Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Arthur Wisdom Ervine a British Home Child .......

This is the gravestone of Arthur Wisdom Ervine and he is one of the thirty-one men of the Canadian Expeditionary Force buried in Southern Cemetery in the south of Manchester.

All of the men died of wounds they sustained on the Western Front during the Great War.

Of those thirty-one men two were British Home Children and both were Barbados’s Boys.

I had uncovered the story of Thomas John Loveland who had enlisted in 1915 and was killed in 1918 by sheer chance having chosen him simply because someone had left a small Canadian flag by his gravestone.*

And now I am researching all of the thirty-one.  I hadn’t intended too but this year is the centenary of the Somme and is also Canada Day.

Here in the cemetery there will be a special ceremony of Remembrance on July 1 at at which there will be the Lord Mayor and the High Commissioner for Canada.

So it seemed fitting to look for the stories of these men buried far from home.

It took an afternoon to complete the basic database which revealed that Private Arthur Wisdom Ervince of the 2nd Battalion of the Canadian Infantry had been born in Dorset in 1898.

The evidence trail for his life here in the UK is sparse and there may more be information on the BHC databases all of which means I know more about him once he enlisted than before.

His Attestation Papers show that he gave his next of kin as the Barnado’s Home on Peter Street in Toronto.

I know also that he left Halifax for Liverpool in the June of 1917 and arrived in France the following January.

He seems to have missed the vicious fighting when the Germans staged their last counter offensive but was part of the allied counter attack.

He was wounded on October 17th, evacuated to Britain five days later and died on November 15.

Now I shouldn’t be surprised that both his final resting place is a cemetery I know well or that Salford Royal where he died is a hospital I have visited on several occasions..

But  it does still  make for a powerful connection.

Location; Southern Cemetery

Picture; gravestone of Private Ervine from the collection of David Harrop

*Discovering the story of one British Home Child, born in London, migrated to Ontario and buried in Manchester, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/discovering-story-of-one-british-home.html

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