On The War Memorial Trail….. The WW1 Soldier Who Served In The 1st Canadian Engineers Battalion

February 14, 2022.  Every fall, veterans from the Borden-Carleton Legion volunteer to place flags at the graves of veterans buried in cemeteries in the area covered by this Legion Branch on Prince Edward Island.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/11/04/borden-carleton-legion-honours-veterans-by-placing-flags-at-their-graves/)

One of the graves for which a flag is placed annually at the Tryon People’s Cemetery is for WW1 veteran George Stanley HENNESSEY.

CIMG4008 George Hennessey

George Stanley Hennessey.  (Photo courtesy of South Shore United Church in Tryon.)

George was born July 20, 1887 in Cape Traverse, the son of Lawrence and Margaret (nee Muttart) Hennessey.  On November 4, 1910 he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he married Eliza May Thomas, a fellow Islander, on April 15, 1912.  At the time of his marriage he was employed as a machinist and Eliza as a housekeeper.

When WW1 broke out, George and Eliza were back in Prince Edward Island and living in North Tryon.  George enlisted with the 105th Battalion in Charlottetown on November 17, 1915.  His attestation paper recorded that he had been in the Militia, a member of the 82nd Regiment.

On July 15, 1916 he sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the SS Empress of Britain, arriving in England on July 25, 1916.  On January 26, 1917, he was transferred to the 104th Battalion.

On February 26, 1918 he was transferred to the 124th Pioneer Battalion, which became known as the 124 Pioneer Battalion Canadian Engineers in March 1918. He was sent to continental Europe and on March 3, 1918 was despatched to a Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp (CCRC).

….George joins the 1st Canadian Engineers Battalion…

On April 19, 1918 he was transferred to the Canadian Engineers Reinforcement Pool (CERP).  On May 31, 1918 he was transferred to the 1st Canadian Engineers Battalion.  This corps built bridges, railway depots, camps, bases, and other military installations used during the war.

George joined them while the Battalion was undergoing training in Gauchin-Légal, France, a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Hauts-de-France region of France.

On July 12, 1918, the Battalion moved to Arras, France.  The war diary for that day reported that “…No enemy shelling in Arras; our guns active.  Enemy low flying planes came over Arras twice and were heavily shelled by ‘Archies’…” ‘Archies’ refers to anti-aircraft guns.   (Source: Library and Archives Canada. War diary 1st Battalion, Canadian Engineers, 1918/05/01-1919/04/25, Reference: RG9-III-D-3. Volume/box number: 4993)

…What did the Canadian Engineers do?….

Screenshot 2022-02-13 at 18-26-27 ViaMichelin Route planner, Maps, Traffic info, Hotels

A modern day map, showing the location of Gauchin-Légal, France, identified as A, and Seilles, Belgium, identified as B.  (Map source: https://www.viamichelin.com)

Under attack or not, work for the Battalion included …pontoon bridging and trestle framings, sandbagging, patrolling water supply systems…

The war diary for August 1, 1918 recorded the Battalion in Dainville, France.  “…Many enemy aeroplanes up and a great deal of bombing during night…”  The Battalion moved on to Gouy-en-Ternois, France, some marching by foot, others travelling by train.

On August 7, 1918, they received orders to “…fill shell holes…in the area around Gentelles Wood, France.  Work stopped a few days later due to heavy bombing, but was soon resumed.  The Battalion moved towards working on roads “…forward of Cayeux…” which is still in France.

By mid-August 1918 they were tasked with “…salvaging tools from old ‘No Man’s Land’ and old front lines….” and “…burying enemy dead…

At the beginning of September 1918 the Battalion moved on to Villers-les-Cagnicourt, France, repairing roads and railway tracks.  The end of September found them in Inchy-en-Artois, repairing the access to the Canal du Nord bridge.

In October 1918 they moved to Ecourt St. Quentin, France tasked with constructing bridges over La Sensee River.  The end of the month found them in Écaillon, France, doing roadwork and constructing a bathhouse.

In November 1918 they moved to La Sentinelle, France and worked on “…roads, bridges, and investigation of traps…”  The end of the month found them in Seilles, Belgium.

On December 31, 1918, George was admitted to the 7th Canadian General Hospital in Etaples, France, with an ear infection that caused pain and deafness.  The ear infection was preceded by influenza, and he ended up being invalided back to England on January 25, 1919.  Luckily the condition was cleared up and his hearing restored.

