|Date of Birth||February 27, 1880|
|Place of Birth||Leeds, Quebec|
|Next of Kin||Mrs. Ida Mann (wife), Dudswell, Quebec|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Address at Enlistment||Norman, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||September 11, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||36|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||January 7, 1919|
|Age at Death||39|
|Buried At||Etaples Military Cemetery, France|
|Plot||LXXII. A. 20.|
Canada sent more than 400,000 troops overseas in the First World War and almost 4,000 of them died of illness and disease, with half of those fatalities due to pneumonia and influenza. Private Edward Mann enlisted in September 1916 and died of broncho-pneumonia in France in January 1919, two months after the Armistice.
Edward was the only son of Alexander Mann and Esther Bain of Compton County, Quebec. Alexander and Esther were both born in Quebec, into Scottish and Irish families. They were married in 1879 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, which is about 100 km south of Compton County. Esther was a resident of St. Johnsbury at the time and Alexander, a carpenter and joiner, was living in the nearby town of Littleton, New Hampshire. Edward, their oldest child, was born on 27 February 1880 in Leeds, Megantic County, Quebec. His parents were still living in Vermont at the time but his mother was from Megantic County and she had probably returned home for his birth. When the 1880 U.S. census was taken in June they were living in St. Johnsbury and Edward was three months old. His only sister Mary Harriet was born in Vermont in June 1882. Not long after that his family moved back to Quebec and settled in Compton County, first in the village of Eaton and later in the nearby town of Sawyerville. At the time of the 1901 census Edward was 21 years old and living at home with his parents. By 1904 he had moved to Colebrook, New Hampshire, which was about 50 miles south of Sawyerville, and he was working as a station baggage master. He was married in Colebrook on 19 September 1904 to 20-year-old Ida Edwards. His father passed away in Sawyerville in October 1914, at age 79.
The war entered its third year in the fall of 1916 and by then Alexander was living in northwestern Ontario and working as a labourer. He enlisted in Kenora on 11 September 1916, signing up with the 141st (Bull Moose) Battalion. His residence was the neighbouring village of Norman and next of kin was his wife Mrs. Ida Mann of Dudswell, Quebec. Over the winter the men trained in Port Arthur and on 20 April 1917 they left for the east coast. A week later they embarked from Halifax on the SS Olympic and in England the recruits were absorbed into the 18th Reserve Battalion, to be used as reinforcements for other units. Edward trained at Dibgate Camp in southeast England for four months. On 8 September 1917 he was assigned to the 44th Battalion and sent to France. Just a few days after arriving he was admitted to a hospital for illness (vdg) and he spent the next four weeks getting treatment. On 10 October he was transferred to the Canadian Base Depot and the following month he was sent on to the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp. At the end of November he was transferred to a new unit, the 8th Battalion (90th Winnipeg Rifles), and he joined them in a draft of 30 men. Early in 1918 Edward was ill again, with chronic vdg, and he spent a month at No. 51 General Hospital in Г‰taples, France followed by a month at a convalescent centre. On 11 April 1918 he was discharged to duty at the Canadian Base Depot and he rejoined the 8th Battalion at the end of the month.
In May the Canadians went into reserve and that summer they had about eight weeks of intensive training in open warfare. The final period of the war, known now as the Hundred Days Offensive, began with the Battle of Amiens on 8 August 1918 and ended with the Armistice on 11 November. The Canadians were heavily involved in the operations in those last three months and they had some of their greatest victories during that time. Beginning in the early months of 1919 the Canadian troops were being sent back to England but Edward didn’t live long enough to return with his fellow soldiers. On 11 December he was admitted to No. 24 General Hospital in Etaples, France and within a few days he was listed as dangerously ill. He died there on 7 January 1919, suffering from broncho-pneumonia.
Edward is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery and commemorated on page 539 of Canada’s First World War Book of Remembrance, displayed in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
In 1918 Edward’s widow Ida was living in Brooklyn, New York but in 1920, when his medals were to be sent out, her address was not known. His mother and sister both moved back to the U.S. and lived in Vermont and New York. Esther worked as a dressmaker and at the time of the 1930 U.S. census, at age 77, she was living in Delaware, New York with her daughter Mary, Mary’s husband John Anderson Cairns, a farmer, and their four children. Mary passed away in Delaware, New York in 1970, at the age of 87.
By Becky Johnson