A Family of Many Blessings and Gifts
19th Century Histories
21st Century Histories
Sydney Williamson 1895-1982 & Williamson (nee Nicholson) 1896-1971
James Sydney Williamson was born in Widnes, Lancashire, England to John and Ellen Williamson (nee Farrell) on March 6, 1895. He was the seventh child of John and Ellen Williamson. He died on January 11, 1982 in Vancouver B.C..
Sydney was raised in Widnes alongside his siblings Mary, Nicholas, Eileen, Nena, John, Thomas Phyllis, Monica, Shelagh, Veronica and Dorothea. He attended St. Bede's Church and School and was considered a bright student, following his father and mothers love for learning and the arts, he exhibited a keen interested in literature, music and acting in plays and pantomimes.
His father owned and operated a flourishing tailoring business which eventually diminished with introduction of ready made clothing during the turn of the 19th to the 20th centuries. He and his brother Nicholas joined their father in his desire to move to Canada in March of 1910. Syd's mother Ellen who was initially a school teacher, latterly a skilled seamstress, led the young girls of the family to join John and the boys and settle in the Mount Pleasant area of Vancouver B.C. in June of 1910.
Muriel Margaret Nicholson was born in Chapleau, Ontario, Canada on April 18, 1896. She died June 21, 1971 at Sechelt B.C. Canada. She was the 2nd of four siblings. Her father Herman Leslie Nicholson was born in Prince Edward Island in June of 1862. Her mother Jennie MacDonald was born in Nova Scotia in May 1864. Florence, her elder sister, was also born in Ontario in Oct 1890. Ethel was born in British Columbia in Dec 1899 and the youngest Jean was also born in British Columbia in Oct 1906, believed in Rossland in the Kootenays. The 1901 the Yale and Cariboo Census may have registered the family as living in Rossland. One of 's sisters, may have moved to Nelson B.C. from Rossland as their was a Nicholson family whose children attended St Joseph's Academy school during the 1940's. The 1911 Kootenay Census stated the Jenny MacDonald's mother Christina MacDonald (born 1831 in Nova Scotia) was listed as living with Jenny's family. The Nicholson family moved to Vancouver from Rossland sometime before 1920. Muriel worked as a bank clerk when she met Syd.
For Syd, arriving in Canada at age 15, followed his father's preferences to follow a vocation in the newspaper business. Upon arrival in Vancouver, Syd's father John became a reporter with the Vancouver World newspaper (now the Vancouver Sun) and soon became a member of the paper's editorial staff. John's writing skills were well noted and in 1911 was appointed to be the editor of the Penticton Herald. Syd's followed his father and family to Penticton and worked as a linotype operator thereby learning the various newspaper industry skills that were to impact on his future in the industry at Vancouver.
When WW1 (1914-1918) broke out Sydney joined the British Royal Flying Corps in 1917 and was eventually stationed in France. He received severe injures in a plane crash while in France and was hospitalized in England for almost a year. The results of the injury were with him for the rest of his life. However, on a furlough he did managed to meet his father in Paris as John had been assigned to a service operated by the American Knights of Columbus (a lodge) to assist their soldiers, when on short furlough to relax from combat on the front lines. Syd, also on a furlough, travelled to Widnes to visit relatives and old friends.
Sydney and Muriel were active in church young people organizations and met around 1921-23. Syd was attracted to acting in plays and pantomimes at St Patrick and other Churches in Vancouver. His good friend Dick Clark was also engaged in the organization and production alongside Syd. According to family memories, it seemed that Syd and Muriel met and dated during these times and fell in love. They married at 's St Augustine parish church in Vancouver on February 24, 1925. Their first of their three children, Shelagh Maureen was born June 2, 1926 followed by James Patrick (Gary) June 16 1930, and Dennis Shaun on Sept 5 1936. Syd and Muriel's love and happiness was a joyful, free spirited love that filled a family life as a precious gift to their children.
Sydney also joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1939 and was given the title of "Squadron Leader". He was assigned to the British Commonwealth Air Training Program serving at newly created bases in Nova Scotia, Dauphin Manitoba, and at Abbotsford, Boundary Bay and Patricia Bay in British Columbia. He was promoted to Wing Commander to enahance his roll as air base commander soon after joining the RCAF.