|Date of Birth||September 27, 1899|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Fraser Crierie, father, of Athalmer, British Columbia|
|Trade / Calling||Clerk|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Athalmer, British Columbia|
|Date of Enlistment||February 5, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||16|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||December 24, 1976|
|Age at Death||77|
|Buried At||Lakeview Cemetery, Penticton, British Columbia|
Although he gave his birth date as 27 September 1897 and 1898 in Kenora, Ontario on two sets of attestation papers, it is likely that Athol Fraser Crierie was born in 1899 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) as confirmed on his BC death record and entry on findagrave.com. His father was Benjamin Gillespie Fraser Crierie, born around 1854 in Liverpool, England. In 1875 Benjamin had married Emma Trenton and the couple gave birth to three children, Emma May, Percy Trenton, and Vernon. The family immigrated to Canada around 1890, settling in Quebec. The marriage disintegrated and Benjamin moved to the United States with Agnes Estelle Laviolette. Born in 1874 in Montreal, Estelle was the daughter of Hector Napoleon Laviolette and Margaret Liddle Samuel. The couple gave birth to son Ross Frazer Crierie in 1897 in Clayton, New York. The family moved back to Canada, at times using the surname of Fraser-Crierie and by 1899 was living in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) where they gave birth to Athol, Phyllis Estella (1902), and Laura Armande (1904). The 1901 census gave Benjamin’s occupation as steam boat steward although over the years he worked as a travelling salesman and was to later manage hotels.
Athol signed his first set of attestation papers, with the 172nd Battalion, in Athalmer, British Columbia on 5 February 1916. His occupation was given as clerk and his father Fraser Crierie in Athalmer as next of kin. Probably to appear older, his year of birth was given as 1898. However during training Athol was found to be suffering from valvular heart disease and was discharged as medically unfit on March 15th in Kamloops. A notation in his service record indicates that Athol served as a Railway Service Guard from 29 March until 25 June 1917, once again discharged as medically unfit. Athol signed a second set of attestation papers withe CAMC, Shaughnessy Military Hospital on 20 January 1919, occupation given as bookkeeper. His year of birth was given as 1897. However, he was admitted as a patient to the hospital in February and then discharged from service as medically unfit on February 24th.
Athol’s family had moved to Golden, British Columbia where father Benjamin managed the Columbia Hotel. By 1921 Athol was living in Vancouver with his family, working as a clerk while his father managed a hotel on Granville Street. On 12 November 1923, working as a lumberman, Athol married Helen Adelaide George. Born in 1898 in Manchester, England, Helen was the daughter of Walter George and Mary O’Connor. By 1911 the family was living in Vancouver where Walter worked as a real estate broker and later as a travelling salesman.
Athol, going by the name of Arthur in later life, was employed as a postal worker for 42 years, at some point moving to Winnipeg. The couple gave birth to five children, Phyllis (1924-2011), Helen (Betty) (1926-2010), Doris (1927-2001), Donald (1929), and Robert (1933-1980). Arthur’s wife Helen died on 1 June 1953 in Winnipeg and is interred in Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens. In 1957 Arthur married Fanny Merle Tomes. The daughter of Thomas Bennett Tomes and Jane Ann Watson, Merle was born in 1909 in Plumas Manitoba. Arthur and Merle moved to Penticton, British Columbia in 1960.
Although the details are not known, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs Athol served during WW2, Army service #687596.
Arthur died on 24 December 1976 in the Penticton Regional Hospital. He had fallen at the Retirement Centre, requiring surgery for a broken hip. Unfortunately pneumonia set in, causing his death. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Merle, sons Donald of Winnipeg and Robert of Calgary, daughters Phyllis Sirtonski of Ottawa, Bettie Rodie of Winnipeg, and Doris Bussey of Castro Valley California. He was also survived by 18 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren, and his sister Phyllis Henderson of Golden, British Columbia. He was predeceased by his father Benjamin (1925), his mother Estelle (1950), his brother Ross (1955), and his sister Laura MacKinnon (1964), all in British Columbia. Arthur’s wife Merle died on 28 April 1984 and is interred with Arthur in the Lakeview Cemetery in Penticton.
Arthur’s brother Ross also signed his attestation papers with the 172nd Battalion, serving overseas with the 47th Battalion. He was twice invalided to England, sustaining a gunshot wound to the shoulder in 1917 and suffering from pneumonia and trench foot later that year. Ross returned to Canada in March of 1919, his war bride arriving the following January.
by Judy Stockham
photos of Athol and Helen: courtesy of the public Bussey family tree on ancestry.ca
gravemarker photo: courtesy of Jack Dawson on Canadian Gravemarker Gallery