Alfred Roland Mist
Misty was born in Wolverton England on May 24, 1900. He was placed at the Stony Stratford orphanage. He also spent some time at the Ramsgate orphanage. At the age of 3 (Feb. 10, 1904) he was boarded out to Mrs. Mayo at 71 Anson Road, Wolverton Bucks, England. At some point she became his foster mother.
Misty became a "Home Boy" when he was brought to Canada by the Fagan's Boys Home. He was put aboard the SS Empress of Britain on 7 April, 1911. At 4:00 AM Apr. 16, 1911, he arrived with 95 other boys in the city of Toronto.
On Apr. 21, 1911 (still only 10 years old) he was put to work on a farm to pay for his passage from England. He was employed at the Woodleigh Farm near Ida Ont. He was boarded with the L.H. Winslow family, and stayed there until 1916 when he joined the army. It should be noted that he paid off his debt to the Fegan's Boys home before doing so.
He lied about his age and signed up for WW1 on Feb. 7, 1916 at Millbrook Ont. He was 15 years old and was placed with the 136th Battalion.
On Oct. 6 he arrived in England aboard the SS Corsican and placed with the 39th Battn.
On the 17th of April, 1918 he joined the 21st Battn., 4th Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division, at Wailly France, near the front lines. He was only 17 years old! Like most of the soldiers of the Great War, grandpa didn't talk readily about his experiences in the trenches and therefore I have no stories of the 21st to relate. He was fortunate to have missed the horror filled days of Vimy and the battle at the Sugar Factory, but he was there for the "Pursuit to Mons"
At war's end, he was shipped home aboard the SS Caronia with the Battalion from Liverpool on the 14 May, 1919. He had not yet turned 19!
"Misty" Signs Up Again For WWll!
During the interval between the 2 Great Wars, Misty found work at Weston´s Bakery in Toronto and delivered bread door to door with his trusty horse and buggy. He was married to Kathleen (Kitty) and settled into the domestic life.
At the outbreak of hostilities in Europe, he wanted to serve again. In June of 1940, he joined the Royal Regiment (Non Permenant Active Militia). He was deemed to be too old to see combat, but because of his WW1 service, he was given the rank of Sgt. and made a drill instructor.
Dec. 9, 1940 he joined the Canadian Active Service Force, and was assigned to #2 District Depot in Toronto, then wound up in Aldershot England training the troops that were to oust the Germans from Europe. Somehow, he wound up on a troop ship with the Royal Regiment headed to Dieppe! He did not go ashore as an officer spotted him and ordered him to return to England with the ship.
On the 7th of June 1943 he was transferred to the #9 P.O.W.E. (Prisoner of War Escort) Unit.
On the 18th of June, 1943 he came back to Canada while escorting POWs. He remained at #2 DD Toronto until his discharge on 19 Nov. 1945.
With all of the different units that Misty served with in both wars, his heart was with the 21st Battalion. He grew up in the trenches with the "21sters", saw his first action there, and I'm sure had at least one father figure to help him along.
Because of this, he was an active member of the 21st Battalion Club, and attended several reunions. The following is an excerpt from the Program of Events as printed in THE COMMUNIQUE (the 21st Bttn. Club newsletter) for the 50th Anniversary at Kingston, Sep. 18-20, 1964:
ALFIE MIST -- MASTER BAKER
We are informed by Alf Tugwood that Alfie Mist, good comrade, whom we remember well as a welcome visitor at Sunnybrook last winter, is going back to his old profession of master - baker for the occasion of our 50th Anniversary. He has made the bold statement that he will not only bake one cake, but two -- one for ceremonial purposes and one for eating. As he states that these cakes -- on his authority and responsibility as a master of the art of baker, will be the greatest, the ultimate in achievement, the finest.
Alfie, my good friend and comrade, our best wishes. May the cakes be the lightest in weight, the finest in texture, of mouth-watering deliciousness, with icing a half-inch thick and as soul-satisfying in goodness! Go to it, old friend -- and if the cakes, either of them, fall, . . . . well, we better not go into the possibility, it is too terrible to contemplate. With the certain dire effect on your so mild disposition and all.
MY NOTE: Although his family and civilian friends affectionately called him Misty, it is apparent that his army buddies called him Alfie.
At war's end he settled in on Cedric Ave. in Toronto and returned to Weston's Bakery. At first he returned to his route with his horse and delivery wagon. He was later moved inside to the order desk. It's worth noting that while he was away in the army his wife Kitty sold their home and bought another on the same street.