Fred Woolford – A Brave old Soldier

Frederick Woolford of the Canadian Expeditionary Force came to the attention of Purton based military historian Bob Lloyd because his name is listed in the St Mary’s Church WWI memorial book.

Though born in Purton, Fred was living in Canada at the outset of the First World War. He enlisted in the Canadian overseas Expeditionary Force on 19/09/1914 at Val Cartier, Canada. The age he gave on his enlistment papers was 39 years 5 months, stating that he was born in Purton, Wiltshire, UK on 17 March 1875. However, Fred was actually born on 17 March 1864 – making him the grand old age of 50 at enlistment.

The Recruiting Officer cannot have been scrutinizing volunteers too closely, as Fred’s enlistment papers clearly show that the date of birth has been altered to 1875 – the 7 being heavily rewritten.

Upon enlistment, Fred’s address was listed as 181 Division Street, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and his next of kin was Emily Augusta Woolford (nee Wheeler) who he married in Purton in 1898, while living at 2 The Villas, Purton.

During the conflict, Fred received a gunshot wound to the head. He was discharged as medically unfit in 1919 and his proposed residence was back at his old address in Purton. By this time he was 55 years old – although according to his military notes, his last recorded birthday in service was only his 44th.

Frederick Woolford, Canadian Expeditionary Force
Frederick Woolford, Canadian Expeditionary Force

The following extracts are drawn from Fred’s Canadian Service Record (research carried out by Bob Lloyd):-

36226                    1st Canadian Mechanical Transport CASC. Divisional Ammunition Supply Column.

13/12/1914           Proceeded overseas.

28/07/1915           Admitted to No2 Canadian Field Ambulance, then Hospital Bailleul. Wounded at Steinwench, being thrown from a loaded wagon, large contusion to scalp requiring 22 stitches.

30/07/1915           No8 Casualty Clearing Station before transfer to rest Station at Mont des Cats, Gunshot wound head (scalp), then transferred to Le Treport.

13/08/1915           East General Hospital Brighton.

02/09/1915           Taken on strength at Shorncliff, then transferred to Con Hospital Epsom 01/10/1915.

29/10/1915           Discharged, proceed to Depot.

30/10/1915           to 11/11/1915 leave.

09/03/1916           Considered fit for clerical work CASC.

16/07/1916           Canadian Army Service Corps transport Depot, Shorncliff.

29/05/1917           Good conduct stripe.

11/07/1917            Boarded for return to Canada.

23/07/1917           Transferred to discharge Depot Buxton.

22/09/1918           Sailed for Canada. SOS to CEF, no suitable employment in England.

04/09/1919           Discharged being medically unfit, proposed residence 2The Villas, Purton. Papers showed his last  birthday as aged 44; however he was actually now 55 years old.

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), New Road. Name listed in the Memorial book in St Mary’s Church, Canadian National Archive details.


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