William Herbert Stow was born on 29th July 1894 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
The 1901 census of Canada on Ancestry.co.uk shows that the Stow family were living in Hamilton, Ontario. Head of the household, Thomas Stow was a Carpenter by trade born in Ontario, 1862. He and his wife Clarissa (born in 1871) were of English heritage. They had five children, John aged 12 was born in 1889. Lidia 10 was born in 1890. Herbert 6, was born in 1894. Stanley 3 was born in 1897 and Leslie aged 2 was born in 1898.
Ten years on in 1911, the Stow’s were living at 58, Garth Street, Hamilton, Ontario and there had been another addition to the family. Thomas and his wife Clarissa had four children listed at home. They were Herbert aged 16, a Labourer. Stanley was 13, Leslie 12 and Stella was 4. She was born in August 1908.
William Herbert Stow married Elizabeth Tilson on 10th October 1917.
Herbert’s army records tell us that he was drafted into the Canadian Army on 3rd November 1917 at Hamilton, Ontario. His medical form described him as being 5ft 8in tall with a fair complexion, blue eyes and dark hair.
After basic training in Canada, Herbert embarked for England aboard the S.S. Themistocles arriving on 25th September 1918 when he was posted to Whitley Army Camp to complete training. With hostilities coming to a close, Herbert was transferred to Kinmel Army Camp in North Wales on 1st October 1918. Sadly William Herbert Stow contracted Bronchial Pneumonia, and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital where he died on 20th October 1918.
(From Library of Canada Archives)
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.
Obituary of William Herbert Stow
Hamilton Spectator Oct 12, 1918
PTE HERBERT STOWE
Pte. Herbert Stowe a well-known Hamilton died after an illness of about one week of Spanish influenza at the military hospital, Kinmel Park Camp, Wales, aged 24 years. Deceased was born in this city and had lived here all his life. He leaves to morn his death his widow, mother and father, who reside at 58 Dundurn street, four brothers, Stanley, John, Morris and Leslie and two sisters, Mrs. E. Smith of this city and Miss Stella, at home. Prior to his enlistment he was employed as an assistant blacksmith at the T.H. and B. railway yards. Deceased was a member of St. Joseph’s Church where he will be missed by a great number of friends both young and old.
Returned to his family was an old locket with a picture of himself and his wife young new bride Elizabeth Ann Tilson Stowe.
10 Oct 1917 – Herbert married Elizabeth Ann Tilson from Kingston, and they lived at 409 Main St W Hamilton, close to the rest of the family.
3 Nov 1917 – Herbert enlisted in the Army, to be deployed from Niagara Falls Feb 19, 1918
20 Oct 1918 – Herbert died of pneumonia resulting from the Spanish influenza. He had in all likelyhood never left Britain. Kinmel Park was a training ground and also the place 17.000 Canadian soldiers waited to be brought back home to Canada. The conditions were horrific and the winter was the coldest on record, resulting in the Kinmel Camp Riots which resulted in troups finally being brought home by the end of March 1919, and they continued to return until the end of August.
May 1919 – Elizabeth Ann Tilson Stowe gave birth to Herbert Gerard Stowe, Herb’s son, that he would never know.
A sad end to such a short life, never to be seen again, except in a beautiful locket recently discovered in the family treasures box.
All his effects, medals, scroll and plaque were sent to his wife Elizabeth who was living at 58, Durdon St. Hamilton.
Tragically for Herbert, Elizabeth gave birth to a son, Herbert Gerard Stow on 31st May 1919.
William Herbert Stow is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.