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May 15, 2012

Lost & Found: Arthur Fitzgerald's WW1 ID Tag

WW1 ID Tag Canadian Soldier
This is another Tribute  for a Canadian soldier.  His name and service number are given on the front of his WW1 ID Tag - A. Fitzgerald, Service Number 55422.

This tag is made of aluminum and we know it was issued early in the War. Aluminum was expensive and at some point tags were made out of a pressed material which was between paper and cardboard in feel.

We do not know the meaning of the two letters at the bottom - E. C./G.

Back of WW1 ID Tag
The reverse of this tag shows the soldier's unit (19 Batt. Inf. which stands for 19th Infantry Battalion) and at the bottom the word Canadian is stamped. This designated which country a soldier's unit was in.

Who was A. Fitzgerald? Did he survive the War? Our curiousity was piqued and research begun.

First stop was the online CEF database. Using the service or regimental number provided on the tag, we found the Attestation papers for Arthur Fitzgerald born in Eastbourne, Sussex England on 12 November 1891.

His mother is listed as Lady A. Fitzgerald of Kilkea Castle, Mageney, Co. Kildare Ireland. He works in the Telegraph Office of the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway)

Interestingly Arthur enlisted in 1914 on his 23rd birthday. I next went to to search census records and ships passenger lists. I was curious when Arthur came to Canada. Unfortunately nothing conclusive turned up in either set of records.

I did find one marriage record which might be Arthur's. The marriage took place in Toronto in September 1919 between Arthur Maurice Fitzgerald born England, age 28 and Berna Wilhelmina Guest.  Arthur is named as the son of Charles John Oswald Fitzgerald and Alice Fitzgerald. 

There are several online family trees which indicate this is indeed the correct Arthur whose WW1 ID Tag we have. One tree shows Arthur as dying in Toronto in 1968.  

Arthur's father is listed as Col Sir Charles John FitzGerald Birth 8 JUN 1840 in East Indies Death 28 Feb 1912 in Eastbourne, Sussex, England. Sir Charles married Lady Alice Fitzgerald in 1882. Lady Alice's information is given as Birth 12 DEC 1853 in Kilkea Castle, Kildare Death 16 DEC 1941

Lady Alice was the daughter of a Marquis, Charles Fitzgerald. I have no other information on Arthur.


Katrina Cameron said...

Hi! My great grandfather was Arthur FitzGerald. It is factual that he married Berna in Toronto. Just wondering where you found that dog tag? My sister and I are headed to Ireland and really want to see Kilkea. My Dad just showed my the photo of the entire battalion on the Toronto beach. Really cool!

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Thanks for posting a comment Katrina. So nice to hear from a descendant! My husband bought this dog tag in an antique store many many years ago.

Kilkea does sound wonderful, what a fascinating family history you have!

Katrina said...

Did he buy it in Toronto? That's really cool!! What year do you think you bought it? They cleared his house out (in the Toronto Beaches area) in about 1994 or so. My Mum has a collection of his medals. He was left for dead in a battle in France after shell went off near his position and a sand bag blasted him in the chest. Due to injury he was released from military service.

anonymoose said...

my great grandfather 55048 was also in the 19th...

he enlisted very early and has the 14/15 star

i have a nearly identical dogtag here -- and some medals and stuff