Lance Corporal Frederick Ernest Dunford – 195385 – ACTIVE SERVICE (World War I)
On December 7, 1915 Frederick Ernest Dunford completed the Attestation Paper for the Canadian Army, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). He was 28 years and 8 months old when, as a married man with three children (all girls: Mary Leah 6, Norma Vivien 4 and Elsie Jane 1 year), he enlisted for the duration of the War. Frederick Dunford was born in Douro Township, Peterborough County, Ontario. He gave his birth date as February 20, 1887. Frederick Ernest indicated; he did not presently belong to a Militia Force, but that he did have 2 years previous experience with the 57th Peterborough Regiment. There is nothing on his File to indicate where he was educated or to what level. As far as his Trade or Calling is concerned, he lists Carpenter. Frederick Ernest was 5′ 8½” tall, with a 36½” chest (expanded). There is no indication of his weight. He had a dark complexion, with brown eyes and dark brown hair. His Medical Examination was completed November 28, 1915 in Peterborough, Ontario; it indicated no medical issues or physical limitations and as such he was deemed fit for Overseas duty with the CEF. His next-of-kin was listed as his Wife; Mrs. Annie Lillian Dunford of Lakefield, Ontario. Frederick Ernest Dunford signed the Oath and Certificate of Attestation on December 7, 1915 in Peterborough, Ontario. Initially, He was taken-on-strength, as a Private (Pte) with the 57th Regiment, and was assigned Service Number 195385.
When the 93rd Battalion (Bn) was authorized and formed up, in Peterborough on December 22, 1915, Pte Dunford was transferred over and taken-on-strength with this Unit.
The 93rd Bn, after training through the winter and spring at 5 different area Centres, departed by train from Peterborough on May 29, 1916. The Battalion made a short stop at Barriefield Camp located at Kingston, Ontario before moving on to the main CEF Training Centre located at Valcartier, Québec. Valcartier was erected as a Military Base in August 1914, as part of the mobilization of the CEF, at the outset of World War I. The Base was located approximately 16 miles north of Québec City, Québec. The facilities and training were pretty rudimentary; training consisted of marching, rifle and bayonet drills. The Officers actually practiced swordsmanship. The main goal of the Base was to form the men into Units and ship them off to England, as quickly as possible.
Pte Dunford and the 93rd Bn embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on July 15, 1916, aboard the Empress of Britain.
The Empress of Britain docked at Liverpool, England on July 25, 1916. There is no indication in his Military File as to where Pte Dunford and the 93rd Bn were barracked from July 25, 1916 until October 6, 1916. On October 6, 1916 he was transferred from the 93rd Bn to the 39th Battalion, stationed at West Sandling. On October 7, 1916 he was taken-on-strength with the 39th Bn. The time between October 7 and November 29, 1916 would have been spent in various training activities, which would have included: rifle and bayonet drills, physical fitness conditioning, and different aspects of trench warfare. On November 29, 1916 Pte Dunford was admitted to the Moore Barracks Hospital at Shorncliffe with a condition identified as a Neuritis Sciatic Nerve (pain in legs starting in lower back). Upon discharge on December 7, 1916 he was transferred from the Moore Barracks Hospital and was taken-on-strength with the 64th Battalion, stationed at West Sandling. On the same day, for an unstated reason, he was back at Moore Barracks Hospital. On December 19, 1916 Pte Dunford was transferred from the Moore Barracks Hospital to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital located at Woodcote Park, Epsom where he was admitted December 20, 1916 with Pleurisy (difficulty breathing, inflammation of tissue surrounding the lungs). He was transferred to the Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Buxton, Derbyshire on January 19, 1917 with Neuritis (inflammation of nerve). On March 22, 1917 he was taken-on-strength with the 6th Canadian Reserve Battalion (Cdn Res Bn) at Seaford, England on reporting from the Canadian Red Cross Hospital. March 24, 1917 he was struck-off-strength from the 6th Cdn Res Bn and taken-on-strength with the Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot at Shoreham. On April 21, 1917 he was struck-off-strength from the EORD on being transferred to the 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion. On April 22nd Pte Dunford arrived in France at the Canadian Base Depot. (CBD) On April 25, 1917 he left the CBD joining the 2nd Bn in the Field on April 27, 1917.
