War Records



    Leslie Player born 9th of October 1896
    Place of birth: Leeds, Yorkshire, England
    Parents: Mrs. Eliza Player, Nee Bates
    Born in Friday bridge Cambridge England

    Mr. William James Player born in Cardiff Wales, attended public school in Leeds from 1901 to 1910. Immigrated to Canada on 6 May 1910, and arrived in Stratford on 16 May 1910. Sailed from Liverpool on the SS Tunisia, and lived at 20 Player St., Stratford. Went to Shakespeare school in Stratford until 1911.

    Left school in 1911, and worked at several places, including Mooney Biscuit Factory, Levitts Cigar Factory, and Grand Trunk Railway shops. In 1913 signed as apprentice mason and  bricklayer with my grandfather, James Player, who was a general contractor in Stratford for several years, during which we built the Old Boat House, Market Building several Stores, and homes in the City.

    During my apprenticeship I worked in Detroit with my uncle Fred Brown, until the fall of 1916, when I joined the Canadian Army and went overseas in August 1917 was in Belgium and France from September 1917 till the end of the war 11th November 1918, was slightly wounded on the 3rd of September 1918 at the Canal du Nord I was serving with the 31st Battalion 2nd division when wounded.

    After the war ended we marched from Mons in Belgium, to Bonn on the river Rhine, and served with the army of occupation until April 1919, from Bonn we were sent to England for four days leave, before leaving for Canada to be discharged from the army. During my service in England I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and went to the CREU in Liphook, where I  taught mason and brickwork and tested all tradesmen who applied for Trades Pay as a bricklayer in the Canadian Army (CREU, Canadian Royal Engineers Unit). On the 2nd of May 1919 we sailed from Southampton on the Acadia and arrived in Halifax on the 22nd of May and arrived in London Ontario on the 24th of May 1919 and were discharged from the army the same day.

    After my discharge I worked on several buildings in Stratford and in 1921 went to Toronto and stayed there for the next two years. When I returned to Stratford and worked for Bob Marson on several buildings, including the addition to Kroehlers, Ballintyne Knitting Factory, Falstaff school, Seebach Hill Church and several more. I then worked for Pounder Brothers for a period of 2 to 3 years. During this time I worked on St. John’s United Church, Public Library, Bell Telephone, Anne Hathway, School, Personal Mutual and many more buildings.

    In 1926 I was married to Pearl Krahling September 18th in Gadshill. After my marriage I lived in Stratford for 2 years during which time my oldest son William Player was born on July the 13th 1927. Pearl and I moved to Gadshill in 1929 into the old Krahling house and lived with the family, cut wood in the bush during the winter and helped John Krahling build a house on the farm West half Lot 2 Concession 8 Ellice 1930. I purchased the old house from him (Lot 35 concession 8 North Easthope) work was scarce but I took jobs at plastering, rebuilding chimneys or other renovating jobs as well as farm work.

    During depression days we worked our lot into a productive garden raised chickens by settling hand on eggs also by using an incubator to hatch our eggs. We papered rooms, helped hoe roots anything to earn a dollar.

    In July 1931 son Stanley was born. We contracted to take care of the School house. In February 1933 our daughter Margaret was born. I worked for contractors in Stratford who had jobs in Hanover, Woodstock and surrounding community. In January 1937 our daughter Nelda was born. Somehow we made ends meet.

    In 1939 when the Second World War broke out there was a need for tradesmen, so March 5th 1941 I enlisted in the armed forces, in July I boarded the Duchess of York for England to Liverpool. Hoping to build and rebuild camps, Hospitals etc. in England. Some of my relatives were still living in England and I was able to spend my leaves visiting them and renewing old friendships.

    In 1945 the war was nearly over, I had been away from home nearly five years and I was sent home on compassionate leave. The war ended and I was sent to Glencoe Ontario as camp engineer for a prison of war camp. When this was disbanded I received my discharge and was appointed a teacher in the Repatriation School in London Ontario for returned men wishing to learn trades. In the next few years I worked at bricklaying and taught my sons the trade. My uncle James Player and two of his sons formed our company building houses, hospitals, schools, and garage and maintenance buildings for Department of Highways Stratford, Lampton, Port Hope, Paris, New Liskeard, Bancroft, Ponte Poole, Hamilton, Kingston and Chapleau.

    By this time due to family circumstances I sold a house in Gadshill and bought the farm (using my Veterans Land Act) in 1949.