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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


It was only after we moved to our new home in Milton, ON several years ago that my wife, Lynn, drew my attention to some of the street signs and the fact that some carried a poppy emblem. On further inquiry with the town, we were to learn that the Town has an approved street name category of naming certain new streets in the town after "local persons having served in various wars". These streets were designated with a colourful red poppy. Apparently the naming of streets after serving veterans is a common practice in many Canadian communities however I suspect affixing a poppy to  street signs I don't think is that common. At first we both assumed that the poppy meant that the soldier for whom the street had been named was killed during a conflict however we soon learned that was not the case.
The junction of Pringle Ave. and Jelinik Terrace, Milton,ON
Our street is named after a former Member of Parliament for Halton, former prominent Oakville business man and champion figure skater Otto Jelinik. I met this man several times and thought him as arrogant and pompous. I didn't like his ultra-Conservative politics so don't I don't take any particular pride in the naming of our street after him especially as he never lived in the town. In addition he left Canada in 1994 returning to the Czech Republic. However, our access main thoroughfare is Pringle Avenue, a street for which the signs carry the poppy emblem. I soon found that the street was named after Charles Henry Pringle #663113, a young man that enlisted in the local 164th Battalion here in the town January 26, 1916. We were also to learn that there are some vague connections with this man and our family. My daughter, Beverly and her young family live on a Royal Air Force based on the edge of the city of Lincoln.
S.S. Dominion, circa. 1906
The attestation paper Charles Henry Pringle signed in Milton January 26, 1916 claims that he was born October 1, 1997 however I believe he was actually born a year later. The one year difference would allow him to enlist in the Canadian Expeditionary Force legally and without a parent's permission. His age at the time of his marriage to Gladys Cradick in Toronto June 20, 1924 was given as 24. He is also listed on the 1901 UK Census as age two. As well in the Library and Archives Canada database for Home Children (1869-1930) there is a Charles Pringle listed who has his is given as seven in 1906. Yes, I believe that Charles Pringle was a Barnardo Boy. One of 379 Barnardo Homes children travelling together on the S.S. Dominion August 1906 destined for homes in Toronto and Peterborough.

Nevertheless Charles H. Pringle was born in the City of Lincoln, Lincolnshire, Walter (b. 1870) and Kate E. Pringle (b.1870), according to the 1901 UK census his age was 2 years making him born in 1899. Their address was 54 Waterside and the couple had three other children at that time: Mabel, age 7; Joseph, age 4 and Millicent, age 6 months. There is a Walter Pringle (born 1870) showing up on the BMD Death Index as dying in Lincoln in the Spring of 1905. Kate's death is listed on the same source as Fall 1928 in the City of Grimsby. However confusing the issue is the fact that a Walter Pringle (head, widower), (b. 1880) and Kate Pringle (sister-in-law, married) (b.1881) show up in the 1911 census as living in Grimsby with three young children (Glady, age 7; Leslie, age 5 and Beatrice, age 4). A Charles Pringle (age 15, b. 1895) is found on in the 1911 Canadian Census as being an inmate of the Victoria Industrial School for Boys, Mimico, ON. I am confident this is our Charles H. Pringle that enlisted in the 164th Battalion. His birthplace is mentioned as Hungate, Lincoln, born October 1, 1897, next of kin sister Mabel, his occupation was a farm laborer who had "a left leg slightly shorter than his right leg".
Barnardo Boys Home distribution centre, Toronto, 1889-1908
The 164th (Halton and Dufferin) Battalion, C.E.F.sailed for England April 1, 1917 commanded by Lieut.-col. Percy Domville on the S.S. Carpathia from Halifax. On arrival, the battalion was assigned to the 13th Brigade, 5th Canadian division based at Witley Camp. However, when the 5th Division was broken up early 1918 for reinforcements for the existing 4 Canadians Divisions, men of the 164th were sent to the 102nd, 116th, 21st, P.P.C.L.I. and the Canadian Machine Gun Depot at Seaford.

It was to this latter unit that young Private Charle H. Pringle was assigned March 7, 1918. By the 31st day of that same month, Charles was dispatched to France and the newly formed 1st Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps as one of 90 ordinary ranks (specialists) immediately taken on strength. His service with the 1st Battalion, CMGC was uninterrupted by either sickness, a wound or otherwise until April 1, 1919 when he was stricken off service, proceeding to England and thence to Canada on the S.S. Empress of Britain, April 26, 1918. He was discharged by "Demobilization" in Toronto May 5, 1919 with his intended resident being 8 Pine Terrace, Queen St. East. His only hospitalization during his entire service was 7 days for a face infection August 1916 while training at Camp Borden, outside of Toronto, while still serving in the 164th Battalion. During the time of his service in France, the 1st Battalion, CMGC supported the 1st Canadian Division in all battles during the war from March 1918 until the Armistice. A number of gallantry awards were awarded to members of the 1st Battalion, CMGC as well as the unit suffered many casualties. so to have Private Charles H. Pringle survive the conflict unscathed is indeed remarkable.The only other information I have located on Charles Pringle after his service is that he married a Gladys Cradick, dressmaker, age 22, native of Toronto in 1920 in Toronto. Their address was listed as 981 Gerrard St. East, his occupation "enameller". Charles then claimed that his parents "both died while groom was an infant". So did the Pringles move back to Milton? Did they remain in Toronto? Questions unanswered as of this writing. I do know that I am very pleased to have our nearby street named "Pringle Avenue, Town of Milton" after this young, brave man.

1 comment:

Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group (CEFSG) said...

The attestation paper Charles Henry Pringle signed in Milton January 26, 1916 claims that he was born October 1, 1997 however I believe he was actually born a year later.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 1997?