Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Veterans Guard of Canada (work in progress)

John and I took a trip out to Algonquin and stopped in Orillia.  We did a geocache near Saint Michael's cemetery and decided to walk around and read the stones.  This military one caught my eye as did the inscription V.G.of.C

We couldn't figure out what this meant.  After a google search we discovered it was the Veterans Guard of Canada.  A quick google search of Edmund didn't yield any results so I decided to dig deeper.
The Veterans Guard of Canada was formed under the name Veteran's Home Guard in 1939 and was created as a way to allow WWI veterans to enlist and represent Canada during WWII.  The V.G.of.C was initially created to guard the home front and also Canadian internment camps.  It was made of up active recruits and reserves. (1)
 I looked up Edmund on Ancestry.  He shares the same name as both a Lt-Col in the army as well as King Edmund II Ironside.

I was able to locate his WWII service file fairly quickly (2)  According to this record, Edmund Clifford Ironside was born 7 Aug 1894  in Orillia and was to married to Edith G on 1 May 1945 in Toronto, Ontario.  His father was recorded as Edmund C Ironside.  At the time of his death, Edith aged 45 was living with her children Kathleen M, aged 22, George Cameron , aged 20, Clifford E., aged 18, Robert M, aged 17, and William G, aged 16 at 80 Dunlop St, Orillia.  Edmund died of hypertensive heart disease generalized arteriosclerosis (with athermomatous degeneration) on 4 Nov 1945.  While he died in service, his death was not a result of his military service. His regiment was B-18165 and his ID was 453688 58th Bn.
  I found his marriage record next which revealed a couple of differences.  Edmund Clifford Ironsides (not Ironside), a salesman married Edith Georgina Grey, a stereographer on 1 May 1926 (not 1925). His father was William  Ironsides (not Edmund) and his mother was Margaret Teresa O'Connor. (3)
  Clifford Edmund Ironsides served in WWI with the 58th battalion.  His birthdate appears as 7 Aug 1891 not 1894, which would put him at 17 when he attested in Niagara not in Simcoe, on 15 Aug  1915.  It looks like he was determined to enlist...  Despite the fact that his name appears as Ironsides, as does his father, Edmund signs the papers Ironside.
  His brother George Franklin, who was living (and probably working as a bookkeeper) at the Fulton Hotel, in Seattle Washington attested on 9 July 1915.  (5)  His older brother Robert Kenneth was attested on 15 Feb 1916. (6).  Another older brother Joseph Leslie attested on 7 May 1918. (7)
  As is always the case, sideways searches uncover other interesting stories. His brother Robert was a gunner during the war and survived, only to be murdered in a powerhouse in Swift Rapids on my birthday (March 6) in 1920. (8)
  I came across a newspaper article that provides a bit of insight into what happened to Robert.  Many years after the murder, Robert's rifle was discovered at the bottom of the Severn River.  According to this article, Robert was shot while sleeping in a rest room by someone with his own rifle, which was removed from his room.  It seems that Robert survived the gunshot only to die the next day, but not before he identified his assaliant - his co worker Fred Gilbert.  Fred was arrested on circumstantial evidence and was acquitted in February 1921, after spending almost a year in jail.  Unfortunately, I can't date this article, as I cannot see the top of the newspaper page.  I was able to find a much more recent article in the Orillia Packet which talks a bit about Robert.  George Page Jr, was talking about his father George Page Sr who is the man that Robert called for help.  His dying words were that "Wagner" had shot him.  By the time George arrived, Robert was either dead or nearly dead..  (10)

(1) https://powsincanada.wordpress.com/veterans-guard-of-canada/
(2) Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Canada; Service Files of the Second World War - War Dead, 1939-1947; Series: RG 24; Volume: 26173
(4) (5) (6) (7) "Soldiers of the First World War (1914-1918)." Record Group 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4930 - 35. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.
(8) http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com/searches/soldierDetail.asp?ID=170756
(9) http://images.ourontario.ca/Partners/Barrie/BaPL002770466pf_0276.pdf


  1. This is interesting to me, since Edmund Clifford Ironside was my great-grandfather...some documents have him listed as Clifford Edmund, and others as Edmund Clifford, but he went by Clifford, I believe. Although some documents have him listed as Ironsides, (as well as some other ancestors) the family name actually is Ironside. Also, some documents list his son as George Cameron Ironside, but his name was actually Cameron George Ironside (my grandfather..who liked to call himself "Cammy George" as a joke). The ages of his children at the time of his death that are listed here are incorrect. Cameron was born in 1928, which means he was 17 when his father died, my great aunt would have been about 19, Clifford (AKA Red) would have been about 15, Robert 14 and Bill 12 (born in 1933).

    Edmund is a name that has been carried down in the family.

    1. Hi Sonya,
      Thanks for reading my post and taking the time to share the information, I appreciate it!