Alexander Bramah (1888–?) was born in July 1888 in Georgetown, Demerara, in British Guiana (now Guyana). An African Canadian, he enlisted at the age of 28 with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Sydney Mines, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, on July 21, 1916. He served with the No. 2 Construction Battalion of the Canadian Engineers—the so-called “Black Battalion.” Like many who served in that Battalion, he was a miner by trade and from the Maritimes. At the initial outbreak of war, racial prejudices prevented many Black volunteers from enlisting, and it was not until the No. 2 Construction Battalion was formed that many got the chance they had been seeking. Lance Corporal Bramah survived the war, returned to Canada aboard the SS Empress of Britain, and was discharged in Halifax on February 20, 1919.
Service Record Details
Date of Birth: July 15, 1888 (Georgetown, Demerara, British Guiana)
Date of Attestation: July 21, 1916 (Sydney Mines, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia)
Age at Enlistment: 28 years old
Prior Military Service: Seven weeks with the 40th Battalion
Height: 5 feet, 5 inches
Weight: 160 pounds
Description: “Black” complexion, “Black” eyes, “Black” hair. Two vaccination marks on left arm. Oval-shaped mark on chest.
Home Address: 105 Laurier Street, Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Married: “No” on attestation. Paperwork indicates he married on March 16, 1917.
Next of Kin: Father, Samuel Bramah, Plantation Rosedale, Berbice (?), British Guiana. Mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Bramah, Georgetown, British Guiana. Wife, Mrs. Jane Isabella Bramah, living at 34 Hankard Street, Sydney, Nova Scotia. He has five children, sons Gustus and Nathan, and daughters Leone, Dorothy and Netta. Nathan and Netta are four-year-old twins.
Theatre of War: France
The service record contains sensitive medical information.
Interesting Details from the Service Record
- May 21, 1917 – In France, Bramah has to forfeit five days’ pay for “Making away with Iron Rations.” The same year, he is severely reprimanded for “(1) Disobeying an order, (2) Threatening a Warrant Officer.”
- 1918 – He is granted 14 days’ leave in Paris several times. On one occasion he is severely reprimanded for being “AWL” in overstaying his leave by 2 1/2 hours.
- May 2, 1918 – He is reprimanded for “…losing by neglect articles of clothing; 1 pr. Trousers.”
The London Gazette
No mentions found.
Military Medals, Honours and Awards (1812–1969)
No mentions found.
No records located.