|Date of Birth||September 25, 1887|
|Place of Birth||Emery, York, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Alfred Sansom, father, 186 Mavity Street West, Toronto, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||cook and baker|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||159 James Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||May 3, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||27|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||August 28, 1945|
|Age at Death||57|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Although he gave his birth date as 20 September 1888 on his attestation papers, Ralph Sansom (spelling later changed to Sanson) was born on 25 September 1887 in Emery, York, Ontario. Emery later became known as a neighbourhood in north Toronto. His father Alfred Sansom was from London, England while his mother Sarah Ann Sutton was from Vaughan, Ontario where the couple had married in 1884. Ralph had an older sister, Ethel Beatrice, born in 1885 in Vaughan. Over the years Alfred worked as a mason and contractor.
Two months following Ralph’s birth his mother Sarah died of pneumonia. His father later married Elizabeth Foote and they gave birth to five children, Milton Barwell (1893-1910), Stanley Bertram (1895), Edward Cecil (1897), Margaret Myrtle (1902-1902), and Thelma Marguerite (1905). The family was found in the 1901 Canada census living in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora). They also lived in Sault Sainte Marie, Zephyr, and Orangeville, all in Ontario.
Ralph was living in Winnipeg and working as a baker/cook when he signed his attestation papers on 3 May 1916. He gave his father who was living in Toronto as next of kin. He trained with the 190th Battalion and was promoted to Lance Corporal before embarking for overseas on the Justicia on 3 May 1917.
Once in England Ralph was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion and reverted to Private due to a surplus. In late August he was transferred to the 8th Battalion, joining the unit in the field on 2 December 1917. He was granted a 14 day leave to Annemasse in March of 1918 and awarded a Good Conduct Badge on 3 May 1918. After joining the battalion, the 8th participated in many battles: Amiens, Scarpe 1918, Drocourt-Queant, and Canal du Nord.
With the end of the war, Ralph returned to England in March of 1919 and embarked for Canada on 26 April 1919 aboard the Empress of Britain. He moved to Kenora, Ontario where he was employed for some twenty-five years as a cook in the bush camps with the Ontario-Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company.
Ralph died on 28 August 1945 in Winnipeg as the result of a fall down the basement steps in a local hotel. He is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, gravemarker replaced in 2015. Ralph’s two half brothers, Edward and Stanley, also served during the war.
by Judy Stockham
photos of Ralph: courtesy of Ralph Pugh as found on the public Pugh/Papke Family Tree on ancestry.ca
obituary: Kenora Miner and News 28 August 1945