Matthew Francis Bresnahan

Thank you to Bruce Kettles for providing the service file


Apr 21, 1888

Born to John and Hannora (nee Donahue) Bresnahan in Quebec City, Quebec


Jun 1, 1905

Shown on the payroll of the 8th Regiment, Royal Rifles at Valcartier, Quebec until July 13, 1905, with the rank of Private


Aug 28, 1914

He is shown with the rank of Sergeant with the 36th Regiment

Admitted to the No. 1 Stationary Hospital at Valcartier, Quebec with a diagnosis that reads “TB?”


Aug 29, 1914

Discharged from hospital and sent home from the Valcartier Camp


Mar 15, 1915

Attested into the 21st Battalion at Lindsay, Ontario

Ø      Number 59092 (temporary number 1305)

Ø      Next of kin given as Florence Bresnahan, wife, of 10 Widmer St., Toronto, Ontario

Ø      Previous occupation given as Lead Glazer

Ø      Previous military experience given as RCR 3 years and 36th Peel Regiment for 3 years

o       The RCR is incorrect as he actually served 3 years with the 8th Regiment, Stadacona Royal Rifles which was commonly called the Royal Rifles

Ø      Religion given as Roman Catholic

Ø      Assigned to the Depot Company


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama at Montreal Quebec

He developed a cold while onboard ship with a severe cough and some hemorrhaging from his lungs.  He was not hospitalized on arrival in England


May 15, 1915

Disembarked at Devonport, England and proceeded to West Sandling, near Hythe, Kent


May 23, 1915

Reported to be AWL (Absent Without Leave)


May 25, 1915

Reported for duty and sentenced to 14 days detention and forfeited 3 day’s pay


Jun 10, 1915

Admitted to the Moore Barracks Canadian Hospital at Shorncliffe, diagnosed with Pulmonary Tuberculosis

On admission, he gave information indicating that he had to give up his occupation as a Lead Glazer due to poor health and became a waiter prior to enlistment.


Jun 18, 1915

Medical Board recommends that he be admitted to a Sanitarium for 6 months, then be discharged from the CEF


Jul 8, 1915

Recommended for discharge from the CEF by Lieutenant Colonel W.S.P. Hughes, Commanding Officer of the 21st Battalion at West Sandling


Jul 15, 1915

Pte Bresnahan was transferred to the 39th Reserve Battalion while in hospital, but this order was later rescinded


Aug 3, 1915

Invalided to Canada aboard the SS Hesperian, embarking at Liverpool


Aug 4, 1915

SOS (Struck Off Strength) the 21st Battalion on proceeding to Canada for discharge


Aug 12, 1915

Disembarked at Quebec City, Quebec and joined the Discharge Depot, at Quebec City


Sep 1, 1915

Proceeded home on sick leave with subsistence


Sep 30, 1915

Admitted to the Muskoka Convalescent Home with a diagnosis of Pulmonary Tuberculosis


Oct 23, 1915

Discharged from the Convalescent Home


Nov 17, 1915

Removed from the payroll of the Discharge Depot


Nov 18, 1915

Posted to the Casualty Company at Quebec City, Quebec


Jan 31, 1916

SOS the Casualty Company and re-admitted to the Muskoka Convalescent Home


Mar 23, 1916

Shown on the payroll for the Casualty Company, MD #5 at Quebec City and transferred to the Lake Edward Sanatorium


Apr 3, 1916

Discharged from the CEF at Quebec City, Quebec 

Ø      Rank on discharge Private

Ø      Discharged by reason of no longer being physically fit for service

Ø      Proposed residence on discharge 199 Richmond St., Toronto, Ontario

A pension was granted the same day


Jun 12, 1916

Volunteered for service with the Duty Detachment at Valcartier, Quebec


Jun 22, 1916

Medical Board at Valcartier finds evidence of Tuberculosis and recommends that he be admitted into a Sanitarium.  However Pte Bresnahan refused that recommendation and was discharged from the Duty Detachment. 

