Soldier Spotlight: Corporal Ross Ford

Image: The Bezanson school house (district #3302) was built in 1919. Taken ca. 1950. (SPRA

Rank: Corporal
Regimental Number: M562682 & R150579

Ross, born on April 1, 1919 in Brookdale, Manitoba, became the 6th of 15 children born to William Jr. and Vera (nee Ames) Ford. He had seven brothers; Harold, Fred, Charles, Vernon, Harvey, Henry, and John and seven sisters; (one died at birth), Evelyn, Myrtle, Elsie, Ellen, Verna and Janet. The Ford’s decided to move to the Peace River District. William sold the farm in Manitoba in 1920 and subsequently filed a homestead application on land (SW-36-72-3-W6) in an area of Bezanson known as Lindsay in 1921.

Ross was known as a shy and mischievous youngster who loved horses and cattle. He attended the Lindsay School where he completed Grade 8 and worked on the family farm.

Ross enrolled for 30 days of training with the Non-Permanent Active Militia, Edmonton Regiment, on November 20, 1940 at Grande Prairie. He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force for ground duties on January 8, 1942. Ross received training in various locations; Edmonton & Calgary, Whitehorse & Watson Lake in the Yukon, Ft. Nelson, Dawson Creek, Beatton River & Blueberry in British Columbia. In July 1944, Ross qualified as a “Driver Transport Group C”. Corporal George Ross Ford served in Canada and received the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and the General Service Medal. He was discharged and honourably released on December 5, 1945 and returned home to Bezanson.

Ross decided to purchase land of his own and bought Tom Burt’s land (W 1/2-30-72-2-W6) along the Smoky River. In 1946, he married Noreen O’Connell and they had five children; Francis, Dennis, Kenneth, Helen, and Douglas. The family moved into the hamlet of Bezanson so that the children would have easier access to the school. Noreen taught at the Bezanson School for 13 years followed by other rural schools and ended her 35-year teaching career at the Harry Balfour School in Grande Prairie. Ross farmed his ½ section of land and hauled sand and gravel from the pit on his farm. He also kept milk cows until 1972. As both Noreen and Ross were very musical, they played in the Ford Orchestra for many years. In 1954, Ross purchased the Bezanson One-Room School and moved it to the hamlet where it was renovated for a residence. Unfortunately, the home burned down in 1961 following which a new house was built on the original site.

Ross passed away at the University Hospital in Edmonton on Christmas Eve, 1973. Noreen passed away in 2010. Both were buried at the Glen Leslie Cemetery.

Written by Wanda Zenner

Service File
Smoky River to Grande Prairie History Book

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

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