|Palace Hotel, Pentiction (2007)|
However on May 1st of 1915, the 54th Battalion was authorized by the Militia Department in Ottawa to recruit in the interior towns of British Columbia, with the Head Quarters in Vernon. The battalion assembled in June, 1915 with a 1st Reinforcing Draft consisting of 5 officers and 250 ranks being sent to England in July. By early September, young Frederick was permitted to join at age 17. The battalion, lacking a band, quickly accepted the offer of the Penticton Brass Band to be the official 54th Battalion Band and with that the members of the Pentiction Band were attested into the 54th Battalion en masse including older brother 18 year-old Stanley. Thus both brothers were with the Battalion and Band members when it sailed from Halifax on the S.S. Saxonia November 22, 1915. The battalion was directed to Bramshott Camp after arrival in Plymouth, for training and mobilization. The 54th Battalion was assigned to the 11th Brigade in the newly formed 4th Canadian Division. On August 13th, 1916, the Division was received their marching orders for France and by the last week of August were sharing the trenches near Dickenbusche with fellow brigade members 75th (Mississauga Horse) Battalion, 87th (Grenadier Guards) Battalion and the 102nd (North B.C.) Battalion. However by the second week of October the 4th Canadian Division was moved to Albert for their first serious battle in The Somme.
Frederick had received a short hospitalization in Witley Camp for the measles in February and was granted a 10 day furlough prior to the Battalion proceeding to France. Brother Stanley had been admitted to Connaught Hospital in June for VD but was discharged days before the Battalion left. We know from the service records that young Fred had been trained as a wirier and bomber in addition to his Band duties. Stanley was a Band member as well and probably functioned as a stretcher bearer when required.
|Frederick Fulkerson's name on the |
Vimy Memorial, France
Stanley survived the battle and many more. He fought and remained with the 54th Battalion until the wars end with only a couple of short hospital visits including one for the mumps, receiving a Good Conduct Badge on July 7, 1917. The band of the 54th Battalion played at many events and functions, both during the war and after the Armistice was signed. Stanley Fulkerson would have played at many of them. He was treated in February, March, and May 1919 for Pneumonia and Influenza therefore was not able to return home with the few surviving original members (65) of the 54th Battalion. Stanley arrived in Halifax on July 8, 1919 and was officially discharged in Port Arthur, ON on July 12, 1919.
During the war, with the absence of her two boys, Perdetta Fulkerson was active with the Penticton Soldier Comforts Association. This organization raised funds and packed parcels of food, socks and clothing. A Christmas card was sent to every man each year. After Stanley's return home, the Fulkerson's sold the hotel and moved to California, to commence a new life without Frederick. Stanley Fulkerson died in Stockton, California in March 1970.
Thanks Norm Christie For King & Empire The Canadians On the Somme and to R. N Atkinson Penticton Pioneers.
***UPDATE MAY 9, 2011***
This past week I successfully bid on EBay on the Victory Medal for Archibald Scott #463370, 54th Battalion. While not an original member of the 54th (joining the 62nd Battalion in Vernon, BC August 24, 1915) he was an early reinforcement to the battalion. However more importantly he was Killed in Action on November 18, 1916 in the same attack north of Courcelette that claimed the life of my Great Uncle Frederick. Like Private Fulkerson, his name is also perpetuated on the Vimy Memorial.