|Date of Birth||February 18, 1892|
|Place of Birth||Rat Portage (Kenora), Ontario|
|Next of Kin||George Millward, father, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Teamster|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Machine Gun Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||May 11, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||23|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||October 25, 1965|
|Age at Death||73|
|Buried At||Breton Cemetery, Breton, Alberta|
The son of George Millward and Margaret Donald, Edwin George Millward was born on 18 February 1892 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His father George, a cook, was from England while his mother’s Métis roots were in the Red River Settlement in Manitoba. Margaret had previously been married to Charles Linklater, the couple giving birth to children Frank (1881) and Mary (1883), followed by Thomas Charles (1884) and Margaret Jane (1886), the latter two births registered in the RM of St Clements in Manitoba. By the birth of their next child William in 1888 the family had relocated to Rat Portage. However, the marriage failed and by the time of the 1891 census Charles had moved to Winnipeg while Margaret was living in Rat Portage with George. A daughter Nellie had been born in 1890, birth registered with Charles as the father but her surname later changed to Millward. At the time of the 1891 census children living with George and Margaret were Frank, Mary, and Nellie, Margaret’s occupation given as laundress. Margaret’s son Thomas was living with the William and Elizabeth Irving family, daughter Margaret Jane with Charlotte Hanger, and William, listed as an adopted son, with John Flett, all back in Manitoba.
Margaret and George gave birth to four children, Edwin George, Mabel (1894), Arthur (1896), and Joseph (1899). Sadly Arthur died in 1904 followed by Margaret in 1905, both interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. Meanwhile in Manitoba, Charles had married his second wife Mary Elizabeth McDougall, giving birth to three children Elizabeth Gertrude (1894), David Charles (1896), and Harold (1901). After the death of Margaret George could no longer care for the children and the family unit disintegrated. By the time of the 1911 census Joseph was living with his half brother Frank, his wife Margaret (née Swain), and son Leslie in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, listed as an adopted son on the census. Edwin’s whereabouts at the time of the census are unknown.
By 1915 Edwin was living in Portage la Prairie when he signed his attestation papers on 7 May. His occupation was given as teamster and his father George back in Kenora as next of kin. As a Private with the 44th Battalion, Edwin embarked from Halifax aboard the Lapland on 23 October. Once in England Edwin was transferred to the 11th Reserve Battalion in early February of 1916. In March he was docked 7 days pay and served 168 hours detention for breaking quarantine. By April Edwin was struck off strength to the 27th Battalion, arriving at the unit in the field on 14 May. The 27th Battalion recruited in Brandon, Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg, Manitoba and Kenora and Rainy River, Ontario and was mobilized at Winnipeg. It had embarked for Great Britain on 17 May 1915, disembarking in France on 18 September 1915, where it fought as part of the 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war.
Edwin sustained a slight gunshot wound to the scalp a short time later, admitted to the No 3 Canadian Field Ambulance on 26 May. Leaving to return to the unit on the 30th, his wounding had been reported in the Kenora Miner and News. In the fall of 1916 Edwin was transferred to the 6th Brigade Machine Gun Company, sentenced to 21 days Field Punishment #1 on 10 November for when on active service absent for parade for trenches. In August of 1917 Edwin was granted ten days leave. In mid March of 1918 his unit was absorbed by the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps. That May he was promoted to Corporal and then to Sergeant on 5 July. Edwin was granted a second leave in September, fourteen days to the UK, rejoining the unit on 8 October. With the end of the war Edwin proceeded to England in mid April of 1919, embarking for Canada aboard the Minnekahda on 14 May. He was discharged from service on 25 May 1919 in Toronto, intended destination given as Kenora.
The 1921 census found Edwin living in Dryden, Ontario, a community about 140 kilometres east of Kenora. At the time he was working as a labourer at a local mill, boarding in the Pulp Boarding House in the mill yard. A 1923 Index of Alien Arrivals card indicated that he was entering the United States, likely on his way to Kansas City, Missouri where his father and sister Mabel were living. At some point Edwin moved to Alberta, found living in Breton by the time of a 1953 Voters list. He was briefly mentioned twice in the Breton community history book The Ladder of Time which was published in 1980. The first one was written by Lloyd Ellis who wrote about several people who were deceased but little was known about. Ed Millward: ‘Worked for DR Fraser. Was a very experienced cant hook man. Cared for the camp and horses, and was fire watchman during the summer months.‘ DR Fraser Lumber company was a major lumber operation in the Breton area from the late 1920’s to the mid 1950’s. Many men from various parts of Alberta and Canada worked for the numerous lumber companies in the Breton area during the 1930 and 1940’s. The second was written by Don Gillies who wrote brief notes about many of the men ‘characters’ he had known working for Dr Fraser Lumber. Edward Millward: ‘always known as Big Ed, was a happy go lucky lumberjack‘. A long time resident of the Breton area John Kanda when recently recollecting about Ed said: Big Ed was a goodhearted man who he never heard swear. He was an interesting individual who when he told you something you could believe what he had said. He had a small shack/house at the DR Fraser Planer yard located in Breton and lived there. Ed was a bachelor as far as he ever knew and enjoyed his beer but was not a heavy drinker. Apparently Bill Fraser, one of the owners, kind of looked out for Ed in later years, letting him live there on site. All indications about Mr Fraser that he was a very kindhearted soul who looked out for his long employees in a time when there wasn’t the social programs for seniors.
Edwin died on 25 October 1965 in the Breton Hospital. He was predeceased by his brother Arthur and mother Margaret, his father George in 1924 in Kansas City, his brother Joseph in 1950 in Winnipeg, and his sister Mabel Watson in 1964 in Kansas City. His sister Nellie had married Joseph Elliston in 1911 in Winnipeg, with a border crossing record for 1914 last trace of her. Edwin is interred in the Breton Cemetery.
Many of the children of both Margaret Donald and Charles Linklater served during the war. Their son Frank Linklater enlisted in September of 1914, going overseas with the 8th Battalion. First listed as wounded, Frank was reported as missing and presumed dead as of 24 April 1915 at Gravenstafel during the 2nd Battle of Ypres. With no known grave he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial. Their son William Linklater enlisted after the death of Frank, going overseas to serve with the 8th Battalion. In the trenches east of Willerval during the Battle of Arras, William was reported as killed in action on 14 April 1917. With no known grave he is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial. Charles’ sons David and Harold Linklater both enlisted, David going overseas with the 79th Battalion and serving in Belgium and France with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. Suffering shell shock, trench fever, a gunshot wound, and gassing, David returned to Canada in May of 1919. Harold enlisted in 1917 in Lindsay, Ontario with the 252nd Battalion, transferring to the No 3 Special Service Company before being discharged as underage. Edwin’s brother Joseph Millward enlisted with the 200th Battalion in April of 1916 in Winnipeg, serving overseas until the end of the war with the 78th Battalion. Edwin’s half brothers Frank and William Linklater are commemorated on the Selkirk War Memorial in Selkirk, Manitoba. The monument was erected in commemoration of people from the Selkirk, St Andrews, and St Clements areas killed during military service.
By Judy Stockham
Gravemarker photo: Valerie Brewster-Shoopman, findagrave.com
Breton information about Edwin: courtesy of Allan Goddard, Breton Museum
Obituary: courtesy of Alison Glass