Craftsman George Wesley Zinston – B 57598 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War II)
George Wesley Zinston was 22 years, 2 months and 9 days old when, as a single man, he was Attested into the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (RCOC) on December 8, 1941 in Toronto, Ontario. His Regimental Number was B 57598. George Wesley stated that he was born in Smith Township, Peterborough Ontario on September 29, 1919. He was 5′ 6¼” tall, weighed 145 pounds, brown eyes and dark brown hair; he gave his occupation as a farming labourer. George Wesley indicated that he had no previous military experience and his next-of-kin was his father Mr. William John Zinston, living at RR #2, Lakefield Ontario; his mother, Levina Briggs, had died before he enlisted. Private Zinston had his Medical Examination done in Toronto, Ontario; he was found fit for duty. December 8, 1941 Private (Pte) Zinston was taken-on-strength to No 2 Detachment (Det), RCOC for No 1 Canadian Base Ordnance Work Shop (W/S), RCOC. The same day Pte Zinston was attached to No 2 District Depot (DD) Active Force (AF) Services Wing for all purposes. On January 26, 1942, after about 1 month and 3 weeks of training, Pte Zinston ceases to be attached to No 2 DD (AF) for all purposes and struck-off-strength from No 2 No 2 DD (AF) RCOC on transfer to No 1 Canadian Base Ordnance (W/S), RCOC.
January 27, 1942 Pte Zinston was taken-on-strength to No 1 Canadian Base Ordnance (W/S), RCOC in Borden, Ontario for all purposes on transfer from No 2 DD (AF). On February 4, 1942 he was granted a Special Furlough to February 9, 1942. After about 2 months training at Borden, on March 20, 1942, Pte Zinston was struck-off-strength from the Canadian Army (Canada) on embarkation at Halifax, Nova Scotia. On March 21, 1942 he was taken-on-strength with the Canadian Army (Overseas); on March 29, 1942 he disembarked at Liverpool, England and was attached to the 2nd Canadian Division Infantry Reserve Unit (2 CDIRU) for rations and quarters. Pte Zinston would now begin about two years of training and doing general duties in England, details follow. Two weeks later, on April 13, 1942 Pte Zinston was attached to the 4th Battalion (Bn) Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE) for all purposes except pay. A little over one month later, on May 17, 1942 he ceased to be attached to the 4th Bn RCE for all purposes except pay. On May 18, 1942 Pte Zinston was attached, for all purposes, to the Base Ordnance Work Shop (BOWS). Less than one month later, on June 14, 1942 Pte Zinston was struck-off-strength on posting to the No 1 Canadian Ordnance Reinforcement Unit (No 1 CORU) on a training course. June 15, 1942 he was taken-on-strength to No 1 CORU from BOWS.
July 31, 1942 Pte Zinston completed a Driver T/C Course and was qualified Q1. On August 6, 1942 he was struck-off-strength to No 31 Light Aid Detachment (LAD), 3rd Division Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (3 Div RCSigs). August 7, 1942 Pte Zinston was taken-on-strength with 3 Div RCSigs from No 1 CORU. He was granted 7 days Privileged Leave from September17 to 23, 1942. December 28, 1942 Pte Zinston arrived for quarters and rations to the 1st Canadian Corps Combined Training Course Pool. On January 1, 1943 Pte Zinston granted daily rates of pay of $1.50 per diem. On February 12, 1943 he was granted 7 days Privileged Leave plus 48 hours to February 21, 1943. May 28, 1943 Pte Zinston was granted 7 days Privileged Leave to June 6, 1943. On September 2, 1943 Pte Zinston was admitted to No 14 Field Ambulance and September 6, 1943 he was discharged from No 14 Field Ambulance back to No 31 LAD 3 Div RCSigs. October 29, 1943 Pte Zinston was struck-off-strength to No 1 CORU (Canadian Military Headquarters Course 1083) and October 30, 1943 he was taken-on-strength to CORU from No 31 LAD 3 Div RCSigs, but continued to be attached to No 31 LAD 3 Div RCSigs on a Motor Vehicle Course. The following entry deals with the stoppage of $12.83 pay for the period of December 1, 1943 to January 1, 1943 and thereafter stoppage of pay of $4.94 monthly to recover an overpayment.
