Richard William (4) Woodhurst

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Brief biography

Richard William (4) Woodhurst was born at Leicester in 1891 [UK Census 1891] to parents George Richard Guy Woodhurst and his wife Elizabeth Ellen Lewey. His birth certificate [Birth Index: Leicester 7a 203, 1891 (June)] states that he was born on March 8th 1891 at his parents' address 129, Syston Street. His father, employed as a boot maker, was the informant. He was baptised six years later, at St. Paul's Church on Bow Common on February 7th 1897, together with his brother Leonard George (1) and his half-brother Edgar Guy Collins [St. Paul's Baptisms Register], the family's address being recorded as 50, Rowsell Street (in Mile End Old Town).

The 1901 Census finds him at age "10" living in the household of his step-father Eustace Charles Collins at 56, Ropery Street in Mile End Old Town.

His descendants report the following. Around 1905 he arrived in Canada in the course of his mother's emigration there with her second husband Eustace Charles Collins, and soon after was living in Montreal. While there he attended the St. George Anglican Church and played in the basketball team. He later left home to work with a friend on a farm near Brandon in Manitoba, after which he moved on again eventually to become a salesman for a clothier. He joined the Salvation Army and enrolled at their college in Winnipeg with the aim of training to become an SA Officer. His graduation there was forestalled by the outbreak of the Great War, whereupon he enlisted at Brandon, Manitoba with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the 181st Overseas Battalion Band. On January 31st 1917 he married Annie Metcalf, who had been born at Consett in Durham county, England on October 22nd 1899 and had emigrated to Canada around 1912. He was then sent overseas, serving as a stretcher-bearer in France and Belgium in the 52nd Battalion Canadian Infantry. A photograph survives showing him in 1917, in uniform, taken during a visit he made to the home of his uncle William (2) at 41, Clifden Road, Clapton in north London. His service records are held at the Canadian National Archives in Ottawa under the reference [RG-150 (1992-93/166), C.E.F. Service File 865396, Box 10554, Sequence 2]. His medal entitlement comprised the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the Class "A" Badge. After the war's end he returned to Canada, was demobbed at Montreal on March 19th 1919 and then probably resumed his work as a clothing salesman. Around 1921 he sought to return to the SA training college, but this was precluded by the fact of his now being a parent. Around 1926 he moved to Winnipeg and worked for the T. Eaton Department Store in the boys' clothing department. Ten years later, in the midst of the economic depression and discontented with his employer, he moved the family to Vancouver in British Columbia and, with some help from the SA, found a house and acquired work - again in boys' clothing - with a company named Spencers which, ironically, was later taken over by Eatons. He remained there until his retirement.

His Attestation Paper states that he enlisted with the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force on April 3rd 1916 and describes him as of height 5 feet 3 inches, having dark complexion, dark hair and brown eyes. His religious denomination was Salvation Army and he was occupied as a student at a Salvation Army Training College. His address was 135, Sherbourne Street in Toronto whilst his mother was living at 868 St Catherine Street, in Montreal.

He died at Vancouver on August 12th 1959, and his wife Annie died there on February 21st 1989.

His children by Annie Metcalf

  1. Doris Irene Woodhurst - born February 26th 1921
  2. Leonard David Woodhurst - born January 23rd 1923
  3. Muriel Joyce Woodhurst - born August 18th 1924
  4. Gwendoline Agnes Woodhurst - born February 22nd 1930
  5. Winnifred Ellen Woodhurst - born August 14th 1931

The first three children listed above were born at Brandon, Manitoba and the last two at Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Doris Irene married Howard Cameron Butler and produced three children Douglas Cameron, Robert William and Sherri Lynne.

Leonard David married Helen Creamour and produced three children David, Janice and Carol.

Muriel Joyce married George Carr and produced three children Philip, Dennis and Valerie.

Gwendoline Agnes married (and divorced) Chester Marshall and produced two children Donna and Greg.

Winnifred Ellen married Alan Anderson and produced three children Gail, Colleen Wendy and Barbara.