Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant Albert William Idiens (1883-1953), known as Bert, born in Evesham, was the second of seven children of John Idiens, a coal merchant, and his wife, Alice (née South). In about 1900, the Idiens family became tenants at Wickhamford Manor and quickly became involved with the local community; Bert was working as articled clerk to a solicitor. They presumably left Wickhamford in 1906 when George Lees-Milne bought the Manor.
Bert was living with his parents and three of his siblings at a house on The Promenade, Poole, in 1911; he was by now a market gardener. On 13th March 1912, Bert sailed from Bristol with Canadian Northern Steamships Ltd on “Royal Edward”, bound for Halifax, New Brunswick; he gave his occupation as estate agent. His sister, Daisy, had gone out the year before and, very soon, other members of his family were to follow.
Bert joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force (No 77362) on 10th November 1914 in Victoria, British Columbia. On his Attestation Paper he stated that he had already served in the Yeomanry for 2 years and was a solicitor. The War Office listing of casualties of 22nd June 1915, reported that, still as a Private at that time, Bert had been wounded in France. Several letters written by the Sladden family in 1915 mention Bert; the Sladdens had been friends of the Idiens family when they lived at Wickhamford Manor. Arthur Sladden, based in Rouen, came across Bert in a convoy of wounded just starting for England. Jack Sladden went to visit Bert in hospital in England. A letter from Ethel Sladden to her mother on 26th November 1915 revealed that she had received a letter from Bert’s sister, Doris, who said that Bert had been given a safe job for a bit, working in the Estate department of the Army Pay and Record Office.
There are no other details of his army service, but a letter, dated 10th April 1918, is in the file for his brother Harold. This is from the Overseas Military Forces of Canada giving Albert’s rank and number and states that he should be regarded as the next-of-kin of Harold, as he was in Europe, whereas his father was in Canada. As well as Harold, Bert’s younger brother, Stanley South Idiens, also served in the war.
Bert married Margaret Elsie Jean Reid at Royal Oak, Canada, on 14th August 1924. He died at Sidney, Canada, on 3rd July 1953, aged 69.