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Frederick BODEKER
Male 1887 - 1918

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  • Birth  25 Oct 1887  Faversham, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Christened  14 Mar 1890  Faversham, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Gender  Male 
    _UID  1A77ABB5BA23D511B6E7DD3AFA2E9C356178 
    Died  28 Aug 1918  France Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Buried  Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, Haucourt, Pas de Calais, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Person ID  I62  Young Ancestral Collectives
    Last Modified  30 Jul 2010 
    Father  Alfred Heinrich BODEKER,   b. 5 Feb 1860, Deptford, St. Paul, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Aug 1920 (58 yrs, 5 mons), South Africa Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  Ann GREGORY,   b. 15 Mar 1855, Faversham, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Oct 1921, Maidstone, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  31 Aug 1890  Faversham, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID  F690  Group Sheet
  • Notes 
    • Fred emigrated from England to Canada on April 3rd, 1912 at 9:00 p.m. aboard the 'Royal Edward', a ship of the Royal Line, departing out of Bristol and bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on contract ticket number 11229. He was listed on the passenger manifest as being aged 24, a farm labourer and not accompanied by a spouse. With him on the voyage, though, was his sister Ada Jane who is recorded by her pet name "Lily" Bodeker, aged 23, a domestic, also not accompanied by a spouse. She sailed under contract ticket number 11228. It is interesting to note that the remainder of the Bodeker family, Fred's mother and siblings, emigrated out of England aboard the 'Victorian', a ship of the Allan Line, on 5 July 1912 at 9:00 p.m. departing out of Liverpool and bound for Quebec City and Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

      Fred's Attestation Paper was sworn on 13 March 1916 at Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was assigned service #916308 and attached to the 198th Battalion Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. Address at time of enlistment was West Hill, Ontario. During the course of his short enlistment, the family moved several times, each new address being noted on the first page of Fred's Attestation Paper: 647 Dundas Street West, then to 14 Randolph Avenue and finally to 251 Silverthorne Avenue, all in Toronto. Fred's sister, Ada Jane "Lillian" Owlett was still living with her family at the Silverthorne Avenue address as late as the 1960s and I remember having visited there on several occasions. I always remarked on how close together the houses were. One could, quite literally, reach out and touch the brick of the neighbour's house from the upstairs bathroom window of Aunt Lil's house.

      Fred's medical certificate provides the following in the way of a physical description:
      5' 10-3/4" tall with a chest when fully expanded of 39". Range of chest expansion 5". Weight 158 pounds. Complexion fresh, eyes blue and hair fair. Physical development was marked as "good" and small-pox marks as "nil". He had 5 vaccination marks on his left arm and indicated that his last vaccination was administered during 1912. There were no marks indicating congenital peculiarities or previous disease and nil slight defects. Fred was given a general vaccination on 19 June 1916 and anti-typhoid inoculations on 6 June, 13 June, 20 July and 17 August 1916. Fred had three tattoos on his right arm and therefore, it would be highly unlikely that he could have been misidentified as having been killed in action: a girl's head; a sailor and girl's head; and clasped hands with heart.

      Fred was deployed on the 25th of March 1917 via Halifax aboard the Metagama arriving at Liverpool, England on the 7th of April. He was received at Otterpool Camp that same day and appointed to the post of Lance Corporal with pay. He had with him a credit of his service pay of $9.70. From the date of his arrival until and including 29 April 1917 Fred's wages were paid at the rate of CAN$1.05 per day. On 30 April 1917 his wage increased to CAN$1.15 per day. Throughout the course of his service $20.00 of his monthly pay had been assigned to his mother, in addition to which she also received a month separation allowance of CAN$20.00. Fred received the remainder of his monthly wages while serving in the field and occassionally additional small amounts of wages although the reasons for those payments are not stated on his pay records.

      On 22 May 1917 Fred was moved to Witley Camp where his rank reverted to permanent grade, Private. From his Active Service paper we learned that he had been on command placed in the Mytchett Intelligence Course returning to Witley Camp on the 6th of June that same year.

      On 1 March 1918 Fred was transferred from the 198th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force to the command of the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles (British Columbia) unit being deployed to France on 3 March 1918 and arriving at camp, there, two days later on 5 March 1918. It was with this unit that he served in France until the time of his death on Wednesday, 28 August 1918.

      Fred arrived at his first overseas destination at 2:45 p.m. on a clear and cold day. The war diary for that day records that 100 reinforcements from the 198th Battalion (Toronto) had arrived. One officer and 50 other ranks were detailed for work on Gladys Trench during the day while the left support Company continued working to improve and strengthen the Chaudiere defences. What appeared to be Fred's first day and first taste of army life on the battle field was an unusually calm, quiet and civilized day.

      The second day, though, was to be much different. By 3:30 a.m. the following morning gas attacks had been quite heavy, inflicting fairly heavy casualties amongst the troops. Enemy planes were flying and active throughout the morning buzzing both sides of the unit. One enemy plane was shot down behind their lines at T.11.D. The reinforcements from the 198th Battalion were moved into the forward area of the fighting at approximately 6:30 p.m.. From its ranks were 8 officers and 200 other ranks placed under the direction of army engineers to continue the work on Gladys, Keane and Doris trenches and the wiring of the Blue Line.

      During the evening of the 6th, 28 Russian recruits were sent out from the front line to the Transport line in the rear in accordance with the latest despatch issued by the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade calling for surveillance of the Russians.

