Benjamin Woundy signature
Benjamin Lawrence Woundy died of pneumonia caused by Spanish flu on this day in 1918 at Camp Rathbun hospital in Deseronto. He had joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot cadet in Toronto on April 8th, 1918 with the service number 171339. He was five feet seven inches tall and was a bank clerk from Grand Bank, Newfoundland. The Royal Air Force casualty card for Woundy notes that he was admitted to hospital on November 21st.

Immigration records pick up Woundy arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia from Newfoundland in November 1916, giving his occupation as ‘student’. In July 1917 he left Halifax for Havana, Cuba, by which time he was a bank teller. He arrived in Ontario on April 5th, 1918 via New York state.

Benjamin’s parents, James and Elizabeth Woundy, buried him in the Grand Bank United Church Cemetery.

Thomas Peter Wims signature

Thomas Peter Wims died in Glasgow, Scotland, on this day in 1918 of influenza in the 3rd Scottish General Hospital (Stobhill Hospital).

He was buried in the Glasgow Western Necropolis.

Thomas Peter Wims' grave

Photograph of Thomas Peter WIms’ grave, courtesy of Ancestry user mystrwolf.

 

At a meeting held in the Council Chamber of Deseronto Town Hall at 8 o’clock in the evening on this day in 1918, the Council made a resolution in relation to the Kaiser. It was reported in the Napanee Beaver ten days later:

Deseronto Town Council demands trial of ex-Kaiser

Deseronto Demands Trial of Ex-Kaiser
A resolution to bring the ex-kaiser and others of his ilk to justice was unanimously passed by a standing vote of the municipal council of the corporation of the Town of Deseronto. It reads as follows:
“We, the members of the municipal council of the corporation of the Town of Deseronto, on behalf of ourselves and the citizens of Deseronto, hereby request the prime minister of Canada, Sir Robert Borden, who is to represent Canada at the meeting of the war council, to demand of that war council, on behalf of all those belonging to British and allied countries, whether military or civilians, who may have suffered through the brutalities inflicted during the course of the late war, and which brutalities were undoubtedly instigated by the kaiser and his followers, that all such who are living be brought to the bar of justice in the same manner as any other notorious criminals, to be tried and condemned by such court as the allied war council shall create or designate; and, further, that all those of the German people or their allies who may have been in any way responsible for such atrocities as have scandalized the world during the war be similarly dealt with, so that none may escape.
“And that a copy of this resolution be forwarded immediately to the premier, Sir Robert Borden.”

In the council minute book after the record of this resolution, is an additional motion:

Motion to print 1,000 copies of Kaiser resolution.JPG

Moved by Coun. Hunt, seconded by Coun. Fox, that the clerk be instructed to have 1000 copies of the above resolution printed for distribution. Carried.

Ebenezer Arthur Rixen

Ebenezer Arthur Rixen, Mayor of Deseronto 1917-1918 [2014.13 (1)]

The council members present at this meeting were the Mayor, Ebenezer Arthur Rixen; the Reeve, Thomas J. Naylor; and Councillors Thomas Fox, Milton Hunt, and William H. Richardson.

The last death associated with an aircraft at the Deseronto pilot training camps took place on the last day of the First World War. The victim was Joseph McDermid, described on the death registration as a worker for the Imperial Munitions Board. It is not clear whether he was “killed by aeroplane” on the ground or whether he was in the air at the time of the accident.

The registration does not give an age for McDermid, or a place of birth, so it is difficult to find out more about this man, especially as he was not employed by the Royal Air Force. It is even hard to know exactly where he died, as the registration states ‘Camp Rathbun’, but the death was registered in the ‘Mohawk Reserve Tyendinaga’ district of Hastings, which would normally suggest that the death took place at Camp Mohawk.

Joseph McDermid death registrationPlease comment if you have more information about Joseph or his family, or where he was buried.

Stephen Kennedy Burgess signature

Stephen Kennedy Burgess died of pneumonia, caused by Spanish flu, on this day in 1918. He was a fireman who had joined the Royal Air Force in Toronto on July 24th, 1918 as a labourer. He was five feet six and three quarter inches tall and his regimental number was 270201.

Burgess was born in Owen Sound on September 7th, 1896, the son of Stephen Burgess and Margaret Jane (née Whiteside). He was living in Collingwood when he enlisted. He died at the hospital at Camp Rathbun in Deseronto after 96 days of service.

Stephen was buried in the Collingwood Presbyterian Cemetery.

David James Kerr signature
David James Kerr died of pneumonia caused by Spanish flu on this day in 1918 at Camp Mohawk near Deseronto. In civilian life he had been a teamster and he enlisted with the Royal Flying Corps on June 4th, 1917 to serve as a batman (an officer’s servant). He was given the regimental number 72258 and was described as five feet seven inches tall when he enlisted. He was promoted to 2nd Air Mechanic on August 8th, 1917.

Kerr’s death certificate states that he was born in Michigan. His date of birth is given as July 16th, 1888 on his gravestone. His parents were David Kerr and Jeanette (née Whiteside). They buried him in Prospect Cemetery, Toronto.

Headstone for David James Kerr, courtesy of Islington and FindaGrave.com

Headstone for David James Kerr, courtesy of Islington and FindaGrave.com

John Richard Speer signature
On this day in 1918 John Richard Speer was killed in an air accident at Camp Mohawk near Deseronto. Speer was a schoolteacher from Springfield, Manitoba, who had joined the Royal Flying Corps in Winnipeg on November 2nd, 1917. He was officially appointed to the Corps in Toronto on January 7th, 1918 as a cadet. He was five feet six inches tall, with a medium complexion, dark brown hair and hazel eyes. His regimental number was 153957.
The Royal Air Force casualty card for Speer notes that he was involved in a collision when he was killed. The Court of Inquiry held two days after the crash noted that Speer was in a Curtiss JN-4 aircraft, number C-313, part of 89 C.T.S. The aircraft he collided with was C-103, piloted by Cadet Sweet of 79 C.T.S. Cadet Speer’s plane was sent into a nose dive by the collision and Speer died of internal injuries caused by the crash. Cadet Sweet’s plane span out of control, but landed flat and Sweet survived with only minor injuries. He was able to give evidence to the Court of Inquiry.1
Speer was born in Springfield, Manitoba on March 23rd, 1897, the son of James Speer and Elvira (née Beattie). They buried him in the Moose Nose/Sunnyside Cemetery in Springfield and he is also remembered on the war memorial there.

Springfield, Manitoba war memorial, courtesy of the Manitoba Historical Society

Springfield, Manitoba war memorial, courtesy of the Manitoba Historical Society


1 Court of Inquiry records in Attorney General’s 1918 file RG 4-32/2401 at the Archives of Ontario