Recently I was contacted by David Webber, the grandson of Private Frederick Vickery Webber who served with the 54th Battalion CEF during the First World War. David recognized his grandfather in a panoramic photo I included in an article on the 54th Battalion posted last June. Frederick, who also played trombone in the brass band, is seated in the front row. He’s the fourth soldier to be recognized after Sidney McDonald, James McDonald and Alexander Waddington who were identified in a follow-up article.
Frederick was born in Battersea on November 13, 1892 and emigrated to Canada in 1908. He was a miner living in New Denver, BC when he joined the 54th at Vernon Camp in June 1915. Frederick survived the war and on returning to New Denver the town presented him with a solid gold medal for gallant service, an heirloom which remains with the family to this day. When war broke out in 1939 Frederick joined up once again, first serving as a Sergeant and then Sergeant-Major with the Veterans Guards of Canada in British Guyana. He then attended officers training school in Wainwright, Alberta after which he served as a commissioned officer for the remainder of the war. Frederick continued to serve after the war as both an officer and bandmaster with both the RCA and RCE in Cranbrook and Kimberley until his retirement in 1963. Frederick died in 1982 at the age of 89. I’d like to thank David Webber for sharing details on his grandfather’s service and for two wonderful photographs.
Categories: Photographs, Remembrance
Great stuff!! well researched sir, keep it up!!
Thanks Kevin! In this case most of the information was provided by David but I’m pleased to have been able to help. Cheers, Steve.
I got very excited when I saw your post this morning about the band in France.
My grandfather was in the band that trained at Vernon in 1916. I have a panoramic picture of the band of the 158th Battalion “The Duke of Connaught ‘ s Own” standing on the steps of the new Vernon courthouse in 1916. The picture was also taken by H. Smith.
My grandfather, John Grears, enlisted in January 1916 in Vancouver and was also a trombone player. He was born in Whitehaven, Cumberland, England, in 1881, emigrating to Canada in 1906, returning to England briefly, and then back to Canada in 1913.
His band was sent to England sometime after that and was located in Hastings, Sussex. That is where he met my grandmother, Emily, and they were married in Hastings in August 1918.
I also just found in my mother’s pictures (she is now passed) a photo of the band with the men sitting in a circle. My grandfather had put the caption on the back of “Monday Noons for Mens Mess October 14th 1918”. Obviously this was probably a regular series event in Hastings at the army base. The photo is not in very good shape, I am afraid, but one can see the band members fairly well.
I have briefly looked in British newspaper archives of the Hastings newspaper for the period of 1917-18 and have seen references to the “Canadian Headquarters Band” performing at such and such a venue. I am wondering if this was my grandfather’s band.
Do you have any information about the posting of the 158th Battalion, and more specifically the band? I know my grandfather did not go to France. He probably was in Hastings for the duration of the war, returning to Canada in 1919. My grandmother came in August 1919 as a war bride, and they settled briefly in Vancouver, then over to Nanaimo, where my grandfather worked in the coal mines.
Any information would be much appreciated.
Thank you for your work on WW1 history.
Hi Louise … thanks very much for your detailed comment! I’ve sent you a reply by email and look forward to hearing from you. I’m sure many of my readers would enjoy seeing your photos as much as I would. Thanks again, Steve.
Hi Steve, thanks for linking to my blog (Veterans’ Guard)! I would be interested to see if David knows anything about his grandfather’s time in British Guyana. I have little information about that company so anything helps!
Thanks for posting your comment and for the article on your blog! I’ve sent David an email asking him if he has any more information on his grandfather’s time in British Guyana. I’ll let you know what he says, or perhaps he will post details here.
Re: Frederick V. WEBBER, Veterans Guard of Canada. His VGC Regimental Number was
Homefront archives & Museum
Hi Robert … thanks very much for adding this information. Steve.