William Bennett Milliken was born in Port Colbourne, Ontario on 12th July 1883.
The 1891 census for Canada on Ancestry.co.uk shows that the Milliken family was living in Port Colbourne, Welland County, Ontario, Canada. Head of the household was Edwin Potter Milliken aged 43 who was born in 1847 in Ontario. He was an Inland Revenue Officer. His wife was Mary Elizabeth aged 34 who was born in the United States. They had ten children living at home in 1891. They were, Norman D’Arcy 17, Simon Dumond 15, Mary Jane Rachael 13, Edwin Potter 10, Benjamin Metcalf 8, William Bennett 7, Henry Morrow 6, Elizabeth Ann Magdaline 4, Susan Alice 3 and Harriet Lucinda who was 1.
Ten years on, in 1901, we find the Milliken family still living in Port Colbourne. There had been some additions to the family. Head of the household Edwin Potter Milliken was still an employee of the government aged 53. His wife Mary Elizabeth was 45. The children listed at home in 1901 were, Benjamin Metcalfe 19, William Bennett 17, Henry Morrow 15, Elizabeth Ann Magdaline 13, Susan Alice 11, Harriet Lucinda 9 and the new additions were Sarah Melissa 5 and Marguerite Emmeline aged 3.
Mary Elizabeth, William’s mother died on 23rd August 1904.
On 23rd May 1907, Edwin married his second wife, Elizabeth (Betty) Darnbrough.
(There is a Public Family Tree,Ye Olde Family Tree on Ancestry.co.uk. I contacted the owner of the tree, Carol Sisson McLeod and she has given her permission for me to use the images on the Tree. Scroll down beyond the Google map to see images))
I cannot trace the Milliken family on any 1911 census forms.
William’s army records tell us that he enlisted into the Canadian Expeditionery Force on 11th December 1915 at Lindsay Ontario. He gave his father’s name, Edwin Milliken as next of kin and his address as Port Colbourne, Ontario, his trade at that time was Labourer.
After basic training in Canada William was transferred to Halifax for the journey to England aboard the S.S.Emperor of England and disembarked in London on 5th May 1916.
William completed his training in U.K. and was posted to France with the 6th Canadian Forestry Troops on 6th December 1916 and disembarked at Harvre on 7th December 1916. He was awarded leave in Paris in September 1917 and was promoted to Engineer with a raise in his wage on 1st March 1918. Unfortunately due to some unofficial absenteeism in June 1918 he was relieved of his Engineer status on 30th June 1918.
William remained in the Field until 21st January 1919 when he was transferred from France to Sunningdale Army Camp and shortly afterwards on 15th February to Kinmel Park Army Camp in North Wales to prepare for repatriation to Canada. Tragically William contracted Pneumonia and was admitted to No. 9 Canadian General Hospital at Kinmel Camp where his condition deteriorated and he died at 5pm on 28th February 1919
(From The 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.
William Bennett Milliken is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
Benjamin Metcalf Milliken, William’s brother, enlisted into the Canadian Expeditionery Force regimental number 513703 in 1917, but after a medical and a short period of basic training was deemed to be unfit for military service and was discharged. He then moved to the United States of America where he enlisted into the U.S. Army.
To read about the Canadian Forestry Troops during WW1, please follow the link.