A quest for information

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A letter has been received by the Tillsonburg Historical Society from England asking if we could help them learn more about the men in two specific graves in their churchyard. Well, it was a quest made for me, not just because I seem to have become the resident historian, but because that is what I am doing with our pioneer graveyard. Trust me, I have written many letters for help, to England and other countries trying to trace our settlers.

Well, the two tombstones they asked for help with were brothers David Alexander Edward Bremner and Frank Cecil Bremner, two young men in the RCAF

who died in the Second World War. David was 21 and Frank 22 when they died. They also knew the father's name: David Edward Ford Bremner and mother Louise Cornelissen, and that the boys were from Tillsonburg.

With that to work on, I Googled David Alexander's name and came up with a lot of information, not about the pilot but his grandfather, who had the same name. This was one interesting man who was born in Edinburgh Scotland.

He was an electrical engineer and travelled the world. He travelled to Port Said and the Suez Coal Company then moved to the Borough of Kimberley in South Africa, working in the iron works and gold mines. He met and married Minnie Upton an English girl living there.

He moved back to England and during WWI was the head of the Aluminum Section of the Ministry of Munitions and for his service was made a member of the Order of the British Empire. He went on to become very well known in British Engineering circles.

While still in South Africa his first son David Edward Bremner was born in 1890. This David travelled a lot and came to Winnipeg, supposedly to farm. He returned home only to come back to Canada, B.C. this time to work for the CNR. While there he met and Married Louise Corneliussen who had been born in Norway. In 1916 their first child Sonja was born in Toronto.

Near the end of WWI, David was with the Royal Air Force from Jan., 1918 to Dec. 31, 1919, his records don't note him as being married and say he is living permanently in England, presumably at this father's home. But what of Louise? I think she was in Toronto, and on May 21, 1919 he set sail for New York City, with Toronto as his final destination. Seven months later our David A was born in Orillia. Interesting.

Frank was born Dec. 1, 1921 in Toronto.

At some point the family moved to Tillsonburg, we know it was before the death of their sons, for they too were noted as living in Tillsonburg.

Father David ended up working for the National Employment Service here, and both he and Louise died in Tillsonburg.

Son David joined the RCAF and trained in Uplands, just outside of Ottawa, on Harvards. He was then sent for training at Catterick Airfield where he had a training accident with a Spitfire. Sgt. Bremner died of injuries as a result of another flying accident on 23rd October, 1941, while still serving with 131 Squadron. He is buried at Atcham Churchyard, Shropshire, aged 21.

Frank signed up with the RCAF in Toronto in 1940 and was noted as being quiet, serious, very patriotic, and proud that his father had served in WWI.

Frank also flew Spitfires with the 73rd squadron. He trained in Summerside, PEI and was shipped to the Middle East. He was killed in action Jun. 26, 1944. He was in one of three Spitfires strafing an airfield and not seen after the attack. Frank may have made a second or third run and been shot down by flak in the Karlovac, Zagreb area. He was supposedly buried in Belgarde War

Cemetery, Serbia, yet strangely enough he has a tombstone in the same cemetery in Britain as his brother.

Was his body moved? Did his parents arrange this?

What I need is information on the boys in Tillsonburg. Did they have girlfriends? Were they working? Were they popular in high school? Go to college? What were they like?

David the father lived until 1965 retiring from the National Employment Service seven years before. Louise the mother died in 1990 at about 102 years old.

Did you know the family? Do you remember anything about anyone in the family? If you do, please give me a call at 519-842-9416. If you call before the 16th leave your name and phone with Peter and I will get in touch when I return from my last stint as slave to Mom.




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