George was discharged from hospital on February 19, 1919, but remained in England, where he was transferred to the Canadian Engineer Reinforcement Depot (CERD) in Seaford, a Canadian military training base in Sussex, England. On February 25, 1919 he was transferred to the Canadian Engineer Railway Battalion (CERB).

On April 3, 1919 he left Liverpool, England aboard the SS Lapland, bound for Canada.  On April 18, 1919 he was officially discharged in Charlottetown.

On July 3, 1919, he was awarded the “…Military Medal for bravery in the field” by King George V.  (Source: Canada Gazette, 1867-1946 (Dominion of Canada), vol. 53, Supplement, August 30, 1919, Volume: 53, Issue type: Supplement)

…Back to civilian life….

CIMG5355 Oct 4 2021 Pieter with David & Pam Ing at Tim Hortons in Charlottetown

Pam Ing, centre, with husband David on left, and Pieter on the right. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

His granddaughter, Pam Ing, whose father Harry Raymond ‘Ray’ was a WW2 veteran, told us that her grandfather “…moved to Charlottetown after being discharged and worked for the railway.  He died three months before I was born, so I never knew him….

George worked as a brakeman on CNR (Canadian National Railway) and later was a conductor for a number of years before retirement.  He and Eliza had 4 sons, one of whom, William Thomas, died of illness shortly after enlistment in WW2.

George died at his home in Charlottetown on October 17, 1946 following a long illness, and is buried in the Tryon People’s Cemetery in Tryon, Prince Edward Island.

CIMG5341 Sep 27 2021 Pieter & George by George Hennessey grave Tryon Peoples Cemetery

Pieter with George Palmer by the grave of WW1 veteran George Hennessey at the Tryon People’s Cemetery in Tryon. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Thank you to Pam and David Ing for sharing recollections with us.  If you have photos or information to share, please let Pieter know. Email him at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1.

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog.

Screenshot_2021-02-27 On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg

You are also invited to subscribe to our YouTube Channel: On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw.

© Daria Valkenburg

A Headstone For WW2 Veteran Alexander Deans

October 8, 2021. When Alexander McGregor DEANS died on April 28, 2010, his estate was able to pay for his burial at the Tryon People’s Cemetery in Tryon, Prince Edward Island.  Unfortunately, there were insufficient funds for a headstone, and no family or friends stepped up to help pay for one. 

The lack of a gravestone bothered Jack Sorensen, Chair of the Tryon Peoples Cemetery Inc.  Jack had met Deans as both attended the same church.  He remembered that Deans had requested that a Canadian flag be draped over his coffin, and then later recalled being told that Deans, who had lived in Crapaud, had been a veteran.

In 2020, Jack contacted Pieter, in his role as Public Relations Officer at the Borden-Carleton Legion, and asked if the Legion would cover the cost of a headstone for a veteran.  Pieter knew that the Last Post Fund, administered by Veterans Affairs, could fund a headstone for eligible veterans in unmarked graves, but it was unknown if Deans was a veteran. Proof of military service was one of the requirements. (See https://www.lastpostfund.ca/unmarked-grave-program/)

After Pieter started researching Deans, the estate’s lawyer was able to find a Veterans Affairs client number, indicating he had been a veteran.  Pieter also found a 1949 yearbook entry from Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto, stating that Deans, from Bolton, Ontario, had graduated after his studies had been interrupted due to war service. Deans was a WW2 veteran!

Yearbook_full_record_image 1949 Deans

Entry from 1949 yearbook of Tyndale University College and Seminary.

With these two pieces of information, Pieter turned the file over to Marilyn Letts, Service Officer at PEI Command.  As the Provincial Service Officer, she was able to verify the information with Veterans Affairs and make the application for a headstone.

The application was approved, and on September 28, 2021, Paul Cyr of Brunswick Monuments Ltd in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, installed the headstone. 

CIMG5345 Sep 28 2021 Gravestone for Alexander Deans

Jack Sorensen, left, with Pieter Valkenburg, right, by the grave of Alexander M. Deans.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Jack and Pieter commemorated the headstone by placing a Canadian flag at his grave.  11 years after his death, Alexander Deans no longer lies in an unmarked grave.

Jack, Pieter, and Marilyn are to be commended for the effort they made into ensuring that this WW2 veteran was not forgotten. 

With Remembrance Week coming up, please take a look through your photo albums and in your attics in case you have a photo or information to share about Canadian soldiers.  You can email us at dariadv@yahoo.ca, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.  


…..Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog. 

