Grand Manan and the Great War (Part 17)

Part 17- From Lubec to the Battlefield-Frank Washington Stanley

            It must have been with extreme jubilation and anticipation by families and friends in Charlotte County in April, 1918, when over sixty soldiers from their communities and nearby Maine were reported to have returned to Saint John from overseas duty. These men who had received wounds or were otherwise disabled arrived in the port city by steamship or by train from Halifax and Quebec. (St. Croix Courier, April 11, 1918) Two soldiers with Grand Manan ties who had seen service in the trenches of Belgium and France were William Edward Joy from Seal Cove and Frank Washington Stanley from North Head. (Joy’s role in the war was discussed in Part 6 of this series.)

Both men had volunteered in the opening months of the war and by now had dedicated nearly three years of their lives to fighting units on the front lines. While Bill Joy enlisted with the recruiting committee on the Island, Frank Stanley was compelled to travel to St. Stephen from Lubec, Maine, where he resided with his family and worked in the fishery. He was one among hundreds of islanders over the past decade who sought seasonal employment in the sardine factories and cannery operations that dotted the waterfronts of Lubec and Eastport. Some families from Grand Manan often moved their entire families over for the spring and summer months. Still other individuals met and married fellow workers in the factories or local residents. This is how it happened for Frank.

Born on Dec. 16, 1883, Frank Washington Stanley was the sixth child in a family of eleven children to John Calvin and Marietta (Thurber) Stanley of North Head. (Two died very young) Like many others, Calvin pursued a living through fishing and subsistence farming. With the rise of the sardine factories on the American shore by 1900, many islanders like Calvin took advantage of the proximity and connection by ferry to Lubec to seek steady work for the whole family as sardine packers or producing sardine cans.

It was during one of these annual work migrations that Frank met Daisy Emily Dodge, daughter of John Warren and Josephine E. Dodge of Lubec. Her father was also a seasonal labourer in the fish factory and lumber mills moving from Baileyville, Edmunds and Dennysville to Lubec. It is highly probable that Frank was introduced to Daisy through his brother Norman whose wife, Mabel Seeley, came from Edmunds and worked in Lubec. Frank and Daisy were married in Lubec on Nov. 18, 1903. By 1910, the couple was residing in Baileyville, north of Calais, where he was employed in the paper mill to support his wife, daughter, Madeline; and, son, Philip. A year earlier the family lived in East Machias where Philip was born and his father worked in a factory making acid probably for a tannery. Frank returned to his seasonal work in the fishery in 1911 where he is recorded with his parents in North Head, apparently leaving his family behind in Baileyville. Sometime before 1915 the Stanley family moved back to Lubec where Frank resumed his work in the fish plants. Following the declaration of war in Sept., 1914, he made his way to St. Stephen to enlist in March of the following year.

By April, 1915, Frank had been taken on strength with the 6th Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles which was mobilized in Amherst, N.S. drawing upon personnel from the Maritimes. By June 8-9, the unit was transported to Valcartier, Que. for training up and embarked on the S.S. Herschel from Quebec to Devonport, England, on July 18th. Between their arrival on July 26th and departure for France on Oct. 24th, the 6th CMR took further training at Shorncliffe as a “dismounted” unit and was absorbed into the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade as a regular infantry battalion.

The brigade saw some the bloodiest action of the war particularly at the Battle for Mount Sorrel on June 2nd during which some CMR units suffered as much as 89 percent casualties.  Later that year during the Battle of the Somme the 8th Brigade saw significant action at Regina Trench. Eventually elements of the Mounted Rifles took part in attacks on Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, and Amiens. Without Frank Stanley’s actual service record which will not be available in digitized form from Library Archives Canada until sometime in 2015, we cannot be sure where he received his wounds that eventually brought him home. He was described as “Gunner Stanley” in the Courier article so we can assume he was a member of the artillery when he got wounded.

At his discharge Frank gave his official residence as Lubec but it is unclear if he ever returned to join his wife and children. What is evident is that he re-married on Nov. 22, 1918, to Lila Eliza (Stead) Lucas, widow of Robert Henry Lucas, a British soldier with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers from Manchester, England. Family records indicate Robert and Frank had become acquainted on the battlefield. On May 6, 1916, Lucas was mortally wounded leaving his young wife and two children, Eric and Alice. In all likelihood Frank kept in touch with Lila when he was recovering in hospital in England before being shipped back to Canada. The bond between them proved serious enough that seven months after Frank arrived on Grand Manan, Lila arrived in New York with her two children on Nov. 11th, the last day of the war, destined for North Head. Twelve days later, Frank and Lila were married in St. Andrews. Records seem to indicate that they settled in St. Andrews for at least the next decade and then returned to Grand Manan. At his death on Dec. 5, 1956, the certificate records that he had resided in North Head since 1930 and occupied in the fishing industry. He was seventy-two; Lila died five months earlier in Saint John where they were living with their son Edwin. Both are buried in the North Head Cemetery.


Grand Manan Veterans in the U.S.

            Frank Stanley serves as an example of many veterans of the First World War who were residing permanently or temporarily in various U.S. locations when war erupted. For some it was their loyalty to England that motivated them to seek volunteer enlistment at the nearest Canadian recruiting office. Many others living in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and as far away as Washington State chose to register for the draft when the United States entered the war in April, 1917. Below is a preliminary list gleaned from many historical records of Grand Mananers born on the Island but who came to reside for various reasons on U.S. soil and registered for duty. How many actually served in American military units is not known. It includes:

  1. Ray Hamilton Bancroft
  2. Wilford Kent Bancroft
  3. Guy Leonard Benson
  4. Frank Leslie Cossaboom
  5. Ralph Shepherd Daggett
  6. Leonard Dalzell
  7. Sydney Lader Dinsmore
  8. Alfred Ellingwood
  9. Newton Cecil Flagg
  10. William Walter Flagg
  11. Frederick Gordon Foster- also signed in Canada
  12. Charles Shadrack Frankland
  13. William Burton Frankland
  14. Wesley Wallace Greenlaw
  15. Jack Ashton Graham
  16. Emory Alexander Graham
  17. Wesley Griffin
  18. Ashton Sherman Guptill
  19. Jesse Hughitson Guptill
  20. Page Douglas Guptill
  21. Henry Everett Guthrie
  22. Roy James Hatt
  23. Garfield Hatt
  24. Earle Wayne Ingalls
  25. Jack V. A. Ingalls
  26. Clyde Darrell Ingersoll- also signed in Canada
  27. Clyde Ingersoll
  28. Daniel Albert Joy
  29. Kenneth Alden Linton
  30. Edwin Robert Mack
  31. Leonard Othello Meigs
  32. Galen Noyes Monroe
  33. Robert Harvey Naves- also signed in Canada
  34. Alton Burton Richardson
  35. Calvin Donald Scovil
  36. Leamon Chapman Urquhart
  37. Payson W, Urquhart
  38. Ernest Watt
  39. Charles William Whelpley
  40. Archie Trecartin
  41. Leon Preston Zwicker

I would appreciate hearing from any readers who can add information to this list.