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 Ancestry.co.uk shows that a Matheson family living in the district of Nanaimo in the sub district of Oyster, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Head of the family was Hans Matheson, aged 63 who was born on the 26th September 1837 in Norway. He was a farmer by trade. He emigrated to Canada in 1900 with his wife Christina. She was 48 and had been born in Sweden on 17th February 1852. Their listed children were Peter age 29 born 15th December 1871 in England. Mathias was 24 and was born on the 9th March 1877. Alf was 14 and had been born on the 28th November 1886. Olav was 8 and was born on te 27th December 1892. All the children apart from Peter were born in Norway.
The 1911 Census reveals that the Matheson family was still living in Vancover in the same district of Nanaimo. Head of the family, Hans was then 73 and was still Farming for a living. His wife Christina was 58. Their eldest son Peter was not listed on the census in the family home but all the other sons were at home. Mathias 34 was a Mariner. Alf 24 was an Engineer Olav 18 was also an Engineer. There was also a niece in the household, by the name of Agnes who was 30 and had been born August 1880 in Norway. She had emigrated to Canada in 1911.
Alf’s army records tell us that he was drafted into the 1st (Reserve) British Columbia Regiment on 23rd April 1918 in Prince Rupert, Vancouver, British Columbia. He named his friend John Clay as his next of kin with an address of General Delivery, Anyox, British Columbia, Canada. Also named 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. As hostilities were coming to an end, however, he was then transferred to Kinmel Army Camp for discharge and repatriation to Canada. Tragically,Alf contracted Influenza, and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital where he died on 19th February 1919.
(From 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.
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 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,