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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ancestor Enlists with Two Names in CEF

Debbie asked a question about an ancestor in the CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force) in WW1

i found a record for a olvar william david bates..except he is listed as muxlow instead of bates.. muxlow is his mothers maiden name and the year of birth is off by two years which makes him 16 when enlisted. My question is how was it possible for him to enlist in 1915 under his mothers maiden name was he was registered in the birth records and on the 1901 census as bates plus he would have been 16. I am baffled

Debbie - I'm pretty sure you meant Orval, not Olvar as your ancestor's first name.

Your first step would be to compare the two sets of attestion papers which you can do on or on the LAC website.

MUXLOW Orval William. Regimental Number 136227 (on
Name: Orval William Muxlow
Birth: Petrolia Ontario
Father: Lazarus Muxlow
Next of Kin Residence: Calgary Alberta
Date of birth: Dec. 12, 1896
Occupation: Teamster
Marital Status: Single
Date: Sept. 8, 1915
Place where Signed Up: Toronto Ontario

Muxlow - back
Age 18 years 9 months
Height: 5' 7 1/4 inches
Scar under left eye, tip of 3rd finger left hand missing
Blue eyes, brown hair
Church of England

In the MUXLOW attestation papers there is a note at the top "Struck off - illegally absent" "Struck off" usually means the soldier has gone AWOL and so has been removed from (struck off) the regiment rolls. You would probably learn more if you order the full file for him. He may have run off when he realized he was going to be sent to the Young Soldier's Battalion for underage boys who lied on their enlistment papers.

BATES, Orval William David. Regimental Number 802072 (not found on but indexed on LAC website) 

You will have to send for BOTH files as the Attestation Papers are one page only. The full file if it has survived will have more information and will allow you to compare the two men.

I suggest that your Orval enlisted under his real name of MUXLOW and lied about his age. He was found out and may have run off (AWOL). If he waited 2 more years until he was of age, he may have been afraid to give his real name as he'd gone AWOL under it. So he used his mom's maiden name of BATES.

Please keep us informed as I'm very curious now!


  1. Lorine, it was the other way around. Bates was his real name and Lazarus Bates was his father (looking at 1901 and 1911 census).

    Debbie, lying about identity and age was not unusual in WWI and even WWII. Two of my uncles were under-age in WWII, but did not get caught out. Unfortunately they both ended up as POWs. In WWI, my grandfather enlisted under his proper surname but was refused because of a medical eye-condition, so he went to another recruitment center and truncated his name and got accepted.

    I agree with Lorine, you should send for his files as it would be interesting to read the correspondence (if any) to see if his lies in 1915 caught up to him. :-}


  2. I went to the Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group at and checked under CEF Unit Matrix for the
    list of regimental numbers. Orval Bates' regimental number was for the 135th Battalion. I was able to locate him in the 135th Battalion Nominal lists, also under
    CEF Unit Matrix in the Bob Richardson collection. Here are the details when he enlisted:

    Regimental Number: 802072
    Rank: Private
    Name: Bates, Orval William D.
    Former Corps: Nil
    Name of Next of Kin: L. Bates
    Address or NOK: 64 High St London, Ont
    Country of Birth: Canada
    Taken on Strength: at Strathroy
    Date: November 29, 1915

    The 135th Battalion left from Halifax on the SS Olympic in August 1916. At some point they must have found out that he was underage. When he returned to Canada on the Aquitania in November 1918 he was listed with other soldiers from the Young Soldiers Battalion at Kimell Park (which is most
    likely Kinmel Park in Wales). He is listed in the manifests as O.W.D. Bates at Ancestry.

  3. Annette - as always you amaze me! Thank you so much for doing this for Debbie!


  4. Thanks Annette, that information now explains why he enlisted again under Muxlow

  5. Debbie,
    He actually enlisted under the name Muxlow first in September 1915. Probably because he was underage. Maybe they found out he was underage right away so he disappeared. Only a copy of his service record might tell you why. He enlisted again with the 135th in November 1915 and went overseas with them. Both records should provide with some answers as to what happened.