19 November 2019

A Street Near You

Last week Lesley Anderson drew my attention to A Street Near You that maps, on a global scale, locations associated with those who died in the First World War.

Naturally, I had to look at Ottawa and the icon nearest my home. It's at the airport, although there was no airport at the time.

Clicking the icon showed it was for the National Research Council, Ottawa, Canada and Captain Harry Alden Whitby, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own).

Now I was well embarked on the slippery slope. Why the airport when there was no NRC facility there at that period? NRC was only established on Sussex Street in 1916. Why someone serving with the West Yorkshire Regiment?

Searching the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website you find

Died 10/07/1916
Aged 27
11th Bn.
West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own)
Son of Stafford B. Whitby, C.C., M.B.E., and Hettie Whitby, of National Research Council, Ottawa, Canada. B.A.

A Google search found several hits. The first, from Brunel University, yielded:
Captain Harry Alden Whitby attended Borough Road College for three years, representing the college in tennis, and acting as the tennis secretary 1908-09. Whitby was also the editor of the B’s Hum 1908-09. After graduating Borough Road College he gained a double 1st BA at Cambridge and went on to be an HM Inspector of Schools, later being appointed Secretary of Academic Department at London University. Whitby joined up in September 1915 into the 11th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment. He was killed in action on 10 July 1916 whilst leading his men in a successful attack on the village of Contalmaison. He was awarded the Military Medal.
There's also a longer article, also with no mention of Canada. I was unable to locate him on any passenger list to or from Canada. No mention of Canada except as a location for his parents.

His father Stafford B. Whitby is listed in the 1901 and 1911 censuses as a hosiery manufacturer in Hull, Yorkshire. A newspaper obit in the Hull Daily Mail 5 March 1928 which mentions he had served on the Hull City Council since 1921 also names his son who died at the Somme.

The obit also mentions another son, G. Stafford Whitby as a Professor of Chemistry at McGill University. A Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_S._Whitby establishes his link to the NRC.

Beware putting your trust in sites like A Street Near You without investigation.

1 comment:

K said...

Have you seen Dave O'Malley's website called Vintage Wings? On Pg page 8 of 16 (about halfway down the page) he has a map of Ottawa (or, maybe its just the Glebe) and has pinpointed the homes of men who died in the SECOND world war. He has done a lot of work on this site.