Not Coming Home – Leslie George Jordan WWII

Day 7 of the 11-day Military Challenge

Leslie George Jordan was born in England to Rose Davis and Canadian John Brown Jordan. His Father John had served in WWI and it is likely during this time that he met Rose, who was a WWI widow of John Peters. Before marrying Rose, John would first have to divorce his Canadian wife, no record of the divorce has been found.

After WWI John worked in England for the Imperial War Graves Association, in 1921 his son Leslie was born. Leslie grew up in England and it is possible that did not meet his Canadian 1/2 brother and sister, Syd & Bea.

At the outbreak of WWII it is not surprising that Leslie signed up, he became a Flight Sergeant Observer with 108 Squadron.

In 1942 Leslie was in Egypt where he and others had the task of bringing Liberator AL577 plane to England. The plane left on March 15th with nineteen men onboard, the flight was going well until they encountered a storm. Liberator A577 crashed near Dundalk, Ireland killing fourteen people, Leslie was amoung the dead.

Most of the information about Liberator AL577 was found on the site WWIINI Archives and Foreign Aircraft Landings in Ireland – WWII.

Leslie is Remembered with Honour on the Brighton (Downs) Crematorium.


I found a tribute video on Youtube for the people killed on AL577, but I was sad to see they, like me, did not have a photograph of Leslie.

Leslie’s parents returned to Canada where his father John passed away in 1958 and was buried at Cataraquai Cemetery in Kingston, Ontario, his mother Rose Emma Mathews Davis died in England in 1979.


Jordan, John B & Rose

Leslie’s parents John Brown Jordan and Rose visiting family in Montreal


My next step is to try and track down the people mentioned in Rose’s will in the hopes of finding a photograph of Leslie.


*Featured Image from Wikimedia Commons of 36th Bombardment Squadron B-24 Liberator in Adak Alaska.

Souvenirs of War

Day 6 of the 11-day Military Challenge

My grandfather John M. Dever was a Signaller during WWI and he came home to Montreal with a few souvenirs from his time in overseas.

DrawingDever John WWI drawing

DEver John drawing back

France Oct 26/18 Picked up a few yards from the front line.

I have often wondered about the artist and the subject but I have not had any success finding information about either.

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If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them!

Postcard in German –

Dever, John M. Postcard - German pg.1

A post to the Genealogy Translations Facebook group gave me some answers –

“Out of Love” is the front of the postcard

?hausen, June 1, 1918.

Dear brother, it is in very good health that I take the quill to write you a postcard. I’m quite fine and hope that the same is true for you. Mother sent you a postcard, too, on May 31.”

The address was a little more difficult, so with possible errors –“Kasimir Gollensteiner”,  (Fussersatzabteilung, 2.Batterie), can’t read the third line. Fourth line says “Deutsche Feldpost”, German military mail.

Dever, John M. Postcard - German pg.2

Poster – Another interesting item he returned home with is this poster which he wrote on the back “I took this off of a wall of a room in a chateau in Tilloy a few days before we captured Cambrai.”

Dever John WWI poster

Google translate tells me the poster reads

The enemy is listening! Caution on the phone!

I am grateful to have these items of my grandfather’s.


My Military Ancestor – Alfred Lee Norton

Day 5 of the 11-day Military Challenge

Alfred was born in Sorel, Quebec in 1888 to parents Thomas Lee Norton, a baker and his wife Esther Douglas, joining siblings Thomas Lee and Alyce May. Four more children were born after Alfred but only one of his younger siblings survived.

When Alfred was ten he lost two family members, his newborn brother Arthur died in February and six days later their mother Esther died as well. After losing their mother things became tough for the Norton children, the 1901 census reveals Alfred’s sisters living in an orphanage while Alfred is nowhere to be found.

Alfred Lee Norton 1900 8 yrs old Quebec Canada 2.

The only photograph I have of Alfred.

At the age of 26, Alfred signed up for WWI on 26th September 1914 at Valcartier, Quebec. It wasn’t his first military foray, he had previously served for three years in the 8th Royal Rifles and two years with the QOCH (Queens Own Cameron Highlanders). At the time of enlisting Alfred had hazel eyes, brown hair and was standing a tall 5’7″, his occupation is a clerk.

Alfred sailed out on the S.S. Andania and served in England and France.

It was during the battle at Ypres that Alfred earned the Military Medal with the 14th Infantry Ballalion when he showed –

persistent devotion to duty at all times since the Regiment arrived in France. This man has shown good ability and has several times carried up ammunition under heavy fire. His conduct under fire in the Ypres Salient has been splendid especially on May 25, 1916, in tending wounded under shell fire



Military Medal

After the war, Alfred returned to Montreal where he went back to working as a clerk. He married Elizabeth Walker Johnson in 1930 at the St. Giles Presbyterian Church.

Alfred’s heath may have suffered from his war service as he died suddenly at the age of 42 with no children.

Alfred is buried in Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal, Quebec.

Alfred Norton headstone


Resources –

Veterans Affairs Canada – Medals and Decorations

LAC – Military Medals, Honours and Awards, 1812-1969

Featured image –  S.S. Ardania from the Wreck Site 


Someone’s Military Ancestor – The Jay Brothers

Day 4 of the 11-day Military Challenge

A tattered old newspaper clipping, tucked in amoung a stack of papers that are the remanents of my grandparent’s lives. Carefully unfolding the yellowed paper to see what will be revealed, three brothers off fighting for Canada in WWI, sons of Minnie Jay of 863 Cadieux Street in Montreal.