Screenshot_2021-02-27 On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg

You are also invited to subscribe to our YouTube Channel: On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw

© Daria Valkenburg

Canada Day In Tryon

20200630_200525 Jul 1 2020 Happy Canada Day

The Canadian flag flies proudly! (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

July 1, 2020.  Happy Canada Day! On July 1, a Canada Day ceremony to inaugurate a new flagpole and bench at the Tryon Cenotaph at the Tryon People’s Cemetery was attended by several members of the community, including Pieter and myself.  This event was coordinated by the Tryon Women’s Institute, Tryon People’s Cemetery, and Merry Pop-Ins Childcare Centre, with funding for the flagpole and bench provided by Heritage Canada.


Pieter by the Tryon Cenotaph. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Three names from WW1 that are listed on the portion of the Tryon Cenotaph shown in the photo above are also listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion.  Over the years, their stories have been told in this blog:

Dignitaries attending today’s event included:

  • The Honourable Wayne Easter, Member of Parliament for Malpeque
  • The Honourable Jamie Fox, Minister of Fisheries and Communities and MLA for District 19
  • The Honourable Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition and MLA for District 17
  • Reverend Doctor Karen MacLeod-Wilkie, Minister of South Shore United Church

Peter Bevan-Baker plays ‘O Canada’ as the flag is raised. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)


Tom Albrecht raises the flag on new flagpole.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)


Of course there were Canada Day cupcakes!  Left to right: Jamie Fox, Fran Albrecht, Helen Green, Jack Sorensen.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)


Standing by the Tryon Cenotaph, left to right: Wayne Easter, Peter Bevan-Baker, Jamie Fox. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Barb Clement was kind enough to send a short video made while ‘O Canada’ was played. See https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vLQOBYtgnnOET7gAdi88C-9Z4HHf3BQr/view?usp=sharing

Thank you to the organizers of this Canada Day event, and to Barb Clement for sharing the video. If you have a story to share about any of the names on the Tryon Cenotaph, please contact Pieter at dariadv@yahoo.ca or comment on the blog.

© Daria Valkenburg

The WW1 Soldiers Who Never Left Canada

April 29, 2019.  Pieter Valkenburg, who is researching the names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion, has discovered that out of the 24 soldiers from WW1 listed on the Cenotaph, two never left Canada:  Leigh Hunt CAMERON and Harry ROBINSON, both of them from the 105th Battalion, C Company.

Leigh Hunt Cameron, born May 6, 1898 in Albany, was the son of Alexander Walter Cameron and Phoebe Ann Murray.  A farmer before being officially enlisted on March 2, 1916, Leigh Hunt contracted measles and passed away at the age of 18 at the Military Hospital in Charlottetown on May 5, 1916.

An obituary in the May 10, 1916 edition of the Summerside Journal noted that “A few weeks ago he took measles and was getting better when complications set in. Pneumonia and a weakened heart finally caused his death. With full military honours the body was conveyed to the 2:20 train Saturday afternoon, the Summerside band leading the cortege, and was sent to Albany. The funeral took place Sunday afternoon from the home of Mr. William Cameron, an uncle with whom Private Cameron had lived.”  He’s buried at the Free Church of Scotland cemetery in Cape Traverse.


Grave of Leigh Hunt Cameron at Free Church of Scotland cemetery in Cape Traverse. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

Harry Robinson was born July 9, 1881 in Augustine Cove, the son of Thomas Robinson and Sarah Campbell.  One of the few soldiers listed on the Cenotaph who had been married, Harry was a widower.  He’d lost his daughter Merilla in 1911, and his wife Clara Wadman in 1912.  A carpenter before his official enlistment on April 28, 1916, Harry was sent to Valcartier, Quebec for training, where he unfortunately contracted blood poisoning from a cellulitis infection.

An obituary in the July 1, 1916 Agriculturalist explained that “The body arrived by the Northumberland on Thursday evening, accompanied by Pte. John Howatt. The deceased became ill last Saturday and died on Tuesday morning. The case is a particularly sad one as the deceased was the only support of a widowed mother, Mrs. Thos. Robinson, of Augustine Cove. He was a widower, without children, and was about thirty-five years old.”  Pte Howatt was John Goodwill Howatt, also of Augustine Cove, whose story was told in an earlier blog posting.  (See The Archive Photo That Put A Face To A Name)Harry is buried in the Tryon People’s Cemetery in Tryon.

Grave of Harry Robinson and family cairn at Tryon People’s cemetery in Tryon.  (Photo credits: Pieter Valkenburg)

Unfortunately, Pieter has not been able to find photos of either of these two men.  If you have information or photos to share on Leigh Hunt Cameron or Harry Robinson, please send an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca or comment on this blog.

