Flesh on the bones

The men (so far it’s only men) I research of a Friday sometimes send me down unexpected lanes. This is always a marvellous surprise given most of them start life as an Ag Lab, join up, go to France and die. That’s not only depressing, it’s also sadly uneventful. Because of this, giving these people a life is really important.

Today, however, I worked on a chap who had plenty of flesh on his bones. Mind you, details were still tantalisingly just out of reach.

His name was John Osbourne Claringbold and he was born in Lancashire in 1879. John’s brother Robert was also in the army (the British one) and also lost his life in France. Their father, Frederick, was an army man though I haven’t been able to find much out about him other than that he was an army tailor who also played a musical instrument. I’ve also found a Frederick Claringbold who was court marshalled in 1867 in Malta but I have no idea if he’s John’s father. To be fair, there are an awful lot of Claringbold’s in Walmer, Kent where Frederick came from.

And just to fill out the Family at War participation history…two more boys of the Claringbold family served in the Great War but thankfully, they survived.

The notes I’m using to start off my searching state that John served in the Boer War (1899-1902) but I’ve not been able to find him. That doesn’t mean he didn’t; it means I’ve not been able to locate him. Actually, the only Claringbold I’ve managed to locate in the Boer War was an EL Claringbold who was a trumpeter. He probably came from Walmer as well.

The trail does start to appear more clearly in the early 20th century when John emigrated to Canada. I’d love to know what pushed him to make such a big trip, permanently leaving home for adventures and lands new but I don’t think I’m ever going to find out. As I said to Mirinda, it’s like someone in the future asking why my family moved to Australia. They’d never figure out it was because Mum and Dad were sick of rain at Christmas.

Anyway, weather notwithstanding, in 1910 John set off for Ontario (via Liverpool then Quebec) where he started his new life working at The Canadian Bank Of Commerce as a clerk. He kept this job for the rest of his Canadian life. His name is emblazoned on the bank’s war memorial along with many others.

There’s a John Claringbold who popped over to Britain in July 1913, stayed for a bit then returned to Quebec in September 1913. I’m assuming this is the same John but I’ve not been able to find out why he returned for a, comparatively, short time. My first thought was maybe a funeral or a wedding but the truth is I don’t even know if it’s the same John let alone why.

In 1915 our John decided to marry Margery Rose Cutler, a girl from Hamilton, Ontario, and they settled down, living at 97 Ontario Road. Any happiness was, however, short lived as John soon joined up and went to do his duty in Europe.

He served in a few different regiments until, finally he became part of the 3rd Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps. And that’s where he was on the day he died – October 3, 1918, just over a month before Armistice Day.

Image taken from Canadian Veteran Affairs website at: http://www.veterans.gc.ca

He remains in France, buried at Naves Communal Cemetery Extension at Nord.

On a lighter note…today we both forgot it was our wedding anniversary. Again. Just think, a year ago we were enjoying a wonderful meal in one of Kyoto’s best traditional restaurants. Tomorrow night we’re going out to Brasserie Blanc.

As long as we don’t forget…

Which reminds me. I have a question for Terry. If you watch this video, perhaps you could let me know the answer.

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