Friday, April 9, 2010

George Cole Hefford 25 May 1891- 9 April 1917 #189989

As part of the Vimy Ridge anniversary I thought that I would have a look at one of the local veterans who died at Vimy Ridge. Interesting at how a simple look up can turn into an all afternoon research project.

We can start with his obit published in the “Dutton Advance  May  1917”.

   “ On Friday Mrs. Hefford received official notice from Ottawa that her husband, Pte. George Hefford, had been killed in action at Vimy Ridge on April 9. He had enlisted with the 91st. Battalion in October, 1916, and went overseas in July last year. On the breakup of the battalion  in England he was transferred to the 38th. And had been in the trenches for several months. Pte. Hefford was 25 years of age, was born in England and came to Dunwich when a mere lad and made his home for a number of years with Mr. John G. McClallum, and for the past seven years resided in Dutton. He leaves his wife and two sons, aged four and two years, and also a brother , Harry, residing at Bowmanville. He is a member of the Canadian Order of Foresters.”

According to his attestation papers he was born in Yorkshire, England on 25 May 1891, he states that his father George Cole Hefford was a soldier. Unfortunately, that does not bear up to what’s in the English archives. George Cole Hefford was born 25 May 1891 and was baptized on 19 June 1891 in the County of Surrey(1). His father was also George Cole Hefford  (1861-1897)(2) and his mother Hannah Griffiths who were married in Kensington, London, England. It looks very much like his parents were life long residents of London, England, and according to census records worked mainly at labouring jobs. (3)

Of particular interest for me is the part of the Advance’s obit that mentions that he came to Dunwich Township as a mere lad. Was he a home child? As this is the year of the British Home Child perhaps it is worth it to find out more.

Photo: “Dutton Advance May 1917
(1) London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906, p.186
(2) England & Wales, Free BMD Death Index, 1837-1915.
(3)1881England Census, 1891 England Census.

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