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Sunday, 1 May 2016

A Canadian Forestry Corps Mystery

Since commencing work on this blog almost five years ago, I have received numerous requests for information on First World War soldiers from various parts of Canada and have endeavored to respond to the best of my ability. The most recent request is an intriguing one that I am unable to answer. Perhaps, with some luck, somebody reading this post can offer assistance.

A gentleman from Scotland, seeking to identify a First World War soldier in a family photograph, located the pictures of James Leo "Jimmy" McDonald posted on this blog in February 2012 and realized that the collar pins—Canadian Forestry Corps—were identical. The photograph in question was taken in the Jedburgh, Scotland area, where two CFC Companies—127th and 139th—operated during 1917 and 1918.

The coincidence led the individual to conclude that the soldier question served with one of the two CFC Companies. While that reduces the number of possible matches considerably, there is no way to identify the individual other than locating a person who may recognize the photo. So here is the image:

The soldier is pictured next to a young child, the grandmother of the person who owns the photograph. Apparently, the soldier had befriended the family during his time at Jedburgh, but his identity was lost over the years.

The family hopes to identify him, with the goal of contacting a living descendant in Canada as we approach the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Foresty Corps' service in Scotland. If you have any suggestions as to how to identify the soldier, or if you think you know who he is, please contact me by e-mail or leave a comment below.


  1. I am seeking to trace what happenced to a Pte Tom White 1037681 127 Company 238th Batallion CFC who was based at Birkenside Camp jedburgh between 1917 and 1918 as some personal documentation has recently come into my possession. I have found his attestation papers from when he signed up in 1916 in Vancouver on the web but cannot trace what happened to Tom after the Great War. There is a possibility he may have returned to Canada with a young lady from Hawick. Clearly this is a needle in a haystack task.

    If I come across anything that may throw a light on the gentleman in your post I will respond accordingly.

    Thankyou for reading this posting.

    I have registered for updates on this blog and will also tweet the same.

  2. You're welcome! I will indeed keep your request in mind. Have you checked the 1921 census records, which are available on the website? If you don't have a membership, your local library may be able to provide you with access.

  3. Thanks for the reply. I've looked at the Census but still no clues. Not all of his War records have been digitised yet so that may give me some further clues when they are available shortly. Thankyou again

  4. Stuart, you can order a digitized copy of Tom White's service record from Library & Archives Canada, for a modest cost. Contact me by e-mail for details, if you're interested:

  5. Thanks Bruce and I now have comprehensive records. Tom survived the War returning to Ottowa via Smiths Lawn at Sunningdale now the venue for the Guards Polo Club.

    He did marry a girl from Hawick and took her back to Prince Rupert in BC where he took up a career as a mechanical engineer.

    His wife returned to Scotland, but not sure who with where she died.

    Many Thanks for your assistance which has allowed me to link Tom back into our family tree .... not always for the right reasons !