Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 30, 1896
Place of BirthLeeuwarden
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinClemens Padberg (father), Muhlbach P.O., Alberta
Trade / CallingFarmer
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number3212012
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion260th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force (Siberia)
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Place of EnlistmentCalgary, Alberta
Address at EnlistmentMuhlbach P.O., Alberta
Date of EnlistmentMay 22, 1918
Age at Enlistment22
Theatre of ServiceSiberia
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 1, 1971
Age at Death75

Padberg, Paul Frank

Corporal Paul Frank Padberg was called up in May 1918, at age 21, and he served for a year in Canada and Siberia.

Paul, often known as Pat, was born on 30 December 1896 in the Netherlands. He may have been born in the city of Leeuwarden or his family may have moved there when he was a baby. His mother, Alida Thone, was born in the Netherlands and his father, Clemens August Padberg, in Germany. Clemens and Alida had at least five other children: Heinrich/Henry, Johann/John, Petrus/Peter, Theodore and Martin. Paul and his family immigrated to Canada in 1907, sailing from Hamburg, Germany on the SS Bucher. They arrived in New York on 9 September then continued on to New Brunswick. In 1912 Clemens applied for a homestead grant in Alberta and by 1916 the family was living in the Muhlbach area near Medicine Hat.

When the 1916 census was taken Paul was working as a farm labourer in the RM of Bertawan, Alberta. His brother Theodore Padberg had moved to Rossland, British Columbia. Theodore enlisted in May 1916 and went overseas in November. Conscription started in Canada in 1917 and single men age 20 to 34 were required to register that fall. Paul reported as required and he was called up for service on 22 May 1918 in Calgary. He was assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, Albert Regiment and he trained with them for about four months.

By the fall of 1918 the Allies were organizing an international force to be sent to Vladivostok, Siberia. Their goals included supporting and training anti-Bolshevik forces and protecting stockpiles of Russian weapons and supplies to keep them from falling into the hands of the Bolsheviks. The Canadian Expeditionary Force (Siberia) was made up of two infantry battalions, the 259th and 260th, as well as artillery, cavalry, machine gun and support units, for a total of just over 4,000 men. Paul was sent to Victoria, British Columbia and transferred to the 260th Battalion on 1 October. Later that month he spent a week in the hospital with influenza.

Paul was appointed Lance Corporal on 1 December and he sailed with his battalion on 26 December on the SS Protesilaus, arriving in Vladivostok about three weeks later. He was promoted to Corporal on 25 February 1919. In March it was decided to disband the Canadian Siberian force and send the troops home over the next few months. Paul embarked on the SS Empress of Japan on 9 May and arrived in Victoria two weeks later. He was discharged on demobilization on 29 May in Vancouver. His brother Theodore served in France and Belgium for two years and returned to Canada in June 1919.

Paul was married in 1920 in Calgary to Gladys Isabel Vigrass, the youngest daughter of John Vigrass and Francis Mary Fry. Gladys was born in 1901 in Parry Sound, Ontario and she had three older sisters. Her family moved to Alberta when she was just a child. When the 1921 census was taken Paul and his wife were living in Big Valley, Alberta where he was working as a hardware clerk. Not long after that he started working for the Canadian National Railway and he went on to have a long career with them as a storekeeper. He worked in a number of places across Canada including Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal and Sioux Lookout, Ontario. When he retired in 1961 he was the General Storekeeper for the Western Region.

Paul and Gladys had two daughters, Patricia and Lois. They had a summer home in Minaki, Ontario, which is near Kenora. When the 1968 federal voters lists were compiled they were living in Minaki and their daughters were both married and living in British Columbia. Paul passed away in the Lake of the Woods District Hospital in Kenora on 1 August 1971, at age 75. His funeral was held in Kenora four days later and cremation took place. He was survived by his wife and their daughters, Patricia (Mrs. James Mutch) and Lois (Mrs. John Sexton). He was predeceased by his parents Clemens (1851-1929) and Alida (1860-1943) and all five of his brothers: Henry (1882-1952), John (1887-1964), Peter (1889-1945), Theodore (1892-1957) and Martin (1899-1960). Theodore is buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Penticton, British Columbia. Paul’s parents and his other four brothers are interred in Oyen Cemetery in Oyen, Alberta.

By Becky Johnson

Padberg-Paul-Frank-80 Padberg-Paul-Frank-81

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