From then until September of 1916 he claimed to be a non-official recruiting officer for a CEF Battalion forming in Bowmanville, Ontario


Sep 22, 1916

Medical Board at the Montreal General Hospital recommends that he be admitted to a Convalescent Home for treatment of possible Tuberculosis

Even though he had never served in France, Pte Bresnahan claimed to have been gassed at Ypres when he gave his medical history to the board.


Feb 8, 1917

Medical Exam at Montreal, Quebec declares him to be fit for service.  There is no mention of his previous health problems


Feb 9, 1917

Reinstated into the CEF and joined the 257th Battalion at Montreal, Quebec

Ø      Number 1102464

Ø      Next of kin given as Florence Bresnahan, wife, of 49 Victoria St, Montreal, Quebec

Ø      Previous occupation given as Lead Glazer

Ø      Previous military service given as 13 months with the 21st Battalion

o       Note that his actual service with the 21st Battalion was only 5 months, although his total service was 13 months, most of it in hospital

Ø      Religion given as Roman Catholic

There is no attestation paper in the file provided for this, and details are taken from other documents from the 257th Battalion


Feb 16, 1917

Embarked the RMS Missanabie at Halifax, Nova Scotia


Feb 27, 1917

Disembarked at Liverpool, England and proceeded to Purfleet, west of London


Mar 8, 1917

The 257th Battalion was re-designated as the 7th Battalion CRT (Canadian Railway Troops)


Mar 27, 1917

TOS (Taken On Strength) the CRT Depot at Purfleet


Apr 4, 1917

Admitted to the Military Hospital with a diagnosis that reads Suspected TB


Apr 26, 1917

Transferred to the Military Convalescent Hospital at Woodcote Park, Epsom


May 11, 1917

Transferred to the Ontario Military Hospital at Orpington, Kent

On admission he claimed to have never being sick before enlisting in the army in 1915, neglecting to mention being suspected of having TB in 1914


Jul 21, 1917

Discharged from the hospital and SOS the CRT Depot on proceeding to Canada for discharge.  Embarked the Hospital Ship Letitia at Liverpool and invalided to Canada



Aug 2, 1917

Disembarked at Halifax, Nova Scotia and proceeded to Quebec City, Quebec and TOS the Discharge Depot there


Sep 10, 1917

Medical Board at Ste Agathe des Monts, Quebec found him to be suffering from Tuberculosis and that the patient, after his condition was explained, refused further treatment.  The Board recommended that he receive a 100% disability for 1 year, then be discharged from the CEF

Pte Bresnahan stated that he had been in France with the 21st Battalion from July of 1915 to April of 1916 and he claimed to have been gassed at St Eloi in November of 1915, when he was clearly in Canada at that time, and had never been to France.


Sep 17, 1917

Admitted to the General Hospital at Montreal, Quebec


Sep 22, 1917

Discharged to duty


Jan 23, 1918

Admitted to the Ste. Agathe Military Sanitarium


Feb 16, 1918

Transferred to the D.C. Home, Montreal, Quebec diagnosed with moderately advanced Tuberculosis


Feb 27, 1918

Discharged as his condition improved


Mar 15, 1918

Discharged from the CEF at Montreal, Quebec

Ø      Rank on discharge Private

Ø      Discharged in consequence of being medically unfit due to Pulmonary Tuberculosis

Ø      Proposed residence on discharge 227 Dalhousie St., Montreal, Quebec


Oct 16, 1918

Pte Bresnahan died of Influenza in Montreal, Quebec and was buried in the Notre Dame Des Neiges Cemetery Montreal.  His death was considered to be due to his service


Following the war, the British War Medal, Victory Medal, Plaque (Dead Man’s Penny), Scroll and Memorial Cross were sent to his widow, Mrs Florence Watkins (she had remarried), at 15956 Lamphere Road, Brightmoor, Detroit, Michigan, USA 

A second Memorial Cross was sent to his mother, Mrs H Bresnahan, at 116 Bernard St., Montreal, Quebec

In that he never served in France, the Victory Medal was issued in error, most likely a result of his repeated statements of having been in France, when in fact he had not been there at any time. 


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