Title in English
Three Irish Canadian brothers in the Winnipeg Rifles
I wish to relate the story of three brave Irish brothers, cousins of my grandfather, who fought in World War One. Their names were Ernest Samuel Meyer, born on 24th April 1886, Frank Spencer Meyer, born on 5th July 1887, and Arthur William Meyer, born on 11th August 1892. They were all born in Bray, Co. Wicklow and are listed on the 1901 Bray Census, but the family emmigrated to Winnipeg, Canada in 1909 seeking a better life, working in the grain industry.
At the outbreak of war, both Arthur and Frank enlisted in the Winnipeg Rifles (Little Black Devils) and took the Oath of allegiance on 23rd September 1914. Their letters, date sequenced, came first from Canada then England (Salisbury Plain) then from France as they were crossing to the front, writing about meeting the locals.
Arthur was reported missing in action on the 15th April and presumed dead on 25th April 1915 at the 2nd Battle of Ypres. He is listed on the memorial Menin Gate at Ypres, Belgium, and died a Corporal at just 22 years of age.
Frank was captured (also at the 2nd Battle of Ypres) and taken a Prisoner of War (POW) on 23rd April 1915. From the family archives and from transcripts of his diary (transcribed by his daughter) we learned that Frank was moved around while a POW and ended up in a German work camp. Also, from the university archives in Winnipeg, we have photographs of Frank at the prison camp. He survived the war, married in September 1924 and died on 16th July, 1951.
Ernest, who was married and had two sons, Alan and Gerhard (Gerry) born 1913 and 1914 respectively, enlisted and took the Oath of Allegiance on 23rd December 1915 (after Arthur’s death). He was also in the Winnipeg Rifles. He was involved in the Battle of Amiens, the last 100 days, and was killed instantly on 9th August 1918 during an advance where he faced intense enemy machine gun fire. He died in the village of Caix and is buried there in the Manitoba Cemetery. Private Ernest Meyer was 33 years old.
Summary description of items
Letters and transcript of Frank's diary, both written during his time in POW Camp.
Picture of Frank at POW camp.
Photograph of the family.
Photographs of Arthur's name listed on the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres.