The Roedde Boys go to War

2016 marks 100 years since Bill Roedde and Walter Weidemann went to war. Their attestation papers – digitized by Library and Archives Canada - show us some information about them at the time they enlisted.

Walter Weidemann

Regimental no. 703548

Enlisted on February 8 1916 with the 102 (Comox-Atlin) Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force. He listed his trade as Gas Engineer and his religion as Church of England. [Since this was different from the Roedde’s non-conformist Presbyterian religion, one wonders whether he was already distancing himself from his upbringing?] At the time of enlisting, Walter was living at 1746 E. 45 Ave. South Vancouver. His next of kin was Dorothy Emma Weidemann. Walter married Dorothy Emma Stokes on July 1 1914. Walter and Emma’s baby, Walter Allan Weidemann, was born on January 31 1915, seven months after their wedding. One month after Walter Sr. had enlisted, baby Walter died of pneumonia on March 5 1916.

Walter Weideman in Personnel Records of the First World War

William Augustus Roedde

Regimental no. 331759

Enlisted on April 4 1916. He had previously served 8 months with the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. He enlisted with the 4th Division Ammunition Column, 3rd section, 68th Depot Battery and served overseas in France. Bill’s attestation papers show that at the time he enlisted, he was married to Viola and lived at 1705 13th W. Avenue. His trade was Merchant and his religion was Presbyterian. Bill’s medical notes show that he had signifying marks on his body: a purple mark on his right hip and a scar on his thigh. Could these be from the time that Benjamin T. Rogers ran into him with his car? Discharged on May 15, 1919.

William Roedde in Personnel Records of the First World War

Gusav Adolph Roedde (Jr)

Regimental number: 2025119

He was conscripted. The Military Service Act became law on August 29 1917. A few months later, on October 3 1917, Gus Roedde had his medical examination and was declared fit for service. However, his medical noted that he had a “septal deviation,” a physical disorder of the nose involving a displacement of the septum. Symptoms include infections of the sinus, snoring and sleep apnea. Gus was not called up until August 29 1918. Service was with the 11th Engineer Depot at North Vancouver. He was discharged on 28 February 1919. It’s likely that he did not see overseas service.

Gustav Roedde in Personnel Records of the First World War

Arthur Budd Cather

Arthur was the husband of daughter Emma Matilda, and enlisted with the British Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

Arthur arrived in England on the Canadian Pacific Line ship Grampion on 25 September 1916 going to the Royal Naval College London.

He was assigned to the Motor Launch 432 as Sub Lieut.

Acheived rank as Lieutenant on 10 September 1917.

Returned to Canada after the war on the SS Baltic May 7, 1919. Interesting to note that Sir Robert Baden-Powel (founder of Boy Scouts) and his wife Olave were also on this sailing to Halifax.

A note about the Roedde boys’ height At 5’9 ¼ (Bill) and 5’8 ¾ (Gus), the Roedde boys were medium height, so perhaps not as tall as their mother wished them to be. Walter Weidemann, on the other hand, was only 5’3!

Want to learn more about First World War soldiers? See the Library and Archives Canada Soldiers of the Great War 1914-1918 database.


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