Berwick, Edgar: Service no. 53888

Digitized Service Record

Source: 18th Battalion Nominal Roll, April 1915.


Tragically, He Got His Wish

Edgar Berwick of Kitchener, Ontario was very much the Englishman. A product of his times he emigrated to Canada and worked for the Arthur Pequegnat Clock Factory when war was declared. He enlisted in Galt, Ontario as member of the 18th Battalion listing his trade or calling as a mechanic. He served with a spotless record as a Transport Driver with Headquarters Company with the 18th Battalion from the date of enlistment to April 29, 1918 when he was detached to the 2nd Division Headquarters as a farrier. It appears that his skill as a farrier was well appreciated as he was promoted directly from private to farrier sergeant on March 9, 1919. He was reunited with his original battalion on May 4, 1919 and was discharged with this unit upon its return to London, Ontario on May 24, 1919.

Upon return he heads home to what was Berlin when he left to the City of Kitchener to rejoin the peace-time economy and gets a job as a blacksmith for the light railway system in Kitchener. Two-years of peace ended for Sergeant Berwick, late of the 18th, when he fell to his death from a ladder while working for his new employer.

The news-clipping tells the story:


Edgar Berwick Falls From Ladder While Working On Overhead Wire On East King Street Near Car Barns Fracturing His Skull; Died On Way To Hospital


Edgar Berwick, 27, a local street railway worker met sudden and tragic death yesterday afternoon shortly before 4 o’clock when he fell from a ladder to the pavement while working on the overhead trolley wire about 200 yards east of the car barns. The exact cause of Mr. Berwick’s fall is not known. He apparently lost his balance falling frontwards and striking the concrete with his head. The ladder from which he fell had a height of about 20 feet. Medical aid was immediately summoned and the unfortunate man taken at once to the K-W Hospital but died in the ambulance before reaching the institution. Coroner Kalbfleisch was notified and called an inquest for 8 o’clock last evening. The jury met at the city hall and after viewing the remains adjourned until Tuesday at 7.30 p.m.

The death of Mr. Berwick yesterday was the second tragedy of the day. Anthony Lisewski dying in the morning as a result of gas poisoning received in a sewer manhole at the corner of Louisa street and Margaret avenue.

At the time of the accident Mr. Berwick and W.G. Sinclair of the street railway were engaged in fitting a wire over the new double tracks which start at the car barns and continue on East King street to the junction. Suddenly Mr. Berwick seemed to lose his balance. He pitched forward striking his head on some loose stones directly beneath the ladder. The side of his forehead was ripped open and crushed. He was unconscious when picked up.

Had Premonition

A rather significant incident in connection with the tragic death of Mr. Berwick is the fact that yesterday noon before returning to business he was talking with Mrs. J. Woolner with whom he boarded at 143 Elgin[i] street.

In the course of his conversation he mentioned that if at any time anything should happened to him that should cause his death he would desire that his remains be buried in the soldiers plot at Mount Hope Cemetery. The fact that his death occurred about three hours afterwards would almost indicate a premonition of death as part of the man.

Relatives in England

Mr. Berwick is an Englishman and has no relatives in this country. He came to Canada about 12 years ago and shortly after he came to this city taking employment at the Arthur Pequegnat Clock Factory where he worked until the outbreak of the war when he enlisted with the 18th Battalion. He was raised to the rank of Farrier Sergeant during the war and at the close of hostilities returned to this city taking employment with the Light Commission.

Mr. Berwick was a member of the Masonic Lodge, of the G.W.V.A.[ii] and of the Sons of England. The latter two organizations will have charge of his funeral which will be held at 2.30 o’clock Thursday afternoon from the residence of Mr. H. Hughes[iii], 23 DeKay street. Interment will take place at Mount Hope Cemetery in the soldier’s plot. Rev. H.M. Langford will have charge of the services.

Deceased was a popular young man and was beloved by all who knew him. His untimely death has caused a general gloom in the street railway department where he was highly esteemed by his fellow employees. To mourn his loss are his parents, two brothers and three sisters at Wellingborough, Northhamptonshire, England.

Source: News clipping dated July 19, 1922 from Kitchener, Ontario.

[i] This street name appears to be changed.

[ii] Great War Veterans Association.

[iii] Edgar Berwick is recorded to have been a boarder at this address in the Kitchener 1921 Vernons Directory. Mr. H. Hughes is Mr. Herbert Hughes residing at the same address.

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