Herbert Edgar Wicks signature

On this day in 1917 Herbert Edgar Wicks, a glass-cutter, signed up in Brockville, Ontario. He was born in Norfolk, England on November 21st, 1898, the son of Herbert Edgar Wicks senior and Agnes Clara (née Baker). His father died in 1898 and in 1901 Herbert and his mother were living with his great-grandmother, Eliza Baker in Norwich. Eliza died in 1904 and Herbert came to Canada on the SS Dominion in September 1907, aged eight, with a party of Barnado’s children heading for Toronto. His mother remained in England.

A photograph of Herbert featured in Ups and Downs, the journal of the Barnardo’s Homes in May 1910. The journal noted:

We may present the portrait of Master Herbert E. Wicks to our readers as that of a boy who is a good sample as well as a most encouraging product of our work. He has been boarded out for the past three years in a thorough comfortable, happy, Christian home, where he has received the best of care and been under good wholesome training. Both at school and at home Herbert bears an excellent character, and is, in fact, as good a boy as we could wish to see.

Herbert enlisted in the Railway Construction and Forestry Depot with the regimental number 2161219. He was five feet two inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and blond hair. He gave his address as Napanee. His service record shows that he left Halifax on the SS Metagama in November 1917. He arrived in France on March 12th, 1918 and joined the 44th Battalion on the 23rd of that month. Just 34 days later, he was killed in action.