Private Leslie George Edwards — C 120195 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War II)
On November 3, 1942 Leslie George Edwards completed the Attestation Paper for the Canadian Army, Active Force (AF) in Kingston, Ontario. He was 20 years, 4 months old when, as a single man, he enlisted for the duration of the War. Leslie George was born in Lakefield, Ontario (actually Smith Township) and gave his birth-date as July 4, 1922. He indicated that he did not have previous Military experience. Leslie George was in Grade VI, in Ray’s Public Rural School. He lists his Trade or Calling as a Farmer (mixed farming). Leslie George was 5′ 7″ tall and weighed 126 pounds. His Medical File indicates he had a scar on his right forehead and the thigh of his left leg; he was declared fit for service with the RCNVR. Leslie George was of medium complexion with brown eyes, and black hair. He lists his mother, Mrs. Charlotte Edwards of RR #3, Lakefield, as his next-of-kin. Leslie George Edwards signed the Oath and Certificate of Attestation, in Kingston, Ontario on November 3, 1942. November 3, 1942 he was enrolled as a Private (Pte) with Service Number C 120195 and taken-on-strength with No 3-A District Depot (DD) for Infantry Reinforcements at Kingston.
November 20, 1942 Pte Edwards was struck-off-strength on transfer to No 32 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre (CA [B]TC) at Peterborough, Ontario. November 21, 1942 he was taken-on-strength with the CA(B)TC for all purposes on transfer from No 3-A Kingston. On December 16, 1942 Pte Edwards was granted Christmas Leave and entitled to an allowance of $0.50 per diem in lieu of rations from December 23, 1942 to December 27, 1942, inclusive.
January 26, 1943 Pte Edwards is struck-off-strength from CA(B)TC, Peterborough on transfer to Camp Borden Military Camp, Ontario. January 30, 1943 he is taken-on-strength on transfer from the No 32 Basic Training Centre (BTC) at Peterborough. March 3, 1943 Pte Edwards is granted four months increase in Private pay. April 26, 1943 he is granted 14 days Furlough and Meal Allowance of $0.50 per day, then, on the same day Daily Order Part II, No 94 para, 4 (a) was cancelled which ceased the 14-day Furlough.
May 3, 1943 Pte Edwards is granted six months increase in Private pay. May 5, 1943 he returned from Furlough for Special Duty. May 11, 1943 Pte Edwards is struck-off-strength on proceeding to No 5 Canadian Infantry Reinforcements Unit (CIRU) as reinforcements to the General Service. Pte Edwards was struck-off-strength from the Canadian Army (Active Force) [CA (AF)], Canada on embarkation May 13, 1943. May 14, 1943 he was taken-on-strength on transfer to the CA (AF) Overseas. Pte Edwards disembarked at England on May 22, 1943 and was taken-on-strength to No 5 CIRU, Canadian Army (United Kingdom) [CA (UK)] on May 23, 1943. The next 5 weeks probably were spent on Advanced Military Training as a Rifleman. July 2, 1943 Pte Edwards was attached for all purposes to No 1 Sub Depot, Canadian Base Ordinance Depot (COBD). On July 17, 1943 he ceases to be attached for all purposes to No1 Sub Depot, COBD.
September 2, 1943 Pte Edwards was struck-off-strength from No 5 CIRU to No 1 CIRU; then on September 3, 1943 he was taken-on-strength from to No 1 CIRU. September 23, 1943 Pte Edwards was granted 9 days Leave with a Ration Allowance. October 26, 1943 Pte Edwards was struck-off-strength from the CA (UK) on embarkation to the CA (Mediterranean) [M]. October 27, 1943 he was taken-on-strength with the CA (M), X-4 List, Seaforth Highlanders of Canada Battalion (SeaHofC Bn) and disembarked November 9, 1943.
January 4, 1944 Pte Edwards was posted from the X-4 List (2 Bn) to the X-4 List (4 Bn). January 16, 1944 he was struck-off-strength from X-4 List (4Bn) to the SeaHofC Bn. January 17, 1944 Pte Edwards was taken-on-strength to the SeaHofC Bn, Central Mediterranean Force (CMF). January 18, 1944 Pte Edwards was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp. From June 18 to March 12, 1944 he was on duty with the SeaHofC in Italy.
