Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of Birth1895
Place of BirthChiselhurst, Kent
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWalter Watson, father, 115 7th Avenue, Lachine, Quebec
Trade / CallingLocomotive Fireman
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number438920
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion10th Infantry Brigade
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Ordnance Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentDryden, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentDecember 23, 1914
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 17, 1952
Age at Death57
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Watson, Sidney

Although he gave his date and place of birth as 6 July 1893 in Lachine, Quebec on his attestation papers, according to his obituary Sidney was born in Chiselhurst, Kent, England. A birth record was not found but the 1901 England census gave his place of birth as nearby Swanley and his gravemarker is inscribed with 1895 as his year of birth. His parents Walter and Maud (née Gibson) Watson had married in 1888 in Crockenhill, Kent. Sidney’s siblings were Ernest, Edith (Ida), Violet (Lily), Walter, Ellen (Helen), Robert (Bert), and Stanley. The 1891 England census found Walter and Maud living in Swanley, Kent where Walter was working as a labourer in a jam factory. By the 1901 census the family was living in nearby Gravesend where Walter was working in a cement factory.

Maud and children Walter, Sidney, Ellen and Stanley were found on the passenger list of the Southwark that arrived in Quebec in May of 1907, on their way to join Walter in Lachine, Quebec. By the 1911 Canada census in Lachine, Walter Sr was a widower, Maud having died in 1909. Household members for the census were Walter Sr, Ida, Walter Jr, Sidney, Helen, Robert, and Stanley. By the next year Sidney was working as a wiper for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Ignace, Ontario and by 1913 he had been promoted to a fireman.

Sidney signed his attestation papers on 23 December 1914 in Dryden, Ontario, occupation given as locomotive fireman and next of kin as his father Walter back in Lachine. Fair haired, Sidney had one blue eye and one brown eye.

The 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion had been raised in northern Ontario during the spring of 1915 with its headquarters in Port Arthur. Although the battalion was still training, Colonel Hay had been required to provide a draft of about 250 troops to act as reinforcements for the 1st and 2nd Divisions already in Europe. With the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 52nd Battalion, Private Sidney Watson embarked from Montreal aboard the Missanabie on 4 September 1915. Once in England,  Sidney trained with the 12th Reserve Battalion.

In August of 1916 Sidney was transferred to the 75th Battalion, arriving in France on the 21st. First with the 4th Entrenching Battalion,  he joined the unit in the field on the 1st of October. By his own request that was immediately approved, Sidney transferred to the Canadian Ordnance Corps in late December of 1916 to serve with the 10th Infantry Brigade Headquarters as storeman. The Canadian Ordnance Corps repaired field, heavy and siege guns, their carriages and mountings as well as horse transport vehicles of all kinds.

Sidney was granted three leaves while in France, ten days in August of 1917 in France, fourteen days to the UK in March of 1918, and another fourteen days to the UK that November. With the end of the war, by late May of 1919 he was back in England at Witley and arrived in Halifax in early July. Sidney was discharged from service on demobilization on 11 July in Montreal.

Sidney moved to Kenora, Ontario as a fireman with the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1921, and was promoted to engineer in 1930. On 18 January 1932, in Kenora, he married Rose Page. Born in 1905 in Marlow, England, Rose had immigrated to Canada in September of 1908 with her mother Rose and siblings; they were joining father George.  Sidney and Rose gave birth to two daughters, Joyce and Verna. Sidney was a member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion, the Brotherhood of Railway Engineers, and St Alban’s Pro Cathedral.

Predeceased by his wife Rose in May, Sidney died at the Kenora General Hospital on 17 December 1952. At the time of his death he was survived by his daughters Joyce and Verna, both at home, his brothers Stanley of Calgary, Walter of Regina, and Bert of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and sister Lily Figsley, also of Bridgeport. Sidney and Rose are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.

by Judy Stockham

Watson-Sidney-1 Watson-Sidney-2 Watson-Sidney-3 Watson-Sidney-5

photograph of Sidney courtesy of Joyce (Watson) Polischuk
Sidney’s obituary from Kenora Miner and News 17 December 1952

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