Private Arthur Francis “Frank” Burnett was born in Crewe, Cheshire, England, on October 29, 1888. Prior to the war Burnett married Ellen (“Nell”) Jane and at the time of his enlistment had a young daughter, Jessie Hughina. The family lived in Port Moody, British Columbia, where Burnett worked as a Steam Fitter.
Burnett enlisted with the 121st Battalion in Vancouver, B.C., on April 29, 1916. Shipping overseas on board the S.S. Empress of Britain the following August, he spent several months training in England before proceeding to France in November of 1916 to serve with the 75th Battalion.
Burnett was killed at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917, when he was hit by enemy shrapnel. He was buried in Canadian Cemetery No. 2, Neuville-St. Vaast, France.
All letters in the collection were written by Burnett to his wife Nell and daughter Hughina (usually referred to in letters as “Sweetheart”). Writing style can be somewhat challenging. Most newspaper clippings are memorial “in Loving Memory” remembrances. Postcards are mainly of the embroidered silk souvenir type.
Pte. Burnett’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# 761242) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
WWI Circumstances of Death Registers record card (page # 273), Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. [Note: CWGC documents (and gravestone) spell Burnett’s daughter’s name as “Hughena.”]
A memorial page honouring Burnett can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.