|Date of Birth||November 17, 1870|
|Place of Birth||Wantage, Berkshire|
|Next of Kin||Wife, Beatrice Fuller|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||17th Reserve Battalion|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||April 17, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||45|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||January 17, 1941|
|Age at Death||70|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Charles Robert Fuller (known as Robert) was born on 17 November 1870 in Wantage, Berkshire, England. He was the oldest child and only son of Charles and Mary Ann Fuller. His sisters were: Harriet (b. 1873), Emmeline (b. 1877), Rose (b. 1879), Mary (b. 1882), Beatrice (b. 1885), Lillian (b. 1888), and Esther (b. 1890). The 1891 England Census shows the family living in Reading, Berkshire and Robert’s occupation is listed as ‘miller’s man’.
On 31 March 1894 Robert married Beatrice Litten in the registration district of Wokingham, Berkshire. By 1901 Robert and Beatrice were living in St Stephen, Lambeth, London, England, and Robert was working as producer lineman in a factory. Children in the household were Charles Hebert (b. 1894), Ethel Rose (b. 1896), and Beatrice (b. 1900). Daughters, Alice (b. 1903) and Lillian (b. 1906) were also born in England.
Robert left for Canada in March of 1907 with his destination given as Winnipeg. Beatrice and children Charles, Ethel, Beatrice, Alice, and Lillian sailed aboard the Kensington for Canada, arriving in Montreal 22 Aug 1908. They were joining Robert in Wabigoon, Ontario where he was working as a bookkeeper at a saw mill. The family was found in Wabigoon in the 1911 Canada census, and another child, Sylvia, had been born in June of 1909. Their sixth daughter, Hilda, was born in 1913 in Wabigoon. By 1915 the family had moved to Kenora where they took up residence on a farm in the rural area north of town known as Jaffray Mellick.
Son, Charles Herbert Fuller enlisted on 22 November 1915 with the 94th Battalion. The following spring, on 17 April 1916 Robert also signed up with the 94th Battalion. He claimed to be 44 years of age to meet the age requirement for service and was accepted. Father and son were found on the nominal rolls as having embarked for overseas together.
‘On May 25, 1916, the men of ‘C’ an ‘D’ Companies from Kenora and Fort Frances were moved to the Lakehead and on June 9, 1916, the Battalion left for Valcartier, Quebec for ‘Summer Camp’ as it was called. For two hundred and five of these men it was the last time they were to see their families and friends. The 94th trained at Valcartier for a period until June 13th when they sailed from Halifax for England on the RMS Olympic. Although the 94th remained a battalion on paper until July 27th, 1918, with an office at East Sandling, if actually ceased to exist on July 13th, 1916 when it was broken up and the men were transferred to the 17th and 32nd Reserve Battalions to be used as replacements for casualties in front line units.’ (from the now defunct 52nd Battalion website)
Once overseas, both Charles and Robert were transferred to 17th Reserve Battalion. Because of being over age for service, Robert was posted to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre (CCAC) and remained in England for the duration of the war. He was ‘boarded’ at East Sadling and Ashford. In April of 1917 Robert was on command to the Canadian Ordnance Corps in Hastings. By August 1917 he returned to Ashford and was on command to Pluckley Sub Depot until being struck off strength to the Canadian Discharge Depot in Witley on 24 December 1918. Robert Fuller returned to Canada in January of 1919. Unfortunately his son, Charles, was not so lucky.
According to the CEF Burial Registers, Sergeant Charles Herbert Fuller was with the 52nd Battalion at the time of his death on 26 October 1917. Reported as killed in action, Charles ‘was in action with his company near Passchendaele, and soon after reaching forward position occupied that day, he was so severely wounded by enemy shrapnel that he died almost immediately’.
Robert returned to Kenora after the war. The family farmed in the nearby Jaffray township selling mild and garden produce in Kenora. Robert served as councillor for several years as well as a school board trustee. His granddaughter, Margaret Rule remembers his big mustache and that he always drank his coffee out of a saucer. Robert died on 17 January 1941 and along with his wife, Beatrice who died in 1952, is buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.
Daughter, Alice was briefly married to Fred Jette and had a son Freddie. When the marriage dissolved she moved to Penticton where she worked as a secretary. She died in Penticton in 1980. Daughter Beatrice never married and for many years worked at Pitt’s Store. She died in Thunder Bay in 1997 and is buried in Kenora. Robert’s other four daughters married (Ethel in Wabigoon), raised their families, and died in Kenora: Ethel (Arthur Sharples), Lillian (George Moon), Sylvia (Albert Betton), and Hilda (William Garrison). All are buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.
Robert is commemorated on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.
Photographs of Charles courtesy of his granddaughter Margaret Rule and the Lake of the Woods Museum.