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Oakville soldiers in the 4th: George Busby

In 1862 George and Jane Busby, from Ashely in Northamptonshire, sailed for Canada with their six children. Jane died on the voyage, but the family settled in Oakville. George was a teamster, and a soldier in the Oakville Rifles at least as early as 1868. He and his second wife, Elizabeth, were founding members of the Salvation Army in the town. They both died in the typhoid epidemic of 1889.

George’s eldest son, William (1851-1933) had a jewellery store on Lakeshore Road – it’s now a designated building. He trained his nephew, Robert Hillmer, to be a watchmaker, and the nephew opened a jewellery store in Southampton.

William Busby’s jewellery store 191-5 Lakeshore Road East, Oakville

William was the first agent for the Bell Telephone Company when it was growing its list of subscribers in Oakville. He was on the board of the Methodist church (later St John’s church). Busby Park is named in his honour because of his interest in beautifying the town by cleaning up local dumps.

William married Mary Jane Walker (1864-1934) and George William Busby (1891-1921) was one of their sons.

George William Busby (1891-1921)

George studied at the Canadian Horological Institute in Toronto, and became a watchmaker in the family business in Oakville.

When the first word war broke out, George was one of the original group from Oakville to volunteer to serve. He was attested in the 4th Battalion, CEF in Valcartier 22 September 1914, and promoted to Lance Corporal on December 7th. He sailed in the armada that took the first contingent to England, and served with them in France. Here he spent some time in military hospitals with varicose veins, then returned to a reserve unit. In August he broke out of camp with another man’s leave pass, got drunk in Havre, and lost his lance stripe. But he went back to the 4th, and in May 1916 a sniper shot him in the leg. He was granted six weeks furlough and assigned to conducting duty back to Canada. This must have been when he married Dorothy Laine. He was back at the front in 1917, was gassed twice (August and September), and shot once more. After returning to Canada, he worked for the Waltham Watch Company in Montreal. After facing enemy fire for months in the trenches, he was shot and killed by robbers back home, at the store at which he worked, 1 December 1921. (The Canadian jeweller, (1921), 81.) He is buried in the family plot in Oakville.

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