|Date of Birth||April 14, 1896|
|Place of Birth||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Next of Kin||Samuel Coppleman, father, Lockport, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Student|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Lockport, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||May 2, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||20|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||June 19, 1958|
|Age at Death||62|
|Buried At||Ocean View Cemetery, Burnaby, British Columbia|
According to his attestation papers Abraham (Abie) Coppleman was born on 14 April 1896 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (A delayed Manitoba birth registration from 1899 gave his date of birth as 15 May 1896 while his British Columbia death record recorded it as 14 April 1896.) Both of his parents, Samuel Coppleman and Maggie Rosen, were from Austria/Poland and married on 8 March 1895 in Winnipeg. Abie was their first born child followed by Etta Roslyn (1897), Annie (1899), Archibald (1900), all in Winnipeg, Manuel (1902) in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, and Noel (1914) in Selkirk, Manitoba. Except for the brief stint in Saskatchewan, for the most part the family lived in Lockport on the outskirts of Winnipeg where Samuel was a superintendent for a local company. By the 1916 census Abie was working as a postal clerk.
Abie signed his attestation papers in Selkirk, Manitoba on 2 May 1916. His occupation was given as student and his father Samuel in Lockport as next of kin. The 108th (Selkirk) Battalion was organized in November of 1915 with recruitment in Manitoba and mobilization at Selkirk. After training at Camp Hughes, Private Abie Coppleman embarked from Halifax on 19 September 1916 aboard the Olympic.
Once in England Abie was transferred to the Canadian Postal Corps at Brighton in late December of 1916. In early January of 1917 he was promoted to Acting Sergeant without pay. In May he was posted to Headquarters of the 15th Infantry Brigade for duty as postal details where he served until March of 1918. Reverting to the rank of Private, Abie was transferred to the Canadian Artillery Regimental Depot in May, then briefly to the Canadian Railway Troops before transferring to the Canadian Reserve Artillery Depot at Witley. In late September Abie proceeded overseas to join the 35th Battery, CFA by the end of the month as a Gunner. Just days later, on October 10th, Abie sustained a gunshot wound to the arm, his name appearing on the Western Canadian Casualty list in the Winnipeg Free Press on October 28th. He was first admitted to the No 55 General Hospital in Boulogne and then invalided to the Cornelia Military Hospital in Poole, Dorset on October 18th. In early December Abie was transferred to the Woodcote Park Military Convalescent Hospital in Epsom, with discharge on December 23rd. Abie was reclassified as D1, fit for combative service overseas after completion of remedial training. However, with the end of the hostilities, Abie arrived back in Canada aboard the Carmania on 8 February 1919. The Winnipeg Free Press noted his return in the February 10th edition of the paper.
After the war Abie returned to Lockport, found living with his family and working as a clerk for the 1921 census. He moved to Regina, Saskatchewan for a while, working for the Greenshields Ltd, but by 1925 he was back in Winnipeg when he married Yhetta Gertrude Shragge. Although Gertrude was born in 1902 in Winnipeg, her father Alexander Shragge had moved to Rat Portage (later named Kenora) in northwestern Ontario in 1893 to go into business in the growing community. Alexander had married Gertrude’s mother Elizabeth Ripstein in 1898 in Winnipeg. After their marriage Abie and Gertrude were to make Kenora their home, with Abie working in his father-in-law’s retail mens clothing business as a salesman.
Abie and Gertrude gave birth to daughter Margaret in 1938. Over the years Abie was very much involved in sports in Kenora. He was the first president of the commercial soft ball league established in 1928, was involved in the local hockey leagues, and curled for a number of years, president of the Kenora Club. Abie was a life member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion, also serving as president. After retiring in 1948, Abie and Gertrude moved to Vancouver.
Predeceased by his mother Maggie in April of 1928 and his father Samuel just months later, both in Lockport, Abie died on 19 June 1958 in Shaughnessy Hospital, Vancouver. His Veteran Death card listed his wife Gertrude Coppleman of Vancouver as his next of kin. Abie’s cremains are interred in the Ocean View Cemetery in Burnaby. Gertrude died on 2 March 1976 in Vancouver. Informant on her death record was given as daughter Marg Ritter of Atherton, California.
by Judy Stockham
Obituary provided by Mike Melen.