Sunday 17 May 2009

Private Robert Edward Girling

Born on 7 September 1898 (claimed 1901 on his enlistment paper) in Ottawa, Ontario - son of Mrs. Arthur Girling, Ottawa, Ontario - at the time of his enlistment in 1916: present address same as mother, trade as clerk, single, no current or previous military service, height of 5 feet 4 inches, chest of 34.5 inches fully expanded, medium complexion, hazel eyes, light brown hair.

Joined the 207th Battalion, CEF, in Ottawa, Ontario, on 22 May 1916 (number 246351) - taken on the strength of the 38th Battalion, CEF, on 26 or 27 September 1917 - struck off the strength of the 38th Battalion and sent to England as a minor on 3 March 1918.

1 comment:

Richard Ballhorn, Ottawa said...

6. Robert Edward Girling, (1900-1920) He was born on September 7, 1900 in Ottawa the sixth of the eight children of Arthur (1864-1949) and Mary Ann (1865-1954)Girling.

Robert enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force on May 22, 1916. He had in fact enlisted at age 15 years and 8 months rather than the 17 years, 8 months he claimed to be.

Robert was 5 foot, 4 inches with a medium complexion, hazel eyes and light brown hair. There was no indication of any religious affiliation. He was certified as medically fit and “fit as bugler” for the Canadian Over Seas Expeditionary Force.

While he claimed to be a “clerk”, born September 7, 1898, there is a notation on the attestation paper, dated March 1, 1918, that a cable had been received in London indicating that Robert had misstated his age and was actually September 7, 1901. (However he is listed in the 1901 census as being 6 months old and his birth certificate indicates he was born September 7, 1900.)

Robert sailed from Liverpool on the Mauretania with a group of medically unfit soldiers and arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia. Robert (20) died of war injuries ‘infective endocarditis” on December 23, 1920 in the CCGB Hospital but was only buried at Beechwood on April 12, 1921

According to his obituary in the December 24, 1920 Ottawa Journal,”Mr. Robert E. Girling, 528 King Edward Ave., a victim of the Great War, died yesterday at a local hospital as the result of gas poisoning received at Passchendaele. Mr. Girling enlisted in the 207th bugle battalion at the age of 16 and was later transferred to the 38th Battalion at the front. From the 38th he was transferred to the 16th Machine Guns in the Infantry Corps. He was gassed in 1917. He served at the front until March 1918 and returned to Canada in June of that year. He had been ailing a long time. Surviving him are his parents, Mr and Mrs Arthur Girling, 528 King Edward Avenue; two brothers, Ernest and Arthur, Ottawa and five sisters: Mrs. Florence Williams, Mrs Violet Bryans, Mrs Evelyn Hillman and Mrs Margaret Girling, all of Ottawa and Mrs Beatrice McElroy, Atlantic City.”

Robert was my the nephew of my great grandfather, Ephraim Girling, who was a younger brother of Robert's father, Arthur.

Richard Ballhorn, Ottawa