Robert Colin Wood (1898-1918)

I am going to write about my maternal 2nd cousin 3x removed, Robert Colin Wood (1898-1918).

Robert Colin Wood was born 8 Dec 1898 in a place called Jackfish, Ontario, some 244km east of Thunder Bay. The place is now a ghost town but was once a port of commercial fishing and to receive coal for steam trains travelling on the CPR.

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Canadian Pacific Railway Station Building at JackFish
7 Sep 1900

His parents were William Samuel Wood (1868–1901) and Martha Ritchie (1871–1906) and he was an only child.

Robert’s parents were married 18 Nov 1891 in Ross, Renfrew North, Ontario in the place where his mother lived and grew up.

In the 1901 census, the Wood family lived in the CPR community of Schreiber, Ontario, which was about 40km west of where Robert was born.

1901 Census

1901 Census

The census data was collected on May 28th, however, only five months later, William would be dead.

At the age of 33, William, who worked on the railroad as an engineer, was killed in an accident on 6 Oct 1901 in Port Arthur, Ontario. It appeared he survived the accident itself but succumbed to exhaustion following train injury, fracture spine, chest, and head.

I have yet to find any mention of an accident around this date.

The next time I find Robert he is living with his paternal aunt and uncle, Martha Wood (1874-) and Richard Groggin (1871-) in the 1911 census in York. The pair had married in 1894, a few years after William and Martha, in Port Arthur. In this record, Richard is documented as working as a conductor and his wife, a housekeeper.

1911censusgroggins

1911 Census

Martha and Richard can also be found living in Schreiber, Ontario in the 1901 census. They had staying in their home at the time, Martha’s mother Melissa (1845-1924), and her two sisters, Christina (1880-) and Clara (1887-) who were working as domestics.

1901censusgroggins.png

1911 Census

The reason why Robert was now living with his aunt and uncle in 1911 was for the fact that his mother, Martha, had died of heart failure on 31 Jan 1906. His mother’s death came only three months after she’d remarried Alex McFarlone in Port Arthur.

The last census record that Robert is documented in is the 1916 census of the prairies where he’s living with his aunt and uncle in Rocanville, Saskatchewan. In addition to his adoptive parents, also living in this household is Martha (1903-) his adopted sister and well as his grandmother Melissa. It seems Richard changed occupations and was now a farmer.

1916censusgroggins.png

1916 Census

On 20 Mar 1917, Robert ventured to Regina where he signed his attestation papers and joined the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force. His regimental number was: 1069577. Robert was a private of the 249th Battalion who was transferred to the 15th Canadian Res. Battalion on 4 Mar 1918 in Bramshott and then to the 28th Battalion (Saskatchewan Regiment) on 10 May 1918.

Robert entered the battlefield on 22 May 1918 in France. About a month and a half later, on 12 Aug 1918, Robert received a gunshot wound to the head which he later died of on the same day.

Robert is one of 332 Canadian WWI soldiers buried in the St Sever Cemetery Extension. His grave is number 5379, inscribed on the stone it reads, “Gone but not forgotten.”

Below is a transcription from the 28th Canadian Infantry Battalion war dairies. It is my assumption that Robert was one of the 20 killed in the trenches in front of Caix.

CAIX. Aug 12th 1918.

The Battalion moved into Reserve Position on the Blue Line (AMIENS Defence Line) with Brigade Headquarters at CAIX. Battalion now in trench system in front of CAIX. Estimated that Battalion captured 80 Machine Guns in the attack.

Total Casualties…..
3 Officers Killed.
3 Officers Wounded.
20 O.R. Killed.
3 O.R. Missing.
100 O.R. Wounded.

Battalion resting up from operation, reorganizing and refitting. Weather very hot. Situation quiet. Officer Commanding proceeded to O’s C. Conference at Brigade Headquarters in the afternoon.

