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Private Alexander Ralph Eby

Alexander Ralph Eby was the first son of Alexander and Ada Eby born in Berlin (Kitchener), Ontario on August 3rd 1890/. Alexander Jr. was the great-great-grandson of Bishop Benjamin Eby, an particularly prominent figure in the Mennonite community within the Berlin area during the early nineteenth century. Alexander Jr. moved to Saskatchewan in 1909 where he worked as a farmer, while his father worked in Berlin as a glove maker.

Unlike his Mennonite ancestors who did not fight during the War of 1812, when war was declared in the summer of 1914, Alexander volunteered to join the Saskatchewan Regiment of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. On March 21st, 1914 Alexander Jr. became the first soldier from the Waterloo Region to be ‘Killed in Action’ during the First World War. Private Alexander Ralph Eby is buried at the Rude-David Military Cemetery in Fleurbaix, France. Being the first Waterloo Region soldier to fall victim to the First World War, Alexander Jr. has been commemorated in various books and museum exhibits throughout the region.

Service number: 13627


“Canadian Virtual War Memorial: Alexander Ralph Eby,” Veterans Affairs Canada, accessed March 20, 2015,
“Was Killed By a Sniper,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, April 19, 1915.
“Eby, Benjamin,” Canadian Dictionary of Biography, accessed March 24, 2015,


Private John Gerbig

John Gerbig was born on October 4th, 1887 in Berlin (Kitchener), Ontario to Conrad and Catherine Gerbig. John’s father worked as a night watchman at a local Sugar Factory. While John’s father Conrad was a Lutheran of German heritage, John’s mother Catherine was a Roman Catholic immigrant from Germany and she raised John and his older sister Ida in the Catholic Church. Ida married a man named Theodore Schmidt and they had a son named Gordon in 1908 and another named Roy in 1912. Following Catherine’s death, the family moved in with Ida and Theodore. John worked as a painter while Theodore worked as a machinist.

Just after his 27th birthday, on October 28th, 1914 John enlisted for the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Galt (Cambridge). He fought for the 18th Battalion as an infantry soldier in Belgium. Five days before Christmas in 1915 John was killed in action in Ridgewood. Private John Gerbig is buried at the Ridge Wood Military Cemetery West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Service number: 53918

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“Ridge Wood Military Cemetery,” Commonwealth War Graves Commission, accessed March 21, 2015,