March 13, 1945 Pte Edwards and the SeaHofC Bn embarked Italy and disembarked France (Northwest Europe) [NWE] on March 15, 1945 joining the 21 Army Group, Operation ”Goldflake”. Operation ”Goldflake”, an operation to move the 1st Canadian Corps and the British 5th Infantry Division from Italy to Northwest Europe. The operation was conducted under a total security blackout beginning February 22, 1945; the 1st Canadian Corps left the 8th Army in Italy and proceeded by train, convoy and ships to Marseilles, France. It took 4 days through Italy and 24 hours by ship (either from the Port of Naples or Leghorn) to reach Marseilles where the 1st Canadian Corps joined the 2nd Canadian Corps. It took 5 days to travel through France to Belgian frontier; completed by the end of April 1945. The battle through Belgium and Holland was successful. Note: there were no War Diaries done during WW II so movements cannot be traced unless Unit Histories are available.
May 26, 1945 Pte Edwards was granted 11 days Privilege Leave to the UK; June 7, 1945 he returned from Leave in the UK with a Travel Allotment and Rations. By June1945 Pte Edwards and the SeaHofC Bn had battled their way into Holland. July 18, 1945 Pte Edwards was struck-off-strength from the SeaHofC Bn to the Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment (H&PER). On July 19 he was taken-on-strength with the H&PER in the Field. August 31, 1945 Pte Edwards was struck-off-strength from the H&PER to the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders (SD&G Highlanders) (Canadian Reserve Army). September 1, 1945 he was taken-on-strength to the SD&G Highlanders in the Field. On September 7, 1945 Pte Edwards completed an Application For Permission To Marry Schor, Antje Maria of Achillesstraat 23 I Amsterdam Zuid Holland; the Application indicated that they had known each other for 4 months. September 14, 1945 Pte Edwards was struck-off-strength from the SD&G Highlanders to the SeaHofC Bn. September 15, 1945 he was taken-on-strength to the SeaHofC Bn in the Field.
October 9, 1945 the Commanding Officer of the SeaHofC Bn recommended that Pte Edwards’ request for permission to marry be granted with a waiting period be shortened to four months, signed October 9, 1945. October 24, 1945 the decision of the higher authority recommended the marriage on or after December 9, 1945. November 30, 1945 Pte Edwards was struck-off-strength to No 1 Canadian Advanced Depot Medical Stores. Also on November 30, 1945 Pte Edwards was granted permission to marry Miss Antje Maria Schor on or after December 1, 1945. December 1, 1945 he was taken-on-strength to No 1 Assistant Director of Medical Services (ADMS) from the SeaHofC Bn in the Field.
January 17, 1946 Pte Edwards embarked at Northwest Europe and disembarked at England January 18, 1946. January 21, 1946 he was struck-off-strength to 922 CD/MD No 3 from No 1 Canadian Advanced Depot Medical Stores with effect from January 22, 1946. Effective January 22, 1946 he is struck-off-strength CA O/S from 922 CD/MD No 3. January 27, 1946 Pte Edwards was struck-off-strength from CA O/S and taken-on-strength to No 3 DD at Kingston, Ontario. He was also awarded the France and Germany Star, the 1939 – 45 Star and the Italy Star. February 6, 1946 Pte Edwards was granted 36 days Disembarkation Leave with Ration Allowance to March 13, 1946. March 16, 1946 Private Leslie George Edwards is struck-off-strength on discharge from the Canadian Army on demobilization at No 3 DD, Kingston, Ontario. He was granted a Clothing Allowance of $100.00 and a Rehabilitation Grant; his address was RR 3, Lakefield, Ontario.
As a result of his Service, Private Leslie George Edwards was awarded the following Medals:
1939 – 1945 Star;
France and Germany Star;
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp; and
War Medal 1939 – 1945.
He was also awarded War Service Badge – Class “A” Number 528472
During his Military Service, Private Leslie George Edwards served 5 months, 3 weeks and 5 days in Canada and 1 year, 4 months and 4 days in the UK and 17 days travel time for a total of 1 year, 10 months and 19 days of Service
An excerpt from an article in Maclean’s magazine by Barbara Ameil, September 1996:
The Military is the single calling in the world with a job specification that includes a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable.
LESLIE GEORGE EDWARDS
On July 4, 1922, Leslie George Edwards was born in Smith Township, son of the late Francis Theodore Edwards and Charlotte Rowe. Leslie George went by “Les” he received his education at SS #6 Smith, known by most as Ray’s School. Following school, Les helped on the family farm and neighbouring farms and was a blacksmith’s helper at times until the War broke out and he joined the Army.
