Pte. Robert White – an exceptional new Canadian

During the 1800s and into the 1900s, the Bernardo Home Children program in England collected young children who were orphaned or from very poor families and sent them to Canada.
In most cases, they were boys who were sent to farms where there were no male children.
photo – Port Elgin Times Nov., 1918

One of these boys (with his brother who went to Collingwood) was Robert White who, as a child, was assigned to a Smith family on the 4th Concession of Saugeen Township where he was raised to manhood.  At the expiration of his term and, on the recommendation of his pastor and teacher, he received the Silver Medal for conduct and diligence, which he left with the Smith family before heading west to Manitoba.

Robert enlisted in November, 1915 in Winnipeg with the 90th Battalion known as ‘The Little Black Devils’.
In the Spring of 1916, Pte. White reached the firing line and saw a number of severe engagements at Lens and was slightly injured at Vimy Ridge.
Injury Card – for larger view click on image

He was also severely wounded at Hill 70, Lens on August 15th, 1917 in a hand-to-hand fight with bayonets.  He was then sent to hospital in England and, when sufficiently recovered, was again sent to the firing line during the summer of 1918.

On October 1st, he made the supreme sacrifice.  On his military attestation papers, he

Part of his will found in pay book – for larger view click on image

listed Mr. Douglas Smith (foster father) at R.R #2 Port Elgin as his next of kin.

He is buried in the Bucquoy Road Cemetery in Ficheux France.
Robert White never made it on to the Saugeen Township WWI cenotaph but he was an exceptional new Canadian.
We will remember them …
G. William Streeter