Reinforcements 3 O.R.
To Hospital 4 O.R.
From Hospital 2 O.R.
Leave Captain A.F. Simpson and 4 O.R.
On Command 4 O.R.
5 O.R. previously reported Wounded now reported Killed 9.8.18.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – Nov 5 – 1914

1914 Nov 5 – Had Face and Arms Badly Burned

Mrs. Bradley and her young daughter, Charlotte, of Winnipegosis, were badly burned on Hallowe’en night by the explosion of a spirit lamp. With a number of others they were seated in a locked room around the lamp telling ghost stories. The lamp had been filled to overflowing and when ignited exploded, burning Mrs. Bradley severely about the face and hands. In the excitement the key to unlock the door could not be found and the door had to be broken open before medical aid could be sent for.

1914 Nov 5 – Ethelbert

Arthur Whish is wearing a broad smile these days. It’s a bouncing girl.
John Dolinsky’s two boys are being tried at Portage la Prairie this week for shopbreaking.
K.F. Slipetz is a busy man these days making out marriage licenses and taking in taxes.
Wm. Murray, truant officer, paid our school a visit last week and rounded up a few delinquents. One man was brought before F.M. Skaife for refusing to send his two girls to school and was fined $50 and costs, sentence being suspended. The two girls are now attending school.
Financially, Ethelbert district is as well of as any part of the country. The wood industry is one of our chief resources. The farmers are getting in better shape all the time. It is true we have gone a little slower than some other parts, but we are not feeling the “stringency” quite so bad either.
“How are collections?” Henry Brackman, our merchant prince, says they are good.

1914 Nov 5 – Fork River

Mrs. Sam Reid and daughters, have returned from a two weeks’ visit to Winnipeg.
Willis Miller, of Mowat, is nursing a broken arm caused by coming in contact with a separator belt in motion. Hard luck Willis.
D.F. Wilson has returned from a few days’ visit to Dauphin. He is still a member of the cane brigade.
Coun. Lacey had a tussle the other day with a fire set out by some careless person. The department has promised to appoint a fire guardian here next season, as one or two of these fire fiends around in this neighbourhood want making an example of.
Mrs. F. Cooper and daughter have returned from a week’s visit with friends in Dauphin.
Fleming Wilson, of Dauphin, is a frequent visitor here of late.
Some one the other day was asking for a remedy to keep ponies from destroying flour and other articles left on the station platform. We would suggest either a herd law or dynamite.
Aubrey King, who was laid up a week from a kick from a horse, is able to follow the plough again.
The tax sale here was a tame affair.
Quite a consignment of firearms and ammunition arrived here lately and the Fork River brigade are practicing hard, some with tin and others with glass targets don’t you know.
The Winnipegosis orator and Coun. Toye attended the council meeting in this burgh on Thursday. Nothing serious happened other than a sort of weary feeling after such a display of talent.
Nurse Tilt is home on the farm for [1 line missing].
Hallowe’en has passed and the mischief-makers surely did the grand. They had a surprise in store for the warden of All Saints’ Church on Sunday. He found the church had been broken open and a large roll of page wire fencing standing up inside the alter rails and before the bell could be used for service he had to climb into the belfry and left an iron gate off and unwind a few yards of sacking. The Methodist Church received a similar visit. Are we living in a Christian land? The minister’s gigger at Winnipegosis was pulled to pieces and carried away so a team had to be hired so the services at other points could be held. Can anyone show us where the fun is in tampering with our churches? Is nothing sacred?

1914 Nov 5 – Winnipegosis

Mrs. McInnes and son went to Dauphin in Monday.
J.P. Grenon left on Monday for Port Arthur.
Mrs. Bradley was quite badly burnt by a gasoline explosion at her home a few days since.
Our bustling little town by the unsalted sea is generally noted for something. I think we hold the record for the number of police magistrates hat have been appointed during the past few years. A good second is the number of police constables. The latest is the appointment of Donald Hattie, our genial blacksmith, to the position of constable. Whose arm, I would like to ask, is stronger and grasp firmer than the brave Donald’s. Offenders beware, arouse not the sleeping lion as you will find a strong combination in the law and Donald when they go together.
Dan Hamilton, auctioneer, was here on Wednesday and sol the effects of the estate of the late Richard Harrison. Truly the voluble Dan is some auctioneer, and can get the last dollar out of an article. It is as good as a side show to hear the running comments of Dan. I heard the running comments of Dan. I heard one fellow remark he should have been a preacher.

