View Full Version : Canadian over-seas expeditionary force

22-08-2013, 5:57 PM

Does anyone know anything about this force and how it come to be recruiting men from the Chalford Gloucestershire area.

My relative Ernest George Gardiner joined this force (I don't know what as) and ended up in Waskada Manitoba (is this in Canada ?). He departed from St John Brunswick Canada and arrived back in England 13th December 1920. His ship was the Melita.

I would appreciate any information anyone can give.


22-08-2013, 6:53 PM
I had ancestors who served in this force and I believe that they failed medicals for the British Army but still wanted to serve so got the opportunity with the C.E.F.

peter nicholl
22-08-2013, 7:18 PM
You can find his Attestation Papers in the Canadian Archives here http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/cef/001042-119.01-e.php?id_nbr=409734&PHPSESSID=schaeadedi79btombhg446rgt0 and a general picture of the CEF here http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/docs/CEF_e.pdf
Ernest could be the "19" year old who sailed on SS Canada from Liverpool on 4 March 1911 bound for Halifax.
PS His full Service Records should be available from Canada, at a price, I got my Great Uncle's some time ago.

23-08-2013, 3:41 PM

Thank you both for your information how very interesting I shall explore getting his full service record.

Much appreciated thanks.

23-08-2013, 7:33 PM
I have to add that both relatives that served with the CEF, were sent to Canada as young boys so may have felt an attachment to Canada.

Could your relative been one of the 'Home children'?

Mary Anne
23-08-2013, 11:12 PM

Waskada is indeed in Manitoba! Your relative's Attestation Paper indicates that he enlisted in Waskada in 1916 and that he was a baker, born in 1885 in Gloucester. You might be interested to note that on the Attestation Paper he gives the address of his next-of-kin, Elizabeth Gardiner (relationship not indicated), as Mart Hill Villas, the same address as he gave on the passenger list on his return to England in 1920.

Although he may have come to Canada as a Home Child, he does not appear on the Home Children database at the Library and Archives Canada website www.collectionscanada.gc.ca.

I'd suggest it's likely that he came to Canada on one of the farm labour schemes prevalent at the time, to offer incentives to young men to emigrate to Canada. In fact, there is an "Ernest Gardiner," born circa 1886 (which is closer in age than the one Peter Nicholl found), who came to Canada aboard the S.S. Grampian on 8 May 1911. He indicated he was a baker (the same occupation he gave on his Attestation Paper) and when asked if he had ever been a farmer in England before, he said he had, for 6 years (this was a common question for those applying for the labour scheme).

He does seem to appear (as "Ernest Geo.") on another incoming passenger list for the S.S. Metagama in April 1915, aged 29 and labeled as a "Returned Canadian". He indicated that he had been in Winnipeg before for four years (this would be consistent with his living in Waskada, as reported on his Attestation Paper, and with the earlier passenger list). You can see the pages for both trips at Library and Archives Canada Passenger Lists database, although you'll have to enter the name of the ship and its port and date of arrival, and then browse through the pages to find it. It would appear he had made a journey home for a visit and then returned to Canada before enlisting in 1916.

It would be well worth your while to order a copy of his service file from Library and Archives Canada. You will need to quote the reference numbers associated with the Attestation Paper (Regimental number, box and accession number). You can pay be credit card; to order a typical file, including shipping, should cost about $20-30 CDN, depending on the number of pages in it.

Good luck.

Mary Anne

george sanders
24-08-2013, 3:33 AM
enter the name into google it will tell you everthing you want to know.

Mary Anne
24-08-2013, 5:03 AM
Really?! Just like on the Ancestry commercials ... :wink5:

24-08-2013, 5:17 PM
Hi Mary Anne

Wow thank you! I'm not sure what is meant by a Home Boy I'm assuming it means orphan. I am unsure about this but I think it may be so. I first came across him with his grandparents John & Elizabeth Gardiner in the 1891 census then again with them in the 1901 census where his occupation is down as a bakers assistant. The address is Marle Hill Chalford. His birth cert tells me his father was George Henry Gardiner and mother Elizabeth Gardiner nee Davis. I need to do a lot more research into this. I certainly intend to apply for his army papers.

George Sanders - I'll try that next time I go to the library and will let you know.

Again my thanks I really appreciate the information.

Mary Anne
24-08-2013, 9:41 PM

You're very welcome!

In the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th, there were a bunch of things going on in Britain that led to a juvenile emigration movement in which children who had been "taken into care" were brought to Canada, as well as to Australia and New Zealand. They came to be known as "Home Children" because they were from "home" (from Britain). They were not necessarily orphans.

There was a widespread economic depression in Britain, with much associated poverty and overcrowding and disease. There was no Workmen's Compensation or social welfare system. What there was was a system of workhouses and charity-run institutions that looked after the poor. Often, children of a family (could have been a one-parent family if for example, Dad had been killed in an industrial accident) were put out to work, sometimes at legitimate jobs, sometimes on the streets, to help support the family. They would often turn to thieving and the girls to prostitution. If you've ever read Dickens' novels, this is the period he was talking about -- all of it (Oliver Twist, Christmas Carol, Little Dorrit, etc) was based on true facts.

The Commonwealth offered English-speaking and English-mannered people who could bring up the children as "British"; they offered wide-open spaces, where people were hard-working and clean-living. The thinking was that children would have a better chance at a better life if they were brought to Canada. Many of the children did have a much better life than some of their siblings who remained behind -- they usually lived past the age of 20, they received an education, they were often able to save their money and buy land; most of them integrated well into their new communities and made life-long contributions as shop-keepers, farmers, doctors, city councillors and so forth.

At the same time, the farmers in Canada needed help on the farm, and if they had no children of their own, "fostering" someone else's was a solution (think Anne of Green Gables). Usually, children beyond the age of 14 (school leaving age in Britain) were considered to be adults, and bore their share of the work, especially on the farm.

There were also schemes to encourage young men and women to come to Canada, particularly as farm labourers or domestics (although "skilled" labour was also needed - clearly your young man found himself a niche as a baker). They were offered paid passage and perhaps a bonus in addition, or help finding a job when they arrived. I suspect your man was one of these.

A thought -- he says on his Attestation Paper that Elizabeth Gardiner was his next-of-kin -- although he doesn't say what her relationship is, I would assume she was either his mother or a sister. It may tell more on his service file (especially if he sent her his pay).

Mary Anne

25-08-2013, 1:27 AM
Nicely done Mary Anne.

02-10-2013, 4:51 PM
Hi Mary Anne

I hope you get to read this post I just wanted to let you know that today I received Ernest's service file as you suggested. It seems he was injured in 1917 and discharged as unfit for active service returning to Canada. My only disappointment was there was no photo still I'm grateful to what I have got and that is thanks to you and all who helped. My thanks.

Mary Anne
02-10-2013, 7:38 PM
You're entirely welcome, Scone!!

(there usually aren't photos in the service files, unfortunately)

Mary Anne