52 Ancestors – Week 45 – Fredrick John Childs Storrar

It has been several long weeks since I last updated 52 Ancestors but with Remembrance Day just around the corner I thought I would write up a post or two on some relatives who fought in the First Great War. For this week in Amy Johnson Crow’s genealogist challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I will be writing about Fredrick John Childs Storrar (1893-1969) who is my first cousin twice removed.

Fred Jr. was born to parents Fredrick Alfred Storrar (1859-1934) and Ruth Edith Basham (1872-1948). Ruth was the eldest daughter to John and Ruth Basham who were my my 2nd great grandparents. Fred Sr. was born to William Storrar and Fanny Bishop though I do not know much about his family. It appears he is living with his maternal aunt and uncle at the age of 12 and later with his sister at 16 Ballance Road in 1891. This is where I suspect Fred Sr. met Ruth Basham as her family also lived on Ballance Road, 18 Ballance Road to be exact. Fred and Ruth married on Jul 31, 1892, Ruth was fourteen years younger than her new husband but I don’t believe such an age gap was an anomaly.

The young couple would have their first son, Fredrick John Childs on Aug 6 1893 in Homerton, Hackney, just over a year after they were married. Their baby boy was baptized in St. Luke’s, the same church that they had been married in. I must make note of one of Fred Jr.’s middle names – ‘Childs’. I always found this to be a strange name and often wondered if this was just a misspelling but in fact in one instance where the name ‘Charles’ was written on a document it had been crossed out and corrected to ‘Childs’. My best guess at this point is that there is some sort of relation to the surname ‘Childs’ but at present I have been unable to find one.

Fred was not an only child, in fact, he had several younger siblings named Owen Alfred, Edith Grace, and Eva May. Sadly both Owen Alfred and Edith Grace died before they reached their first birthday although both were baptized at St. Luke like their older brother.

After his children Owen Alfred and Edith Grace died the older Fredrick Alfred traveled on the S.S. Victorian to Canada in May 1905. Perhaps hearing how the Basham family had made a new start in Manitoba, Ruth, missing the support of her family, urged Fred Sr. to travel and find a job in the same area so they could be close to her relatives. He would work as a farm labourer in the Mossey River area at least until the age of 62 years.

Just over a year later Ruth would follow her husband to Canada on the S.S. Virginian along with her two young children Fred Jr. and Eva in Oct 1906. Ruth and Fred Sr., however, did not live together when she arrived in the Mossey River Municipality. Instead, Ruth and the children went to live with her older brother John Basham at SW-6-29-18-W1. Were the strains of marriage too much to handle or was it more economical to live separately?

Fred Jr. and Eva were 13 and 9 respectively when they arrived in Canada and I can only assume they attended one of the local school such as Mowat, however I have been unable to locate school records before 1916 to confirm this information. On Aug 21, 1915 Fred Jr. along with his cousin William Henderson Johnston traveled to Dauphin to join the military. Together, these two young men fought in the 31st Battalion that was also known as the Bell’s Bulldogs but only one of them would ever return to Canada again.

Fred Jr.’s sister, Eva, also worked to help support the war effort and moved to Winnipeg in 1916 to join the Red Cross. She would later marry Alexander Reader, an English immigrant, who joined the military and fought in the 45th Battllion. Eva would have two sons, Ronald (Ron) and Fredrick (Jack), but would not live to see them grow up. Eva died at the age of twenty four in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Dauphin Herald – 7 Oct 1915
Fork River
Private F.J. Storrar is home from Sewell camp for a few days visiting his friends and looks quite spruce in his Kaki.

Indeed he did! Here is a picture of Fred Jr. Storrar in his military uniform. I wish I had a similar one of William Henderson Johnston in his uniform but I’m afraid I have no photographs of him at all. I would have also liked to see a photograph with clearer insignia but I am happy to have this picture which is in fact a postcard.

c. 1916

c. 1915

Dauphin Herald – 16 Jun 1916
Fork River
Max King is with the 61st Batallion at Shorn Cliff England. He writes that he was over and visited Billy Johnston, F. Storrar and the Lintick before they left for France and all were well.
Dauphin Herald – 11 Apr 1918
Fork River
Private F. Storrar has arrived home from England after being away two years. He is still suffering from the injury to his leg.

This article above mentions an injury to his leg. I was curious as to what exactly this injury was and how it affected him during the war and so I ordered Fred Jr.’s military files from the LAC. On one of the first medical sheets I came across there was a note that he had injured his left knee in 1915 and consequently he had constant aches and pains, swelling that made marching difficult, and could only flex his leg about 30 degrees.

Now, how exactly did Fred Jr. injure his knee? It was in Sept of 1915, not even a month after he enlisted, that Fred Jr. fell into a trench and twisted his left knee at Sewell Camp. He was put on light duties but returned to normal duties after several weeks. After contracting rheumatic fever in France in 1916 Fred Jr. received another injury to the same knee. No longer able to perform heavy work, Fred Jr. would go between light duties and the infirmary for his entire military career spending approximately 176-468 days in hospital.

These complaints eventually required surgery in Jul 1917 to remove loose cartilage. Further surgery to his knee occurred in Oct of 1917 but there would be little to no improvement. Fred Jr. now would walk with a permanent limp and would require a cane. Due to his injury Fred Jr. was discharged from the military on Apr 23, 1918 once he returned to Winnipeg.

Dauphin Herald – 16 May 1918
Fork River
On Friday evening May 10th a large number from Fork River and Winnipegosis met at the Orange Hall to welcome Private F. Storrar who has returned from the front. S. Gower read an address and Wm. King presented him with a gold watch and chair on behalf of the citizens. The ladies provided supper and dancing continued till morning.

In 1919 Fred Jr. began the purchase of 160 arces of CPR land at NE-5-29-18-W1 however this was cancelled on Sep 28, 1925. In the 1921 Census Fred Jr. is living in a small log home at 6-29-18-W1 with his mother Ruth. To my understanding this is the same home John Basham lived in that he passed down to his sisters Ruth and Ada after his death in 1920. After this I am not sure what happened to Fred Jr. but I am certain he remained living in the Mossey River Municipality to farm though he never married.

c. 1920

c. 1920

In the Mar 29, 1968 issue of the Dauphin Herald Fred Jr. shared two photographs, one is of a 490 Chev with Max King in the driver’s seat and beside him is Fred himself. Through the windshield standing near the building may be seen the late William King, the postmaster at that time, and the late T.N. Briggs Sr. I hazard a guess that this photograph was taken sometime in the 1920s after Fred Jr. returned from the war as the 490 was not built until 1918.

Fred Jr. passed away on Jan 25, 1969 at the Dauphin General Hospital in Dauphin, Manitoba and he is buried in Riverside Cemetery.

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