The 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion, in France, was attached to the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade – 1st Canadian Division.
The War Diaries indicate that when Pte Dunford joined the 2nd Battalion, in the field, they had just moved to the Elbe Shelters and were busy cleaning equipment. At midnight they moved off and proceeded to the Bois de la Ville – Farbus Sector arriving in the early morning and taking up an old position. At 4:25 AM on April 28th Allied artillery opened up with an intense bombardment on enemy positions and the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade attacked and captured the Village of Arleux. Enemy artillery was not very active on the 2nd Battalion Sector. The 2nd Battalion was relieved at night and moved back to Brunenhaut Farm. A draft of 68 men joined the Battalion (one of which was Pte Dunford). The 29th was spent resting and cleaning. Church Parades were held. On the 30th the 2nd Battalion formed up at 4:00 PM and moved off independently, by Companies, to the Elbe Shelters.
May 1917 opens with the Battalion at practice trenches at Brunenhaut Farm. At 7:30 PM, in accordance with Operation Order No 41, the Battalion moved from Elbe to the Front-Line in the rear of Arleux. The men were issued with Battle equipment before going in. At 1:30 AM on the 2nd a small party of Officers went forward to the Front-Line to identify the assembly area and jumping off trench. At 7: 45 PM an Allied practice barrage took place. At 10:30 PM the Companies left for the assembly area. At 1:30 AM on the 3rd the enemy strongly bombarded the Battalion position, which lasted for 30 minutes and then quieted slightly. At 3:45 AM the attack commenced. Reports were received indicating the attack was progressing satisfactorily, with large numbers of enemy prisoners coming back through the Line. Reports were also received that by 5:02 AM No 2 and No 4 Companies, of the 2nd Battalion, were digging in at the Final Objective. The situation throughout the day remained quite fluid, with enemy and Allied artillery exchanging barrages. To the concern of the 2nd Battalion some of the Allied shots were falling short and requests were sent asking for the range of shots to be moved out. The 4th was pretty much a repeat of the previous day. At 11:15 PM relief of the 2nd Battalion began, which was completed by 1:30 AM on the 5th. The Battalion moved back to the Elbe Shelters arriving at 6:00 AM. At 7:20 AM the Battalion moved off from the Elbe Shelters. It stopped for lunch at Coupigny, before carrying on to Barlin, arriving at 4:15 PM. It was reported that the billets were good for Officers and men. The Battalion spent the rest of month at Barlin. Initially the days were spent resting and cleaning up. At one point the Battalion marched to Hersin to be inspected by the Corps Commander. It was reported that he was pleased with what he had seen. Then it became a regular routine of Church Parades, boxing matches and ball games, training, rifle practice, ending off the month with a lengthy route march through the French countryside and Villages.
June 1917 opened with the Battalion still at Barlin, where they trained in the morning and played ball games in the afternoon. On the 3rd at 7:30 AM it moved off from Barlin and marched to huts at Bois aux Alleux. Here it remained until the 9th undergoing training in accordance with the Syllabus (which often included rifle practice, bayonet drills, and detailed attack practice in large and small formations). In accordance with Operation Order No 45, the Battalion moved from Bois aux Alleux at 7:00 AM to relieve the 10th Battalion in a Supporting Brigade Area. This relief was completed by 9:00 AM. The Battalion stayed in Rhine & Elbe trench until 9:00 PM. Then it moved to another Brigade Support position between Acheville and Fresnoy, where it relieved the 16th Battalion. Relief was complete by 2:00 AM on the 10th. From the 10th to 13th, based on enemy activity being abnormally quiet, the men of the Battalion spent long days in work parties digging and constructing the New Brunswick Trench. On June 13th, 1917 Pte Dunford reported to Hospital, reason not stated. He rejoined his Unit on the 20th. When Pte Dunford rejoined his Unit they were at billets in the Village of La Targette. The 21st and 22nd were spent with the Companies training independently. A pay parade was held and bathing was arranged at Neuville St. Vaast. At 10:00 PM of the 22nd Operation Order No 48 was received and the Battalion moved off to the Railway Embankment Area near Vimy and relieved the 10th Battalion. The 2nd Battalion now came under the orders of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. The 23rd to 26th were spent in work parties digging and improving trenches. In accordance with Operation Order No 49 the 2nd Battalion was to be relieved the evening of the 26th by the 5th Battalion. Relief was complete by 12:30 AM on the 27th and the Battalion moved off in small parties to Ottawa Huts near Mont St. Eloy. The morning was given to resting and cleaning up. During the afternoon Inter-Divisional Sports were held at Hersin. The 28th and 29th were spent in training per the Syllabus. Due to heavy rain on the 30th training was not carried out. On the 30th Pte Dunford was admitted to the No 1 Canadian Field Ambulance with what reported as Myalgia (muscle pain).
