|Date of Birth||September 11, 1892|
|Place of Birth||Rat Portage (Kenora), Ontario|
|Next of Kin||John Carlson, father, Fernie, British Columbia|
|Trade / Calling||Fireman|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||12th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Railway Troops|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||April 26, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||22|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||June 11, 1976|
|Age at Death||84|
|Buried At||Royal Oak Burial Park, Saanich, BC|
Charles Arthur Carlson was born on 11 September 1892 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. His father John Carlson, a carpenter, immigrated to Canada from Sweden around 1880 while his mother Mary Chemalska was from Poland or Germany, her arrival listed as 1887 in the 1901 Canada census. Other children born to the family in Rat Portage were May Velva (1895), Frances Lena (1900), and Frank William (1902). After the birth of Frank the family moved to Fernie, British Columbia where another child was added to the family, son John.
Charles signed his attestation papers in Calgary, Alberta on 26 April 1915. His occupation was given as fireman and his father John back in Fernie as next of kin. His birth year was given as 1893 and his middle name as Aunt although elsewhere it was always given as Arthur. He listed previous service with the 103rd Regiment in Calgary. As a Private with the 56th (Calgary) Battalion, Charles embarked from Halifax for overseas aboard the Baltic on 20 March 1916.
Once in England Charles was originally to be transferred to the 5th Battalion that May but the orders were cancelled and he was taken on strength in the field with the 14th Battalion instead, joining the unit in early June. On 9 September 1916 Charles was admitted to the No 10 General Hospital in Rouen suffering from a gunshot wound to the buttocks. According to the battalion’s war diaries for that September the battalion had been in the trenches in the vicinity of Tara Hill during the battle of the Somme earlier in the month and by the 6th the location was given as the Somme Salient trenches. Charles was discharged to the No 2 Convalescent Depot at Harfleur the next day, and rejoined the unit that October.
By April of 1917 the 14th Battalion was at Vimy Ridge in the front line trenches in the Thelus sector. On the 9th the battalion was in attack with 9 officers and 279 other ranks reported as casualties. On 10th of April Charles was admitted to the No 3 Canadian General Hospital in Boulogne suffering from a gunshot wound to his left forearm. On the 16th he was transferred to the Military Hospital at Chatham and then on to the Military Convalescent Hospital at Epsom in early May. Discharged on the 15th of June Charles was taken on strength with the 23rd Reserve Battalion until October when he was posted to the 1st Labour Battalion. In November he was transferred to the 12 Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops where he was to serve for the duration of the war. Charles embarked for Canada aboard the Cassandra on 2 May 1919 with final discharge on the 18th.
After the war Charles returned to Fernie and on 12 February 1923 he married Dorothy Woods. Dorothy was born in 1903 in England and had arrived in Canada with her parents John and Jean (née Sutton) Woods and siblings aboard the Canada in June of 1911. Her father was a miner and the family was listed as headed to Fernie. At the time of the marriage Charles’ occupation was given as blacksmith. Sadly, Dorothy died in 25 April 1925 in Cranbrook although the couple had been living in nearby Kimberly. Dorothy is interred in the Fernie Cemetery. On 11 October 1934 in Victoria, British Columbia, Charles married Ivy Hoy. Born in Vancouver in 1909, Ivy was the daughter of Irish immigrant Arthur Hoy, gun maker, and English immigrant Mabel Ward. At the time of the marriage Charles was living in Trail, British Columbia and working as a miner while Ivy was working as a nurse in Victoria. It appears that Charles did not have any children.
Charles died on 11 June 1976 in the Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan, British Columbia. At the time he was survived by his wife Ivy and his occupation was given as mill worker in the lumbering industry. The Royal Oak Burial Park in Saanich was in charge of the arrangement. Ivy died in 1981 in Duncan and she is interred in the Hatley Memorial Gardens in Colwood.
by Judy Stockham
photos of telegrams: Tom William, Canadian Great War Project