Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 30, 1901
Place of BirthLeven, County of Fife
Marital StatusSingle
Service Details
ForceBritish Navy
BranchRoyal Naval Auxiliary Services
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentScotland
Address at EnlistmentLeven, Scotland
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 27, 1966
Age at Death64
Buried AtChapel Lawn Memorial Gardens, Winnipeg
PlotGeranium Plot 348

Neaves, Charles Mitchell

Boy Seaman Charles Mitchell Neaves was born in Leven, County of Fife, Scotland on 30 May 1901. His parents were James Neaves and Isabella Mitchell and he was the oldest of at least four children, two boys and two girls. He was only 13 years old when the war started and he said he signed up the following spring, in April 1915, as a Boy Seaman with an auxiliary branch of the Royal Navy. Boys as young as 14 were accepted into the British naval forces, as long as they met the physical requirements, and they served on training ships until they reached the age of 18. Charles apparently enlisted at Methil, a small town just a few miles from Leven, and he served until December 1916.

Charles immigrated to Canada in 1926, sailing from Greenock, Scotland on 26 February on the SS Metagama. He was 24 years old and working as a salesman at the time. He was travelling with his uncle and aunt, Alexander and Jean Mitchell. They were going to Saskatchewan but Charles was headed to Winnipeg where another uncle, John H. Mitchell, was living. Charles found work as a salesman and he was married in Winnipeg on 30 June 1928. His wife, Irene Daisy Victoria Woodman, was the only daughter of Ernest and Emily Woodman of East Kildonan. Irene was born in England in 1908 and she came to Canada with her mother in 1911. Her father had emigrated a year earlier and settled in the Winnipeg area.

Charles and Irene planned to move to Edmonton, Alberta but if they did they were back in Winnipeg by 1930. Their son James Ernest was born in Winnipeg in 1932 and a daughter Rhoda followed about three years later. In 1936 Charles and his wife moved to the UK, where they lived for the next eleven years. Their third and youngest child, Irene, was born in the County of Fife, Scotland in 1939. Charles was employed as a sales manager and during the Second World War he was also involved in regulating rationing and organizing emergency food depots. He returned to Winnipeg with his family in 1947 and by the following year they were living in Keewatin, Ontario. While they were there Charles joined the Keewatin branch of the Canadian Legion.

In January 1949 Charles became the General Secretary of the Manitoba Temperance Alliance. During the 1950s he and his wife spent five years living in Newfoundland where he worked as a welfare officer and helped organize an alcohol education program. They returned to Winnipeg in 1958 and Charles retired about four years later. He was a member of Morse Place United Church in Winnipeg and he served on the church board.

Charles passed away in St. Boniface Hospital on 27 March 1966, at age 64, and he’s buried at Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens.

By Becky Johnson

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