Matheson Alf

Alf Matheson was born on 28th November 1886 and although his Attestation papers state that he was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A. I cannot find proof of that so as I will give details of a family called Matheson who emigrated to British Columbia in 1900 from Norway.

The 1901 Census for Canada on shows that the Matheson family were living in the district of Nanaimo in the sub district of Oyster, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Head of the family was Hans Matheson, age 63 born 26th September 1837 in Norway a farmer by trade. He emigrated to Canada in 1900 with his wife Christina age 48 born in Sweden on 17th February 1852 and their children were Peter age 29 born 15th December 1871 in England, Mathias age 24 born 9th March 1877, Alf age 14 born 28th November 1886 and Olav age 8 born 27th December 1892. All the children apart from Peter were born in Norway.

The 1911 Census for Canada on reveals that the Matheson family were still living in Vancover in the same district of Nanaimo and Head of the family Hans age 73 was still Farming for a living and his wife Christina was 58 years of age. Eldest son Peter had left the family home but all the other sons, Mathias age 34 a Mariner by trade, Alf age 24 an Engineer, Olav age 18 also an Engineer were still at home. There was also a niece by the name of Agnes age 30 born in August 1880 having emigrated to Canada in 1911 living at this address, she was born in Norway.

Library of Canada, Attestation Papers for Private 2023739, Alf Matheson.

Alf was drafted into the 1st (Reserve) British Columbia Regiment on 23rd April 1918 in Prince Rupert, Vancouver, British Columbia. He gave his friend John Clay as his next of kin with an address of General Delivery, Anyox, British Columbia, Canada. Also given as next of kin was his brother Olav Mathieson, address c/o Capt Mathieson, 2545 Victor St. Victoria, British Columbia.   His trade was Engineer and his date of birth was 28th November 1886.

After basic training in Canada Alf embarked for England aboard the S.S.Themistocles on 10th September 1918 and upon arrival in London on 25th September 1918, he was posted to Seaford Army Camp and as hostilities were coming to an end, he was then transferred to Kinmel Army Camp for discharge and repatriation to 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.

Tragically,Alf contracted Influenza, and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital where he died on 19th February 1919.

Alf was awarded The British War Medal and The Victory Medal.

Alf  Matheson was buried at St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan.

Alf is also commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

Alf’s younger brother Olav was also drafted into the Canadian Army on 14th February 1918 in Vancouver, his regimental number was 2021571, he survived the war. The 1921 Census for Canada on shows that Olav was living with his brother Mathias and his wife Anna at 2545 Victor Street, Victoria, British Columbia which was the name and address of his next of kin on his Attestation papers.

Both brothers were Mariners, Mathias was Master Mariner of the Tug Boat,The Superior and Olav served as Engineer on the same vessel. Anna Matheson, Mathias’ wife was also a Stewardess,

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Bodelwyddan Memorial

Back to top