Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 8, 1893
Place of BirthWingfield, Trowbridge, Wiltshire
Marital StatusSingle
Trade / CallingFarmer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number201137
Battalion1/4th Battalion
ForceBritish Army
BranchDorsetshire Regiment
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Theatre of ServicePalestine, India, and Turkey
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 10, 1970
Age at Death78
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Wadman, Charles Frederick

Charles Frederick Wadman was born on 8 January 1893 in Wingfield (also known as Winkfield), Trowbridge, Worcestershire in England where his family farmed. His father James Wadman was born about 1832 and mother Sarah Elizabeth Couch in 1862. Although a marriage record was not found, a later census suggested that the couple married in 1886. Likely a second marriage for James, it appears that he had been married to Jane Hokey and had a number of children from that marriage. Children born to James and Sarah were William James (1887), Florence Sophia (1889), Caroline Emma (1891), Charles, May (1895), and Arabella Gertrude (1898).

As confirmed by the WW1 UK Service Medal and Award Rolls and Index Cards as well as his obituary, Charles served for the duration of the war with the 1/4th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment, enlisting as a Private, service number 201137. ‘At the outbreak of war the Territorial battalion of the Dorset Regiment, the 4th, were at their annual summer camp. ┬áMobilised at once, the Battalion was soon divided to form the 1/4th and the 2/4th. ┬áMen who volunteered to serve overseas joined the 1/4th and sailed on 9th October for India, where they relieved a Regular Army battalion to fight in France or Mesopotamia. They thus reinforced the Regiment’s motto Primus in Indis (which dated from 1754) by becoming the first Territorials to arrive on the sub-continent. After service and rigorous training in India the 1/4th landed at Basra in late February 1916 as part of 15th Indian Division. A strenuous twelve-day desert march took them to Nasiriyeh, which became their base. In late September 1917 they played a decisive part in the battle of Ramadi on the Euphrates, capturing with two Gurkha battalions the ridge that dominated the Turkish position. The 1/4th’s part in this success was specifically mentioned in the official despatch. Six months later, on 23rd March 1918, the Dorsets played a leading part in capturing Khan Baghdadi, where 5,000 Turks were taken prisoner. At the end of the war a draft from the 1/4th was sent to Salonika while the rest of the Battalion returned to England for demobilisation.’ ( Returning to England, Charles was demobilized on 23 March 1919, rank of Acting Lance Corporal.

Charles immigrated to Canada in 1922, arriving in Saint John, New Brunswick on the Scandinavian on 26 March. The passenger list indicated that he was on his way to Port, Arthur, Ontario to work for the Lake of the Woods Milling Company. However, a short time later he was living in Keewatin, Ontario, a few kilometres west of Kenora, where the company also had a branch. On 6 May 1922, in Keewatin, Charles married widow Florence Annie Brabrooke. Although various sources give Florence’s birth as in 1887 in Isle of Wight, a birth registration suggested that she was born in the Wingfield area. The marriage record gave her parents’ names as Jesse Couch and Florence Brooks. By the time of the 1901 Ireland census Florence was living in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland with her aunt Margaret Wright. In 1907, in Enniskillen, she married William Robert Brabrooke. Together the couple had three children, George Frederick, Alfred Robert, and Emily Kathleen. William enlisted with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in September of 1914 and, wounded at the Somme in July of 1916, was invalided home. He died in April of 1918 of bronchitis, complications of his service. Florence and the children arrived in Canada in late April aboard the Montcalm.

Charles and Florence were to make Keewatin their home, living in the area known as Slabtown, now called West Bay. They gave birth to five children, Charles, Doreen, Elsie, Irene, and Victor. Charles worked for the Lake of the Woods Milling Company for thirty-seven years, retiring in 1960. He was a member of the St James Anglican Church in Keewatin as well as the Keewatin Branch of the Canadian Legion.

Charles died at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital on 10 November 1970. He was predeceased by his wife Florence earlier that year on 4 February, his parents, stepson George Brabrooke (1957), and siblings William (1954), Florence (William) Windel (1969), both in Trowbridge back in England, and Caroline (Nelson) Davis (1969) in Australia. At the time of his death Charles was survived by sons Charles of Calgary and Victor of Regina, daughters Doreen (Dingwall) Henderson of Arizona, Elsie of Montreal, Irene (John) Metcalfe of Regina, stepson Alfred Brabrooke of Kenora and stepdaughter Emily (John) Thomas of Winnipeg. Also surviving were ten grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Charles and Florence are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

By Judy Stockham

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