He joined the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment and then transferred to the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada while in England. “Smokey Smith”, the Victoria Cross Winner, who Les knew personally, was a member of Les’ Regiment, The Seaforth Highlanders was recruited and based in British Columbia. Les was always very proud of the Regiment, and Smokey Smith. They fought in the Italian campaign before moving to France, Belgium and finally Holland where he was part of the Canadian Army who liberated Amsterdam in May of 1945. While in Holland, he met Antje “Ann” Maria Schor and they were married on January 4, 1946. Les brought his bride to Canada and they lived in Peterborough until Les built their home on Seaforth Crescent, Lakefield in 1950. Les could often be seen walking toward his building site, from his parent’s home, with a pick & shovel because he didn’t have a car. Les successfully had the street on which he lived and raised his family named “Seaforth Crescent” by Smith Township. There they raised their son Carl.
Before being released Les stated that he is expecting to get a job with Silverwoods Dairy, in Peterborough, Ontario.
Some statements from an interview in Kingston on March 16, 1946.
Edwards, a very pleasant, friendly, but rather immature lad of 23, impresses as being very willing, industrious and conscientious. He expects to be employed at Silverwoods Dairy in Peterborough, right in the plant. He is also toying with the idea of using his farm experience to settle under the Veterans Land Act (V.L.A.) This, however, will be held in abeyance until his wife joins him from Hound. She is a city girl and may not take kindly to farm life.
Edwards, at the present time, would make a very willing and industrious workman, and it is heartily recommended to Employment Section that every effort be made to place him in suitable employment. He is quite suitable for general labour in industry; as a machine operator or in construction work.
Les was well known, and well liked. Loved to hunt, fish, and play cards, all of which he was quite good at. He was pleasant, low key, and had a very good sense of humour with an inspiring laugh. He was a good guy. Les worked for several local firms in construction before going into business for himself as a plasterer. In 1970, they built a cottage on Stoney Lake where they spent a great deal of their time since failing health forced Les to take an early retirement at age 62. To build the cottage Les had to transport all the building materials there by boat; there were no roads at the time. When he retired, Les continued to build and repair things both at home and at the cottage. In 1997, he had built a new dock and shed at the cottage. Although he always kept himself busy, being with his family at the cottage was the greatest source of happiness for Les. Les and Arnold Graham were very close friends, they did a lot together including the origin of the Cascara Hunt Camp in the Palmer Rapids area; Les received much joy from the Hunt Camp. Playing euchre was another passion that Les had. Over the years Les and Ann had returned to Holland several times. Their last visit was in May 1995 for the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Holland. They also made a trip to Vancouver for a regimental reunion. During the last few years Les enjoyed reading about hunting, fishing and the Wars.
On Saturday, December 5, 1998, Les suffered a fatal heart attack while at his cottage. His wife Ann passed away on September 14, 2002; both are buried in the Lakefield Cemetery.
THE LESLIE GEORGE EDWARDS FAMILY OF SMITH TOWNSHIP
Leslie’s paternal great-grandparents were John and Ann Edwards and his material great-grandparents were Augustus Roche and Jane Craig.
Leslie’s paternal grandparents were John Edwards born in Otonabee Township on June 10, 1845 and Augusta Jane Rosa “Emily” Roche born in Port Hope on January 8, 1844. They married at Emily’s parents home on November 8, 1868. They had a family of nine children and John was a local blacksmith. They resided in Smith Township until 1903 when John and Emily moved into the village of Lakefield and made their home on Clementi Street. Emily passed away on January 3, 1924 and John died on June 18, 1935; both are buried in Hillside Cemetery in Lakefield, Ontario.
Leslie’s maternal grandparents were Augustus Roche born in 1820 and Jane Craig born in 1824. They resided in Dummer Township and had a family of six children.
Leslie George Edwards’ parents were Francis Theodore Edwards born January 10, 1899 in Lakefield, Ontario and Charlotte Ann Rowe born October 5, 1892. They married on April 17, 1909 and made their home on the Old Youngs Point Road near the former County Home and had a family of eleven children – Arthur Cephas, William Thomas John, Ethel Irene, Francis James, Norman, Thelma Emily, Stanley Theodore, Eva Jane, Leslie George, Charlotte “Bernice” and Sherman Edwards. Francis farmed and was a blacksmith. He also served in World War I.
Francis Theodore Edwards passed away on July 5, 1969 and Charlotte Ann Rowe died March 13, 1986; both are buried in Lakefield Cemetery.