Wilkie Borden - WW1 Desertion and Re-enlistment

Dear Fred Anthony,

Thank you for your inquiry of November 21 concerning Wilkie Borden. In reply, I wish to advise you that errors to our databases may be reported using the “Suggest a correction” link found on the Item display page of most of our databases.

I have already reported through the link that the Memorial Card for a James Faules, Regimental Number 67181 (images 46-47) was misplaced in Wilkie Borden’s file.
As for the 2 Wilkie Bordens, they seem to be the same person.

Wilkie Borden, Regimental Number 67035, enrolled November 6, 1914, and deserted July 17, 1915.

Re-enlisted under Number 709124 on October 22, 1915.

Both Attestation papers have the same birthdate, February 18, 1888, the same trade, Steam Engineer, and although Regimental Number 709124 is listed as unmarried, both are sending money to a Bessie Borden in Westville, NS. See images 38 and 32.

We have no way of knowing why Wilkie Borden deserted in England to re-enlist in Canada.

The reason why the first Attestation Paper is not included in the service file is two-fold. Service files of deserters were routinely destroyed. Only a few documents recording the date of desertion were retained. Image 26 would be one of the few documents retained. Since he re-enlisted, both files were merged; both regimental numbers are recorded on the original file jacket (image 3).

The attestation papers attached to the database were scanned from a series of attestation registers rather than from the copies of the attestation papers that are contained in the individual service files. These were not destroyed in cases of desertion.

Although desertions were a Court Martial offense, I found no record of such a proceeding in our Courts Martial of the First World War database, www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/courts-martial/Pages/courts-martial.aspx.


Richard Lelièvre
Genealogy Consultant, Public Services Branch
Library and Archives Canada/ Government of Canada
richard.lelievre@canada.ca/ Tel: 1-866-578-7777 / TTY:1-866-299-1699