Private Albert Victor Webster

Albert (Bert) Victor Webster was born in the family home at 35 Kashgar Road in East Plumstead, Woolwich, in the County of Kent, England, on April 16th, 1897. He was the second child of Frederick Webster (1864-1928) and Eleanor Field (1873-1958). When the Webster's immigrated to Canada in 1907, they settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba with their five children (they eventually had ten children although two died in infancy.)

Private Albert Victor Webster, regimental number 186734, was assigned to the 90th overseas battalion when he enlisted in Winnipeg on November 3, 1915. His medical history sheet gives a good description of Private Webster: 5 '9", 154lbs, with dark brown hair and eyes. He listed his occupation as "cook". Apparently Bert got into some kind of trouble, as a Casualty Form dated January 20, 1916 indicates "S.O.S. (Struck off Service) having been handed over to and subsequently convicted by Civil Authorities". Whatever, occurred could not have been of a serious nature, because Bert re-enlisted in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on May 26, 1916 and was assigned to the 203rd Battalion of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. He sailed from Halifax on October 24, 1916 on the S.S. Grampian arriving in Liverpool, England on November 4th. Upon arrival he was stationed at Seaford, and on January 13th, 1917, he was "taken on strength" to the 18th Reserve Battalion, and then transferred to the 8th Battalion on April the 20th. The following day he left England for France where he was stationed at the Canadian Base Depot in Harfleur, near the coastal city of Le Havre. On the 2nd of May 1917, Bert was temporarily relieved from active duty due to a sprained ankle. On the "Report of Wounds or other Injuries Received Otherwise Than in Action", the commanding officer certifies that "the injury to the above-named soldier occurred while he was in the performance of military duty on May 2, 1917 at Central Training Camp while training (bayonet practice). The soldier was in no way to blame. The disability is of a trivial nature and in all probability will not interfere with his future efficiency as a soldier."

Private Albert Victor Webster was killed in action on August 15, 1917 while engaged in the battle for Hill 70, near the French city of Lens. Although victorious, the Canadians suffered 3,843 casualties during this terrible conflict. Bert has no grave, meaning that his body was either never recovered, or it was beyond identification. His name is however memorialized on the Vimy Memorial as AV WEBSTER.

Rest in Peace "Uncle Bert" . This account was contributed by John Potter, great-nephew of Albert Victor Webster.

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