Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 23, 1878
Place of BirthHinchinbrooke, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs M A Godfrey, mother, Kingston, Ontario
Trade / CallingBrakeman
Service Details
Regimental Number486682
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion15th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentAugust 31, 1915
Age at Enlistment37
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 9, 1947
Age at Death69
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Godfrey, Chester

According to his Ontario birth record, Chester H Godfrey was born on 23 March 1878 in Hinchinbrooke, Ontario. This date and place differs from his attestation papers (25 March 1885 in Kingston, Ontario) and his obituary (15 March 1879 in Godfrey, Ontario). Chester’s parents were Coleman H Godfrey and Mary Ann Hill who had married in 1874 in Petworth in the district of Lennox and Addington, Ontario. His known siblings were George (1876-1883), Maggie (1881-1883), Frances (b 1884), Walter (1888-1903), Damon (1890-1968), and Charles (b 1893). The family farmed in the Hinchinbrooke area. By the 1901 Canada census Chester’s father had died and Chester was listed as the head of the household. By 1911 he had moved to Kingston with his mother and brother Charlie where he worked as a drydock fitter.

It appears that Chester had been working as a brakeman for the Canadian Pacific Railway at Chapleau prior to the start of the war. He enlisted with the 37th Battalion on 31 August 1915 at Niagara Camp, Ontario. Organized in December of 1914 and mobilized at Niagara, recruiting for the 37th Battalion was from northern Ontario. Blue-eyed with reddish hair, Chester was 37 years old at the time of his enlistment. As a Private with the 37th Battalion, he embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the  Lapland on 27 November 1915.

By February of 1916 Chester had been transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion at Shorncliffe and then on to the 15th Battalion, embarking for France in late March. In August he attended a week long Lewis Machine Gun Course, rejoining the 15th on the 29th. A short time later, on the 6th of September, he sustained a gun shot wound to the hand and was admitted to the No 20 General Hospital in Camiers. He was transferred to convalescing depots in Etaples and Cayeux, discharged to Base in late October.

Following his wounding, Chester suffered from chronic arthritis and after being hospitalized in a number of hospitals and convalescent centres, it was decided that he would be returned to Canada, sailing from Liverpool on 13 September 1917. Once in Canada Chester served with the No 3 Special Service Company, followed by the No 3 AMC Training Depot. He was discharged as medically unfit for further war service on 23 July 1918 at Barriefield Camp, Kingston, Ontario. His discharge certificate noted scars from shrapnel wounds on his forehead and shoulder.

After the war Chester moved to Saskatchewan and was found on the 1921 Canada census as living in Zealandia, Kindersley and working as a draughtsman. In 1940 he moved to Keewatin, Ontario where his brother Damon and family were living. He lived in Keewatin and nearby Clearwater Bay for the last seven years of his life.

Chester died in St Joseph’s Hospital in Kenora on 9 August 1947. His Veteran Death Card listed his brother Damon Godfrey of Keewatin as his next of kin. Chester is ¬†interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. At the time of his death he was survived by his brothers Damon of Keewatin and Charles of Kingston, and his sister Frances (Edwin) Hunter of Kingston Mills.

by Judy Stockham

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