I reunite identified family photos that I find in antique shops and second hand stores with genealogists and family historians. If you see one of your ancestors here and would like to obtain the original, feel free to contact me at familyphotoreunion [ at ] yahoo [ dot ] com. I also accept donations of pre-1927 images to be reunited. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist

Monday, July 30, 2012

Canadian Expeditionary Force Discharge Certificate for Hanby Harper, Winnipeg, 1919

Canadian Expeditionary Force 
Discharge Certificate 
War Service Badge Class A, No 186068
This is to certify that No. 37476 (Rank) Staff-Sergt. Hanby Harper enlisted in the C.T.A. Canadian Expeditionary Force at Winnipeg on the 27th day of September 1914.  He served in 3rd C. D. M. T Coy: France [3rd Cavalry Division Mechanical Transport Company].

This World War 1 Discharge Certificate was found in a Victoria Antique Shop specializing in Military items.  Someone mounted the paper onto cardboard, probably for display purposes.

I located Hanby Harper's Attestation Papers on the Library and Archives Canada website. The attestation papers (see link above) show that Hanby was born in Otley, Yorkshire, England on the 12 February 1896 and that he enlisted at the age of 18 years and 6 months.  Hanby was employed as a painter and was not married at the time of his enlistment in September of 1914.  His next-of-kin is Fredrick Harper, who lived at 583 Bannerman Avenue in Winnipeg.

Fredrick Harper was Hanby's father, and his mother's name was Florence Wardman1.  The family lived in Otley at the time of the 1901 UK census.  

In 1911 Hanby was living at the home of his grandparents, John and Christina Wardman in Birkenhead, Cheshire2.  I don't know when Hanby and his parents came to Canada.  I was unable to find them in the immigration records that I have access to online. 

In 1932, Hanby is living at 569 Bannerman Avenue in Winnipeg; Mrs. Fred Harper, just a few doors down at 577 Bannerman3.  I haven't yet discovered what happened to him after that.  If you have information to share, I'd love to hear from you.

UPDATE  Aug 3, 2012:  How this document ended up in an antique store, we haven't quite figured out yet, but I am happy to report that this certificate has been reunited with Hanby Harper's granddaughter in Ontario. 

1 "1901 England Census," England, Yorkshire, Otley, p.23, Hanby Harper; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed July 9, 2012); citing Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901. Kew, Surrey, England.
2 "1911 England Census," England, Cheshire, Birkenhead, piece21997, Hanby Harper; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed July 9, 2012); citing Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911. Kew, Surrey, England
3 Henderson's directory of the City of Winnipeg and incorporated towns of Manitoba. Winnipeg: J. Henderson, 1932, page 302.


  1. Find My Past shows two entries for Hanby Harper, one arriving in Canada in 1911 on the Tunisian and another with his wife Florence arriving back in Canada on the Empress of Scotland in 1957. There is a marriage for a John William Hanby Harper to Florence Evelyn Bradley in Winnipeg in 1923. Could this be his full name? I am not able to locate him arriving in the Canadian passenger lists for the Tunisian, though. Also could the initial CTA be CFA, which stands for Canadian Field Artillery?

  2. Hi Annette, Yes, I think John William Hanby Harper is the right guy. I was able to locate a birth record on Ancestry from Otley and that is the name on the record.

    I'm not sure about the initials, and you could be right. The handwriting looks like a written T, but I was going back and forth between an I, T and F. I finally settled on the T because it matched the letter T in the second set of initials that was an abbreviation for "Cavalry Division Mechanical Transport Company."

    Thanks for your research, Annette--so glad you stopped by to read this post, you've provided a lot of valuable info!

  3. You're welcome.

    I believe Hanby Harper arrived back in Canada after the war on the Scotian in May 1918. It arrived at Quebec on May 15. That would give him enought time to get back to Winnipeg and be discharged on the 18th(if I'm reading the date on the discharge certificate correctly). This is not conclusive, though, because the regimental number on the right hand side of the page is covered up. He is listed as Sgt Harper, H.

    There is an Florence Evelyn Harper who died in Nanaimo, BC in 1987.

  4. Hi Annette,
    It would make sense that the Harpers came to the island since this is where the certificate was found. Yes, the date of discharge is May 18, 1919 and the Regimental number is 37476. The number on the top right is his war service badge class A, No. 186068.

    I will see if I can find her obituary. It doesn't seem to be online, but I don't live far from Nanaimo and the library.

  5. Hanby Harper is my grandfather.

    Love to know how this document ended up in an antique shop!!

  6. Hi Splash,

    I wondered the very same thing. The antique dealers seem to get most of their items from estate sales. I think the certificate might have been in a frame at one time and perhaps someone discarded it and re-used the frame. Are you from Vanc. Island?

  7. Hi there; thanks for the possible explanation! It would really be a shame if a family member discarded this...

    I'm not from Vancouver Island, but after Hanby died my grandmother (Hanby's wife Florence) moved to Kamloops BC, and then to Nanaimo where her daughter's family (my aunt and cousins) lived. Some of them are still living there, would have had access to Hanby's memorabilia after my aunt passed away last year.

    I know that Hanby received four medals for bravery, for his service in Belgium during WW1. After the war he worked as a linotype operator for the Winnipeg Press, for many years. He and Florence lived in Winnipeg and raised two children there - a daughter Shirley and my father, Frederick. My father chose a military career as well, ended up being posted to Ontario, where he raised his family.

    Hanby passed away in Winnipeg in 1960, when I was two yrs old. I never met him, there's a lot I don't know about his life. So I'm grateful to have learned a few things about him here, today!

    I've forwarded this article to my siblings; I'm sure we'll be discussing whether or not a trip to the West Coast to scour the antique/pawn shops for more of my grandfather's documents and possessions is in order.

    Thank you for your help and for your interest in my grandfather too. I love the tasteful picture above!

    - Michelle Harper

  8. Michelle, if you like you can email me directly at my contact email (see "About Me" on the sidebar, be sure to remove the part in caps). I'd be happy to pass on the name of the shop I where I found the paper, and of course, if you'd like the certificate I can send that, too :-)

  9. Michelle, if you would like copies of the info I located on your grandfather please let The Archivist know. I will send my email address along.