|Date of Birth||January 9, 1882|
|Place of Birth||London|
|Next of Kin||Mary Gudgeon, mother, 30 Spital Street, Newport, Lincolnshire, England|
|Trade / Calling||Miller|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||May 5, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||33|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||January 31, 1957|
|Age at Death||75|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Alexander Gudgeon was born on 9 January 1882, birth registered during the first quarter at St Saviour Southwark, London. His father Robert Gudgeon was from Northampton, Northamptonshire while his mother Mary Hooton was from Saxilby in Lincolnshire. The couple married in June of 1866 in Lincoln. Over the years Robert’s occupation was listed as brass polisher or brass finisher. Children born to the family in Lincoln were George William (1868), Annie (1870), Sarah Kitty (1871), Thomas (1874), and Benjamin (1876). By the time of the birth of their next child, Ellen who was born in 1880, the family had moved to Southwark St Saviour in London. Children born in Southwark were Alexander (1882), Mary (1884), Maria (1886), Frederick (1888), and Kate (1893). Within months of Kate’s birth, father Robert died in Southwark. The 1901 England census found Alexander living with his mother Mary and brothers Ben and Fred in Southwark where he was working as a labourer.
Alexander’s sister Mary had married Sidney Weston in 1905 and immigrated to Canada in 1907, settling in the town of Keewatin, about 5 kilometres west of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. Sidney found work at the local flour mill and that year Alexander also moved to Keewatin to work in the mill, leaving Liverpool in mid June aboard the Empress of Ireland. Brother Thomas followed in 1914, arriving in September aboard the Royal Edward.
Giving his birth year as 1881, Alexander signed his attestation papers on 5 May 1915 in Kenora. His occupation was given as miller and his mother Mary back in Lincoln as next of kin. The 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion, CEF was raised in Northern Ontario during the spring of 1915 with its mobilization headquarters at Port Arthur (Thunder Bay), Ontario. Recruiting took place during the spring and summer, drawing from Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden, Port Arthur and Fort William. The battalion left Port Arthur 4 Nov 1915 for New Brunswick. On 23 Nov 1915, with the 52nd Battalion, Private Alexander Gudgeon embarked from Saint John aboard the SS California.
Once in England, the battalion spent 6 weeks of training under British instructors at Witley Camp, and then moved on to Bramshott for 2 more weeks. On 20 February 1916, the 52nd sailed from Southampton to La Havre in France, and then on to Belgium by train. The 52nd Battalion was awarded the following battle honours: Mount Sorrel, Somme 1916, Flers-Courcelette, Ancre Heights, Arras 1917, 18, Vimy 1917, Hill 70, Ypres 1917, Passchendaele, Amiens, Scarpe 1918, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Cambrai 1918, Valenciennes, France and Flanders 1916-1918.
In July of 1917 Alexander was awarded a Good Conduct Badge. On 28 August 1917 he was admitted to the No 6 Casualty Clearing Station with a contusion to the back and gunshot wound to the head suffered at Passchendaele. A couple of days later he was transferred to the No 6 British Red Cross Hospital in Etaples, discharged to base details in late October. In February of 1918 Alexander was granted a fourteen day leave. In August he was to spend time in hospitals with interconnective tissue issues with his foot, arthritis flareup, and rheumatic fever and was returned to England.
With the end of the war, Alexander embarked from Liverpool aboard the Aquitania on 18 January 1919 and was discharged from service on 27 February in Winnipeg. He returned to Keewatin and his job at the Lake of the Woods Milling Company. On 3 November 1919 in Kenora, Alexander married Isabel Daniels. Born in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire in Scotland in 1892, Isabel was the daughter of George Daniels and Annie Weir. Isabel had left Glasgow aboard the Scotian on 10 October 1919.
Alexander and Isabel gave birth to two children, daughter Marjory in 1920 and son George in 1924. Alexander retired from the Lake of the Woods Milling Company in August of 1945. He was a member of St Andrew’s Keewatin United Church, Past Master of the Keewatin Masonic Lodge No 417 AF and Am, and was a past president of the Keewatin Branch of the Canadian Legion.
Following a lengthy illness, Alexander died on 31 January 1957 in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg. At the time he was survived by his wife Isabel, daughter Marjory (Harry) Henfrey of Kenora, son George of Winnipeg, five grandchildren, his brother Thomas of Keewatin as well as two sisters back in England. Isabel died in 1970 at the Lake of the Woods Hospital in Kenora. Alexander and Isabel are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
In August of 1919 the town of Keewatin held a demonstration where those who had served during the war were presented with medals and badges by the mayor, both Alexander and his brother Thomas‘ names on the list. Alexander is commemorated for his service during the war on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company plaque, the Municipality of Keewatin for King and Country plaque, and the Town of Keewatin Roll of Honour plaque. Alexander’s brother-in-law Sidney Weston went overseas with the 141st Battalion, transferring to the 52nd Battalion. He died of his wounds on 1 December 1917.
by Judy Stockham