Today in the Dauphin Herald – Aug 27 – 1914

1914 Aug 27 – Latest From Line of Battle

LONDON, Aug. 27 – Late reports to War office state that desultory fighting is occurring along French frontier.

ON EVE GREAT BATTLE

Germans are ready to strike great blow. The troops are fast advancing and one of the biggest battles of the war is in sight.

RUSSIANS ADVANCING

The Russians are advancing in German territory and clearing everything before them.

1914 Aug 27 – Volunteers Get Right-Royal Send-Off

It was truly a great night in Dauphin, the night before the volunteers went away. It was Friday night last, the boys leaving on Saturday morning. The people of the town were out in full force and their right royal patriotism was most marked. The reality of war is brought home to us when “Our Own” are called out for service and hence a subdued depth of pent up emotion which is not found on other occasions. The Band did their part well, and what could be done without the band at such a time as this.

Great Cheering

A crowd of enthusiastic men, joined by a host of boys, well supplied with Union Jacks, some Belgian and French flags, formed in procession headed by band and red-coats. Everywhere, from doors and windows, hotels and street corners, the volunteers were lustily cheered.

Meeting Held in Open

The procession reached the town hall about 9 o’clock. The ball had been packed for nearly an hour and the enthusiasm inside was no less than on the street. Patriotic music was indulged in led by Prof. Minnaert. Only a small portion of the crowd being able to hold the public meeting and send-off for the boys in the op. When all gathered in front and around the corner, as large a crowd as was ever seen in Dauphin, surrounded the group of thirty-two men, whom we have the honour of sending to the front. Again the Band did its part well and between the addresses gave without stint, sweet patriotic strains.

Farewell Speeches

The chairman, Mayor Bottomley, took his place on the front steps of the town hall and everyone, except the volunteers, stood up for over an hour’s programme of music and speeches.
The speakers were Messrs. D.S. Woods, Munson, Wiley, Flemming, Bethell, Major Walker and Captain Newcombe.
The words spoken by all were in accord with Britain’s position and in a deep serious vein set forth the new grave situation in which Canada and the Empire stand today.
The Boys were recipients of a box of cigars each, some wholesome advice, heartiest congratulations, with affectionate hopes for a safe return.
It was an evening never-to-be-forgotten in Dauphin and the warmth of the farewell, the deep subdued feeling, was only surpassed on Saturday morning, when the train actually pulled out, all hats and handkerchiefs waving, all eyes wet, and the Band paying “God be With You Till We Meet Again.”

1914 Aug 27 – Praise For Dauphin Boys

W.J. Rawson, of Brandon, who was in town on Wednesday, told a Herald representative, that the Dauphin contingent had the best appearance of any of the troops assembled at that point for transpiration to Valcartier.

