Percy Compton

Percy Compton was the older brother of my Grandmother, Gladys Compton Rutledge.

Percy was born on 17th of July, 1890 in Ripon, Yorkshire, England. He was the first born child/son of Charles Compton and Susannah Winter.

On 13 Mar 1911, Percy married Emma Atkinson in Ripon, Yorkshire, England.

Percy was a saddle & boot maker in the years before WWI. He and Emma had a son while she was still living with him in England. Sadly, Emma and Walter George left Percy in England and went to Canada with her Mother-in-Law and arriving on 24 Jun 1916 in Quebec, Canada.

Percy had joined the Service just a month before on May 16, 1916. He was in the Royal Regiment of Artillery. What is interesting is that he is listed as having 2 children but according to the paperwork, his daughter was born in December of 1916 — but if he joined in May, how is the possible to show her already born?

Was Emma pregnant when she left England and had Marjorie in Canada or is the date on his paperwork wrong?

This is the only photo I have of him, I received it from his Grandson, Robert Compton.

Percy Compton

During WWI, he lost his only brothers — Harold was killed in Action in November 1916 and then Charles Duncan was killed in Action at Vimy Ridge on April 4, 1917.

I can imagine the joy in my Great-Grandparents hearts when on 03 Jun 1919 that Percy arrived home in Montreal, Quebec and then headed home to Toronto.

Once back, the small family continued to live in Ontario, but sadly Percy and Emma divorced. It is not known what happened to her but it is believed that she moved away, remarried and possibly had more children.

When the family moved to BC, Percy came along and at some point married Constance Lena Hood. My Dad referred to them as Uncle Percy and Auntie Connie. According to records, they lived not far from my Dad and his family, at 3125 Rumble Street in Burnaby, BC. The house does not exist now but was close to Boundary Road which is the divide between Vancouver and Burnaby, BC.

Uncle Percy passed away in 1948 and when I got his death registration, the date of his birth is 1898 but his headstone says 1890 as does his military papers. I was a little surprised when I read in the paperwork that it says he died in Oakalla Prison Farm !!!! Oh my God, what was he in for?? How long had he been in there?? I was shocked and didn’t know what to do.

So, I phoned my Dad. We talked for a little bit but how do you ask your Dad if his Uncle was a prisoner. So I mentioned that I had gotten the Death Registration for Percy so that I could find where he was buried. My Dad is like yes. Umm, Dad, why did he die in Oakalla? Silence then laughing my Dad says “Nothing bad” Does the registration say anything about his work? Yes, he is listed as a shoe maker. That is it — he was a shoe maker and teacher of the prisoners — teaching them how to make shoes. Nothing bad — he went home everyday, except the day he died.

The story goes that he was at work, it was lunch time. He was sitting with his workmates and when it came time to go back to work, he was dead. He had a major heart attack and no one noticed.

Obituary

This is his headstone, which is located inbetween his Mom and later, his sister (my Grandma)

Headstone

I don’t want to end this on a sad note so I will tell a story that my Dad told me about his Uncle Percy.

Apparently, Percy was in a Marching Band. He like to practice his instrument and his marching by walking up and down the rows of his raspberry patch in his backyard. He liked to do this on Saturday mornings.

Sounds ok, right?? Except his instrument was, ready for this one — Bagpipes!!!

I can just picture it — a grown man, former soldier, teacher, etc walking in the raspberry patch early on a Saturday morning playing the bagpipes!!!!

That is my family!!!!

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