Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 27, 1886
Place of BirthGrimsby, Lincolnshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinSamuel James North, father, Stones Cross, Midsomer Norton, Somerset, England
Trade / CallingClerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number21259
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion78th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 23, 1914
Age at Enlistment28
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Decorations and MedalsMilitary Cross
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 21, 1949
Age at Death63
Buried AtFort Massey Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia
PlotSite No 124

North, Frederick James

Frederick James (Fred) North was born on 27 September 1886 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England. His father Samuel James North, a drug chemist, was from Grimsby while his mother Louisa Nutt was from Worcester. The couple married on 5 December 1885 in St Giles, Matlock in Derbyshire. They were to make Grimsby their home, with Frederick their first born child followed by Florence Ann (1888) and Sidney (1891). By the time of the 1911 census the family had relocated to the Handsworth area in Birmingham, Staffordshire, Samuel working as a chemist manager and Frederick as a political clerk for the Liberal Union SE Association. A short time later Frederick immigrated to Canada, arriving in Quebec on 1 October aboard the Canada. The passenger list indicated that he was a chemist on his way to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Frederick signed his attestation papers in Valcartier, Quebec on 23 September 1914. His occupation was given as clerk and his father back in England as next of kin. The 11th Battalion had recruited in Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba and was mobilized at Camp Valcartier, Quebec that September. Shortly after enlisting Frederick was promoted to Sergeant of Company of the 11th Battalion, embarking for England on 3 October aboard the Royal Edward.

Once in England, the 11th Battalion, along with the 6th, 9th and 12th Battalions, were formed into a Canadian Training Depot on 17 January 1915. The 11th was organized as a reserve unit and designated the 11th Reserve Battalion on 29 April 1915. In March of 1916 Frederick was transferred to the 39th Battalion (Brigade Signalling Base), appointed Acting Company Quarter Master Sergeant on 15 July. That November Frederick was appointed Temporary Lieutenant, proceeding to France on 2 December to join the 78th Battalion in the field.

The 78th Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers) was authorized on 10 July 1915 and had embarked for Great Britain on 20 May 1916. It disembarked in France on 13 August 1916 where it fought as part of the 12th Brigade, 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the armistice. In August of 1917 Frederick was granted a ten day leave, followed by a fourteen day leave to England on 19 December. While on leave Frederick married Annie Elizabeth Matthews, marriage registered during the last quarter of 1917 in the district of Newark in Nottinghamshire. Born in 1892 in Upton, Nottinghamshire, Annie was the daughter of Joseph Matthews, a domestic gardner originally from Yorkshire, and Ann Wiseman who was from Lincolnshire. Her parents had married in 1891 in Newark and the family was to eventually make North Collingham in Nottinghamshire their home. By the time of the 1911 census Annie had been living in Mansfield Woodhouse in Nottinghamshire where she was working as a City Council school teacher.

During the course of the war Frederick was granted two more fourteen day leaves to the UK, one in July of 1918 and a second in late that December. In early February of 1919 Frederick was awarded the Military Cross: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the attack on the Drocourt-QuĂ©ant Line on 1st/2nd September 1918. Although wounded in the arm early in the morning of the 1st, he carried on his duties as signalling officer, whose duties were increased owing to heavy casualties in his section. His lines had been broken by heavy shelling, be he personally went over them and established signal stations, thus maintaining communications with all units, and throughout he showed absolute disregard for personal safety.’

With the end of the war Frederick returned to England in May of 1919, embarking for Canada aboard the Minnekahda on 6 September. He was discharged from service on 18 September in Winnipeg, proposed residence given as Bowman Avenue in the Elmwood area of Winnipeg.

The 1921 census found Frederick lodging on Bowman Avenue, occupation given as laboratory chemist. That July Annie immigrated to Canada, arriving in Quebec aboard the Minnedosa, the passenger list indicating that she was on her way to her husband in Winnipeg. The next year the couple gave birth to daughter Molly. In 1925 Annie and Molly travelled to England, arriving on 17 May aboard the Regina and returning to Canada in early November aboard the Aurania. In April of 1931 Annie, Molly, and 4 year old twins John and Jean were found on the incoming UK passenger list of the Duchess of Richmond, on their way to South Collingham in Nottinghamshire. It appears that they remained in England, with Frederick found living alone on Maryland Avenue in Winnipeg on a 1935 Voter’s list. His obituary stated that from 1931 to 1939 he was provincial engineer for Manitoba with the Dominion Government: manager of of the Onadago Gold Mines and mill superintendent and metallurgist of Wendigo Mines on Lake of the Woods in northwestern Ontario where he joined the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion.

Over the years Frederick had continued with his military service, receiving certificates of Military Instruction in 1923 and 1925. He became Major and second in command of the 10th Signal Battalion NPAM, and for a time in 1931 was District Signals Officer MD 10 with the rank of Captain. He was promoted Major in March 1940 and was later appointed Deputy Assistant Quarter Master General in that rank for MD 10. In October of 1940 he was transferred to National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa with rank of Lieutenant Colonel as Deputy Assistant Adjutant General. As a Major with the Canadian Corps of Signals, 10th Signal Battalion, Frederick was later awarded the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal.

In 1942 Frederick moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia as Assistant Adjutant and Quarter Master General at Headquarters in MD 6. That July he was awarded the Canadian Efficiency Decoration. Retiring at his own request in 1945, he joined the Department of Veteran Affairs as Occupational Counsellor. Frederick died suddenly of a heart attack while at his work in Camp Hill Hospital on 21 November 1949. At the time of his death he had been living at the City Club on Barrington Street. Frederick’s daughter Molly Baffino of New York was the informant on his Nova Scotia Death record although it indicated that he was still married to Annie. Frederick was predeceased by his mother Louisa in 1923 and father Samuel in 1934, both in Gloucestershire, and his brother Sidney in 1948 in Warwickshire. It appears that Annie later died in Newark on Trent in Nottinghamshire on 6 October 1977. Frederick and Annie’s daughter Molly North Smith died on 2 April 2010 in Vero Beach, Florida, her obituary indicating that she had served during WW2 with the British Women’s Land Army. At the time of her death she was survived by her sister Joan North and brother John North, both in England, as well as other family members. With the rank given on his gravemarker of Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, Frederick is interred in the Fort Massey Cemetery in Halifax.

By Judy Stockham

Frederick’s gravemarker photo: courtesy of Elizth on
Obituaries: courtesy of the Halifax Public Library

North-Frederick-James-2 North-Frederick-James-3 North-Frederick-James-4 North-Frederick-James-5 North-Frederick-James-6 North-Frederick-James-7


« Back To Soldier Biographies