1956 and survived by two sisters in England. Wilfred and Cecil are both buried at Beechmount Cemetery in Edmonton.

For his service in the First World War Wilfred is commemorated on several plaques in Keewatin/Kenora: the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour, the R.J. Fraser (Town of Keewatin) plaque, the Municipality of Keewatin ‘For King and Country’ plaque and the St. James Anglican Church Roll of Honour.

By Becky Johnson

Gravemarker photo courtesy of Angela Glass.

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