Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 30, 1896
Place of BirthWinnipeg, Manitoba
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJohn Erzinger, father, 50 Yale Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingStudent
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion108th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment108th Battalion, Selkirk, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentMarch 24, 1916
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 6, 1961
Age at Death64
Buried AtSt John's Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Erzinger, Charles Salisbury

Charles Salisbury Erzinger was born on 30 December 1896 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His father John Erzinger was born in 1855 in Schaffausen, Switzerland and had immigrated to the United States at age 16 according to his obituary. After spending a couple of years in St Louis, Missouri and a short time in Chicago, he moved to Winnipeg in April of 1878. He became a well known pioneer merchant of the city, eventually establishing one of the largest tobacco businesses in Canada. John was appointed to the Swiss Consul in 1913 and was a supporter of sports and music, also belonging to many clubs and organizations in Winnipeg.

Soon after arriving in Winnipeg, John married Caroline Spatch. The couple gave birth to son Alexander Edward in 1879 who died a month later. Sons George Edward followed in 1881 and John Alexander in 1884. Sadly Caroline died on 4 December 1886 and is interred in Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg with her infant son. John later married Mary Elizabeth Riddle on 8 September 1881 in Winnipeg. Born in 1868 in Scartho, Lincolnshire in England, Mary had immigrated to Canada with her widowed father and siblings in 1885, arriving in Quebec aboard the Brooklyn on 29 April and settling in Winnipeg. John and Mary continued to make Winnipeg their home, giving birth to sons Albert Henry (1894-1894), Charles, Edwin Frederick (Fritz) (1898) and Frank Riddle (1903). At the time of the 1916 census for Winnipeg, Charles was listed as working as a bank clerk.

That February, with the 100th Winnipeg Grenadiers, Charles passed the prescribed examination to qualify for the rank of Lieutenant. He then signed his Officers’ Declaration Paper with the 108th Battalion, CEF on 24 March in Selkirk. His occupation was given as student and his father in Winnipeg as next of kin. Beginning in early April he attended the Signalling School of Instruction, returning on 23 June. Along with the battalion he embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 18 September.

Once in England Charles was attached to the Signal Base at Seaford for training, transferred to the 14th Reserve Battalion in January 1917, and then on to the Canadian Engineers Training Depot in March. That May while playing baseball at Crowborough he injured a knee, the same knee that he had previously injured in 1914. Charles was admitted to the Officers Military Hospital in Crowborough on the 30th and then was transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Broadstairs in Kent in mid July with discharge in mid August. In November he was admitted to the 2nd East General Hospital in Brighton with the same injury. By January of 1918 it had been decided that Charles be returned to Canada where he was discharged as permanently unfit on 30 June 1918 in Winnipeg.

Charles’ brother Fritz enlisted with the 196th Battalion in March of 1916 in Winnipeg. Once overseas he was discharged in October of 1917 on commission to the Imperial Army. Further details of his service are unknown.

At the time of the 1921 census Charles was living with his parents and some of his siblings in Winnipeg and was working as a traveller (sales representative). On 4 August 1928, in Kenora, Ontario, Charles married Helen (Nell) Cameron. Born on 10 February 1896 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Nell was the daughter of William Cameron and Henrietta Louise Hennessy. Over the years Charles and Nell lived on Montrose Street in Winnipeg, later moving to Wellington Crescent. Charles worked as a merchant, manufacturer’s agent, and latterly had his own wholesale brokerage firm. The couple maintained a second home in the Kenora area, spending time there mainly during the summer months. In 1936 the couple travelled to Kenora and registered for Home Week as returning residents. It appears that they did not have any children.

Charles died on 6 September 1961 in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Nell and brother Fritz in Montreal. He was predeceased by his father John (1930, Winnipeg), mother Mary (1960, Winnipeg), and brothers Albert, Frank (1926, Winnipeg), George (1938, Milwaukee, Wisconsin), and John (1949, Winnipeg). His brother Fritz later died in 1976 in Montreal. Nell returned to Kenora to live in 1975 and died in Pinecrest Home for the Aged on 22 February 1984. Charles is interred in the family plot in St John’s Cemetery in Winnipeg.

By Judy Stockham

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