I have not been able to locate Claude Raymond Baverstock on any Census reports for Canada or U.S.A. Fortunately I was able to find a descendant called Sue Binkley who kindly gave me the following information.
Claude’s parents were Oscar “Del” Milton Baverstock (1876-1953) and Lillian Little Baverstock (1883 -1909). His sisters were Vivian Mable Baverstock (1904-1915) and Leta Marion Baverstock (1907-1998). Marion married Robert Browning. They were Sue Binkley’s grandparents.
After Claude’s mother died in 1909 (See extraordinary photograph below the map), his sisters went to live with their maternal grandparents, Andrew and Lillian Little in Bothwell, Ontario, Canada. Sue assumes that Claude stayed with his father, Oscar. When Vivian died in 1915, her obituary states that her father and brother were living in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Sue states that it is her understanding that Claude lied about his age in order to enlist into the military.
Private 514556,Claude Raymond Baverstock’s Attestation Papers from the Library of Canada show us that he enlisted at London, Ontario into the No. 2 Overseas A.S.C. Training Depot in The Expeditionary Force of Canada on 6th July 1917. He gave his trade as Chauffeur and his Date of Birth as 25th July 1895 when in fact he was born in 1901. This meant that he was 16 years of age when he enlisted. Claude’s medical form describes him as being 5ft 5ins tall with a dark complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair.
When the Military Authorities discovered that Claude had lied about his age they made his father sign a declaration of his true age, this was done on 28th August 1918 when he had already served for twelve months.
He embarked from Canada on the 21st February 1918 on The S.S. Cretic and disembarked in England on the 4th March 1918. He then transferred to 4th Canadian (Reserve) Battalion on the 25th March 1918 and was stationed at Bramshott Army Camp. He went overseas to France with the 47th Battalion on the 25th September 1918, joining his unit on 2nd October 1918 and remained there until 11th November 1918 when he was transferred to England and posted to Whitley Army Camp and then Kinmel Army Camp in North Wales.
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. Claude was admitted to Military Hospital with a severe cough on the 29th January 1919 He complained of bad sleeping conditions in the cold hut with no blankets. He had contracted Influenza and died of Bronchial Pneumonia at 19.10 on the 12th February 1919.
He named his sister Marion as next of kin, she received his medals and his father Oscar received his plaque and scroll on his death.
Claude Raymond Baverstock was buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan, North Wales. May he rest in Peace.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.