Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 17, 1897
Place of BirthLas Palmas, Canary Islands
Marital StatusSingle
Next of Kinfather, John Sauerbrei of Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingClerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number199003
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion16th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 12, 1916
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 14, 1959
Age at Death61
Buried AtUniversity of the South Cemetery, Sewanee, Franklin County, Tennessee, USA

Sauerbrei, Claude

According to his attestation papers, Claude Sauerbrei was born  on 17  November 1897 in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain. His father John Sauerbrei was born in Bavaria, Germany (according to the 1901 England census record) and from an early age was involved in the hotel management business, starting his career in Belgium. Over the course of his life he managed hotels in Holland, France, Canary Islands, England, Quebec, and Toronto, Ontario  before moving to Kenora in northwestern Ontario in 1914 when he purchased the Dalmore Hotel. Claude’s mother Ellen Matilda Veasey, daughter of Willoughby and Sarah (née Johnson) Veasey,  was born in Attleborough, Warwickshire, England. Educated in Manchester, she worked as a nurse for seven years at the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Other children born to the family in Las Palmas were Mark (1896) and John  (1899). The family was found on the 1901 England census at the Crown Hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland. In 1910 the three boys were listed as passengers of the Dakar, traveling from Las Palmas to Liverpool.

John Sr immigrated to Quebec, Canada first and Ellen and the children were found on the 24 April 1912 passenger list of the Royal George, destination given as Quebec, purpose to join hotel manager husband. Claude and John were listed at Toronto’s Upper Canada College as students for 1912-1913; it stated that their father was managing the CNR Hotel Krausmann in Toronto. Previous schooling included Elmhurst School for Boys, South Croydon and it is likely that Mark also attended Elmhurst.

The three Sauerbrei boys signed their attestation papers in Kenora within days of each other, Claude on February 12, John on February 14, and Mark on February 15 in 1916. Claude, age 18, gave his occupation as clerk. He had  fair hair and brown eyes.  Recruiting for the 94th Battalion, based in Port Arthur, Ontario, had begun in late 1915, drawing from throughout northwestern Ontario. In May of 1915 companies from Kenora and Fort Frances moved to Port Arthur and in early June left for  ‘summer camp’ as they called it  in Valcartier, Quebec. On 28 June 1916, with the 94th Battalion, aboard the Olympic, Mark, Claude, and John embarked from Halifax on their way overseas.

Once in England the 94th Battalion ceased to exist and Privates Claude and John Sauerbrei were transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion while Mark was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion and appointed as Acting Lance Corporal.  From there, Claude  and John were transferred to the 16th Battalion and headed over to France together,  joining the unit  in the field on  9 October 1916.

Claude began having difficulties with his heart after Vimy Ridge in April of 1917, his record noting a partial loss of function that caused shortness of breath. He carried on until June but then unable to participate in the front line, he was attached to the YMCA. He was granted a ten day leave to Paris in September and then a fourteen day leave to the UK in October of 1918. While on leave he was admitted to the Military Hospital, Endell Street, London  with influenza followed by phlebitis of the left leg. He spent time at the Grove Military Hospital, Tooting, and then at the Military Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park, Epsom. In January of 1919 Claude was on command to Khaki University, Ripon and eventually returned to Canada aboard the Winifredian in late July of 1919. He was listed as with the Manitoba Regimental Depot, 2nd Canadian Command Depot.

Along with their parents, Mark, Claude and John were all listed as living at the Dalmore Hotel for the 1921 census. As Claude’s occupation was given as student, it is likely that he was away at university. Having obtained a BA, MA, and PhD at the University of Toronto, Claude graduated from Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec in 1924. He was found on many passenger lists, with travel to England and Burma and return voyages to Canada. According to his obituary, he served as an Anglican missionary to Burma from 1927 until 1935, and taught for some time in Holy Cross college in Rangoon. In 1945 and 1946 he was an instructor in Old Testament and Hebrew at Nashotah House in Wisconsin. From 1947 to 1950 Claude was chaplain at St John’s Military school in Salina, Kansas. From there Claude was rector of Grace Episcopal church in Ottawa, Kansas until 1953 when he moved to Sewanee, Nashville.

Claude published two works, The Settlement of Israel in Canaan in the Light of Some Contemporary Anthropological Studies and The Holy man in Israel; a Study in the Development of Prophecy. Connie Sharkey, in a book she wrote entitled He Gives Us Hope, spoke of Claude as a ‘delightful man with a wealth of fascinating stories’.

Predeceased by his mother Ellen in 1938, his father John in 1944, and his brother John in 1945, all in Kenora, Reverend Doctor Claude Sauerbrei died in Vanderbilt Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee on 14 May 1959. At the time of his death he was a professor in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. His Veteran Death Card listed his brother Mark Sauerbrei of Port Arthur, Ontario as his next of kin. Claude is interred in the University of the South Cemetery in Sewanee.

Claude’s brother John was later transferred from the 16th Battalion to the 3rd Canadian Machine Gun Company. He was hospitalized for measles upon arrival in England, in France suffering from furunculosis, boils on his face, and in England while on leave near the end of the war with influenza. John returned to Kenora and later married Kathleen Murray; they had four children. At the time of his death, John was managing the Dalmore. Claude’s brother Mark was wounded twice by gunshots during the war and was awarded the Military Medal. Upon his return to Canada he later married Agnes Neufeld and the couple gave birth to three children. Mark worked for the Department of Lands and Forests in Port Arthur, eventually retiring to southern Ontario. Mark died in 1983 in Toronto with his obituary giving him the title of Reverend.

Claude  is commemorated on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.

by Judy Stockham

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Grave marker photograph by L Ferree,
Photographs of Ellen and the Dalmore from the Lake of the Woods Museum Archives

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