Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 5, 1893
Place of BirthWithingham, Gloucestershire
Marital StatusSingle
Service Details
Regimental Number9516
Battalion1st Gloucester Regiment
ForceBritish Army
BranchSoldier Biographies
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19691130
Age at Death76
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Stevens, Albert John Edward

Albert John Edward Stevens was born on 05 December 1893 in Withingham, Gloucestershire, England. His parents were Edwin Stevens and Esther Ann Higgins. Second youngest child of the family, Albert’s twelve siblings included: Rosetta (1874-1957), Eunice (1876-1955), Mildred (b. 1877), Frederick (1878-1899), Arthur (1879-1960), Clara (1881-1920), Christina (1883-1920), Alice (1884-1943). Ellen (1888-1922), William (b. 1890), Charles (1892-1915), and Alfred (1898-1976).

Just after his 16th birthday, on 06 January 1910, Albert joined the British Army. The 1911 England Census shows him residing in Horfield Barracks, Bristol, England with the 3rd Gloucester Regiment. With the start of WW1 Albert was sent to France as a signal man. On 21 December 1914 he was wounded. Shot by a sniper, a bullet entered his left eye and exited the back of his head. When discovered by a medic, apparently Alfred was proclaimed to be dead, but he was brought to a casualty clearing station and his journey to recovery began. Fitted with a glass eye, he was discharged from the army on 15 March 1915 and given a full pension because of his injury. He also received the Mons Star and one bar. Albert spent long months in hospital and it was there that he learned to knit – a hobby he enjoyed for the rest of his life.

On 15 April 1922 Albert married Emily Elizabeth Gurney in Foleshill, Warwickshire. They had a daughter, Patricia, born in 1923 and a son, Albert who was born and died in 1925. On 19 March 1926 Albert, Emily, Patricia and Emily’s nine year old sister, Lois, departed Southampton aboard the Minnedosa and sailed to Canada. They made their way to Argyle, Manitoba. Four more children were born – Charles (1926-2006), Edwin (1933-1997), Doris (married Wilfred Smith) and Winnie (married Rennie Berard). The family also lived in Teulon, Manitoba and then Winnipeg where Albert began working as a letter carrier in 1935. In 1938 they moved to Kenora, Ontario and Albert continued his work as a letter carrier until his retirement in 1955. During World War 2 Albert joined the Home Guard in Canada.

After his retirement, Albert and Emily returned to England for a few years and operated a fish and chips shop called the Fairview Diner. Missing their children and the wilds of northwestern Ontario they came back to Canada.

Albert was a staunch member of the Kenora Legion often working as the doorman. He loved to fish and hunt and in 1969 Albert and two others received a U.S. Patent for a Boat Portaging and Carrying Device they had designed.

Albert’s granddaughter, Barbara Duguay, remembers him as a very kind, proper British gentleman. She recalls accompanying him on medical trips to Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg, and that he would take his glass eye out at night and keep it in a glass beside the bed.

Albert John Edward Stevens passed away on 30 November 1969 and is buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. Emily died in 1980 and she’s buried beside him.

Albert’s brother, Charles John Stevens, also served in WW1 and was killed in action on 04 September 1915.

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