|Date of Birth||1883|
|Place of Birth||Rosedale Abbey, Yorkshire|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Emma Nendick Hutchinson, mother, Wintringham, Yorkshire, England|
|Trade / Calling||Locomotive Engineer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||No 58 Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Railway Troops|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||YMCA, Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||February 2, 1917|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||June 10, 1942|
|Buried At||Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
Although Thomas Hutchinson gave his date of birth on his attestation papers as 18 August 1884 in Rosedale Abbey, Yorkshire, England, his birth was registered during the third quarter of 1883. His mother was Emma Hutchinson, born in 1866 in Rosedale Abbey, and had been working as a servant for the Read family in Muscoates Grange, Yorkshire for the 1881 census. In 1886 she married William Nendick in the registration district of Scarborough, Yorkshire. The couple went on to have at least two known children, Ernest and Charles. By the 1891 census Thomas was living with his grandmother Sarah Jane Hutchinson and an aunt and her children in York, Yorkshire and in 1901 he was found working as a servant/teamster on a farm in Towthorpe, Yorkshire. It appears that Thomas also had a sister.
An age appropriate Thomas Hutchinson was found on the passenger list of the Athenia that arrived in Canada on 6 August 1905. His occupation was given as farmer and his former residence in England as Yorkshire. By 1907 Thomas was living in Kenora, Ontario and working for the Canadian Pacific Railway as an engine wiper. For the 1911 census he was boarding with widow Clara Hemminger and her daughter who took in a number of lodgers, all employed by the railway. By that time Thomas had been promoted to fireman. He later moved into the local YMCA located across the road from the railway station. Built by the CPR and then turned over to the YMCA, the building had two full floors of rooms capable of housing 65 men. It had a restaurant, billiard room, a reading and writing room, and in the basement a two lane bowling alley, a gym area for boxing, washrooms, and showers. Outside there was an area for lawn bowling as well as tennis courts.
Along with a number of fellow railroaders from Kenora that enlisted in the winter of 1917, Thomas signed his attestation papers on 2 February. His occupation was given as locomotive engineer and his mother ‘Mrs Emma Nendick Hutchinson’ in Whintringham, Yorkshire as next of kin. The No 1 Section, Skilled Railway Employees had been organized in December of 1916 and recruited amongst railway men in all military districts east of Winnipeg and mobilized at Montreal. By the time the train passed through Kenora heading east on the first leg of the journey overseas, the local numbers had grown to thirty-two men. A large crowd gathered at the station in Kenora to wish them well and a safe return.
The No 1 Section, Skilled Railway Employees embarked from Halifax on 4 March 1917 aboard the Ausonia. Once in England the unit was redesignated as 12th (Canadian) Light Railway Operating Company, Royal Engineers on the 17th, and then as No 58 Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company (Canadians) Royal Engineers on the 7th of April. By the 19th of April, the men were in France. ‘This unit was operating lines in the immediate rear of active operations and hauled troops, ammunition, supplies, material, ambulance trains, refugees for the battles of Messines Ridge, June 1917, and the Lys, April 1918.’ (Library and Archives Canada). A description of some of the activities of the 58th Broad Gauge Operation Company was summarized in the Canadian Rail’s November December 1993 edition that marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the war: The Canadian Railway Troops on World War 1 .
Thomas received a promotion to 2nd Corporal just before leaving for France and was granted working pay of $1.00/day. In late March of 1918 he was reprimanded for being drunk while on duty. In June of 1918 he was attached to the 12th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops for duty and granted a fourteen day leave to the UK in mid August when he ceased to be attached. He was granted a second leave in March of 1919, this time to Paris. He returned to England in mid April and embarked from Southampton for return to Canada aboard the Aquitania on 18 May.
Thomas’ half brother Ernest served during the war with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He was killed in action on 29 October 1916 and is interred in the Couin British Cemetery, Couin, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.
After the war Thomas returned to Kenora and resumed working for the Canadian Pacific Railway, transferring to Winnipeg in 1927. Sadly, Thomas was killed in an accident on the company’s tracks on 10 June 1942 in Winnipeg, reportedly knocked down by a yard engine. At the time of his death Thomas was survived by a sister Mrs WA Naylor in England. Thomas is interred in a military plot in Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg.
by Judy Stockham
gravemarker photo: courtesy of Bocephus on findagrave.com