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Private Franklin Mager Keffer

Private Franklin Mager Keffer

Male 1893 - 1916  (22 years)

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  • Name Franklin Mager Keffer 
    Title Private 
    Nickname Frank 
    Born 17 Oct 1893  Vaughan, York, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    1893Birth-FranklinMagerKeffer.jpg
    1893Birth-FranklinMagerKeffer.jpg
    1893 Birth record for Franklin Mager Keffer.
    Gender Male 
    FindAGrave Memorial # 12056489 
    Veteran World War I
    Service Number: A/11083 or 411083.
    Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry 
    Died 2 Jun 1916  Maple Copse, Ypres, West Flanders, Belgium Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Ypres, West Flanders, Belgium Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I453  The Keffer - Diceman Family Tree
    Last Modified 17 Oct 2017 

    Father Wellington Keffer,   b. 16 Jan 1862, Vaughan, York, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Mar 1940, Hespeler, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years) 
    Mother Ellen Priscilla Warren,   b. 1869, Brantford, Brant, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1961, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 92 years) 
    Married 9 Apr 1890  Hespeler, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • Excerpts from the original article: "'A crazy, crazy time' as Berlin becomes Kitchener", Written by Jeff Outhit. Published 8 May 2016.
      https://www.therecord.com/news-story/6543194--a-crazy-crazy-time-as-berlin-becomes-kitchener/

      Pte. Frank Keffer is learning the hard way how to fight on the Western Front.

      "I have been under shell and rifle fire, and in the trenches, off and on the whole time, and am quite used to it now; but no one ever gets used to the shelling," he writes to an uncle in January 1916. "They always make us take the nearest shelter, and then we trust to luck that they don't make a direct hit."

      Keffer, 22, is from Hespeler. He's a smart man, recruited out of university after graduating from Galt Collegiate, where he ran and played rugby.

      On June 2, 1916, he's helping to hold the Allied front line at a place called Mount Sorrel in Belgium. Muddy trenches are still strewn with rotting corpses of earlier battles.

      The Germans attack with a plan: Break through the Canadian lines to capture the high ground beyond, attacking with rested, well-trained troops.

      First they launch a five-hour artillery barrage that flattens Canadian trenches. The enemy detonates mines planted beneath trenches, sending mud and human remains into the air.

      Grey-coated enemy soldiers follow, advancing in four waves about 75 metres apart, bayonets fixed, carrying hand grenades, wire cutters, entrenching tools and sandbags.

      Canadian trenches are overrun. Keffer is killed at Maple Copse, a wooded area where combat uproots trees, showering the battlefield with deadly slivers and stakes.

      Television director John Keffer respects his great uncle's sacrifice, but struggles to understand the meaning of his death.

      "I just can't imagine a young man being thrust into something like that," Keffer said. "People were very nave. They were going over there to fight the Hun and it was going to be over by Christmas. They had no idea what they were getting into."

      -

      June 1916 becomes the bloodiest month that Waterloo County (the Region today) has endured in the First World War. It holds that distinction until September 1916, when 31 local soldiers are killed as Canada joins the slaughter at the Somme battlefield in France.

      Among September's dead is Pte. Ernest Keffer, 20, a weaver from Hespeler. He's the younger brother of Frank.

      On Sept. 19, Keffer is resting alone in a shell hole, exhausted. He awakens early and rises up. Comrades in shell holes nearby yell a warning, but can't prevent calamity.

      A German sniper targets Keffer. Shot through the body, he pitches forward onto a railway track. His comrades manage to pull him into a larger hole but they know right away it's too late. Keffer dies within 30 minutes.

      Wellington and Nellie Keffer have now lost two sons, four months apart. The father poured his fears into a letter to his sister in 1915.

      "It goes without saying that Nellie and I can't help but be anxious, and it is hard to part with the boys and have them exposed to constant danger, and it may be that while we are writing our fond letters to them that they may be lying still in death, and we may see their faces no more," he wrote.

      "And yet we would not have them back until the war is over; and feel we are one of many more thousands who have made the sacrifice and that they are fighting to uphold the right.

      "And another thing that gives us great comfort is the fact that the boys have never given us any trouble, and are highly respected and loved by all that knew them, and if it should be that they will not return to us any more, we know that they are both prepared to go, and trusting Him who cares for us all, and doeth all things well."

      Kitchener's Betsy Ackford is comforted to know that her uncles volunteered for a cause they believed in. "They were very brave to do that," she said.
      Her mother Mary lived to 100 and never forgot her beloved brothers.
    Marriage
    1890Marriage-EllenWarren-WellingtonKeffer.jpg
    1890Marriage-EllenWarren-WellingtonKeffer.jpg
    1890 Marriage record for Ellen Warren and Wellington Keffer.
    Family ID F130  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 17 Oct 1893 - Vaughan, York, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 2 Jun 1916 - Maple Copse, Ypres, West Flanders, Belgium Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Ypres, West Flanders, Belgium Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    FranklinMagerKeffer.jpg
    FranklinMagerKeffer.jpg
    Photograph of Franklin Mager Keffer from the booklet 'Peace Souvenir Activities of Waterloo County in the Great War 1914 1918'. From the Toronto Public Library collection, submitted to the Canadian Virtual War Memorial by Operation: Picture Me.
    FranklinKeffer.jpg
    FranklinKeffer.jpg
    Private Franklin Mager Keffer. Located by Peter Lee, staff of the https://www.therecord.com/

    Headstones
    1916Gravestone-InscriptionMeninGate-YpresMemorialBelgium-FranklinKeffer.jpg
    1916Gravestone-InscriptionMeninGate-YpresMemorialBelgium-FranklinKeffer.jpg
    Private Franklin Mager Keffer's inscription on the Menin Gate in the Ypres Memorial in Belgium. His remains were never located. Photograph taken by Gary Nelson, post on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

  • Notes