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COLLEY, Vincent – emigrated 1911

Vincent Colley was born at Peopleton on 18th January 1894, the second of four children of Jesse and Olive Colley.  The Colleys moved to Bowers Hill, Badsey, in February 1903 when the eldest three children enrolled at Badsey School.  By May 1904, when Jesse transferred from the Infant to the Mixed Department, they were living at Wickhamford.  Vincent left Badsey School in December 1906.

In 1911, the Colleys were living on Manor Road, Wickhamford (present-day No 10), Vincent working as a carter for a market gardener (presumably his father who was described as a “market gardener own account”).

Shortly after the English census, Vincent left England for a new life overseas.  He sailed from Liverpool, arriving in Quebec on 4th May 1911.  His uncle, Charles Henry (Harry) Colley (younger brother of his father, Jesse), had emigrated to Canada the year before with his wife, Rose, and two young daughters, Enid and Doris.  The 1911 Canadian census, taken a few months after the UK one, shows Vincent living with Harry and family in Minnedosa, Manitoba.  Vincent was working as a labourer on the railway.

On 12th December 1914, Vincent Colley enlisted with the Canadian Army at Winnipeg, Manitoba, joining the East Ontario Regiment (No 81167), 32nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry.  His army records reveal that he was 5ft 7in tall and was a fireman.  He sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, aboard the SS Vaderland, on 23rd February 1915 and was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Eastern Ontario Regiment on 16th May 1915.

Vincent was killed in action in France on 12th June 1916; his unit was at Maple Copse at the time of the casualty.  His body was never identified, so he is commemorated at the Menin Gate, Ypres.  The Badsey Parish Magazine of August 1916 reported his death and noted that a Memorial Service was held at Wickhamford on 7th July.  His name is recorded on the war memorials in St John the Baptist’s Church, Wickhamford, in Wickhamford Memorial Hall, at Badsey Council School, the Minnedosa Memorial, Manitoba, Canada.