Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 22, 1898
Place of BirthWinnipeg, Manitoba
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWilliam Gibben, father, 478 Maryland Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingStudent
Service Details
Regimental Number1000786
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion16th Canadian Machine Gun Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Machine Gun Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentGlenboro, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 22, 1916
Age at Enlistment17
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJanuary 29, 1968
Age at Death69
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Gibben, Paul Burman

Paul Burman Gibben was born on 22 July 1898 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His father William Gibben was from Barnaby Moor while his mother Sarah Eleanor Burman was from Middlesborough, both in Yorkshire, England. The couple married during the last quarter of 1890 in the registration district of Middlesborough. At the time of the 1891 England census William and Eleanor were living with Eleanor’s family in Middlesborough where William was working as a steam engine fitter. Children born in Middlesborough were Ruth Eleanor (1892), Crystal (1893), and John Edward (1894). In 1895 the family immigrated to Canada, William arriving aboard the Mariposa on 26 April and Eleanor and the children on the Numidian on 7 September. First living in Rossburn, Manitoba where daughter Gladys Mary was born in 1896, the family settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Children born in Winnipeg were Paul and William Henry (1901). Sadly, by the time of the 1906 census, although a death record was not found, William Jr must have died as he was no longer with the family, and Ruth later died in 1912. According to his obituary, over the years William Sr first worked as a marine engineer on the Mediterranean and Atlantic Oceans, as a miner in Yorkshire, as a lay preacher, and as a commercial traveller with the McColl Frontenac Oil Company Ltd out of Winnipeg.

Paul enlisted with the 226th Battalion on 22 February 1916 in Glenboro, Manitoba. His date of birth was given as 22 July 1899, occupation as student, and his father William in Winnipeg as next of kin. After training at Camp Hughes in Manitoba, the battalion left for Halifax before going overseas. While in Halifax Paul was hospitalized for six days with tonsillitis. It was also noted that he was a diphtheria carrier. The battalion embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 16 December 1916, Paul listed as Lance Corporal on the nominal roll.

Once in England the battalion was eventually absorbed by the 14th Reserve Battalion. On 17 March 1917 Paul was admitted to the Military Isolation Hospital at Aldershot for twelve days as a diphtheria carrier. In May he was transferred to the Canadian Machine Gun Depot at Crowboro, and was posted to the Canadian Machine Gun Pool in France in early November. Joining the 16th Canadian Machine Gun Company on the 14th, four days later Paul was admitted to the No 99 Field Ambulance with shell gas poisoning. Two days later he was moved to the No 22 General Hospital in Camiers. Evacuated to England, Paul was transferred to the County of Middlesex War Hospital, Napsbury St Albans on the 23rd and then on to the Military Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park in Epsom on 6 February 1918 until 1 July. Hospitalized again in the fall with sciatica and scabies, after discharge on 10 October from a military hospital in Cambridge it was decided that Paul be returned to Canada. He arrived in Quebec on the Aquitania on 28 November 1918 and was discharged from service on demobilization on 7 February 1919 in Winnipeg, rank of Private.

Paul’s brother John also enlisted with the 226th Battalion in February of 1916 in Glenboro but was transferred to the 221st Battalion a short time later. In January of 1917 he was promoted to Lieutenant before arriving in England. He served in France/Belgium as a Lieutenant with the 107th Battalion. In mid August of 1917 he sustained a gunshot wound to the face, jaw, and tongue. Granted a leave to Canada that November, he was retained for further treatment and discharged from service in April of 1918 as being surplus to requirements.

At the time of the 1921 census Paul was living at home in Winnipeg with his parents, siblings, maternal grandfather and an aunt, working as an auditor for a railway office. On 12 September 1925, in Winnipeg, he married Catherine Isabel Smith. Born in 1903 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario, Isabel was the daughter of George Smith and Isabella Gordon. Her father was born in Rockford, Essex in England while her mother was born in Old Machar, Aberdeen in Scotland. The couple had married around 1889 in Winnipeg, later making Rat Portage their home where George had a stationery business.

Paul and Isabel first lived in Winnipeg, a 1935 Voter’s list giving Paul’s occupation as salesman. They later moved to Port Arthur, Ontario, another Voter’s list also placing them in nearby Murillo. According to his obituary, before he retired in 1965 he had been the assistant manager of the Waverly Hotel in Port Arthur. Paul was a member of Trinity Church in Port Arthur, the Lions Club in Winnipeg, the Ionic Lodge No 25 AF and AM, GRM, and the Gyro Club of Port Arthur. Paul and Isabel gave birth to two sons, William and Paul.

Moving back to Winnipeg, Paul died on 29 January 1968 in Deer Lodge Hospital. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Isabel, son William (Yvonne) and family of Kenora, son Paul (Margaret) and family of San Diego, California, sister Gladys (Robert) Beath of Guelph, Ontario and sister Crystal (Charles) Barber of Winnipeg. He was predeceased by his young siblings, his mother Eleanor in 1940, and father William in 1942, both interred in Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg. Paul’s wife Isabel died on 6 June 1979 in the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. At the time of her death she was predeceased by son William in 1976 and son Paul in 1978. Paul and Isabel are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, Ontario.

By Judy Stockham

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