July 1917: On July 3rd he rejoined his Unit. When Pte Dunford rejoined the Battalion, it was in a Divisional Reserve position. The next several days were spent supplying work parties, at night, improving trenches in the Brigade Forward Area. On the 10th the Battalion received an order that it was to relieve the 3rd Battalion in the Front-Line on the 11th/12th of July. This order was canceled on the 11th. It was reported in the War Diaries that on the 11th, His Majesty the King passed through the 2nd Battalion area on his way to and from his visit to Hill 145. Hill 145 is the highest point on Vimy Ridge and is where the Vimy Monument now stands. On the 12th the Battalion was ordered to proceed to Winnipeg Huts and relieve the 7th Battalion. At 10:00 AM they moved off by Companies arriving at 12:05 PM. The balance of the day was spent resting and cleaning up. From the 14th to the 18th the men underwent the usual training regimen and participated in Battalion sports. The weather was reported as being generally poor. On the 19th Battalion HQ received Operation Order No 51 instructing the Battalion to move to Maisnil les Ruitz. The Battalion formed up at 4:50 AM arriving at the destination at 9:00 AM. The balance of the day was spent resting and cleaning up. The 20th was spent in training. On the 21st a pay parade was held; and Operation Order No 52 was received. They were instructed to move to L.34.a – Central and take up a position along a railway embankment near Foose 2 de Bethune. The men fell in at 6:00 PM and arrived at 9:00 PM occupying tents. On the 23rd the Camp was shelled by the enemy resulting in one Officer wounded. Operation Order No 53 was received. The Battalion was to move to the Front-Line in front of the Village of Loos, France and relieve the 15th Battalion. They formed up at 9:00 PM and proceeded to the Front-Line. Battalion disbursement was as follows: No 4 Company was on the left, No 2 Company was in the middle, No 1 Company was on the right, No 3 Company was in close support in Gun trenchs and in cellars in Loos. Trench strength was reported as 24 Officers and 698 other ranks. At 6:00 AM on the 23rd the relief was completed with only one casualty. During the night there was slight shelling of the Battalion position and considerable enemy machine gun and trench mortar fire. Allied heavies quite active during the day against enemy support trenches and barbed wire. The 24th to 28th were pretty much a repeat of the 23rd with heavy enemy machine gun and trench mortar fire. Allied heavies kept up a steady bombardment of enemy barbed wire and support trenches. Late in the evening of the 28th enemy gas shells landed on the 2nd Battalion’s position, but no attempt was made to enter their lines. On the 29th the enemy, once again, fire gas shells on the Battalion’s position, this time on the left side trenches which were occupied by No 4 Company. The 30th was relatively quiet. The enemy medium calibre guns were fairly active firing 800 shells into the Village of Loos.
On August 2nd Pte Dunford reported sick again and was sent to No 2 Canadian Field Ambulance. On the 3rd, 1917 he was transferred to the No 1 Casualty Clearing Station with what was diagnosed as Influenza. On the 6th he was transferred to the No 1 Canadian General Hospital at Étaples, France. On the 8th Pte Dunford, upon being invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Brighton, was posted from the 2nd Bn to the Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot at Seaford.
Also on the 8th he was admitted to the Graylingwell War Hospital, Chichester, England. On the 31st he was transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital at Woodcote Park. Epsom, where he stayed until September 7th. On the 7th he was transferred to the Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Buxton, Derbyshire for further treatment.
