George William Broomfield

Rank: 
Private
Regimental number: 
453717
Unit at enlistment: 
58th Battalion
Force: 
C.E.F.
Volunteered or conscripted: 
Volunteered
Survived the war: 
Yes
Wounded: 
Yes
Cemetery: 
Farringdon Cemetery, Brantford, Ontario
Birth country: 
Canada
Birth county: 
Brant
Birth city: 
Brantford, Ontario
Address at enlistment: 
217 Sheridan Street, Brantford, Ontario
Next of kin address: 
217 Sheridan Street, Brantford, Ontario
Trade or calling: 
Stationary Engineer
Religious denominations: 
Church of England
Marital status: 
Married
Age at enlistment: 
42

Letters and documents

BX April 17, 1916

Pte. Broomfield Badly Wounded – Member of 58th Battalion, Now in Belgium, Reported Wounded

That Pte. George William Broomfield had been badly wounded in action was the substance of a brief cablegram received this morning by his wife, who resides at 217 Sheridan Street. Pte. Broomfield left Brantford with the 58th Battalion, which is now in the trenches in Belgium.

Shortly after the war broke out in 1914, Broomfield made somewhat of a name for himself. The victory of the Battle of the Marne was being celebrated in Brantford. Hearing the bells ringing Broomfield jumped to the conclusion that the Germans had got into Canada, and he came rushing to The Expositor on a bicycle with a shot gun over his shoulder.

BX April 18, 1916

The private cable which was received by Mrs. George Broomfield yesterday stated that her husband Pte. George Broomfield had been slightly and not seriously wounded at the front. She is anxiously awaiting official word of the casualty.

BX July 20, 1916

Veteran Returning

It is expected that Private George William Broomfield, invalided home from the front, will arrive in the city from Toronto tonight. His address here is given as 217 Sheridan Street. Alds. Dowling, chairman of the Soldiers’ Aid Commission, had word from the Military Hospital Commission at Toronto yesterday to this effect. The 8.32 train will be met by a civic delegation and if possible a band.

BX July 21, 1916

Pte. Broomfield Came Home Quietly – Reception Was Not Held As Trains Met Did Not Bring Him Along – Came By Radial

After ten months spent in the trenches, during which time he was wounded in the leg, Pte. George William Broomfield, 217 Sheridan Street, slipped into the city last evening, although his arrival had been looked for in the afternoon.

Although pretty badly used up by the war, Pte. Broomfield this morning described it as a big “Cock’s toad.”  He [?]  Himself [?] During his stay here he states, although the bed he had was not as nice as could be had at the …. House. In the trenches it was none too dry and one of the worst experiences was the coming to and going from the trenches.

Pte. Broomfield was in the plumbing business when war broke out and he went overseas with the 58th Battalion. While holding the trenches at Maple Copse he was wounded in the leg and after he got back to the hospital other physical defects showed up which necessitated is being invalided home. While he was not through any battles he remarks that the holding of the trenches used to cost the Canadians 2000 men a week. After being wounded Pte. Broomfield spent six weeks in hospitals, two weeks at Boulogne and three at Cambridge and Histon, Bath, finally being invalided home.

Accompanying Pte. Broomfield home from the trenches was another Brant County man, Pte. Henry White of St. George. “If any man deserves a welcome home, it is White,” said Pte. Broomfield this morning. “He has lost one eye and has a head full of scrap iron.” White went overseas with the 19th Battalion and was wounded at the battle of St. Eloi, and has since been in hospitals.

Through a mix-up in Toronto the exact time of Pte. Broomfield’s arrival home was not learned here, so the proposed reception could not be carried out. Ald. John S. Dowling, chairman of the Soldiers’ Aid Commission, had a letter yesterday morning stating that he would arrive home at 7.32 over the G.T.R. At noon he received another wire stating that Pte. Broomfield had not arrived in Toronto. Getting in touch with Mrs. Broomfield however, the alderman learned that she had had a phone message from him. Then Ald. Dowling phoned the Soldiers’ Aid Commission at Toronto and learned that Broomfield had left Toronto at 1.30 over the T.H. & B. Members of the local Soldiers’ Aid Commission and officers of the 215th Battalion then met the train, but no Pte. Broomfield showed up. The 7.32 G.T.R. was also met, but all to no avail. Later however, Mrs. Broomfield had a phone call from Hamilton stating that he would arrive on the radial line at 8.40 and this he did. All the Soldiers’ Aid Commission was able to do at that time in the nature of a reception was to send an auto to convey his wife to the station to meet him.

It is likely that the 215th Battalion and band will this afternoon parade to Pte. Broomfield’s house and give him a brief welcome home.

BX July 27, 1916

Two Grenades Present For Huns – “Bike” Evans Handed Them to Be Divided Among Eight in a Dugout

Private George William Broomfield, who recently returned, invalided from the front, tells a good story of “Bike” Evans, one of Brantford’s best known soldier boys.

“Bike” went out on a trip to the German trenches one night. He reached the top of a dugout in safety and hailed the Germans known to be there.

“How many are there down there?” asked “Bike.”  In clear English came the reply, “There are eight of us.”

Then divide these among you,” retorted “Bike,” and with that he threw down two hand grenades, specially prepared for the occasion. In the confusion “Bike” got back to the Canadian lines in safety.

