Houlston, Albert

The 1891 Census for Wales on show us that the Houlston family were living at Park Cannol in Denbigh.

Head of the household was Edward Houlston age 45 born in Kinnally, Shropshire, a Shepherd by trade.

His wife was Mary age 40 born in Oswestry, Shropshire and their children were Sarah Elizabeth age 20 also born in Oswestry and a Dressmaker by trade, Edward John age 12 born in Connahs Quay and Albert age 7 born in Liverpool.

The 1901 Census find the family living at 110 Vale Street Denbigh, Edward Houston is not present at the property but his wife cannot be widowed as she is recorded as being married, not widowed and is not shown as Head of the house.

The only child living at home is Albert age 17 who does not state a trade. Their are two visitors at this time, Mary Jones, widow, age 58 born in London and Florrie Wright age 27 born in The Isle of Mann.

The England & Wales Death Index on shows that Edward Houston, Albert’s father died in 1902 (Jan, Feb, Mar)

The Marriage Register for England & Wales on informs us that Albert Houston married Mary Elizabeth Ellis in (July, Aug, Sept) 1903.

The 1911 Census for Wales shows a change of living circumstances for Albert’s young family as they are now living with his in laws the Ellis family at West View, Penrhewl, Saint Asaph, Flintshire, but there is no sign of Albert

The head of the household was William Ellis age 55 a Bricklayer by trade, his wife was Mary Ellen age 55, their sons were Thomas William age 29 a Gardener by trade and Robert Charles age 26 also a Bricklayer.

Their daughter Mary Elizabeth Houlston had five children, William Edward age 7, Annie age 6, George Bennett age 4, Florence May, age 3 and Albert age 12 months.

The Outward Passenger Lists 1890 – 1960 on  may give us a clue as to where Albert was in 1911, as the outward passenger list going from Liverpool to Halifax, Canada on 14th March 1911 shows an Alb Houlston sailed on the S.S. Grampian.

Library and Archives Canada. Soldiers of the Great War 1914 – 1918.

Attestation Papers for Private 181 Albert Houlston.

Albert Houlston volunteered for The Canadian Army Service Corps (2nd Division Supply Col.) on 14th December 1914, he stated that he had a single status and that he was a Driver/ Cleaner by trade.

He gave his next of kin as Mrs E Houlston and gave the address in Penrhewl in St. Asaph, Flintshire.

He was not called up until May 1915 and was deployed to France and Flanders with the C.A.S.C.

Unfortunately I cannot access Albert’s full Service Record from The Canadian Library at this time but will add postings etc. when the information becomes available.

2nd Canadian Divisional Train, CASC Background Information

Organized at Saint John in 1915 under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel A. E. Massie. Authorization published in General Order 36 of 15 March 1915.

Left Halifax 18 April 1915 aboard GRAMPIAN. Arrived in England 28 April 1915. Strength: 26 officers, 464 other ranks. Arrived in France 13 September 1915.

When war broke out in August 1914, the CPASC and CASC had about 3000 members. By 1918, this had increased to over 17,000. This rapid expansion and the numerous wartime tasks associated with it, placed enormous strains upon the Corps. All members of the Corps, both old and new, rose to the challenge and took it in stride. The first contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) concentrated at Camp Valcartier and sailed for England in October 1914. Renamed the 1st Canadian Division, they went to France in February 1915.
The CASC elements of a Division consisted of a Train (HT), a Supply Column (MT), an Ammunition Sub-Park (MT) and a Reserve Park (HT). There were also Lines of Communications troops, such as Depot Units of Supply, Field Bakeries and Field Butcheries. Corps Troops were formed in September 1915 when the 2nd Canadian Division arrived and the Canadian Corps was formed. The 3rd and 4th Divisions arrived in France in 1916. There were Base Troops and Training Depots in the UK. Other CASC units were the Canadian Section of the 5th Cavalry Division Supply Column (to which the Canadian cavalry was attached), CE MT Companies, CMMG MT Companies and ambulance drivers. The increased use of MT led to the development of mobile workshops and of Breakdown Vehicles, a CASC innovation. Besides the UK, France and Flanders, CASC units served in the Far East as part of the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force based in Vladovostok. At home, they continued to support the home defense units and new battalions of the CEF that were continually being raised to provide reinforcements.
By 1918, the CASC was supporting 400,000 men, 150,000 French civilians and 25,000 horses in the European Theatre. Recognition of the Corp’s outstanding work during the war came in November 1919 when His Majesty, King George V, awarded the designation “ROYAL” to the CPASC. This honour was later awarded to the CASC (NPAM) in 1936 at which time both the Regular and Militia elements united as the RCASC. Of the over 17,000 members of the CASC who served in World War I, 482 died due to enemy action or disease and 767 Honours and Awards were won.

As shown in the section headed Circumstances of Death we learn that Albert lost his life while serving his country in Belguim. The fact that his death was avoidable and that his decision to light a brazier in the back of his vehicle lead to his death is all the more tragic.

Albert is buried in Westourte Churchyard Extension, Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belguim.

WESTOUTRE CHURCHYARD is located 11.5 Km south west of Ieper town centre, on a road leading from the N375 Dikkebusseweg. From Ieper town centre the Dikkebusseweg (N375) is located via Elverdingsestraat, straight over a roundabout onto J.Capronstraat (for 30 metres), then left along M.Fochlaan. Immediately after the train station, the first right hand turning is the Dikkebusseweg. 10 Km along the Dikkebuseweg after passing through the villages of Dikkebus and Deklijte, lies the right hand turning onto the N315 Kemmelstraat. 2.5 Km along the N315 lies the village of Westoutre.(Now spelt Westouter). The WESTOUTRE CHURCHYARD is located in the centre of the village and the Commission plot is located on the far right hand side of the cemetery after entering the site.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Albert  is commemorated on The Denbigh War Memorial, Denbighshire.

Also on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

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