Dorothy Griffin and Robert Parry

UPDATED February 12, 2020.

Born November 24, 1890, Dorothy Griffin was the only daughter of John Griffin (1860-1937) and Sarah Jane (née Goodland) (1857-1931). When she was born her father was 30 and her mother was 33.

I have one photo of my great-grand aunt Dorothy Griffin (above) with her brothers, my great-grandfather, Arthur  (left) and my great-great-uncle, Charles Griffin (right) during WWI. My grandmother, also Dorothy (Irene) Griffin, may have been named for her aunt.

According to an arrival form from the Ocean Liner Minnedosa, Dorothy arrived in Canada (Quebec) in May 1921. The form names her father, John, as her next of kin and suggests that she’s going to meet her future husband, Robert Parry, in Calgary, Alberta. The form suggests that Robert lived at 1209 5th Avenue NW in Calgary.

Canada, Ocean Arrivals (image via Ancestry.com)
5th Avenue NW, Calgary, AB, Canada (image via GoogleMaps)

Annette Fulford who is researching Canadian War Brides of the First World War on her site, provided me with a copy of the marriage announcement in the Calgary Herald. The announcement suggests that the couple was married on June 2, 1921, at St. Barnabas Church in Hillhurst, Alberta.

Calgary Herald, June 6, 1921 (image via Google News)

And although I’d had trouble finding it prior to, thanks to Annette, I was able to identify the couple on the 1921 census, living with Robert’s brother, William and his family at 307 11th Street Northwest. (Interesting—on present-day GoogleMaps, this is a two-story residence, but as late as 2009, it was only one story.) William’s occupation is listed as “Postman”, born in Wales eight years before his brother. His wife Elizabeth is at home with their son Reginald, who is ten years old. Robert’s occupation appears to be a “Freight Handler.” Later records suggest that Robert was working for the Canadian National Railway.

1921 Canadian Census (image via Ancestry.com)
307 11th Street Northwest, Calgary (image via GoogleMaps)

I have very little information about Robert Parry prior to 1921 other than the fact he was born on April 10, 1893, in Bethesda, Caernarvonshire, Wales.

After marrying, Dorothy and Robert had two sons:

  • John (Jack) Ogwen Parry (1923-?)
  • Robert Alan (Alan) Parry (1924-2000) married Felicia Irene Battle (1922-2010)
A Family Reunion (From right – Robert Parry, Arthur Griffin, Jack Parry (Back),
Grace Griffin (front), Lily (Moore) Griffin, Alan Parry, Dorothy Irene Griffin)

In March, 1928 of Dorothy and her two sons (Jack and Alan) cross back from Liverpool via the Ocean Liner Celtic (owned by the infamous White Star line). At this time, it appears they’re living at 915 4th Avenue Northwest (4th Avenue is now part of the Trans-Canada Highway). The document suggests that they were visiting her father, and it doesn’t appear that Robert joined them.

Canadian Passenger Lists (image via Ancestry.com)
Calgary Herald, August 29, 1940

As above, Robert worked for the Canadian National Railway. During the war, several articles suggest that he was instrumental in evacuating several women and children to Canada. An April 23, 1940 article in the Calgary Herald titled “Young French Lad Reaches Drumheller” suggests that he was a ticket agent—and a specialist in bringing children across-seas to Drumheller on their own. The article suggests another boy made the trip a year prior to be reunited with his Canadian father. An August 29, 1940 article in the Calgary Herald suggests that Robert Parry arranged for an elderly English woman named Mary Rimmer to stay in Drumheller with her daughter until the end of the war.

Calgary Herald, September 12, 1940

A September 12, 1940 article in the Calgary Herald suggests that the family is currently living in Drumheller, Alberta. Jack was awarded a Coronation bursary as well as a Rotary Club gold medal for academics. It suggests he will be entering the University of Alberta to pursue a degree in chemical engineering. A further article on May 19, 1942 suggests Jack won the John Henry Stanley Memorial Prize in History while at the University. In May, 1943, jack wins the Gordon Stanley Fife Memorial Prize before obtaining his Bachelor of Arts degree.