      The weather during the first two weeks of Fred's service was bright and reasonably clear but cold. Haze hampered enemy observation on only a few occasions. The troops were subjected to occasional fierce gas attacks and were called upon to relieve the 5th C.M.R. on two occasions at the front line at Mericourt. Following the second relief exercise, Fred's unit was redirected and employed on working parties, improving the trenches and digging new communication trenches from New Brunswick trench to Toper trench. On March 20th the battalion was relieved from the front by the 116th Canadian Batallion. At 7:30 that evening the men marched to Zivy Siding and embarked by train for Suburban Camp, Villiers au Bois arriving there in at 1:30 a.m. the following morning. Blessedly, the casualties for the unit had been very light from February 19th to March 20th with only 1 soldier having been killed in action. Six men were wounded, 8 had been subjected to serious gas attacks, and Captain S. J. Redpath, although wounded, was still on duty. The 21st of March was the first day since arriving in France that Fred would have been given an opportunity to bathe and receive his pay. The remainder of that day, according to the War Diary for the unit, records that it had been spent "cleaning up". The remainder of the war, I fear, was not to be so quietly spent for Fred. At 1:00 p.m. March 22nd the battalion was again on the move, marching to Stewart Camp, Ecurie where they arrived at 4:30 p.m. later that day.

      His sister, Minnie Winifred, my grandmother, always talked of her brother perhaps having lived out the war in hiding and denying his death. However, with the amount and uniqueness of tattoos Fred had, one can hardly think that a mistake would have been made in the identification of his body. I think the family was greatly affected by the sad news and that his death somehow changed each of sisters and his mother. The news of Fred's death must have come as a terrible shock to the family, particularly his mother. His service file contains a card on which is written the text of the telegraph cable sent to Ann. It states, very flatly, "K. in A. Aug. 28th". The cable was dated on Monday, 9 September 1918, some 12 days after the fact and 5 days following the official report of Fred's death by the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles on 4 September 1918.

      It is known that his mother made several trips between Canada and England while Fred was stationed in England before his deployment to France. At the time that Fred was deployed to France, his mother and his one sister, Edith Sharp with family in tow, returned to live in England. After the war, it is known that his mother made several trips to the location in France.

      Fred's Will left everything to his mother, Annie Brown in October 1916 of 649 Dundas Street and later of 14 Randolph Avenue, Toronto.

      In possession of Susan Young are the two lapel pins from Fred's uniform that had been sent to his mother, along with his Bible. Somehow the two lapel pins had ended up in the possession of Edith McAloney. She showed them to me many years ago (while she was still hairdressing) saying that they were her husband's medals. I recognized them instantly as being Fred's uniform lapel pins as they say "Canadian Buffs" across the front of them. When I advised my aunt that her husband would have been far too old to have taken part inthe First World War and that it wouldn't have been enlistment with the Canadian Buffs she thrust them into my hand and said, "Here, then, you keep them!". In my naiveity I had shattered in a brief 7-minute conversation a long-held and desparately cleved to belief that my aunt had held of her long-dead husband. One of the pins bears a damaged right-hand edge in that is has been bent inwards toward the clasp at a 45 degree angle. I suspect that the pin had been positioned on his left uniform lapel and that it had been hit by the bullet that ended Fred's life. Based on the damage on the pin and the position of the pin on Fred's uniform, it is fairly easy to reconstruct the trajectory that the bullit took as it pierced through Fred's body. Quickly likely the bullett would have entered his body at a point somewhere between his left jugular vein and his upper heart chamber.

      Fred's mother, in addition to receiving the few meagre personal effects, also received the service plaque, the medals, and a war service gratuity of CAN$180.00 that was routinely paid out to the dependents of deceased soldiers. That payment was made to her by cheque number G1902814 dated 17 September 1920. It had been sent to the Silverthorne address but by that time Ann had already made the move back to Maidstone, Kent, England and was living at the Rose Inn on Wheeler Street, an establishment of which her daughter and son-in-law were landlords. Fred's pay throughout the time of his service was $20.00 per month, most of which had been assigned by him to his mother.

      There are two medals in the possession of Susan Young, one of which says "For Honourable Service" around the perimeter of a circle containing a white background with a crown faced in red underneath of which is written "Canada" and the crown and Canada is supported by three maple leafs whose three stems, together, form a small protusion at the bottom of the medal. On the reverse is the number 7957 and an inscription warning about imprisonment for misuse of the medal. The second medal has not been engraved in any fashion. It is a plain gold sheild surrounded by a circular dental-like moulding. At the top of the medal appears to be a very large interpretative letter "v" inside the bottom apex of which is a sheaf of wheat. On the reverse there are the hallmarks and nothing more. I have no idea if the two medals described here had been awarded posthumously to Fred or another relative. The only other person they could have been awarded to was Victor John Hill, Fred's brother-in-law and the person with whom Fred had enlisted in the army in Toronto.

      The two medals that Fred were awarded were the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. By virtue of his late enlistment, Fred was not eligible for the 1914-15 Star medal. I have added a photograph to the Canadian Virtual War Memorial project at:
  • Sources 
    1. [S53] Attestation Papers, (Archives of Ontario), Service #916308, 198th Battalion Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force, 13 Mar 1916.
      Birth date given by Fred was 23 October 1888, which conflicts with other sources that also provide his date of birth.

    2. [S49] Bishop's Transcript, England, Church of England, Canterbury Cathedral Archives, Canterbury, Kent, England, (U.S.A., Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah), LDS Film #1786453, 1890, entry #1505, 14 Mar 1890.
      Baptism of Frederick Bodeker, son of Alfred and Anne, of 33 Westgate Road, father a labourer.

    3. [S51] Death Certificate, Canadian Expeditionary Force, (Canadian Expeditionary Force), Certificate issued 17 October 1919.
      This is to certify that the records at Militia Headquarters show that on the 28th day of August 1918, #916308, Private Frederick Brown, 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles was killed in action.

    4. [S52] Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, (
      Memorial to Private F. Brown on website Direct access URL