|Date of Birth||June 20, 1872|
|Place of Birth||Owen Sound, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Jessie Neving (wife), 1217 Donald Street, Fort William, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Cook|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||No. 118 Company|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Forestry Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||1217 Donald Street, Fort William, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||April 16, 1917|
|Age at Enlistment||44|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||April 11, 1936|
|Age at Death||63|
|Buried At||Mountain View Cemetery, Thunder Bay, Ontario|
|Plot||Block 16, Lot 23|
Private Henry James Neving enlisted in April 1917 at age 44. He served in England for nineteen months with the Canadian Forestry Corps and he was invalided back to Canada due to illness.
Henry was born on 20 June 1872 in Owen Sound, Ontario. His parents, Thomas Neving, a shoemaker, and Susan Evans, were both from Ireland. Henry had four brothers and three sisters but several of them died young. Thomas passed away in 1887 and when the 1891 census was taken Henry was living in Owen Sound with his widowed mother and working as a baker. Not long after that he married Jessie Ernestine Vandusen. Jessie, the daughter of Jacob and Betsy Vandusen, was born in Ontario and she was about three years younger than Henry. Their first child, Ernest, was born in 1892 and he was followed by seven daughters: Eveline, Minnie, Pearl, Anna, Irene, Marjorie and Arlvera. Sadly Ernest died at age four, Eveline at age two and Anna as an infant.
When the 1901 census was taken Henry and Jessie were living in Port Arthur and he was working as a baker. By 1911 they were farming in the municipality of Neebing, south of Port Arthur. When Henry enlisted in the spring of 1917 he and his wife were living in Fort William. He was working as a cook and he said he had served for eight months with the 96th Lake Superior Regiment, a militia unit. He travelled to Winnipeg where he signed up on 16 April 1917, joining the Independent Forestry Company, District No. 10. Two weeks later he headed to the east coast with the other recruits. They embarked from Halifax on 3 May on the SS Metagama, arriving in England on 14 May. The unit was renamed No. 61 Company in July then re-designated as No. 118 Company in August. It was one of eleven companies in Canadian Forestry Corps District No. 54, which was headquartered at Southampton. After arriving in England Henry spent three and a half months at the Canadian Forestry Corps Base Depot and in Forestry District No. 3 (Egham). He joined No. 118 Company on 1 September and served with them for the next year.
No. 118 was employed in Hampshire at two camps located near Woolmer Forest. The men cut timber, hauled the logs to the saw mill, operated the mill and transported the lumber to the nearest railway. The company camp had sleeping huts, a mess and kitchen, a recreation hut, canteens, various officers’ quarters and messes, a workshop and garage, bath houses, stables and a guard room. There was also a large farm where grain and vegetables were grown for their own use.
On 1 February 1918 Henry was appointed Acting Sergeant. He was ill for most of September, suffering from asthma and bronchitis, and his weight dropped from 130 to 105 lb. On 30 September he was admitted to No. 12 Canadian General Hospital at Bramshott, where he spent the next six weeks. On 11 November, the day of the Armistice, he was transferred to No. 5 General Hospital in Liverpool to await his return to Canada. He embarked on the hospital ship Essequibo on 10 December, arriving in Halifax ten days later. He was given two weeks landing leave and discharged in Winnipeg on 20 February 1919.
Henry rejoined his wife and daughters in Fort William and when the 1921 census was taken he was working as a cook again. He became a member of the Fort William branch of the Canadian Legion and the Canadian Order of Foresters. His job sometimes took him to nearby towns including Ignace, where he stayed at the Railway YMCA, and Kenora, where he joined the local branch of the Canadian Legion.
Henry passed away in McKellar General Hospital on 11 April 1936, at age 63. Besides his wife and five daughters he was survived by two brothers and a sister: Daniel (1859-1938), Edward (1860-1937) and Priscilla Warrilow (1861-1937). His wife Jessie died in 1942 and they are both buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Fort William, now part of the city of Thunder Bay.
By Becky Johnson
Grave marker photo courtesy of Canadian Gravemarker Gallery.