DAUPHIN.
Lieut. A.E.L. Shand (Albert Edward Lawrence Shand, 1891)
Sergt. G. Fraser
Sergt. W. Code
Sergt. T.D. Massey
Corp. D. Wetmore (David Lee Wetmore, 1884, 346)
Corp. N.C. Chard (Norman Cyril Chard, 1894, 240 SGT)
Corp. C.S. Wiltshire
Pte. H.A. Bray (Harold Arthur Bray, 1891, LT)
Pte. H.H. Moore
Pte. A.J. Pudifin (Arthur James Pudifin, 1885, 322)
Pte. Garth Johnston (Garth Fraser Johnston, 1890, 718076)
Pte. Neville Munson (Neville Munson, 1892, 313)
Pte. W.S. Gilbert (William S. Gilbert, 1874, 265)
Pte. C. Curtis
Pte. H. Izon (Hubert Izon, 1885, 280)
Pte. S. Laker (Stephen Laker, 1895, 13)
Pte. J.E. Greenaway (Joseph Edward Greenaway, 1885, 269)
Pte. A.J. Johnson
Pte. D. Powell
Pte. E. Sonnenberg (Edward Sonnenberg, 1892, 335)
Pte. E. Classen
Pte. E. Herrick (Eliot Charles Herrick, 1887, 275)
Pte. E. McNab
Pte. J.E. Lewis (John Edmund Lewis, 1893, 27501)
Pte. C.S. Van Tuyll
Pte. D. McVey (Devon McVey, 1892, 302)
Pte. A.E. Pickering (Albert Edward Pickering, 1892, 320)
Pte. A. Redgate (Albert Redgate, 1889, 324)
Pte. F.A. Mathews
Pte. H. Pollard
Pte. T.A. Collins (Thomas Arthur Collins, 1887, 245)
Pte. Frank Norquay (Frank Norquay, 1891, 318)
Pte. F. Jauncey (Fredrick Jauncey, 1890, 282)

WITH 99TH BRANDON.
Pte. C. Lane
Pte. P. Mickleburg (Ernest Michleburgh, 295)
Pte. Jackson
Pte. W. Bubb (William Charles Bubb, 1884, 2140)

WINNIPEGOSIS.
Pte. E. Morris
Pte. A. Martin
Pte. A. McKerchar

SWAN RIVER.
Pte. D. Stringer (Dixon Stringer, 1890, 24178)

ROBLIN.
Corp. J.B. Shearer (John Buchanan Shearer, 1892, LT)
Pte. J. Hallam (Jonathan Hallam, 1878, 46973)
Pte. W. Day
Pte. W. Armstrong
Pte. R.J. Ritchie
Pte. F. Burt
Pte. A. Hay
Pte. E. Simpson

1914 Aug 27 – Fork River

Mr. Vivian Hafenbrak and bride have returned from a month’s visit to Ontario. Mr. H. is of the opinion the crops in the Dauphin district are ahead of anything along the route he travelled.
It is said, “War is Hell.” So is the price of binder twine, when there is a difference of 1 to 4 cents on the same quality. How the war should affect twine now that was made in 1912 we give it up and leave it to other fellows to explain. Even the motorcar dare is doubted.
The fall fishing has started, so we are told, and while wages are lower our bonnie fishermen are head singing. “Rule Britannia” and “Britons never shall be Slaves.”
Some of our ratepayers are enquiring who is running the Mossey River School affairs at present.
Jack Chipla left for Winnipeg to work on the C.P.R.
D.F. Wilson returned from a trip west on business and reports crops light out there.
A. Snelgrove and Pat Powers have left for Yorkton for the threshing season.
Mrs. Johnston, of Port Arthur, is a visitor at the home of Mrs. Kennedy.
Mr. Clarkson, Winnipegosis, passed through en route for Yorkton.
The Winnipegosis contingent passed through here for the seat of war as happy as clams on their way to Dauphin.
Mr. Ramsay, of Sifton, paid the burgh a visit with a cattle buyer and is rustling a car of stock.

1914 Aug 27 – Winnipegosis

The fishing fleet has left for Spruce Island, a point about 40 miles north. There are between 15 and 20 boats engaged in the work. The catches so far are reported good.
Capt. Coffey arrived from Dauphin on Wednesday.
Hon. Hugh Armstrong was a late visitor.
To be or not to be, that is the great question. At the time of this writing the funds required to complete the school are not yet in sight. It is believed they are forthcoming but until they are the citizens are in a sate of doubt. The new school is needed that is one thing sure.
Architect Bossons, of Dauphin, was here on Saturday.