One of the goals of this blog is to list every soldier mentioned in the 18th Battalion C.E.F. War Diary and, at the least, have a specific Soldier’s Page with their Attestation Papers, a link to their Service Records (if digitized) and any other pertinent information found via the Internet.
At first the focus was on soldiers mentioned in the War Diary but, invariably, the research would branch out and direct to soldiers not listed in the War Diary, or at least not found at the time of transcribing the War Diary. At this time this blog only has transcriptions completed to the beginning of 1916 with 3 more years to go.
But the likelihood of soldiers of Other Rank status of being mentioned in the War Diaries diminished shortly after beginning this project. First, the Medical Officer’s War Diary end in the latter part of 1915. Second Other Rank mentions after this time by name are the exception. Generally Other Ranks (O.R.) are not mentioned unless they perform some feat of valour or are punished.
Therefore, as the list of soldiers who served in the 18th Battalion from other sources grew it became incumbent to give them a voice, a reality, that brief mentions on War Memorials did not furnish. The cold marble stone offers only 2 dimensions in which to see a soldier. There is content, especially in the social history sense, that brings out the soldier into three dimensional relief, like a statue, only a representation of the soldier but a more relevant one.
In this case I have a soldier: Lee, George: Service no. 53351. Currently at the LAC there are no attestation papers or digitized record. Further, a search of the CWGC site furnishes no casualty record. We do have the 1915 Nominal Roll entry so some basic details can be recorded and he is mentioned in the M.O.’s War Diary. Other than that, at this time, he barely exists.
But in doing research on this soldier another was found: H. Lorne Stephens.
The Newmarket Era and Express issue dated Thursday April, 5th, 1951 on page 3 had an article titled: Midland Man Buys A.G. Lee Paint Store. The article (see below) goes into detail about Mr. Stephens’ background and relates his involvement in the 18th Battalion but is it a coincidence that the person he is buying the paint store from has the last name Lee and one of his initials is ‘G’ and the ‘G’ stands for George? Could it be possible that this is the same George Lee from the 18th Battalion?
Current research has not made a connection to this specific soldier but by happenstance we now have another soldier’s life brought forth from two dimensions to a third.
Midland Man Buys Paint Store
In retail business for 32 years. the last 21 years of which have been in Midland [Ontario], H. Lorne Stephens has purchased the A. George Lee paint, wallpaper, and floor covering store on Newmarket’s main street.
Associated with with Mr. Stephens will be his 20 year old son, Ken, who has recently graduated from a business course after a year at Queen’s University.
Mr. Lee will continue with the store in charge of the laying of the floor covering, but because of health, was forced to surrender ownership and management responsibilities.
Mr. and Mrs. Stephens are natives of Arthur, Ont. Both were educated there and they were married 23 years ago. Mrs. Stephens, the former Margaret Dryden, was deputy registrar of deeds for North Wellington, prior to her marriage.
Mr. Stephens served in world war one with the 18th Battalion, infantry from 1915-19, joining at the age of 22. He suffered from gas and shell wounds and have been on partial disability pension.
Following discharge he spent two terms of four years each with dry goods departments of stores in Creemore and Barrie. He came to Midland in 1939, first as assistant manager of the Canadian Department Store outlet, and later with Edwards Specialty Shop with whom he had held senior posts for nearly 18 years.
Member of the board of stewards of St. Paul’s United Church, where is wife is vice president of the Women’s Association, Mr. Stephens has been active in the I.O.O.F., the Masonic Lodge and the Y.M.C.A His son, Ken, was educated in Midland, sings in St. Paul’s choir, teaches a Sunday-school class and have been active in the Y.M.C.A. camp work for some years. He has retail experience in departmental and hardware stores.
NOTE: inconsistency with dates of service. Enlisted in 1917 at the age of 25 according to Attestation Papers.
Below are the Attestation Papers for Stephens, Harry Lorne: Service no. 2591244.