Minnie their mother tells the newspaper that all three of her boys are wounded –

Jay boys in Khaki

The clipping saved by my grandfather

 Mrs. Jay, of 863 Cadieux street, has given her three sons to the Empire’s service, all of whom have appeared in the casualty lists. Reading from left to right they are: Pte George Arthur Jay of the 3rd Canadian Divisional Signalling Company, who has just been admitted to hospital suffering from gas poisoning; Pte. John Jay, of the R.H.A. now in hospital at Bonscombe and Segt. William A. Jay, who went over with the First Contingent, now the convalescent hospital at Epson, England. The latter has been wounded four times since going to the front.

With no obvious connection to my family, I sit down to research the Jays of Montreal. William James Jay and his wife Minnie had more children than the three sons in the clipping, besides George Arthur, John and William A, they also had Edward, Mildred, Elizabeth, Minnie, and Sally.

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1921 Canadian Census Reference Number: RG 31; Folder Number: 117; Census Place: St Louis Ward, Montreal, Georges-Étienne Cartier, Quebec; Page Number: 14

I found the service files for all three of the Jay men on the Library and Archives website (which is in the process of digitizing all the service files for WWI soldiers). I am happy to report that all three recovered from their wounds and returned to Canada.

The connection to my family is still a question but I believe that one of the Jay brothers was likely a friend of my grandfather, John M. Dever. John was not only a fellow soldier but also hailed from Montreal, maybe they knew each other before serving or perhaps they were in the same Signaling unit.

I may never know how my grandfather knew the Jay men but I thought it fitting that I remember their service.

#someonesmilitaryancestor knew #mymilitaryancestor

My Military Ancestor – Benjamin Nelson Harrop WWI Pilot

Day 3 of the 11-day Military Challenge

In rural Saskatchewan (before it was a Province) in a small town called Indian Head, Benjamin Nelson Harrop was born on a fall day in October, 1894.

Growing up on the farm, helping his father William with chores seems a long way off from piloting planes in WWI but that is where life took him.

Benjamin wasn’t the Harrop to fight in WWI but he was the only WWI pilot in my family. I located a photograph of him on Ancestry in the database Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificates, 1910-1950

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Benjamin received his certificate on a Maurice Farman biplane at the Royal Naval Air Station in Eastbourne in 1916.



Maurice Farman biplane  – Wikimedia Commons

While in England he married Cecil Powel in 1917 and at the end of the war returned safely to Canada with his bride.

In WWII he became Wing Commander and was the chief supervisor at an Air School in Winnipeg.


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The Winnipeg Tribune 30 Sept 1942


Benjamin spent his life as a pilot.

I was able to locate his death record on the Royal B.C. Museum database and upon learning he died in Kelowna a search at Find-a-Grave lead to me to his headstone.

R.I.P. Benjamin Harrop.



My Military Ancestor – Arnott Grier Mordy

Day 2 of the 11-day Military Challenge

Arnott Grier Mordy was born in Almonte, Ontario and was working as an accountant at the Canadian Bank of Commerce in Winnipeg when WWI broke out.

In 1914 he enlisted and first served with the Cameron Highlanders, later being transferred to the 16th Canadian Scottish Division.

During the duration of the war Arnott attained the rank of Major, was severely wounded twice and gassed once. He was mentioned in dispatches twice and awarded the D.S.O.

A. G. MORDY.png

Arnott married Evelyn Clouse after the war and they had two sons.

In 1957 Arnott dies in Ottawa and his obituary was printed in the Ottawa Journal

Ottawa Journal

Monday Dec. 2, 1957

A.G. Mordy Banker Dies Suddenly

Arnott Grier Mordy, at one time bank manager of the Canadian Bank of Commerce Ottawa died suddenly at his home on Saturday at the age of 71.

Mr. Mordy was born in Almonte, the eldest son of James Mordy and Sarah Wilson. He received his early education at the Almonte High School under Dr. P.C. McGregor. At the age of 14 he joined the Quebec Bank in Pembroke, subsequently transferring to the Canadian Bank of Commerce in Montreal. In 1912 he was appointed accountant at the Winnipeg branch, and in August 1914 he enlisted in the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada.

He served in France with the Sixteenth Battalion, the Canadian Scottish, from July 1915 to October 1918, attaining the rank of major and becoming second in command of the battalion. He was seriously wounded twice and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, as well as being twice mentioned in dispatches.

In 1919 he rejoined the Canadian Bank of Commerce, serving as the inspector in Head Office and subsequently in the Hamilton division. He was appointed successively manager at Kingston, Chatham and Ottawa serving here for 13 years before retiring in 1948.

He was a member of the Country Club and the Royal Ottawa Gold Club. For a number of years he served as president of the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa and Carleton County. He attended St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church where for some time he was chairman of the Temporal Committee. Later he was appointed an Elder of the Kirk Session and for four years he was chairman for the Glebe Trustees. For several years until his death he was Honorary Treasurer of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

In 1922 he married Evelyn Clouse of Toronto, who survives him, also two sons, Rockwell Peck and Alan Grier Urquhart, and one grandson John Arthur Grier, all of Ottawa.

The body is at Hulse and Playfair’s, 325 McLeod street, and the funeral service will be in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Tuesday at 2 p.m.

Internment will be in Auld Kirk cemetery, Almonte, Rev. Dr. Ian Burnett officiating.

Not bad for an Ottawa boy as the newspaper clipping described him.


My Military Ancestor – Samuel T. Jordan

Day 1 of the 11-day Military Challenge

Samuel T. Jordan was a career soldier serving with the 8th Royal Rifles and later as an instructor at the Royal Military College in Kingston.

I recently found a picture of him on a trip to Kingston hanging on the wall at the RCHA social room. He is in a group picture of Warrant Officers and Staff Sargeants of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, with each person thankfully identified.