113608 Pte. Charles Veenman was born in Southgate, England, in April 1896. In 1906 his family emigrated to Canada, where they settled in Peterborough, Ontario. Charlie, as he was known to his family and friends, lived in Peterborough all of his life, except of course for the period from 1915-1919.

Attesting on August 19th, 1915, in Peterborough, Charlie was assigned to the 8th CMR. His father, Albert, would attest a year later at the age of 41, as would his brother, Chris. Good fortune smiled on the Veenmans: all three would survive the war, although Chris would suffer the effect of gas injury for the rest of his life.

Charlie, amidst 362 men of the 8th CMR transferred to the 4th CMR in January, 1916, like most didn't talk much about the war. However, one story he would tell occasionally involved a fellow soldier who made a point of borrowing money from his compatriots before going into the line, speculatively profiting off those who didn't come back. Somewhere along the line this man stopped borrowing money from Charlie; when asked why he was being passed over, the fellow told Charlie "Ah, you always come back!"

Having survived the War, Charlie was struck off strength on March 20th, 1919. However, the return to his home was not without incident. Charlie and some fellow returned soldiers spent the summer of 1919 sleeping outside in tents, by the lake in the centre of Peterborough; sleeping in one's bedroom took time to grow re-accustomed to it seemed.

Charlie was a weaver by trade and worked at The Colonial Weaving Company from the time he returned home to his retirement. He married and he and his wife were blessed with a daughter and three grandchildren. He was a good man, a confirmed practical joker who found a way to leave behind the horror of war and embrace the joy of life.

Picture and biography credit: Pete Wood, grandson of Charlie Veenman