Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 15, 1893
Place of BirthMinnesota
CountryUnited States of America
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinRobert Rose English, father, Virden, Manitoba
Trade / CallingElectrician
Service Details
Regimental NumberCan 150234
Service RecordSee images below
Battalion87th Squadron
ForceAir Force
BranchRoyal Air Force (Canada)
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentVictoria, British Columbia
Address at Enlistment1515 Blanchard Street, Victoria, British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 15, 1917
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Death Details
Date of DeathJanuary 5, 1970
Age at Death76
Buried AtRoyal Oak Burial Park, Victoria, British Columbia

English, Roy Wilfred

Roy Wilfred English was born on 15 May 1893 in Minnesota, United States of America. His father Robert Rose English was from Ireland, marrying Ann McNabb in 1871 in Chatsworth, Holland Township in Grey County, Ontario. The couple gave birth to son Richard John in 1874 but sadly Ann passed away in 1876, with Richard later being raised by the McNabb extended family. Robert married widow Cora Harriet (née McCausland) James on 6 September 1892 in Douglas, Wisconsin, USA. Cora, born in Minnesota, had previously been married to James West and had daughter Ione Clare from the marriage. Richard and Cora lived in Minnesota for a few years, with the 1895 US census placing them in Itasca/Koochiching County. Following Roy’s birth, daughter Pearl Eunice was born in 1894. Moving to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario, the couple gave birth to daughters Ruby Martha (1896) and Fay Edith (1898). From there the family moved to nearby Keewatin where Robert found work in a local sawmill, son Albert Edward born in 1900. By 1903 the family had relocated to Manitoba where daughter Fanny Rose was born that November in the RM of Woodworth. A short time later they settled in Virden, Manitoba where Robert worked at odd jobs and later as a carpenter. Children born in Virden were Earl Denziel (1907), Cora Mildred (1909), and Margaret Violet (1913).

Roy was living in Victoria, British Columbia and working as an electrician for a telephone installer when he enlisted with the Royal Flying Corps on 15 September 1917 in Victoria. With rank of 3rd Air Mechanic, he joined the RFC in Toronto on the 21st and was appointed 2nd Air Mechanic/Air Mechanic 2nd Class on 1 February 1918. Air Mechanics, responsible for keeping the planes in the air, were drawn from a number of trades and occupations such as armourer, acetylene welder, blacksmith, coppersmith, tinsmith, engine fitter, gear mechanic, aircraft rigger, electrician, magneto-repairer, fitter, machinist, and sailmaker. On 1 April 1918 the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service were amalgamated to form the Royal Air Force and Roy was attached to M.A.W. under the RAF. Having served in Canada, he was discharged in consequences of services no longer being required on 28 December 1918 at Beamsville, Ontario.

Roy returned to Victoria after the war, finding work as an electrician with the British Columbia Telephone Company. At the time of the 1921 census his parents and some of his siblings were living with him in Victoria. After his father’s death in 1922, his mother and siblings Earl, Cora, and Margaret moved to California in 1923.

On 24 July 1928, in New Westminster, British Columbia, Roy married Anna Hudson Cleghorn. Born on 12 August 1892 in Toronto, Anna was the daughter of Thomas Cleghorn and Hannah Ellen Secor. Her father was from England while her mother was from Ontario, the couple marrying on 28 September 1881 in Toronto.

Roy and Anna made their home in the Victoria/Saanich/Esquimalt area on Vancouver Island where Roy worked for many years for the British Columbia Telephone Company, retiring in 1958 as Installation Supervisor. It appears that the couple did not have any children.

Roy died on 5 January 1970 in the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Anna, siblings Ione Clare James (d 1967, Richmond, California), Ruby (William) Johnston (d 1993, Pasadena, California), Fay (William) Nicol (d 1996, Quill Lake, Saskatchewan), Albert (d 1974, Oakland, California), Fanny (Lawrence) Berry (d 1984, Brandon, Manitoba), Earl (d 1992, Placerville, California), Cora (Edward) James (d 2005, Medford, Oregon), and Margaret Bales (d 2009, Wenatchee, Washington). Roy was predeceased by his father, mother Cora (1948, Pacheo, California), siblings Richard John (1960, Owen Sound, Ontario) and Pearl (William) Baker (1937, Kelowna, BC). Roy’s wife Anna died on 2 October 1981 in Victoria. Roy and Anna are interred in Royal Oak Burial Park in Victoria.

By Judy Stockham

Service record: National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England