Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 2, 1882
Place of BirthLondon
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMable Jarvis (wife), 356 7th Avenue South, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingBoiler Washer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number439055
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion28th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment356 7th Avenue South, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentDecember 26, 1914
Age at Enlistment32
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 1, 1963
Age at Death81
Buried AtKelowna Memorial Park Cemetery, Kelowna, British Columbia
PlotB 2 71 52

Jarvis, Arthur Henry

More than 11,000 employees of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company enlisted for service in the First World War. Sergeant Arthur Henry Jarvis was working for the CPR when he signed up in 1914 and he served for over four years, returning to Canada in January 1919.

Arthur was the son of William Edward Alfred Jarvis and Caroline Matilda Smith of Islington, London, England. William and Caroline were married in 1875 and over the next twenty years they had twelve children. Arthur, their fifth child, was born in Islington on 2 February 1882. In February 1900 when he was 18 years old he joined the British army, enlisting in London with the Middlesex Regiment. His occupation at the time was porter. Arthur served in the army for three years: two years in England, six months on the island of St. Helena and six months in South Africa. On St. Helena he was a guard at a Boer prisoner of war camp.

Arthur was discharged from the army in March 1903. In November 1904 he was married in Islington to Mabel Richards. Their first child, daughter Mabel, was born a year later. Arthur and his wife immigrated to Canada in 1907, arriving in Montreal on 15 June on the SS Kensington, his occupation listed as railway man and their destination Kenora, Ontario. Their son Arthur William was born in Kenora two months later, on 12 August. Sadly, their daughter Mabel died of pneumonia ten days after Arthur was born, at age one year and ten months. Arthur found work in Kenora as a boiler washer with the CPR and he and his wife had four more children: Margaret Rose (1909), Robert Henry (1911), Caroline (1912) and Victor (1919). In 1909 Arthur’s youngest sister Emma married Charles Rowbottom in London, England   and a year later they immigrated to Canada too and settled in Kenora.

On 12 December 1914 Arthur and Mabel lost a second child when their son Robert, age 3, died of meningitis. The war had started in August and by December volunteers were being recruited for a third overseas contingent. Arthur enlisted in Kenora the day after Christmas and full time training with pay started in March 1915. The men were briefly attached to the 44th Battalion but when the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion was organized in mid-March they were transferred to the new unit. In May Arthur was promoted to Corporal. The 52nd was based in Port Arthur and the Kenora volunteers were sent there in June to join the rest of the battalion. While they were training the 1st Canadian Division was fighting in France and Belgium. Recruits were needed to replace casualties in front line units and battalions in Canada were asked to send reinforcements. Arthur was sent to England with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft in September 1915, one of 250 men from the 52nd Battalion. A month earlier his brother William had been killed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli while serving with the Royal Navy.

After arriving in England Arthur was transferred to the 12th Reserve Battalion and in May 1916 he was promoted to Sergeant. A month later he had a severe case of food poisoning and he ended up spending four weeks in the hospital. At the end of November he was transferred to a new unit, the 28th Battalion, and sent to France. He spent some time at the Canadian Base Depot and when he joined the 28th in the field they were based southwest of Lens, opposite Vimy. The battalion had regular rotations in the front line and early in 1917 they began training for the next big operation, the Battle of Vimy Ridge (9-14 April 1917).

On the morning of 24 March the 28th Battalion marched from St. Servins to Mont St. Г‰loi, where the men spent the day in a camp. In the afternoon the camp was shelled by German artillery, causing several casualties. That night they were sent forward to relieve another battalion in the trenches and during the move two men were killed and seven wounded. Arthur was one of the casualties, suffering a shell or gunshot wound to his right arm and leg. He was sent to a Casualty Clearing Station then to the British Red Cross Hospital in Etaples. He spent two weeks there and two weeks at No. 2 General Hospital in Le Havre before being evacuated to the UK. He recovered at a Voluntary Aid (VAD) Hospital in Cheltenham for almost two months followed by two weeks at Woodcote Park Convalescent Hospital.

Arthur was discharged to duty in June 1917 and for the next year and a half he served in England with a Canadian Corps depot unit and the 15th Reserve Battalion. Early in 1919 he was sent back to Canada, arriving in Halifax on the SS Olympic on 17 January. He was taken on strength at No. 10 District Depot in Winnipeg and discharged due to demobilization on 3 March. Arthur’s brother-in-law Charles Rowbottom had also enlisted in Kenora in 1914 and he died in England in 1919 of war-related injuries. His widow Emma Rowbottom (Arthur’s sister) returned to Kenora and married Willard John Derry, who was also a veteran of the war.

Arthur and Mabel’s youngest child Victor was born in Kenora in December 1919. By the time of the 1921 census they had moved out west to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Arthur continued working for the CPR and they settled in Kelowna, where he lived for the next forty years. He passed away in a veterans hospital in Victoria on 1 August 1963, at age 81. Mabel had died in 1952 and he was survived by their four children: Mrs. Margaret Nesbitt of Burnaby, Mrs. Stewart (Caroline) Spiker of New Westminster, and Arthur Jr. and Victor both of Kelowna. Arthur and Mabel are buried in Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery.

Arthur is commemorated on the Canadian Pacific Railway First World War Roll of Honour and in Kenora on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral Roll of Honour.

By Becky Johnson

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