|Date of Birth||January 21, 1901|
|Place of Birth||Northampton|
|Next of Kin||Kate Major (mother) 108 Noble Avenue, Elmwood, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Teamster|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||108 Noble Avenue, Elmwood, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||November 30, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||14|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||July 6, 1991|
|Age at Death||90|
|Buried At||Carberry Plains Cemetery, Carberry, Manitoba|
Edward Major was born on 21 January 1901 in Northampton, Northamptonshire in England. His father David Major was from Fenny Stratford in Buckinghamshire while his mother Kate Mayfield was from Crewe in Cheshire, Crewe located about 200 kms northwest of Fenny Stratford. David and Kate had married in 1895, marriage registered in the district of Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire (likely in Fenny Stratford). Edward had two older brothers, David (b 1896) and Harold (b 1898), a younger sister Kathleen (b 1903), and younger brother Clifford (b 1907). According to the children’s birth records, the family lived in Fenny Stratford in Buckinghamshire, Birmingham in Warwickshire, Northampton in Northamptonshire, and Great Brickhill in Buckinghamshire.
Edward and his mother Kate were found living with the James Wright family in Fenny Stratford for the 1901 England census. By the 1911 England census the family had reunited and were living in Northampton where David Sr was working as an oil wagon driver.
Both Davids, father and son, were the first of the family to immigrate to Canada, arriving in Quebec aboard the Laurentic in mid May of 1912 on their way to Winnipeg. Harold and Edward followed in October of 1912, arriving in Montreal on the Empress of Ireland on the 25th. Mother Kate and children Kathleen and Clifford made the journey in June of 1913, arriving in Quebec aboard the Virginian. The family settled in Winnipeg where David Sr found work as a bricklayer/builder.
Edward, age 14, was the first of the Major family to enlist, signing his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 30 November 1915. He gave his birth year as 1898 and his mother Kate in Winnipeg as next of kin. With gray eyes and red hair, his occupation was listed as teamster. Standing 5 feet 3 inches tall, with a expanded chest girth of 32, Edward was declared fit for overseas service. With regimental number of 829287, he was attached to the 144th Battalion. On 15 January 1916 he was transferred to the 101st Battalion, regimental number changed to 700803.
Edward’s father David enlisted a short time after Edward, on the 20th of December, also in Winnipeg, with the 101st Battalion. Edward’s brothers David and Harold signed their attestation papers in Winnipeg with the 59th Overseas Battery Canadian Field Artillery in March of 1916. The 1916 census listed David Sr and Edward as training at Camp Hughes, and David Jr and Harold at Petawawa, while Kate, Kathleen, and Clifford were on Noble Street in Elmwood in Winnipeg.
The 101st Battalion had been organized in Winnipeg in November of 1915 with training taking place throughout the winter of 1916 before moving to Camp Hughes in May. The battalion embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on the 29th of June. On board were Privates David and Edward Major. A photo of the 101st Battalion before leaving showed Edward as a bugler.
Once in England the battalion was absorbed by the 17th Reserve Battalion. Edward went through a series transfers before being posted to the 27th Company of the Canadian Forestry Corps, disembarking in Boulogne on 3 March 1917. However due to his age discharge had been requested by his parents and Edward embarked for return to Canada on 18 October 1917 aboard the Missanabie. Official discharge was on 30 November 1917, in Winnipeg, two years to the day from his enlistment. His father David had arrived back in Canada in early June.
By the 1921 Canada census Edward was living in Fawcett, Alberta with his mother and father and siblings Kathleen and Clifford. Although the family was listed as farming their own farm, Edward was working as an automotive mechanic.
Edward returned to Winnipeg, joining the Canadian Pacific Railway Telegraphs. On 3 August 1927 he married Mary (Mae) Whyte, marriage registered in the RM of North Cypress. Born in Dundee, Scotland, Mary had immigrated to Canada with her parents James and Georgina (née Bartie) Whyte in 1909. Edward and Mary gave birth to their first son James in 1928. By the early 1930’s the family had moved to northwestern Ontario, first living in Ignace where Edward had applied for membership to the Canadian Legion. By 1931 Edward, Mary, and James were living in Kenora where Edward was a member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion. A second son, Robert, was born in Kenora in 1933. Shortly after his birth the family moved to Dryden where they resided until returning to Winnipeg in 1947. A note in Edward’s WW1 service record indicates that he signed attestation papers in Dryden in 1941. Details of any service in WW2 are unknown.
While in Dryden Edward enjoyed hunting and fishing and many other outdoor activities. He was a member of the Masonic Order, President of the Royal Canadian Legion, member of the Dryden Town Council, and a trustee on the Dryden School Board.
Back in Winnipeg, Edward was listed on a number of Voters Lists, continuing to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a Communicator and Safety Engineer. Edward and Mary moved to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1957 where he retired as a Communications Inspector with the CPR in 1965. Following his retirement Edward and Mary moved back to Winnipeg.
Edward died on 6 July 1991 at his home in the Deer Lodge Centre in Winnipeg. He was predeceased by his wife Mary in 1973 in Winnipeg, his father David in 1953 and his mother Kate in 1954, both in Edmonton, his brother David in 1978 in Medicine Hat in Alberta, his brother Harold in 1989 in Comox in British Columbia, and his sister Kathleen Bell. He was survived by his brother Clifford and wife Ethel of Armstrong, British Columbia, his son Jim and wife Myrna of Fort Frances, Ontario, son Bob and wife Jean of Steinbach, Manitoba and six grandchildren. Edward’s funeral was held in the Presbyterian Church in Carberry, Manitoba, a community near Mary’s home town of Wellwood. Edward and Mary are interred in the Carberry Plains Cemetery, Carberry.
by Judy Stockham
101st Battalion photographs from the 101st Battalion Souvenir Program 1916
grave marker photograph courtesy of Val Usunier, findagrave.com