Soldier Spotlight: Private Wilfred Sparks

Image: An excerpt from Private Sparks’ military service file, noting his incident with a bully beef tin (Library & Archives Canada)

Regimental Number: 8263
Rank: Private
Branch: 2nd Battalion

Wilfred was born in Cyrville, Ontario on October 28, 1895. He enlisted in the Canadian Army in September of 1914, right at the beginning of the war; he was working as a piano maker at that time. Wilfred was awarded the Military Medal, and went missing in May of 1915. It was not until July that he was reported as a prisoner of war. While in the POW camp, he cut his finger on an empty bully beef tin, which caused long-lasting, if not permanent, stiffness and deformity. Wilfred escaped in February of 1918, but did not arrive in England until September of that year. In 1919, he filed on SE 31-79-13-W6. Wilfred died on February 19, 1974 and was buried in Edmonton.

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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