Submitted by Dawn Hueston in memory of one of our valiant soldiers…
101 years ago this soldier perished for his country.
Albert Newman, by all accounts (through research) was an orphan boarded out at least by the age of two to family(s) in England. He would eventually be shipped to Canada in 1907, by Dr Barnardo’s Home at age 9. In the 1911 Canada Census he is found living with Elmer Hornick of (Quinn) Tilbury, ON. His next of kin listed on his attestation is Barnardo Homes of Toronto, ON. There is also written in on one page ‘No Relatives.’ This would be later changed to a fiancee!! – which I just learned of today when his service files were finally uploaded on LAC.
In the 1901 England Census he is found living as a boarder at age two in Village, Kent, England with William Norton (age 59) and Hannah Norton (age 57). As to where it asks where born, for Albert it states (not known) NK, from Dr Barnardo’s Home, England. His attestation says born Matfield Green, Kent, England. I find no birth (as of yet) for him.
In 1907, Albert is on his way to Canada through Dr. Barnardo’s Homes and is placed with the Hornick family in Tilbury, ON. The 1911 Canada Census shows him with this family at Tilbury East, Kent West, Ontario on the 15th Lot, Con 9. Not sure if that was his only placement but I do believe he was there for some time, if not his only placement. The one news article found made it appear as though he was actually adopted into this family. As in most cases, it is more likely not an adoption as much as an arrangement for acquiring a labourer. In some cases it turns out to be a good placement that they stay on for their full endured time and beyond. His next of kin was never noted as the Hornick family.
On January 3, 1916, Albert enlists with the 91st Battalion under 880327 in Tilbury, ON. Shortly after he is transferred into the 186th Battalion on Feb 28, 1916 under 189789. His unit sails on March 28, 1917 aboard S.S. Lapland out of Halifax, NS. Albert is 18 years of age, has a ruddy complexion with dark hair and blue eyes, standing 5 ft 6 in at 126 lbs and has no visible markings (scars, tattoos, etc). On September 6, 1917 he is transferred into the 18th Battalion. In his service file there is a new lead to his life before going off to war. In his Will dated Feb 28, 191(7) he has added Miss Florence Louisa Sambell as his fiancee. She starts receiving his pay effective April 1, 1917 – right after his leave overseas. Her father was Col Frank Poole Sambell of the 186th Battalion.
Sadly, on April 4, 1918, Albert received a shell wound in his right shoulder and would die later (same day) at #3 Canada Stationary Hospital in Doullens, France. There are no further clues in his files as to where exactly he comes from. No parents, no siblings – no relatives. Heartbreaking. Florence would marry in 1922 in London, ON where her family moves after her father is honourably discharged from the war. With them, they take an unofficially adopted daughter – another Barnardo child I suspect.
Albert lays in rest in Doullens Communal Cemetery, France.
In 2008, Albert’s Memorial Plaque would show up on eBay and is now held at the Chatham-Kent Museum. Really not too sure who would have received this as it was noted on his medal card ‘unable to locate next of kin.’ I would think they eventually found Florence and gave it to her, or possibly it was sent on to the Hornick family, where he is listed as living at time of enlistment. Regardless, I am thrilled it was issued and not lost through the years.