|Date of Birth||November 4, 1887|
|Place of Birth||Mortlake, Surrey|
|Next of Kin||Mrs I Greening, wife, 3 Ablate Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Soldier|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Corps of Military Staff Clerks|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Ottawa, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||September 22, 1914|
|Age at Enlistment||26|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Date of Death||January 25, 1972|
|Age at Death||85|
|Buried At||Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Cemetery, Pickering, Ontario|
William John Greening was born on 4 November 1887 in Mortlake, Surrey in England. His father John Greening was from Mortlake while his mother Rose Collins was from nearby Kingston Upon Thames. The couple married during the first quarter of 1887 in the registration district of Richmond in Surrey. At the time of the 1891 census the family was living in Mortlake where John was working as a labourer and by the 1901 census they were in Kinston Upon Thames, John’s occupation given as a Private with the East Surrey Regiment and William’s as a railway messenger. Children born to John and Rose were William, Edward Henry (1890, Barnes, Surrey), Margaret (1892 Brentford, Middlesex), Rose (1895, Dover, Kent), Lilian Mary (1898, Dover, Kent), John George (1901, Kingston Upon Thames), Ellen (1904, Aldershot, Hampshire), and Edith (1907, Worthing, Sussex). Sadly Edward died in 1891, father John in 1910 and Edith in 1911. For the 1911 census Rose and children Rose, Lilian, John, Ellen and Edith were living in Worth, Sussex where Rose Sr was working as a laundry ironer and Rose Jr as a domestic servant.
According to a later census, William immigrated to Canada in 1907. On 31 August 1909, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he married Isabel Charlotte Flack. Born on 8 October 1886 in Nova Scotia, Isabel was the daughter of Andrew Joseph Flack and Sarah Gough. Her father Andrew was from Southampton, England while her mother was from Halifax. Her parents had married on 1 January 1886 in Halifax, Andrew’s occupation on the marriage record given as Sergeant with the Royal Irish Regiment. Following Isabel’s birth, son Joseph Andrew was born in 1888 in Cairo, Egypt. It appears that Andrew died in Egypt, with widowed Charlotte and the children living with her parents in Halifax at the time of the 1891 census.
After they married William and Isabel lived in Halifax for awhile, giving birth to daughter Dorthea Mary Rose in the fall of 1911. At the time of the 1911 census William’s occupation was given as military clerk.
Moving to Ottawa, Ontario, William enlisted with the Corps of Military Staff Clerks on 22 September 1914, rank of Quartermaster Sergeant. The role of the CMSC was to train and provide personnel for the clerical back office support to the Canadian Army, principally for the General Staff, Adjutant General and Quarter-Master General Branches. The term clerk was defined very broadly and included Stenographers, Typists, General and Record. On 1 August 1917 he was promoted to Lieutenant. With the end of the war William was discharged from service on 31 May 1920 by reason of reverting to Permanent Force Unit.
William and Isabel gave birth to three more known children, Thomas Andrew (1920, Ottawa), Joan (1922, Ottawa), and William John. Next living in Toronto, by the mid 1930’s the family had moved to Port Arthur, Ontario where William found work as a school inspector. Over the years he worked throughout Northwestern Ontario as a separate school inspector, serving Kenora for many years.
William died on 25 January 1972 in Toronto, Ontario. At the time of his death he was survived by his children Dorthea (Basil) Scully of Sudbury, Thomas (Frances) of California, Joan (Jack) Dyer of Thunder Bay, and William John (Marlene) of Toronto, as well as nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He was also survived by siblings overseas, Lilian (Ernest) Hallam (d 1984 in Worthing, Sussex), Rose (d 1985 in Cardiganshire North, Wales), and Ellen (Edward) Lowther (d 1981, Worthing, Sussex). He was predeceased by his father John (d 1910) and mother Rose (d 1959, Worthing, Sussex) and siblings Edward (d 1891), Edith (d 1911), Margaret (Thomas) Saunders (d 1957, Worthing, Sussex), and John (d 1961, Cosham, Hampshire). He was also predeceased by his wife Isabel on 29 July 1970 in Ajax, Ontario. William and Isabel are interred in the Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Pickering, Ontario.
By Judy Stockham
Grave marker photograph by Joe Lesperance, findagrave.com.