|Date of Birth||July 23, 1900|
|Place of Birth||Coe Hill, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Photographer|
|Branch||Royal Air Force (Canada)|
|Date of Enlistment||September 10, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||18|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||1985|
|Buried At||Clydesdale United Church Cemetery, Chandos Township, Ontario|
According to his delayed birth record, Charles Asa Irish was born on 23 July 1900 in Coe Hill, Ontario. His father Charles Eldridge Irish was from the Brighton-Colborne area of Ontario while his mother Agnes Fortune Trotter was from Chandos or Clydesdale, small communities near Coe Hill. The couple married on 27 March 1893 in Chandos and were to farm in the area between Chandos and Coe Hill, likely near Rose Island. Charles was also a minister in the Brethren faith. Other known children born to the family were James Stanton (b 1896), George Elridge (b 1897), John Raymond (b 1899) and Annie Ellen (b 1910).
Although Asa’s WW1 service record with the Royal Air Force is not available, given his service number of 270676 it is likely that he attested in Winnipeg or Toronto on 10 September 1918. His Kenora, Ontario Legion application card gives his date of joining as April 1915 in Winnipeg but given his age (he would have been 14) it is unlikely. According to the application card he was discharged from service in November of 1918 in Winnipeg.
The 1921 census found Asa living in West Kildonan, Manitoba, now part of Winnipeg, where he was lodging with the Alfred Martin family and working as a cook. On 5 October 1934, in Winnipeg, Asa married Annie Ellen Dubenski. Born in Kenora, Ontario in 1912, Annie was the daughter of Polish immigrant Basil William Dubenski and Ukrainian immigrant Alexandra Ellen Kenish. Asa and Annie were to make Kenora their home where Asa’s occupation was given as cook on the 1935 Voters list. He joined the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion in 1939. It appears that the marriage disintegrated, with Asa returning to the Coe Hill/Apsley area where he worked as a chef, also listed as operating a restaurant in Coe Hill in the 1965 Voters list. It is not known if the couple had any children. Annie lived for a while in Fort William, Ontario and then later in Kingston, Ontario. She died in 1986 and is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
Asa died in 1985 and is interred in the Clydesdale United Church Cemetery located between Chandos and Coe Hill. He was predeceased by his mother (1922), his father (1938), and his brothers George (1971), Raymond (1973), and James (1980). All are interred in the Clydesdale cemetery.
Asa’s brother James signed his recruitment papers in Kingston, Ontario on 2 March 1918. That April he was hospitalized in Kingston for close to 3 weeks with mumps and then again in Halifax, Nova Scotia in August for 2 weeks with measles. He arrived in England on 9 September 1918 where he served with the 6th Reserve Battalion, hospitalized from late October to late November with influenza. James returned to Canada in August of 1919, discharged from service on the 26th. Asa’s brother George signed his recruitment papers with the 1st Depot Battalion Eastern Ontario Regiment on 17 May 1918 in Barriefield, Ontario. The next day he was given a leave and then was struck off strength on return to Registrar’s records on 9 September 1918.
by Judy Stockham
gravemarker photo: courtesy of Canadian Gravemarker Gallery