Edward Lewis was born on 9th August 1897 in Winnipeg Manitoba. The inscription on his Commonwealth War Grave Commission gravestone in St Margaret’s churchyard Bodelwyddan states that Edward Lewis served as George Brown.
I have not been able to trace Edward’s family on any census forms for Canada, nor can I find any proof of his birth. He served in the Canadian Forces as George Brown. Why he did this remains a mystery. There may have been circumstances in his life prior to joining up that may have led to him giving false information on his Attestation Form. Therefore I cannot guarantee that his date of birth is correct. Clearly, somebody put the record straight as both names appear on his gravestone.
George Brown’s Army records tell us that he was drafted into the 1st Reserve battalion of the Canadian Infantry on 7th August 1918 at Victoria, British Columbia. He gave his date of birth as 9th August 1897 and his trade as Motor Mechanic. His address at that time was Bay City Hotel, San Francisco, California. His Next of Kin was David Williams, a friend.
After basic training in Canada, he embarked for England aboard the S.S.Durham Castle and arrived on 25th September 1918 when he was posted to Seaford Army Camp to complete training. Having arrived at the end of the war, George was then stationed at Kinmel Camp in Rhyl to await repatriation to Canada. Tragically, Edward contracted Bronchial Pneumonia, and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital where he died on 20th October 1918
He named his sister Mrs D Williams of 2322 Toberman Street, Los Angeles, California in his will. This address was changed to 957 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, California. Perhaps it was she who alerted the army as to his real name.
(From Archives and Library of Canada).
Kinmel Park Camp was a segregation camp used to house Canadian Soldiers awaiting repatriation to Canada after the end of WW1. Unfortunately the conditions at that time were extremely harsh with a lack of every kind of commodity, the camp was overcrowded and the services were poor, there were shortages of clothing, food and blankets. As a result of this situation, a vast number of servicemen and women became ill and many succumbed to the Influenza Epidemic or complications associated with this infection.
Edward/George was buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.