Robert Francis Wakeling

Rank: 
Private
Regimental number: 
10561
Unit at enlistment: 
4th Battalion
Force: 
C.E.F.
Volunteered or conscripted: 
Volunteered
Survived the war: 
Yes
Commemorated at: 
Brantford Congregational Church PSA Brotherhood, Independent Order of Foresters
Birth country: 
England
Birth county: 
Greater London
Birth city: 
London
Address at enlistment: 
14 Burford Street, Brantford, Ontario
Next of kin address: 
14 Burford Street, Brantford, Ontario
Trade or calling: 
Fitter
Employer: 
Massey-Harris Co.
Religious denominations: 
Church of England
Marital status: 
Married
Age at enlistment: 
28

Letters and documents

BX June 9, 1916

Lance Corporal Robert Wakeling Returns – Unostentatiously Slipped into City on a Short Furlough

Few men have been to the battlefields of Europe and returned to this city as unostentatiously as lance Corporal Robert Francis Wakeling, who slipped quietly into the city on Tuesday last, and with the knowledge of only a few of his most intimate friends, returned to his home at 14 Burford Street, much to the delight of his wife and family. Lance Corporal Robert Wakeling, who left here early in the annals of the war with Col. Colquhoun in the 4th Battalion, has seen considerable service in the trenches, having engaged in many battles, through all of which he passed unscathed, with the exception of a minor injury to one of his ears, which left no serious results. He is home for two weeks, having received six weeks furlough, and many of his old friends during the past few days have been more than agreeably surprised to meet him on the street, not having heard of his receiving leave of absence. 

BX March 15, 1948

Robert Francis (Bob) Wakeling died at Christie Street Hospital, Toronto on Sunday following a lengthy illness and Brantford lost a man who for more than three decades wrote his name prominently in its military history, and who was a civil servant here for a quarter of a century.  Few local men were better known or more appreciated for their worth.

Bob Wakeling was a veteran of both the First and Second World Wars.  Born in England 59 years ago, he came to Canada and Brantford in 1910.  Enrolling in the Dufferin Rifles of Canada prior to 1914, he enlisted for active service in the First World War at the outset and served with distinction in the 4th (Mad Fourth) Battalion.  His letters home during that war were most interesting and his description of the Second Battle of Ypres found insertion in the military section of the “History of the County of Brant,” (F.D. Reville.)

After the conclusion of World War One, he again returned to the Dufferin Rifles and for years was sergeant-major.  He was a master of drill and his contribution to the unit was great.  When the Second World War broke out, he immediately offered his services and was called to active duty in 1940.  His military knowledge won recognition and he rose to the rank of captain being an instructor at Camp Borden.  Towards the end of the war he became ill and had to undergo an operation and early in 1946 received his discharge.

Following the first war, he entered the civil service and at the time of his death was senior postal clerk here.  He was well known to the public for his courteous and kindly manner and willingness to give advice and assistance.

Mr. Wakeling was a member of Reba Lodge, A.F. and A.M., the 4th Battalion Association, the Brantford Branch of the Canadian Legion and the Postal Clerks Association.

Surviving are his widow, formerly Annie Churchill, five sons and three daughters.  They are Lawrence and Ronald, both of whom served in the Second World War, Vincent, Robert and Kenneth, Mrs. William (Frances) Lyons, Mrs. Jack (Elsie) Stuart, all of Brantford and Mrs. George (Patricia) Lang, Hamilton (also a veteran of the last war).  There are also six grandchildren.  A son Flt.-Lt. Dufferin Wakeling, R.C.A.F., gave his life in the last war.

Mr. Wakeling is resting at the Beckett Funeral Home where the funeral service will be conducted on Tuesday afternoon.  Interment will be in the Soldiers’ Plot at Mount Hope Cemetery.

BX March 17, 1948

Impressive final tribute was paid to Robert F. Wakeling on Tuesday afternoon when hundreds of citizens attended the funeral service conducted at the Beckett Funeral Home and also the burial in the Soldiers’ Plot at Mount Hope Cemetery.  The many floral tributes also evinced the esteem in which the deceased had been held.  Rev. F.W. Schaffter, St. Jude’s Anglican Church, was in charge of the services.  The large assemblage included representatives from local military units of today and other years, many civil servants and representatives of fraternal organizations.  Members of the local 4th Battalion Association attended in a body.  On Monday night at the funeral home a Masonic service was conducted by W. Bro. Jack Milroy, Reba Lodge, A.F. and A.M., assisted by W. Bros. C. Dickinson, Dean Brooks, S.W. Sims, Thomas Hall and W. McDonald.  The flower-bearers were all members of Branch 90, Canadian Legion, and were in charge of E.R. Edwards.  The Last Post was sounded at the grave by Bugler Bessant.  The pallbearers were Thomas Anderson and Peter Whelan, representing the Brantford Branch of the 4th Battalion Association; George Webster and A.H. Davis, representing the 56th L.A.A. Regiment (Dufferin and Haldimand Rifles), and E.H. Kite and D.H. Hammer, representing the staff of the Brantford Post Office.