© Daria Valkenburg


The Mariner Whose Ship Was Torpedoed In The English Channel

January 20, 2019….Researching the names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion continually brings some surprises as we unlock the stories behind the names.  It’s well documented that there was a merchant navy in WW2, and there are many stories about the infamous U-boats used by the Nazis during WW2.  But, did you know that there was a merchant navy in WW1?……And did you know that there were German U-boats in WW1?…….

In researching what happened to James Graham FARROW (FARRAR), we learned that he was NOT a soldier, but served as Second Mate in WW1’s Merchant Navy aboard the SS Port Dalhousie, ferrying needed supplies from England to allied soldiers in France.

Farrow was born April 4, 1856 in Argyle Shore, the son of Henry Farrow and Mary Jane Gouldrup.  In 1897, he married Mary Jane Howatt and they had 4 children.  Mary Jane also had a son William from her first husband, John Morrell, and was the sister of Harold Keith Howatt who served in the same regiment as William Galen Campbell. Campbell is also listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion.  (See Christmas At The Front During WW1)

A mariner, Farrow received his Captain’s papers by 1903.  He owned a schooner named ‘Eva May’, but sold it in 1906 and moved to a homestead in Saskatchewan.  However, by 1912 the family was back on PEI, where, according to ‘Seafarers of the Atlantic Provinces, 1789-1935’, he was the owner and operator of a schooner registered on PEI, named ‘Howard L’.  (Source: Ancestry.com. Canada, Seafarers of the Atlantic Provinces, 1789-1935)

In a February 19, 1916 letter to his son Welton, who was living in Portland, Maine with his mother and siblings, Farrow explains that that he gave up the schooner and on December 27, 1915 he accepted a position as second mate aboard a steamer, and was currently sailing between France and England.  “I am here in France.  I had charge of a schooner and when I laid her up in Pictou, I got a job in this steamer as second mate. It is a good job with a little more wages than on the schooner.  I got $50 a month on the schooner and $55 a month here.  (Source: www.islandregister.com/letters/james farrow 1916.html)

Farrow explained that the steamer intended to return to Canada in July, but had decided to stay in Europe.  If he wanted to return to Canada, his way would be paid back after 6 months, but as he was paid promptly each month, he thought he would stay with the steamer.

Unfortunately, by the time that Welton Farrow received that letter, his father was dead.  On March 19, 1916, U-Boat 10 torpedoed the steamer Port Dalhousie, the ship he was on, and it sank in the English Channel.

From the New York Times, page 2, column 6:


“Sinks two trawlers off Northeast Coast of England. London July 13 – Following the attack by a German submarine on the British port of Seaham Harbor on Tuesday night, a submarine raid on fishing near the English coast was reported by Lloyd’s today.   A German submarine attacked a British fishing fleet off the northeastern coast and sank the trawlers Florence and Dalhousie and several smaller vessels.” (Source: www.islandregister.com/letters/james farrow 1916.html )

Fake news isn’t a new phenomenon!  The story about Port Dalhousie being a fishing boat, as reported in a New York Times article, was a cover the boat used. When it sank, the cargo manifest said it was transporting steel billets.  Farrow and 18 other crew members perished, their bodies lost to the sea.

Farrow’s wife, Mary Jane, stayed in Maine.  In 1930 she moved to Waterville, where she lived until her death on May 15, 1956, when she was buried in the Tryon Peoples’ Cemetery in Tryon.

Service and duty were legacies of Farrow as his sons Ralph, Harold, and Welton also served in WW1.  Ralph and Harold enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in July 1917.  Welton served in the US Army.  Ralph’s son joined the US Air Force and served in WW2, but after the war he met an untimely death when his plane crashed in Florida during an exercise.  He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

With no body to bury, James Farrow is remembered on the memorial stone at the Tryon People’s Cemetery in Tryon and on the Halifax Memorial in Point Pleasant Park in Halifax.

memorial stone tpc pieter valkenbrg

Photo: Memorial stone at Tryon Peoples Cemetery in Tryon, PEI. Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg

Photos: Halifax Memorial at Point Pleasant Park in Halifax. Photo credits: Pieter Valkenburg

Besides Farrow, two additional names from this Cenotaph Research Project are listed on the Halifax Memorial:

Although we know a lot about James Farrow’s life, we do NOT have a photo of him.  If anyone has photos or information to share, please let us know. You can send an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca or comment on this blog.

© Daria Valkenburg