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Soldiers of the Great War; The Fredericton Soldier Biography History Initiative

All explanatory text, archival descriptions, narratives, database headings, and navigation assistance on the web site of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick are provided in both English and French. When content is extracted from a document for insertion in a database or to be presented as a facsimile, it is provided in the language of the original.

Boddington, Albert Henry

Sergeant 90209
6th Brigade
28th Battery, Canadian Field Battery

Background

Albert Henry Boddington was born December 22, 1880 in Birmingham, England and grew up a member of the Church of England. According to records, Albert came to Canada as a part of the British Home Child Program which saw children from around the British Commonwealth brought to Canada to live for a variety of reasons and circumstances between 1870 and 1948. When Albert was 16 years old, the summer of 1897, he sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia on the Assyrian from Liverpool England along with 107 other children. Four years after arriving, the 1901 New Brunswick census reveals that Albert was boarding with William Rosborough's family in the area of Prince William and Dumfries, likely finding work on their farm. Ten years later, on July 29, 1908, Albert married Ms. Lily May White. Together, Albert and his wife lived in Fredericton, New Brunswick on 108 Northumberland Street while Albert worked at the Waverly Hotel, eventually taking a job at the Fredericton Fire Department. Today, a plaque still resides outside the old fire department station bearing his name in honour to him and volunteers who would perish as a result of service. Census records reveal that Albert and Lily would have their first daughter, Violet Josephine, in March 1909 and their second daughter, Vera Patricia, just over a year later on October 20, 1910. According to his attestation papers Albert had served 3 years in the peace-corps between 1906 and 1908 when he enlisted on March 30, 1915 in Fredericton, New Brunswick with the 28th New Brunswick Battery. He was approximately five feet seven inches tall, weighing 152 pounds, and had fair skin, blue eyes and brown hair. Albert was 34 years of age when he left for England.

Wartime Experience

On August 18 1915, Albert landed in Plymouth, England before being sent to France 4 months later in January 18, 1916, disembarking at Le Havre with the 7th Brigade. Almost immediately after being sent to France, Albert was promoted to Sergeant and a few months later was transferred to the 6th Brigade before being granted leave of absence from the field on March 25, returning 8 days later. Little is known of his movements between June and December of 1916; however, according to the Daily Gleaner dated January of 1917, Albert was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field and for his "bravery while in action due to carrying some of his wounded comrades to safety under heavy shell fire, and for saving one of his guns from an enemy". A few months later, on April 9, 1917, Sergeant Boddington was part of the 4-day assault by all four Canadian Divisions against German positions on Vimy Ridge, just north of Arras. More than 10, 600 Canadians were killed or wounded during the 4 days of fighting, with the first two days claiming the highest number of casualties. On April 14, the final day of the successful Canadian assault on the ridge, Albert died. According to a letter that was sent to his wife, Albert had been killed due to shell fire from an enemy gun killing him instantly while he was trying to select a position for their battery. At the time of his death, Albert was 39 years old, leaving behind his wife, Lily, and their two daughters, Violet and Vera. In a letter written home to Lily, Captain S. Oke, chaplain of the 2nd Brigade Artillery offered words of support:

"I know just how hard it will be to take up the old duties when your heart is so heavy and sore, but it is better that you should do so for your sake, for the sake of his children, and for his sake. We laid his body away this morning in the pretty cemetery at Ecoivres, where many others have their last resting place. The service was attended by a large number of men from the brigade to which he belonged and a suitable cross was set up to mark the place. I trust that you will accept my most sincere sympathy in the great loss you have sustained."

Lest We Forget

Albert Henry Boddington is buried and remembered with honor in the Ecoivres Military Cemetery, in Mont-St. Eloi, in Pas de Calais, France. Canadian graves are an overwhelming majority in much of the cemetery where Plots V and VI contain the graves of men killed in the capture of Vimy Ridge in April 1917. The Cemetery contains 1,728 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. There are also 786 French and four German war graves.

*This biography was researched and written by Emma Rongen, a Grade 8 student (2016-2017) at George Street Middle School located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

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