The wishes and aspirations held by Fred and Evelyn for their life together after the war were not to be realized. Frederick Stanley Albright was reported killed in action at Passchendaele on 26 October 1917. It was his first engagement.
Fred's last letter to Evelyn was the one written on 19 and 20 October 1917. Evelyn continued writing to Fred, her last letter to him being that of November 8th to 11th 1917. Fred did not receive any of the letters that Evelyn wrote in October 1917. These were returned to her, much later, with the announcement "Killed in Action" written on the envelopes. Evelyn learned of Fred's death in a telegram from the Director of Records in Ottawa, dated November 10, which read: "Deeply regret inform you 895173 Pte. Frederick Stanley Albright was officially reported killed in action between October twenty third and twenty sixth 1917." In August 1919 she received a formal death certificate from Militia Headquarters, Ottawa.
In a letter(1) dated 5 November 1919, which she sent to the editor of Memorial Acta,(2) Evelyn Albright described the scene at Passchendaele as it was related to her: " ... I do not know of any information that would be of special interest. My husband was in France only about six weeks, and I have been told that although he had been in the second lines previously, this was his first battle. Only recently I saw his Lieutenant, and he told me that only two or three, besides himself, out of his platoon, came out of that fight. The conditions were frightful, and there are no details. Lieut. Rodgers said he was in another part of the trench, and when he came back, he found that several of his men had been killed by the same shell."
Evelyn provided further information in a separate letter(3) (dated 22 January 1920), possibly for the University of Toronto Roll of Service (4) She wrote "I am told by the Lieutenant in charge of my husband's platoon that they had been in the lines for six days in a badly exposed position - without trenches to call by that name, under heavy fire. ..."
Evelyn presumed that Fred had been buried in the lines. The citation in the University of Toronto Roll of Service reads that he was buried at Passchendaele. The records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission show that he was buried at the Larchwood (Railway Cutting) Cemetery, Zillebeke (near Ypres), Belgium in Plot 4. Row H. Grave 7.
The name of Frederick Stanley Albright appears on page 190 in the Book of Remembrance of the First World War, which is kept in the Chapel of the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa. Each year on May 1 and 2 this page is displayed for public viewing.
Evelyn remained in Calgary to complete her law studies and graduated in 1919, standing third in the province. She became only the second woman lawyer in Alberta but did not practice. She returned east to London, Ontario, where her father was pastor at Colborne Street Methodist Church. In 1920 she joined the English department at the University of Western Ontario, under Professor William F. Tamblyn. The first female instructor in a department of three Evelyn Albright had a successful career at Western. In 1925 she became an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1934.
After attending courses at the University of Chicago for several summers she received her M.A. in English in 1926. Evelyn's taste in English literature was wide-ranging with her main interest being the 18th century. Colleagues, students and those outside the university community held her in high regard. Upon retirement in 1951 Evelyn was active in the University Alumni Association, of which she was later granted honorary membership.
Elnora Evelyn Kelly Albright died at the age of 89 in London, Ontario on 24 April 1979. After her death, the correspondence was donated to the University of Western Ontario by her literary executor, Frances Gage.
1. The letter is in the file of Frederick Stanley Albright at the University of Toronto Archives, A73-0026/003.
2. Published by Acta Victoriana.
3. The letter is also in the file of Frederick Stanley Albright at the University of Toronto Archives.
4. University of Toronto Roll of Service, 1914-1918. University of Toronto Press, 1921.