|Date of Birth||May 31, 1893|
|Place of Birth||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Next of Kin||David Ans Sr. (father), Whitemouth, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||Whitemouth, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||April 12, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||22|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||March 3, 1978|
|Age at Death||84|
|Buried At||Whitemouth Municipal Cemetery, Whitemouth, Manitoba|
Private David Robert Ans enlisted in April 1916 and served for three years in Canada, Great Britain and France. He returned to Canada in March 1919.
David was the son of David Ans Sr. and Harriett Brownrigg of Whitemouth, Manitoba. Harriett was born in Yorkshire, England and came to Canada with her family in the early 1880s. They lived in Rat Portage, Ontario at first where her father worked for the railroad. David Ans Sr. was born in Russia and was of German ancestry. When the 1891 census was taken he was also living in Rat Portage and working as a section foreman for the Canadian Pacific Railway. David and Harriett were married in Rat Portage in 1892. David Robert was born in Winnipeg on 31 May 1893, the first of at least 13 children. He was followed by a daughter, Katherine (Kate), born in 1895 in the RM of Springfield, Manitoba.
The next child, Edward Arthur, was born in 1896 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora). Not long after that David and Harriett moved to the Whitemouth district in Manitoba and took up farming. They had at least ten more children: Clifford George (1898), Elizabeth May (1900), Clifford Gordon (1902), Thomas Wilbert (1904), Richard Percival (1905), Hattie Louisa (1908), Mabel Tess (1910), Charles Henry (1912), Frederick Albert (1914) and James Stanley (1917). Clifford George died at age 2, Richard at age 4 and Hattie and Charles as infants. Three of the children are buried at South St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery in the village of Oldenburg near Whitemouth.
David enlisted in Winnipeg on 12 April 1916, signing up with the 203rd Battalion. His brother Edward Arthur Anns had joined the same unit two days earlier. They were both farmers, their address was Whitemouth and next of kin was their father. Their battalion trained at Camp Hughes during the summer and headed overseas in the fall. David and Edward left with their unit, sailing from Halifax on the SS Grampian on 26 October and arriving in Liverpool about ten days later.
On 4 January 1917 David was posted to a garrison duty battalion, where he served for just over a month. On 9 February he was transferred to the 3rd Labour Battalion and sent to France. Labour battalions were mainly used for the construction and maintenance of railroads, both light and broad gauge. Work mentioned in war diaries included excavating chalk pits, grading, ballasting, laying steel, repairing track, loading and unloading materials, clearing debris, building loading platforms, digging ditches, constructing culverts and installing wells. After five months David was transferred to a front line unit, the 46th Battalion. He joined them in the field in early September, just after the Battle of Hill 70.
At the end of September David contracted the mumps and he recovered at No. 7 General Hospital. While he was away the 46th Battalion took part in the Battle of Passchendaele (25 October-10 November 1917) and he rejoined them a few days after it ended. In January 1918 David was given two weeks leave in the UK. In May the Canadians went into reserve and that summer they had about eight weeks of intensive training in open warfare. The final period of the war, known now as the Hundred Days Offensive, began with the Battle of Amiens on 8 August 1918 and ended with the Armistice on 11 November. The Canadians were heavily involved in the operations in those last three months and they had some of their greatest victories during that time.
David became ill a few days after the Armistice and he was admitted to a field ambulance then moved to a casualty clearing station and on to No. 4 Stationary Hospital in Boulogne. He was listed as seriously ill with broncho-pneumonia/influenza. After three weeks he was evacuated to England and he recovered at the 1st Southern General Hospital in Stourbridge from 18 December to 6 January 1919. He spent a further two weeks at the convalescent depot in Epsom. He embarked for Canada on 19 March on the SS Minnekahda, arriving about eight days later and getting discharged on demobilization on 31 March in Winnipeg. His brother Edward had been wounded at the Battle of Vimy Ridge and he returned to Canada in November 1918.
When the 1921 census was taken David living in Whitemouth and working as a farm labourer. He was married in Winnipeg on 28 April 1926. His wife, Gertrude Amelia May Henderson, was the daughter of Robert Henderson and Rosa May Little. She was born in 1906 in the RM of Whitehead, west of Brandon, and her family farmed in the Whitemouth area. David and Gertrude also farmed in the Whitemouth district and they raised seven children: Norman Kenneth (1927), Daniel Clifford (1931), Howard, Robert, David Arthur, Ted and Edna (Mrs. James Moncrieff). David’s father died in 1932 and his mother in 1955. They are buried with their children in South St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery.
David passed away in the Whitemouth Hospital on 3 March 1978, at age 84. Gertrude died at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg on 5 July 1984, at age 77. They are both interred in Whitemouth Municipal Cemetery along with David’s brother Edward, his sister Mabel (Mrs. Felix Oscar Carlson), their son David Arthur and other family members.
By Becky Johnson
Grave marker photos courtesy of VJT on Findagrave.com