January 15, 1944 Pte Zinston was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp. On February 24, 1944 Pte Zinston qualified as a Fitter, Motor Vehicle (MV) “B” Class and was granted Trades Pay for a Fitter, MV “B”. March 24, 1944 he was struck-off-strength to Exercise “DARK”, then on March 25, 1944 he was struck-off-strength from the Canadian Army Overseas on embarkation from the UK to the Mediterranean theatre. March 26, 1944 Pte Zinston was taken-on-strength to the Canadian Army Central Mediterranean Force (CMF). On April 9, 1944 he disembarked Italy as a member of the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (RCOC) and was taken-on-strength to the X-4 List 8th, Bn RCOC. April 19, 1944 Pte Zinston was struck-off-strength to No 73 Light Aid Detachment (LAD). On April 20, 1944 Pte Zinston was taken-on-strength from X-4 List 8th, Bn RCOC as a Fitter, MV “B” with No 73 LAD. May 15, 1944 Pte Zinston transferred from RCOC to the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME) and remained posted to No 73 LAD. May 26, 1944 he is struck-off-strength to X-3 List RCEME and was reclassified as a Craftsman (Cfn). May 27, 1944 Cfn Zinston is admitted to No 3 General Hospital and then admitted to No 14 Canadian General Hospital. His records don’t indicate why he was admitted nor when he was discharged. Also, on May 27, 1944 Cfn Zinston was taken-on-strength to X-3 List RCEME from No 73 LAD.
On July 15, 1944 Pte Zinston reverted to the daily regular rate of pay of $1.50. July 21, 1944 Cfn Zinston was struck-off-strength to No 1 Canadian (Cdn) Light Anti-Aircraft (LAA) Bn and taken-on-strength July 22, 1944 from X-4 List, RCEME, 8th Battalion (Bn). Also on July 22, 1944 he is granted Trades Rate of Pay, Fitter MV “B”. On October 8, 1944 Cfn Zinston, a member of No 1 Cdn LAA Bn, was killed in action in Italy.
Craftsman George Wesley Zinston was initially buried in Italy, close to where he died. A burial report was sent to his father September 24, 1945. The Canadian Message of his demise was dispatched to Mr. William John Zinston (his next-of-kin) December 11, 1944, The Royal Message was dispatched November 22, 1944. November 23, 1945 Craftsman Zinston was disinterred and re-interred in the Cesena War Cemetery in Cesena, Italy. Plot reference: Plot III, Row H, Grave 14. A burial report was sent to his father February 5, 1947.
Pte Zinston was awarded the following medals:
1939 – 45 Star;
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Bar and
War Medal, 1939 – 45.
He was also awarded War Service Badge – Class “A”
George Wesley Zinston served for 3 months and 12 days in Canada, 2 years in the United Kingdom, and about 6 months, 10 days in Italy plus 8 days travel time for a total time of 2 years, 10 months.
“Cfn. Zinston, George Wesley RCEME” is inscribed in the BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE 1945 on page 486.
Craftsman Zinston’s Memorial Cross & Bar and medals would have been sent to Mr. William John Zinston, RR# 2, Lakefield, Ontario.
NOTE: The Canadian Virtual War Memorial printed page for George Wesley Zinston shows his Unit as the Lanark & Renfrew Scottish Regiment, R.C.I.C. However, there is no mention of this Unit within George Wesley Zinston’s Military Records that were received.
An excerpt from an article in McLean’s magazine by Barbara Amiel, September 1996:
The military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable?
GEORGE WESLEY ZINSTON
George Wesley was born in Smith Township, Peterborough Ontario on September 29, 1919. He completed Grade 8 before going to work. George was raised on the farm and worked as a farm labourer for G. Strain, Peterborough Ontario for 4 years up to July 1, 1941. He was paid $12.00 per week. From July 1, 1941 to December 8, 1941 George worked as a Box Poster (suitcases & trunks) for Langmorr Manufacturing of Toronto, Ontario. He was paid $18.00 per week.
George was interested in mechanics and enjoyed swimming & hunting; he indicated that he intended to farm after the War.
THE GEORGE WESLEY ZINSTON FAMILY OF LAKEFIELD
George Wesley’s paternal grandparents are George Wesley Zinston (Sr) and Margaret Drain. His maternal grandparents are William Briggs and Anne Sherwood.
George Wesley’s parents, William John Zinston, a farmer, born about 1885 and Levina Caroline Rosina Briggs, born about 1896 were married November 6, 1915 at Chesterville, in Dundas Township, Ontario. William John, and Levina Caroline Rosina lived at RR# 2, Lakefield Ontario. According to the Department of National Defence Estate Branch Forms done November 21, 1944; they had four sons; George Wesley, Stanley Woodrow, Noble Edson and Theodore (who died in May 1939) & two daughters; Myrtle (Mrs. William Bloom living at 536 Dundas St., Woodstock Ontario) and Marguerite (a member of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps in Fort Frontenac, Kingston Ontario).