Alan also exceeds in academics. A December 19, 1941 article in the Calgary Herald suggests that he won a school board scholarship and was the silver medal recipient for the Rotary Club.

World War II – Flight Officer Robert Alan Parry

On April 29, 1943, we find Petty Officer Robert Alan Perry arriving in Cardiff Wales. Alan has joined the war effort as a Royal Canadian Airforce (RCAF) trainee.

A January 4, 1944 article in the Calgary Herald suggests that Alan has been promoted to the rank of Flying Officer in the RCAF while overseas. The family is living at 425 16th Avenue Northeast in Calgary at the time. This address is an empty lot in current day.

Calgary Herald, January 4, 1944

On March 25, 1944, Flight Officer Robert Alan Parry is reported missing after an overseas air operation. A March 30 article in the Calgary Herald suggests that he enlisted in the airforce in 1942 and graduated as a navigator. The article suggests that brother Jack received the Starratt Trophy memorial wristwatch for the highest marks in his class only a week prior.

Calgary Herald, March 30, 1944

On April 29, 1944, the Flight Officer Robert Alan Parry is reported a casualty on an RCAF casualty list.

The Lethbridge Herald, April 28, 1944

Just when it seems all hope is lost—Alan is reported to be a prisoner of war in Germany. A June 17, 1944 article in the Calgary Herald suggests that he has been wounded but the extent of his injuries are unknown.

Calgary Herald

In December, 1944, we learn that Jack has also joined the war effort—and following in his brother’s footsteps, is promoted to the rank of Flying Officer.

Calgary Herald, December 1, 1944

On May 19, 1945, Alan is reported safe and in England. An article in the Calgary Herald suggests he was held for over a year in the POW camp Stalag Luft No. 1. According to Wikipedia, the camp was near Barth, West Pomerania, Germany. There were about 9,000 airmen imprisoned there (mostly Americans) when the camp was liberated by the Russians on April 30, 1945.

Scholarship

Alan returned from war and went back to school. On September 10, 1947, the Calgary Herald reports that he won the prestigious Robert Tegler Bursary in mathematics and physics. He’s entering his second year at the university, where he’s taking an honours course in mathematics.

On May 12, 1950, the Calgary Herald reports that Robert (Alan) Parry received a Bachelor of Science in Arts and Science from the University of Alberta.

On October 2, 1951, the Calgary Herald reports that Robert Parry Sr. received a safety award from the Canadian National Railway.

Robert died on October 26th, 1956. Robert was employed by the Canadian National Railway (CNR) as a baggage master likely since 1921, when he’s listed on the census as a Freight Handler. The family was living at 201 29th Avenue N.E. at the time of his death at the Calgary General Hospital (the house is quite small and GoogleMaps photos from 2007-2015 are not clear because of an overgrowth of bushes out front). The record further suggests that one of his sons, Jack, moved to Finland, and the other, Alan, while still in Canada, was on the east coast in Newfoundland. At this time, the couple has two grandchildren. His obituaries:

Calgary Herald, October 29, 1956

Dorothy survived her husband by 24 years and died on February 5, 1970. Dorothy was living in an apartment at 119 28th Avenue Northwest in Calgary at the time of her death and she is buried with her husband in 1970 in Union Cemetery. This obituary suggests that her children moved to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and she had two more grandchildren. Dorothy was also an active member of her church.

Calgary Herald, February 9, 1970

The couple are buried in in the Union Cemetery in Calgary, Alberta.

Main image: Siblings – Arthur Bird Griffin, Dorothy Griffin, and Charles Owen Griffin

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About Author

AG Knapper

AG has been researching her family tree since 2004, and it now includes over 7,000 ancestors and their descendants. She aspires to permanently record the stories before they're lost to time. Do you want to read her latest research? Use this link to sign-up for a weekly newsletter so you never miss a story! Do you know this family? Comment below or use the contact form and help make these stories richer.

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