Honouring our Military Ancestors Challenge (Day 4)

Their name liveth for evermore

It is the fourth day of the eleven-day #MyMilitaryAncestor challenge issued by Canadian genealogy blogger, Patricia Greber, in celebration of Remembrance Day.

YOU can help to make military ancestors go viral in November! Write your own blog posts, share your photos or records of your own ancestors on social media or just talk to someone! Of course, we’d love it if you shared OUR post with your friends too. Do all of the above for brownie points!

Honouring Our Military Ancestors Challenge – Day Four

God who knows best has called you to rest

Born in London, England, John Robert Bolding was just 17 when he first enlisted in the militia in 1907, where he served with the 5th battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. Four years later, he was married and working as a barman in a public house. He and his wife, Ada Roberts, had three girls in the next four years. Sadly, their middle daughter, Elsie, lived only to the age of 6 months.

With the outbreak of World War I, John re-enlisted with the Royal Fusiliers. He also served as a Sergeant in “G” Special Company of the Royal Engineers. The Special Companies were created during World War I to develop Britain’s response to German gas attacks. By June 1915, Sergeant Bolding was at the Western Front.

Three years later, on April 29, 1918, Sergeant Bolding was admitted to the No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station with gunshot wounds to the abdomen. In that one day, 174 soldiers were hospitalized at the CCCS 1st, bringing the total number of patients there to 388.

Bolding Gravemarker

Sergeant Bolding succumbed to his wounds and died on May 19, 1918 at the age of 28. He was one of 115 soldiers who died in May at the CCCS 1st. This was the highest number of fatalities in a month for the station and more fatalities than in any of the other three and a half months that the CCCS 1st had been stationed in Pernes (France). He is buried in Pernes British Military Cemetery.  

John’s wife gave birth to a son, John H. Bolding, probably within days or months of his father’s death. It is not known whether John Sr. ever knew he had a son. Tragedy struck the Bolding family again only a few months later , however, when the young boy died in early 1919.

This brief biography is an extract from one of 300 written by volunteers for the British Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO), which maintains a database on the 879 soldiers who died at the No.1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station. Canada’s casualty clearing stations, located within a few miles of the Front, were one of the most important links within the Canadian Army Medical Corps for the treatment of Allied wounded soldiers during WWI.

For more information about Canada’s No. 1 Casualty Clearing Station or to start searching this database, please click on THIS LINK.


If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out our other posts for the #MyMilitaryAncestor Challenge:
Day One – Infantryman “undoubtedly saved lives” at Passchendaele
Day Two – War was a family affair
Day Three – Measles, Mumps and the Military



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