Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 1, 1890
Place of BirthBoston, Lincolnshire
CountryEngland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinCaptain Harold Fairfax Webber (brother), Camp Borden, Ontario
Trade / CallingCook/Clerk for CPR
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number425470
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Labour Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Labour Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentAugust 30, 1915
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 18, 1968
Age at Death78
Buried AtTranscona Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
PlotField of Honour - 00084

Webber, Aubrey Michael

Private Aubrey Michael Webber enlisted in August 1915 and served in Canada, the UK and France. He became very ill with tuberculosis and he was invalided to Canada in the spring of 1918 to continue his recovery.

Aubrey was the son of Samuel George Webber and Harriet Mason of Boston, Lincolnshire, England. Samuel and Harriet were both born in Norfolk, England. They were married in King’s Lynn, Norfolk in 1884 and their first two children were born there: Hilda Mabel (born 1885, died 1886) and Harold Fairfax (1887). Sometime after Harold was born Samuel and Harriet moved to Boston, Lincolnshire and had at least five more children: Dorothy (1889), Aubrey Haddon (born 1 December 1890, later known as Aubrey Michael), Kenneth George (1892), Cyril Mason (1894), Alan (1897) and Phyllis Mary (1902). Samuel worked as a shipping and ship owner’s clerk and for both the 1901 and 1911 censuses the family was living in Skirbeck, Boston, Lincolnshire.

Aubrey immigrated to Canada around 1910 and his brother followed about a year later. By the time Aubrey enlisted he was likely living in or near Winnipeg, Manitoba and using the name Aubrey Michael Webber. He enlisted in Winnipeg on 30 August 1915, just as the war entered its second year. He said he was 21 years old (he was 24) and next of kin was his brother Captain Harold Fairfax Webber at Camp Borden, Ontario. His next of kin was later changed to his mother, Hattie Webber, in Boston, England. Aubrey joined the 45th Battalion and trained in Manitoba until the following spring. During most of January 1916 he was in St. Boniface Hospital and a convalescent home in Winnipeg getting treatment for rheumatism. He embarked with his unit on 13 March on the SS Lapland, arriving in England about twelve days later.

In May and June Aubrey was ill with stomach disorders and he spent five weeks in the Moore Barracks hospital. After he recovered he served with several units before being transferred to the 1st Canadian Labour Battalion on 22 December 1916. He was sent to France in early January 1917 and he joined his new unit later that same month. He spent about two months with the 1st Labour Battalion before his health became an issue again. On 20 March he was admitted to No. 2 Stationary Hospital in Abbeville, due to haemoptysis. He was evacuated to England on 16 April on the hospital ship Grantully Castle and admitted to No. 1 Western General Hospital in Liverpool. He was diagnosed with possible tuberculosis and transferred to the Woodcote Park Convalescent hospital on 22 August. After four weeks there he was discharged to duty.

Aubrey was still unwell and he was admitted to the Moore Barracks hospital (No. 11 Canadian General) on 15 October. He was listed as seriously ill from 21 November until 5 February 1918, suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis and debility. On 6 February he was transferred to No. 5 General Hospital in Kirkdale to await his return to Canada. He embarked on the hospital ship Llandovery Castle on 16 February and arrived in Canada at the end of the month. His treatment continued at the Ninette Sanatorium in Manitoba. On 15 July he was given leave pending his discharge and his discharge came on 31 August, due to being medically unfit for further service.

After the war Aubrey lived in Winnipeg and started working for the Canadian National Railways. He was married in Transcona (now part of Winnipeg) on 1 June 1927. His wife, Viola Gertrude Kipping, was born on 17 October 1905 in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her parents, Samuel Wilkins Kipping and Elizabeth Boyd Penson, were both from Newfoundland and they had one other child, Leroy Wilkins, who was three years younger than Viola. The family was still in Nova Scotia for the 1911 census but by 1912 they had moved west to Transcona. Samuel enlisted in Winnipeg in March 1916 and he died of wounds in 1917, during the Battle of Passchendaele. He is commemorated on the Transcona Legion World War I Honour Roll.

During the late 1930s and early 1940s Aubrey and his wife spent at least six years in the village of Redditt in northwestern Ontario, where he worked as a storekeeper for the CNR. Viola’s brother Leroy also lived in Redditt and worked for the railway. Leroy was married there in 1936 to Evelyn Margaret Wood. By the late 1940s Aubrey was back in Transcona and employed as a clerk for the CNR. He was living on his own and likely separated or divorced. He retired from the CNR in 1956. His wife had moved to British Columbia and by 1962 she was married to Michael Jerome LaPlante, a truck driver who was born in Ottawa. She died in Penticton, British Columbia in 1997, at age 91.

Aubrey passed away in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg on 18 December 1968, at age 78. He was still living in Transcona at the time. His funeral was held three days later and members of the Transcona Legion served as pallbearers. Aubrey is buried in the military section in Transcona Cemetery. His brother Harold was a career army officer and retired as a Lieutenant-Colonel. He lived in Ottawa but died in 1971 in England, while on a trip. Harold’s only son Michael Henry Fairfax Webber had a distinguished career in the army and retired in 1974 as a Brigadier General. Michael passed away in Ottawa in 2017.

By Becky Johnson


Grave marker photo courtesy of Donald Schmidt on findagrave.com.


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