Frederick George Thomas Osmond: WWI service

Fred Osmond

Title: Fred Osmond
Description: © Private Collection. by-nc

Silas Junior (born 20 November 1870) was the second son of Silas Osmond and Charlotte Lang. He married Emma Dight on 28 February 1897 and their first child Frederick was born on 24 April 1898 and baptised in Christ Church, Croydon, where they were then living. Silas and his family emigrated to Canada about 1907 and settled in Winnipeg, where they had three further children.

Fred joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 9 December 1915, aged 18.5, and was posted to B Company, 44th Infantry Battalion (No. 829684) which was raised in Winnipeg (previously  144th Battalion). Fred was a farmer by trade, unmarried, and with scarring on his right hand where it had been crushed by ice when he was younger. After initial training, Fred was posted to France and Flanders where his battalion was part of the 10th Brigade of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. In April 1916, the newly- formed 4th Canadian Division was made up of 3 Brigades– the 10th (the 44th, 46th, 47th, and 50th Battalions), the 11th and 12th Brigades. In August 1916, the 4th Division was in the Ypres salient, at St Eloi and Mount Sorrel. They were training in trench warfare and anti-gas measures. Each Battalion was put through a gas cloud. Information on the location of the Brigade comes from the Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919 by Colonel G. W. L. Nicholson (available on line at http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/oh-ho/detail-eng.asp?BfBookLang=1&BfId=22).

Fred sent several postcards home after he departed for England. The first, dated 14 September 1916, and the second, postmarked October 2, were sent while he was still in Canada. The next is dated from Winnipeg on October 9, but was actually posted in the UK some time previously. As is usual, these cards are pre-printed so that the sender could not unconsciously give away any sensitive information about where they were and what they were doing. This simply says he arrived safely, and has nothing to report beyond usual duties. The location is just, somewhere in England.

Third postcard

Title: Third postcard
Description: Postcard sent home by Fred Osmond. © Private Collection. by-nc