|Date of Birth||May 22, 1880|
|Place of Birth||Totterdown, Bristol, Gloucestershire|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Ellen Friend, mother, Kellybrook Brickworks Almondsbury, Bristol|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||25th Company, CFC|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Forestry Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Brandon, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||September 22, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||35|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||May 19, 1944|
|Age at Death||64|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Alfred Henry (Harry) Friend was born on 22 May 1880 in Totterdown, Bristol Gloucestershire, England. His father Silas Samuel Friend, an engine fitter by trade, was from Corsham in Wiltshire while his mother Ellen Tinker was from Stirt, also in Wiltshire. Silas and Ellen had married in 1878 in the registration district of Barton Regis, Gloucestershire. Their first born child was Ellen Kate, followed by Harry, Rex Oswald, Elsie May, Frances Alice, Annie, and Ralph. The family lived for the most part just outside of Bristol in Almondsbury although they were found living in Bedminster in Somerset for the 1891 England census.
Harry and his brother Rex were found on the passenger list of the Virginian that arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in early April of 1911. Their destination was given as Winnipeg and intended occupation as farm labourers. Harry was next found on the 1911 Canada census as working for the William Jones family that farmed near Brandon, Manitoba. Rex went on to Saskatchewan to farm, later joined by his wife Beatrice and two children.
With occupation given as labourer and age of 36, Harry signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 22 September 1915. His forename was given as Albert and his mother Ellen back in Almondsbury as his next of kin. His service record showed that he had been living/working in Brandon. Originally with the 53rd Battalion (North Saskatchewan Regiment), he was transferred to the 108th in February of 1916, embarking from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 18 Sep 1916, rank listed as Private.
In January of 1917, Harry, along with the other members of the 108th Battalion, was transferred to the 14th Canadian Reserve Battalion. The next month he was transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps at Dibgate and proceeded overseas to France in early March, taken on strength with the 25th Company (No 9 District, Bordeaux Group) in Avesnes-le-Comte. The 25th Company claimed to be ‘the first [Canadian Forestry Corps] company in the war area’.
The Canadian Forestry Corps provided lumber for the Allied war effort by cutting and preparing timber in the United Kingdom and on the continent of Europe during the war. Forestry units also cleared terrain for the construction of installations such as airfields and runway, prepared railway ties, as well as lumber for the creation of barracks, road surfaces, ammunition crates, trench construction, etc. These units were sometimes called on to perform as infantry.(canadiansoldiers.com)
In March of 1918 Harry was granted a two week leave to the UK. By mid December of 1918 he had been transferred to England and arrived back in Canada at Halifax aboard the Baltic on 6 February 1919. Throughout his service Harry suffered from rheumatism and myalgia, a preexisting condition aggravated by his service.
Upon discharge on 10 March of 1919 in Winnipeg, Harry returned to Brandon, Manitoba. By the late 1930’s he had made his way to the Kenora, Ontario area where he farmed in the nearby Jaffray and Mellick township. Predeceased by his mother Ellen in 1937 and his father Silas in 1938, both back in England, Harry died on 19 May 1944 in the Kenora General Hospital. Interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, in 2015 his grave marker was replaced, forename inscribed as Albert.
by Judy Stockham