Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 9, 1886
Place of BirthPoole, Dorset
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Beatrice Marcham (sister), 25 Albion Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England
Trade / CallingSalesman
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number2714126
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Railway Troops
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at Enlistment165 Hargrave Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentJune 18, 1918
Age at Enlistment31
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 1, 1962
Age at Death75
Buried AtBrookside Cemetery, Winnipeg

Affleck, Ernest John

Sapper Ernest John Affleck enlisted in June 1918 and served for ten months with the Canadian Railway Troops in Canada, the UK and France.

Ernest was the youngest son of Thomas Richard Affleck and Maria Yarroll. Thomas was born on the Isle of Guernsey, in the English Channel, and his wife was from Hastings, East Sussex. They were married in 1871 in Dover, Kent and their first five children were born there: Joseph (1874), Thomas (1876), Robert (1878), Minnie (1880) and Beatrice (1882). Their next son William was born in 1884 in Sussex and Ernest was born on 9 December 1886 in Poole, Dorset. Thomas was the superintendent of an insurance company and he also served as Battery Sergeant Major in the militia. When the 1891 census was taken the family was living in Leamington, Warwickshire and by 1901 they had moved to the town of Stroud, Gloucestershire. Thomas passed away in Stroud in 1905, when Ernest was 19 years old.

Ernest immigrated to the U.S. in 1908, arriving in New York on 30 October on the SS Lusitania. He was 21 years old with his occupation listed as outfitter and he was going to a friend in New York. At the time of the 1910 U.S. census he was living with his uncle James Yarroll in Spokane, Washington, employed as a salesman. Around 1913 he moved to Canada and by the time he enlisted he had settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Before enlisting Ernest helped out with the war effort in other ways. From April 1916 to July 1917 he served with the military police, which were under the authority of the Provost Marshal. After that he joined the Corps of Guides, a mounted unit that provided intelligence services to the militia in each military district across Canada. Ernest belonged to the Corps from December 1917 until June 1918 when he left to enlist. He attested in Winnipeg on 18 June, joining the Army and Navy Veterans Railway Construction Draft. A short time later he left in an overseas draft, embarking from Montreal with his unit on 13 July. After a two-week stopover in Halifax they sailed from there on the SS Carnarvonshire, landing at Liverpool on 15 August. Ernest was transferred to the Canadian Railway Troops Depot and he served with them as Acting Corporal for the next two months. On 22 October he was sent to France and transferred to the 1st Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops with the rank of Sapper.

When Ernest joined the 1st Battalion at the end of October, two weeks before the Armistice, they were based southeast of Cambrai. The troops were laying new track and repairing railroads that had been destroyed by the Germans during their retreat. They were also put to work rebuilding a large bridge after it was blown up by a delayed-action mine. Ernest served with the battalion for 2-1/2 months and he returned to England on 15 January 1919. At the end of the January he became ill with influenza and he spent five days in a hospital in Ripon, Yorkshire. When he recovered he served with the Alberta Regiment Depot until he embarked for Canada on 3 April on the SS Lapland. He was discharged on demobilization on 14 April in Winnipeg. That summer he became ill with bronchitis and he spent a month as a patient at the Manitoba Military Hospital in Tuxedo Park, Winnipeg.

Ernest was married in Winnipeg on 25 September 1920. His wife, 34-year-old Kathleen McDonald, worked as a bookkeeper for a telephone company. She was born and raised in Manitoba but her father Angus McDonald was from Nova Scotia and her mother Isabella McPherson was from Scotland. Ernest and Kathleen had one daughter, Bernice Eleanor. Not long after they were married Ernest was hired by the Winnipeg Tribune and he worked for them as a salesman and agent for about thirty years. His job took him to Kenora, Ontario where he and his family lived during the 1940s. While he was there he joined the local branch of the Canadian Legion and served as an officer in the Corps of Imperial Frontiersmen. Ernest retired in 1951 and spent his remaining years in Winnipeg. His wife died in March 1959 and she’s buried in St. James Cemetery. Ernest passed away three years later, on 1 July 1962, in Deer Lodge Veterans Hospital in Winnipeg. He’s buried in the military section at Brookside Cemetery. His daughter Bernice (Mrs. William Gilmour) died in Abbotsford, British Columbia in 2004, at age 76.

By Becky Johnson

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