Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 4, 1884
Place of BirthHilborough, Norfolk
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs. Janet Stocking (wife), Austin, Manitoba
Trade / CallingLocomotive fireman
Service Details
Regimental NumberVR-3853
BattalionNiobe, Victory I, Vivid III, Guelph
BranchRoyal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentMarch 5, 1917
Age at Enlistment33
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 21, 1978
Age at Death94
Buried AtAustin Cemetery, Austin, Manitoba
PlotRow 24, Plot 2, Part 1

Stocking, Alban Cecil

Stoker Petty Officer Alban Cecil Stocking, usually known as Cecil, was born on 4 January 1884 in Hilborough, Norfolk, England. His parents were Alban William Stocking and Rosa Barham. Alban and Rosa were both born in Norfolk and they were married in 1882. They had at least eight children: Alban Cecil, Emma Clara, Charles William, Rosa Mary, Albert Edward, George Barham, Herbert and Percy Fred. Alban worked as a wheelwright and carpenter. Around 1886 he and his family moved to Hilgay, a small village to the west of Hilborough, and by age 17 Cecil was working there as a stationary engine driver.

Cecil immigrated to Canada in the summer of 1908, arriving in Montreal on 5 June on the Empress of Britain. He was 24 years old, his occupation was stationary engine driver and he was on his way to Winnipeg, Manitoba. A few months after arriving he started working for the Canadian Pacific Railway and he went on to have a long career with them. By 1910 he was a wiper then he became a locomotive fireman and later he was promoted to engineer.

Cecil was married in North Norfolk, Manitoba on 25 December 1915. His wife, Janet Lorene ‘Rena’ Duncan, was born on 16 May 1891 in Austin, Manitoba. Her parents, William Henry Duncan and Annie Dickie, were both born in Ontario. They were married in 1882 in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba and they farmed in the Austin area. Janet had a sister, Ella, and three brothers, Aylmer, Aleck and Charles.

When the 1916 census was taken Cecil and his wife were living on Banning Street in Winnipeg and he was a locomotive fireman by then. The war entered its third year in the summer of 1916 and Cecil signed up with the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve on 5 March 1917. He was sent to the east coast and he spent six weeks training on HMCS Niobe. The Niobe had been used for patrols earlier in the war but by 1917 it was permanently anchored in Halifax harbour and used as a depot ship.

From 18 April 1917 to 31 January 1919 Cecil served on the Vivid III, the Guelph, and the Victory, which was based at Portsmouth, England. During that time he was promoted from Ordinary Seaman to Able Seaman then to Leading Seaman, Petty Officer and Stoker Petty Officer. With the end of the war he returned to HMCS Niobe in February 1919 and he was discharged on demobilization on 14 March in Halifax. He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals. According to a later article in the Kenora Miner and News (21 January 1949) Cecil served on a minesweeper out of Portsmouth and all six of his brothers also served in the armed forces.

While Cecil was away his wife had lived in Austin, Manitoba, where her parents farmed. When the 1921 census was taken Cecil and Janet were living in Austin and he was a locomotive engineer by then. In the summer of 1923 they took a three-month trip to England, leaving in May and returning in August on the SS Metagama. Around 1934 Cecil and Janet moved to Kenora, Ontario and he worked for the CPR for about 15 more years, retiring in January 1949. A short time later he and his wife moved to Enderby, British Columbia. They owned a ranch in Enderby and had already spent a considerable amount of time there.

Janet passed away in the Enderby Hospital on 14 January 1966, at age 74. Cecil lived another twelve years and at some point he moved into the Overlander Extended Care Hospital in Kamloops. He died there on 21 March 1978, at age 94. Cecil and Janet were both cremated and buried in Austin Cemetery in Austin, Manitoba along with Janet’s mother Annie (1861-1932) and father William (1860-1937).

By Becky Johnson


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