Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 22, 1893
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMary Elizabeth Reid, mother, 225 Clare Avenue, Fort Rouge, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingBarber
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number294901
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion223rd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment225 Clare Avenue, Fort Rouge, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentMarch 7, 1917
Age at Enlistment23
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 24, 1960
Age at Death67
Buried AtSt Mary's Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Reid, Charles

Charles Reid was born on 22 September 1893 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. His parents Charles Francis Reid and Mary Elizabeth Savage were both born in New Brunswick, marrying on 1 November 1887 in Newcastle. Son Francis William (Frank) was born in 1888 in New Brunswick before the family moved to Rat Portage where Charles Sr found work as a railroad brakeman. Children born in Rat Portage were Mary Adell (1890), Charles, and William John (1896). At the time of the 1901 census for Rat Portage Mary, listed as a widow, was living with the children and taking in boarders, Savage family members. By 1904 the family had moved to Winnipeg where Mary gave birth to son Cummings Patrick that March. For the 1906 census Charles Sr was once again listed with the family, while in 1911, although her marital status was given as married, he was not with Mary and the children. At the time of the census Frank was working as a barber, Charles in the CIR shops and William as a caller for CIR/City. The next year Mary Adell married Philip Neil. By the 1916 census Mary was once again listed as a widow, with other household members being barbers Frank and Charles, Cummings, and Mary’s brother Patrick. Frank was also listed as incarcerated in the Selkirk prison in the Selkirk census. William was overseas.

With occupation given as barber and his mother Mary Elizabeth as next of kin, Charles signed his attestation papers with the 223rd Battalion in Winnipeg on 7 March 1917. His service record indicated that his father was no longer living. Less than two months later, as a Private with the battalion, he embarked from Halifax aboard the Justicia on 3 May. Once in England he was transferred to the 11th Reserve Battalion at Shorncliffe. By the end of June Charles was posted to the Manitoba Regimental Depot and went before a medical board, diagnosed with DAH, disorderly action of the heart, sometimes called effort syndrome or soldier’s heart. Often the result of stress or fatigue, in his case it was thought that it dated back to 1897 when he had typhoid fever and was aggravated by his service. He was reclassified as medical category B3, only suitable for sedentary work.

In October Charles was appointed Acting Sergeant (without pay) whilst specially employed as a barber. Although not registered until the 1st quarter of 1918 in the district of Elham in Kent, on 16 December 1917 he married Winnifred Florence Kate Smith. Born in 1899 in Folkstone, Winnifred was the daughter of Arthur Edgar Smith and Florence May Belsham. Both from areas in London, her parents had married on 25 December 1896 in Bethnal Green. Her father, born in 1873, had attested in December of 1915, reverting to reserve the next day. He was later mobilized with the 3rd Battalion, Essex Regiment in June of 1918, discharged on demobilization on 11 February 1919.

Reverting to the rank of Private on ceasing to be specially employed, in February of 1918 Charles was transferred to the 1st Canadian Convalescent Depot for a ten days, and then on to the 1st Canadian Discharge Depot on the 23rd. It was decided that he be returned to Canada. Along with Winnifred he arrived in Halifax aboard the Olympic on 21 March 1918 and was discharged from service as medically unfit on 23 April 1918 in Winnipeg, rank of Sergeant.

Charles’ brother William enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corps at Shorncliffe in May of 1915 and served in France with the 13th Canadian Field Ambulance, discharged in Winnipeg on 1 July 1919. With the onset of conscription, his brother Frank signed his recruitment papers in Regina on 30 August 1918, assigned medical category D. He was hospitalized in Regina for most of his service (vdg 67 days and influenza 8 days), and was discharged from service on 7 December 1918.

Charles and Winnifred were to make Winnipeg their home where Charles continued to work as a barber. The couple gave birth to ten known children, sons James, Ralph, Wallace, John (Jack), Cummings, Phillip and George, and daughters Hazel, Carol, and Winnifred. Along with his brother William, Charles was a member of the Fort Rouge Branch of the Canadian Legion.

Charles died on 24 October 1960 in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg. He was predeceased by his son James in 1932, mother Mary Elizabeth in 1934, brother William in 1950, all in Winnipeg, and by his brother Frank in 1955 in Montreal. His brother Cummings later died in 1967 in Riverside, California, and sister Mary Adell Neil in 1968 in Winnipeg. Charles’ wife Winnifred died on 3 June 1983 in St Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. Her parents had immigrated to Canada in 1920, with her father passing away in 1933 in British Columbia and her mother in 1943 in Winnipeg. She was also predeceased by three sons, James, Ralph, and Wallace as well as two brothers. At the time of her death she was survived by her three daughters and fours sons and their families, four siblings, and twenty-nine grandchildren and nineteen great grandchildren. Charles and Winnifred are interred in St Mary’s Cemetery in Winnipeg.

By Judy Stockham

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