Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 3, 1878
Place of BirthNewcastle-on-Tyne
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMargaret Dunford, wife, Manor, Saskatchewan
Trade / CallingHardware clerk
Service Details
Regimental Number115181
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion3rd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentDecember 29, 1914
Age at Enlistment36
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 21, 1941
Age at Death63
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Dunford, George Frederick

George Frederick Dunford was born on 3 November 1878 in Newcastle upon Tyne (aka Newcastle-on-Tyne, Newcastle), Northumberland, England. His father Errington Dunford was from Newcastle while his mother Elizabeth Scott was from Willington Quay, a suburb of Newcastle. The couple married during the third quarter of 1873, marriage registered in the District of Newcastle. Children born to Errington and Elizabeth were Errington Scott (1874), Thomas Oliver (1876), Elizabeth Graham (1877), George, Dorothy Skeffington (1882), Charles Lorimer (1884), and Margaret Scott (1888). Sadly Elizabeth died during the last quarter of 1888, also the quarter of baby Margaret’s birth. Errington Sr remarried in 1890, his bride Gertrude Ann Thubron of nearby Tyne Dock, South Shields. Errington and Gertrude added four more children to the family, Lancelot Babington (1891), Ernest Thubron (1893), Ethel Maud (1897), and Herbert Thubron (1899). By all accounts Errington Sr was a prosperous ironmonger, owning his own business on Dean Street in Newcastle and enabling the family to employ servants.

By the 1891 census George was attending and boarding at the private Singleton House/School on Clayton Road in the Jesmond area of Newcastle and in 1893 he was on the admissions list for the HMS Indefatigable Training Ship in Liverpool. With occupation given as sailor, George signed attestation papers with the Imperial Yeomanry on 19 February 1901 in Newcastle. He was later awarded 3 clasps for his service in South Africa during the Boer War and was discharged with the rank of Trooper, 5th Battalion 101 Imperial Yeomanry Company, in the fall of 1902.

In 1903 George immigrated to Canada, arriving in Montreal aboard the Sicilian on May 17th. His occupation was given as sailor on the passenger list and his destination as Winnipeg. By the 1906 census George was farming in the Manor, Saskatchewan area, and later became the sheriff and general handyman of Manor. At some point after the census George married but sadly his wife Ada/Ida Selina died. She is interred in the Manor Cemetery, her grave marker giving the date of death as 19 March 1908 although the date on her Saskatchewan death record is 20 March 1909.

In the fall of 1909 George returned to England, arriving in Liverpool aboard the Victorian on the 19th of November. On 4 April 1910, in Newcastle, George married Margaret Bradley. The daughter of William and Isabella (née Dodds) Bradley, Margaret was born in 1887 in Newcastle. A few days later George and Margaret embarked from Liverpool aboard the Caronia, returning to Manor via New York. Children born to the couple in Manor were George Herbert (1911), William Errington (1912), Charles Edward (Ted) (1914), and Dorothy Isabel (1916).

With occupation given as hardware clerk and his wife Margaret in Manor as next of kin, George signed his attestation papers with the 10 Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles on 29 December 1914 in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, about 100 kms from Manor. After training in Canada, George embarked for England aboard the Olympic with the 4th Divisional Cavalry, arriving in England on 7 May 1916. His rank upon arrival was given as Acting Sergeant, then Provost Sergeant. In mid June George was transferred to the 75th Battalion, proceeding overseas for service with the 3rd Battalion on June 18th. Reverting to the rank of Private, George was taken on strength in the field the next day.

On 12 September 1916, at Poisieres during the Battle of the Somme, George sustained whizz bang gunshot wounds to his right shoulder and left leg. Much feared by the infantry, a whiz bang was a high velocity shell, moving faster than the speed of sound, so that soldiers heard the typical whizz noise of a travelling shell before the bang issued by the gun itself and thus had no warning of the artillery fire. He was invalided to England, first admitted to the 1st Eastern General Hospital in Cambridge a day or two later. In late November George was transferred to the 1st Northern General Hospital in Newcastle and then on to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital Monks Horton in Kent in late February of 1917. The shell had caused a compound fracture of his right humerus with nerve damage, leaving George with impaired function of his arm. He embarked for Canada aboard the Hospital Ship Letitia on 11 April 1917, admitted to the Manitoba Military Hospital, Tuxedo Park in Winnipeg for further treatment and convalescence.

Recovery was long and slow for George and he was eventually discharged as medically unfit on 31 July 1920 in Winnipeg. Meanwhile Margaret and the children had moved to Winnipeg where they gave birth to daughter Phyllis Margaret (Peg) in 1920. Sadly, son Herbert died on 8 August 1920, death registered in the nearby RM of St Clements. In 1926 George and the family moved to Kenora in northwestern Ontario, George to be employed by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Two more children were added to the family, George Jr the next year, followed by son Noel.

George took an active interest in all sports. He was a member of Knox United Church, the Sons of England, and the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion, serving on various committees. Following a lengthy illness and a stroke suffered the previous year, George died on 21 August 1941 at his home. Predeceased by his father in 1910 and some of his siblings, George was survived by his wife and children as well as sisters Dorothy and Margaret (Peggy) and brothers Charles and Errington. Margaret died on 6 February 1973 and is interred with George in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.

With the exception of Errington Jr, probably due to his age, all of George’s brothers/half brothers served during WW1. Thomas and Herbert served as Privates with the Royal Army Service Corps and Lancelot as a Corporal with the Royal Engineers. Having immigrated to Canada, Charles enlisted in Oyen, Alberta in August of 1916, going overseas as a Private with the 187th Battalion that December. Serving in France with the 50th Battalion, Charles was discharged as Corporal in June of 1919. Also immigrating to Canada, Ernest enlisted at Valcartier, Quebec on 23 September 1914, embarking for overseas on October 14th aboard the Ruthenia with the 7th Battalion. In 1916 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. On 11 April 1917, BE 2D 5851 of No 13 Squadron, RFC, flown by 2nd Lieutenant Ernest Dunford and Corporal G Stewart, was shot down over Biache. Taken as a prisoner of war, Ernest died of his wounds on April 23rd. He is interred in the Douai Communal Cemetery northeast of Arras. Captured by the Germans 1 October 1914, Douai remained in German hands until October 1918.

by Judy Stockham

family photos: courtesy of granddaughter Anice Dunford
pre World War 1 service records:
Ida’s grave marker photo: Juliann Parsons, Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project

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