Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In remembrance -- Harold Edward Iles

Harold Edward Iles paid the supreme sacrifice on August 8, 1918. On this the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War, I wish to pay tribute to him.

Harold Edward Iles was the brother of my paternal grandfather. Harold was the seventh child of George Iles and Emily Pugh. Although his attestation paper gave his birth as Birmingham, England, he was actually born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England on the 28 October 1897. They lived at 42 Queen Street, Cheltenham. By the time his sister Lily was born in 1900, the family was living in Birmingham. According to the 1901 census, Harold was living with his family at 43 Grange Road, Aston, Birmingham, England.

Harold came to Canada in 1905 with his mother Emily and his siblings. His father is not listed on the two passenger lists that I have so I expect that George came before them, possibly in 1903. [This suggested by his obituary and the 1911 census.] The family left Liverpool, England on board the Ottawa on 27 April 1905 and arrived in Canada on 7 May. Their destination was Owen Sound. They lived in the town as well at several places in the countryside.

Before Harold enlisted, he was a factory worker, but I do not know at which one. Harold enlisted in the army on 25 August 1915 in Paisley in the neighbouring county. Harold was 5 foot 7, 130 pounds with dark complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. He attended the Salvation Army. Like his brothers, he was a musician in the Salvation Army Band.

It was not long before he left Canada for England with the 34th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. They sailed aboard the SS California, leaving Canada on the 23 October 1915 and arriving in England 1 November. In February 1916, Harold was transferred to the 23rd Battalion and a year later to the 14th Battalion. In the early part of 1918, he spent some time in the hospital at Rouen with diphtheria and tonsillitis.

His brothers William and Emmanuel had also enlisted. His mother had died in 1913 and his father had remarried in 1914.

On 26 August, 1918, George Iles received the tragic news that his son, Harold had been killed in action. In the Owen Sound Sun, on 27 August 27, 1918, this news was announced to the people of Owen Sound.


Sad indeed was the message that came to Mr. Geo. Iles, Sydenham yesterday announcing that his son Pte. Harold Iles had been killed in action on August 8th
last. Pte. Harold Iles enlisted with the 37th battalion in the early stages of the war and has been overseas almost three years and during that time had seen considerable heavy fighting along the western front. . . . He was well known in Owen Sound and was a general favorite with his friends. . . . Besides his father and two brothers who are overseas, there are left to mourn his death, four sisters, Mrs. Dyson and Mrs. Fearnall, and Misses Edith and Lily of Owen Sound, and one brother, Albert, with his father on a farm near Rockford. The sympathy of everyone will go out to them in their bereavement.

Harold is buried in the Toronto Cemetery, Demuin, Somme France Grave C14. - original marker

We pause today and remember.

For information on the cemetery, check the companion article at Graveyard Rabbit of Grey County, Ontario

Information about Harold Edward Iles is from family files, , Veterans Affairs Canada, Library and Archives Canada - First World War personnel records, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Owen Sound Sun. His military record gives his battalion on enlistment as the 34th whereas the newspaper account gives the 37th

The photographs shown are from the photograph album of my father and I have made digital copies of them.


  1. Hi Janet, Was Grandpa named after him?

  2. Jeff. Yes your grandpa was named for him. In turn, your dad's name is his name in reversed order.


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