BX July 27, 1916

Efficiency of Soldier Mail

A striking instance of the efficiency of the English mail system and the system of handling parcels in England and France is shown in the case of a parcel of tobacco that was sent from this city to Private George W. Broomfield, who returned last week, while he was in the trenches in Belgium. The parcel followed him through hospitals and convalescent homes for about ten weeks through different parts of France, Belgium and England, finally returning in fairly good condition to his home on Sheridan Street.  The parcel, when it left Brantford, was addressed to Pte. Broomfield, who was at the front in Belgium. From there it was forwarded to the first hospital to which Broomfield was sent after he was wounded, situated at Boulogne. From there it was forwarded to Cambridge hospital, England, thence to Histon Convalescent Home, thence to Epsom Convalescing hospital. Pte. Broomfield had been moved, and it was next sent to Folkestone. As he had left there it was next sent to Bath to the discharge hospital, only to arrive there after he had left to return home. However, the next boat brought it safely back to the city in good condition. Pte. Broomfield speaks very highly of the efficiency of the mail system in vogue in the war zone, and the fact of the return of his parcel bears out what he says.

BX January 11, 1955

Curator of Brant Museum, George Broomfield Dies

One of Brantford’s best known residents, George William Broomfield, 10 Locks Road, for many years curator of the Brant Historical Society Museum died today in the Brantford General Hospital, in his 82nd year.  Mr. Broomfield’s name was practically synonymous with that of the museum, the growth of which, he had fostered from its early days.  He was widely known as an authority on local history and frequently entertained his friends with reminiscences of personalities and events in Brantford’s past.

The museums main meeting room, which houses the Indian relic display was named in his honor, the “George W. Broomfield room,” in recognition of his long and valued service.

Born in Brantford, Mr. Broomfield was a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. T.L. Broomfield.  He was born July 18, 1873.  He used to look back with some nostalgia on his young days when he attended Grace Anglican Sunday School and North Ward School and later Central School.  His first job when he left school was cigar-making at $1.50 a week.  Later he worked for the Expositor.

“When I started with The Expositor I was chief engineer, and peddled the route.  I used to help fire the boiler and at the end of the day I went out and delivered my 75 papers,” he used to relate.

The plumbing trade later took him to Buffalo, Toronto, Kansas City, St. Louis, Mackinaw Island, St. Ignace, and Pennsylvania, as well as Galt and Brantford.  He was married in 1906 to Ida Hildred who predecease him in August 1953.

Mr. Broomfield enlisted in the 58th Battalion in the First World War, and went overseas in 1915.  War injuries prevented him carrying on the plumbing trade when he returned.

He was employed in the Post Office for a time, and later became plumbing inspector for Brantford, a position he held for 17 years.

One of his greatest pleasures was being made a life member of the Telephone City Branch of the Canadian Legion.  He was instrumental in organizing the Great War Veterans’ Association, and was its first president.

He was a life member of the Ontario Association of Plumbing Inspectors and Affiliates, of which he was one of the organizers after the First World War.

A Mason since 1898, Mr. Broomfield was a life member of Doric Lodge, A.F. and A.M., a life member of Mount Horeb Chapter, and a life member of Odo de St. Amand Preceptory.  He was a member of St. Jude’s Anglican Church.

Mr. Broomfield is survived by one brother, R.A. Broomfield, Tarzana, California.  Two sisters, Mrs. George (Nellie) Whitaker, and Mrs. Earl A. (Ethel) Lefever, both predeceased him.

Mr. Broomfield had been ill for about a week and was taken to hospital Monday night.  He is resting at the Hill and Robinson Funeral Home.

Mayor’s Tribute

Mayor Reg Cooper, when informed this morning of Mr. Broomfield’s death paid this tribute:

“Mr. Broomfield’s passing brings a great sense of loss to all who knew him.  His devotion to the museum of the Brant Historical Society, was in the main responsible for its continuation, and for its present success.

“This community is much richer for his work and associations here. Everyone who knew him was inspired by his friendliness and interest.

“I feel a great personal loss because his philosophy and humor were a great aid to me.  He frequently said, ‘when you get to the point where you hate yourself, come down and visit.’

“Just last Sunday his parting words were: ‘if I have made the world just a little better for someone, my life has been worthwhile.’

“That desire was accomplished over and over again,” Mayor Cooper said.

BX January 14, 1955

George Broomfield Last Rites Held

The funeral service for George W. Broomfield was conducted Thursday afternoon at the Hill and Robinson Chapel.  Rev. Canon F.W. Schaffter of St. Jude’s Anglican Church was in charge.  He was assisted by Rev. J.C. Coles.

A representation attended from the Brant Historical Society, of which Mr. Broomfield was a life member.  The many friends and relatives in attendance and the many floral tributes testified to the high esteem in which Mr. Broomfield was held.

On Wednesday evening, Doric Lodge A.F. and A.M. paid tribute to Mr. Broomfield in a service under W. Bro. J.W. Ashton, assisted by W. Bros. K. Green, F. Snell, W.W. Bro. H.A. Jull, W. Bros. Walter North, Reg Eacrett, F.E. McIntyre, R.W. Bro. W.J. Feldkemp and Bros. A. Sherman and A. Jull master-elect.

The pallbearers were Mayor Reg. Cooper, W.D. Rutherford, L. Chandler and H. Wickett and Dr. Wilfrid Jury and Hugh Bremner, both of London. Interment was in Farringdon Burial Grounds.