Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 23, 1885
Place of BirthSandon, Essex
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinEthel Stibbard, wife, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingLocomotive Engineer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number830216
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion144th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment963 Winnipeg Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentDecember 27, 1915
Age at Enlistment31
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 9, 1975
Age at Death90
Buried AtOcean View Burial Park, Burnaby, British Columbia

Stibbard, Bert Cyril

Bertie Cyril Stibbard was born on 23 January 1885 in Sandon, Essex in England. His father Henry James Farnham Stibbard, a wheelwright, publican, and carpenter, was from Sandon while his mother Sarah Margaret Taverner was from nearby Hatfield Peverel where the couple had married in 1878. With the exception of a couple of years spent in Danbury, the family lived in Sandon. Children born to the family were Harry (1879), Gladys (1880-1882), Frank (1881), Percy (1883), Bert, Claude (1888), Sydney (1889), Leonard (1890), Elmira Kathleen (1894), Fred (1896), Margery (1899), and Albert (1901). Father Henry and son Percy were the first to immigrate to Canada, arriving in Halifax aboard the Tunisian in late April of 1904 on their way to Winnipeg. Mother Margaret and children Bert, Claude, Leonard, Sydney, Kathleen, Fred, Marjory, and Albert arrived the following April, also aboard the Tunisian. The elder children, Harry and Frank remained in England.

The family first lived in Selkirk, Manitoba and then moved into the city of Winnipeg. On 29 February 1908, in Winnipeg, Bert married Harriet Ethel Marsh. Born in 1877 in Southwald, Suffolk, Ethel was the daughter of William and Sarah (née Blacklock) Lincoln. Her father was a seaman and during the first quarter of 1899 Ethel had married William Alfred Marsh, also a seaman. Ethel was found on the passenger list of the Empress of Britain that arrived in Halifax in mid October of 1907 on her way to Winnipeg to join her brother William who had immigrated in 1906. Bert and Ethel gave birth to one child, son Herbert William, born on 20 July 1910. The 1911 Canada census found Bert, Ethel and Herbert living on Flora Avenue in Winnipeg with Bert working as a fireman for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

With occupation given as locomotive engineer and his wife Ethel as next of kin, Bert signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 27 December 1915. Previous military service included three years with the 90th Winnipeg Rifles. Along with his brother Private Leonard Stibbard who had enlisted in Winnipeg earlier in December, Sergeant Bert Stibbard embarked from Halifax with the 144th Battalion aboard the Olympic on 18 September 1916. Once in England the battalion was absorbed by the 18th Reserve Battalion on 12 January 1917. In August Bert was posted to the Manitoba Regimental Depot for discharge on appointment to a commission in the Royal Engineers where he served as a 2nd Lieutenant until March of 1919. Further details of his service are unknown.

After the war Bert returned to Winnipeg, found living on Inkster Boulevard with Ethel, Herbert and his sister Margery and working for the railroad for the 1921 Canada census. At some point he may have moved to Kenora as he became a member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion in 1942. He was listed as a Lieutenant with the Royal Engineers with discharge in March of 1919 on his membership card. By 1950 Bert and Ethel were living in Winnipeg when Ethel passed away on the 20th of December. She is interred in the family plot in St John’s Cemetery in Winnipeg. At the time she was survived by her husband Bert, son Herbert, and brother William, all of Winnipeg.

In 1960 Bert married Elizabeth Anderson who was born in 1890 in England. At some point they moved to British Columbia, living on Nelson Street in Vancouver. Bert’s son Herbert had moved to the city in 1952 where he found work as the manager for Confederation Life. Predeceased by his father Henry in 1911 in Winnipeg and his mother Margaret Jones in 1940 in Los Angeles, California, Bert died at his home on 9 July 1975. He is interred in the Ocean View Memorial Park in Burnaby, British Columbia. His wife Elizabeth had been living with her stepson Herbert and family before she passed away in 1983 in St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Herbert died on 14 April 1993 in Saanich on Vancouver Island.

Seven of the Stibbard brothers were to serve during the war according to an article in the Winnipeg Free Press of 29 January 1917 entitled ‘Seven Sons Now Wear the Khaki’. Back in England it was reported that Harry and Frank had entered the service and were now with the colours although details of their service are unknown. Fred had gone overseas with the 27th Battalion in May of 1915 and wounded at St Eloi, he was returned to Canada in February of 1917. Leonard, who had left Canada with Bert was returned to Canada in early March of 1917. Claude had enlisted at Camp Hughes in June 1916 and embarked from Canada in late October as Lieutenant with the 184th Battalion. Seconded to the War Office in June of 1917 he served as Chief of the British Railway Mission in southern Russia with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Claude was awarded the Distinguished Service Order as well as the Russian Orders of St Stanislaus and St Anne. Sydney enlisted in Winnipeg in April of 1916 and went overseas as a Captain with the 203rd Battalion, later transferred to the 44th Battalion. Captain Sydney Stibbard was first reported as missing and then later as killed in action on 3 June 1917. He is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial in Pas de Calais France along with 1100 Canadian soldiers who were posted as missing, presumed dead. Sydney is also commemorated on the Next of Kin Memorial in Winnipeg.

by Judy Stockham

Bert’s obituary provided by Mike Melen.

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