|Date of Birth||December 24, 1897|
|Place of Birth||Paddington, London|
|Next of Kin||Jane Bircham (mother), 163 Higgins Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Shoemaker|
|Regimental Number||237906 and 524240|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Toronto, Ontario|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||May 26, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||18|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||November 6, 1953|
|Age at Death||55|
|Buried At||Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
Private Charles Frederick Sherin enlisted three times, in May 1916 at age 18 (as Charles Frederick Sherrin), and in January and March 1917 at age 19 (as Frederick Bircham). He served for about a year in Canada.
Charles was the only son of Frederick James Sherin and Jane Wheeler of Paddington, London, England. Frederick was born in Brighton, Sussex and Jane in London. They were married in Paddington, London on 6 June 1897. Charles was born in Paddington on 24 December 1897 and baptized at St. Mary’s Church on 9 January 1898. He had a younger sister, Louisa Harriett, who was born in June 1899. When the 1901 census was taken Jane was living in Paddington with her two children and listed as a widow. She was married again on 4 August 1901. Her second husband, William James Bircham, was born in London and they were married at St. Mary’s Church. Their first three children, William Thomas (1901), Norah (1903) and Philip (1905), were all born in Paddington.
In the summer of 1906 William and Jane immigrated to Canada, arriving on 28 June on the SS Dominion. Their destination was Winnipeg, Manitoba but by early 1907 they were living in Kenora, Ontario. A son, Fred Henry, was born in Kenora in March 1907 and a daughter, Annie, in March 1909. It appears William made a trip back to England, returning to Canada on 5 June 1910 on the Lake Champlain. He was travelling alone, his destination was Kenora and his occupation was bricklayer. By the following year he and his family had moved to Winnipeg and the youngest daughter, Elizabeth Clara, was born there in December 1911.
The war started in August 1914 and Charles’ stepfather William Bircham enlisted later that same year, signing up in Winnipeg on 22 December 1914. When the 1916 census was taken he was serving overseas and Jane and the children were living in Winnipeg. Charles enlisted in Toronto on 26 May 1916, as Charles Frederick Sherrin. He gave his birth place and address as Kenora and his occupation as shoemaker. He signed up with the 204th (Toronto Beavers) Battalion, which was based in Toronto and quartered at the Exhibition Camp. Charles trained with his unit for about two months. He was illegally absent starting on 14 July and struck off strength as a deserter on 16 September.
Charles enlisted a second time on 2 January 1917 in Winnipeg, this time using the name Frederick Bircham. He gave his address as 559 Alfred Avenue in Winnipeg and next of kin was his mother Jane Bircham, also at 559 Alfred. His birthplace was listed as London, England and his occupation was bushman. He joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps Training Depot but he was discharged due to being underage on 15 March. Charles enlisted again two weeks later, on 29 March. This time he said he was born in Kenora, Ontario and next of kin was his father William Bircham in Winnipeg. He signed up with the 106th Regiment, Winnipeg Light Infantry Draft and trained with them for five months. He was discharged in Winnipeg on 25 August as ‘not likely to become an efficient soldier.’ His stepfather William served in France and survived the war, returning to Canada in May 1919.
After the war Charles had a long career as a painter and decorator. He was married in Winnipeg on 10 November 1928. His wife, Lillian Elsie Nissel, was born in Winnipeg on 1 July 1912, the daughter of Ludwig (Leon) and Ottilie Nissel. She had an older sister, Rosie, who was born in Poland before the family immigrated to Canada. Charles and Lillian lived in Winnipeg and they had at least two children, daughters Lillian June and Violet. Charles’ mother, Jane Bircham, died at St. Boniface Hospital in 1936 and she’s buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery. His stepfather, William Bircham, died in 1950.
Charles passed away at St. Boniface Hospital on 6 November 1953, at age 55. His funeral was held four days later and he’s buried in Brookside Cemetery. Sometime after that Lillian moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. She died at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Vancouver on 8 December 1996, at age 84. She was survived by their daughters Lillian June (Mrs. Harold Adams) of Scotch Creek, British Columbia and Violet (Mrs. Eugene James) of Calgary, Alberta. Lillian’s cremains are buried next to her husband in Brookside Cemetery. Her parents and her sister Rose (Mrs. Edward Faicho) are also interred at Brookside as well as Charles’ stepfather and other family members.
Link to second service record: Frederick Bircham
By Becky Johnson
Family photo courtesy of Bircham public family tree on Ancestry.com.