An entry in his Military File indicates ”admitted – complains of pains in hips, knees, ankles and shins. Present condition slightly improved, but pain recurs. Discharged Category C-111, likely to be raised in 6 months”. Pte Dunford was discharged on October 26, 1917. Upon discharge he was granted a 10 day furlough. November 9, 1917 he was taken-on-strength with the Canadian Discharge Depot at Buxton pending return to Canada. November 17, 1917 he embarked from Liverpool bound for Canada aboard the SS Saxonia.
There is no indication in his Military File as to when Pte Dunford arrived in Halifax, but based on other voyages, it would have been around November 27, 1917. It appears from a Report in his File that he went from Halifax to Québec City, Québec. The Report was a Proceedings of a Medical Board at the Discharge Depot, Québec. It states: ”In France 4 months, evacuated with Myalgia (muscle pain). Complains of pains in legs and back. Heart and lungs normal. No objective signs of Rheumatism. Soldier can walk one half mile. General health good”. It continues, ”Degree of incapacity – Nil. Does it render him permanently unfit for Military Service – No”. Dated December 14, 1917. On December 19, 1917 Pte Dunford was taken-on-strength with the No 3 Special Service Company at Camp Barriefield. Kingston. Ontario.
Research indicates there were 11 Special Service Companies formed, in Canada, in 1917. These Companies were made up of men who were either; overage or underage for Overseas Service, had recovered from injuries or wounds received Overseas, or were marginally unfit for duty Oversea. These men performed Garrison duties and were guards for vulnerable points around Bases, as well as Military Police duties.
On February 27, 1918 Pte Dunford was transferred to the No 3 Military Police Detachment (MPD). On July 23, 1918 a Medical Evaluation was conducted on Lance Corporal Dunford. It concluded that he was ”Fit for Category E – Disability due to Service”. This evaluation also indicates ”Man states he was blown up by shells in France, unconscious 16 hours”. There is nothing in his File indicating when Pte Dunford was promoted to Lance Corporal, but it is more than likely it was while he was with the No 3 MPD.
On August 2, 1918 Lance Corporal Frederick Ernest Dunford was discharged from the Canadian Military Police Corps as being ”medically unfit for further War Service”.
There is no reference in the Military File as to which Decorations or Medals that L/Cpl Frederick Dunford was eligible to receive, however he would have received the:
British War Medal 1914 – 1920; and
He also qualified for War Service Badge CEF Class “A”.
Based on his Military File, Private Frederick Ernest Dunford served a total of 2 years, 7 months, and 26 days with the Canadian Expeditionary Force: 15 months and 28 days in Canada, 12 months 11 days in England, and 3 months and 15 days in France.
An excerpt from an article in Maclean’s Magazine by Barbara Ameil, September 1996:
”The Military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your country. What could be more honourable”?
FREDERICK ERNEST DUNFORD
Frederick Ernest Dunford was born on February 20, 1887, son of Albert L. Dunford and Harriett Lemay Clague. Frederick Ernest went by the name “Fred”, he was a farmer then took up carpentry work.
Frederick Ernest married Annie “Lillian” Peters, daughter of George Peters and Mary E. Hubble on April 7, 1909 in Norwood, Ontario. They had a family of three girls: Mary Leah; Norma Vivian and Faye Dunford. For the first few years they made their home on Alma Street in Norwood. Sometime after 1911, the family moved to the Village of Lakefield. In 1921 Fred, Lillian and their three daughters were living with Lillian’s parents, George and Mary Peters at 236 Westcott St., Peterborough Ontario.
Annie “Lillian” Dunford passed away in 1984 and is buried in the Norwood-Asphodel Cemetery in Norwood, Ontario. Frederick Ernest Dunford passed away on February 16, 1948 and is interred in the Lakefield Cemetery.
THE FREDERICK ERNEST DUNFORD FAMILY OF LAKEFIELD
Frederick Ernest’s paternal grandparents are Richard G. Dunford and Mary Ann Hamblin; his maternal grandparents are James and Elizabeth Clague.
Frederick Ernest’s parents, Albert L. Dunford and Harriett LeMay Clague were married in Douro Township at James Clague’s place in Dummer Township, Elizabeth’s father’s farm, on March 31, 1886. Albert was born in Burleigh Township in 1863 (died1931) and Harriet was born in Dummer Township in 1862 (died 1944). Albert and Harriet had two sons; Frederick Ernest and John and by 1911 they had adopted a daughter Olive Dorothy Dunford.