Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 25, 1896
Place of BirthLas Palmas, Canary Islands
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinEllen Sauerbrei, mother, Dalmore Hotel, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingPacker
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number198960
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion28th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentDalmore Hotel, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 15, 1916
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Decorations and MedalsMilitary Medal
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 13, 1983
Age at Death87
Buried AtSt James Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario

Sauerbrei, Mark

Mark Sauerbrei was born on 25 April 1896 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. Mark’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 Claude (1897) 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 on the Dakar, traveling from Las Palmas to Liverpool.

John Sr immigrated to Quebec, Canada first with Ellen and the children 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. Mark, age 19,  gave his occupation as packer, presumably with a milling company in the area. He had brown hair and 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 Claude and John were transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion while Mark was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion and appointed Acting Lance Corporal. In late September he was transferred to the 28th Battalion, arriving in the field in mid October. In November of 1917 he was appointed Lance Corporal and was awarded a  Good Conduct Badge the following February.

Mark sustained the first of his injuries, gun shot wounds to the head and neck, on 13 May 1918 and spent time at the Liverpool Merchants Mobile Hospital in Etaples and recuperating at the Convalescent Depot in Trouville. He was promoted to Corporal on 24 May 1918, and awarded the Military Medal on 12 July 1918. Just a short time back in the trenches, on 27 August 1918, he sustained a gun shot wound to the arm and was admitted to the No 34 General Hospital in Etaples before being invalided to England. After stays at the No 12 CW General Hospital in Liverpool and the  Princess Patricia Canadian Red Cross Hospital in Bexhill he was discharged on 17 October 1918. For the balance of the war, Mark served as Corporal with the 2nd Canadian Convalescent Depot in England, returning to Canada in April of 1919.

Although Mark gave his intended destination at discharge as Calgary, Alberta, he was found living with his parents and brothers at the Dalmore Hotel in Kenora in the 1921 census, occupation given as ‘borer’, Forestry. On 20 April 1937 he married Agnes Neufeld in Kenora. Agnes, daughter of David and Katherine (née Schellenberg) Neufeld,  had been born in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. Mark and Agnes moved to Port Arthur where they gave birth to three children, a son (John) Alan and two daughters, Barbara and Patricia. Although given the title as Reverend in his obituary, Mark worked for the Department of Lands and Forests, found listed as a fire ranger in the 1940 Voters List, a fire inspector in 1945, and as Department of Lands and Forests in 1957. By 1960 he had retired and was living in southern Ontario.

Predeceased by his mother Ellen in 1938, his father John in 1944, brother John in 1945, all in Kenora, and brother Claude in Tennessee in 1959, Mark died on 13 June 1983 in Toronto. He is interred in the St James the Less Chapel Cemetery, Toronto. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Agnes (1904-1997), daughter Barbara (1940-1997), both of Toronto, daughter Patricia, Oakville, and son Alan (1938-1993) and family of Sudbury.

Mark’s brothers Claude and John were both transferred from the 17th Reserve Battalion to the 16th and did service in France. John was later transferred 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 then near the end of the war while on leave in England, for 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 became ill in October of 1918 and did not return to Canada until July of 1919. Having obtained a BA, MA, and PhD at the University of Toronto, Claude graduated from Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec in 1924. At the time of his death he was a professor in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

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

by Judy Stockham

Sauerbrei-Mark-1 Sauerbrei-Mark-2 Sauerbrei-Mark-3 Sauerbrei-Mark-4 Sauerbrei-Mark-5 Sauerbrei-Mark-6 Sauerbrei-Mark-7 Sauerbrei-Mark-8 Sauerbrei-Mark-9 Sauerbrei-Mark-10 Sauerbrei-Mark-11

Photographs of Ellen and the Dalmore from the Lake of the Woods Museum Archives
Grave marker photograph provided by by Vito Mezzapelli
Mark’s obituary courtesy of the Thunder Bay Public Library

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