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Schwartz family

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 Part 6: George Bryant Schwartz (1890 - 1958)


Early life

George Bryant Schwartz, who was known as ‘Bryant’, was born 08 September 1890 in Quebec and baptised 06 October 1890 at the Anglican Cathedral Holy Trinity. He was the eldest child of Edvart Hans Jørgen Schwartz and Louisa Caroline Renfrew. His godparents were his aunt Alette Schwartz and uncle Hans Jürgen Schwartz. Sadly his father died not long before Bryant’s third birthday. His mother remarried Thomas Harold Bertram Patton in 1898 and Bryant and his younger sister Olga lived with them in Montcalm. Bryant’s first overseas voyage was in 1897 to England with his mother and sister. It was the start of a lifetime of travelling for him. Although he did not accompany his mother and sister on their frequent voyages to England prior to World War I (most likely because he was at school and college), he did travel by himself in 1909 and 1913.


 WWI service

He enrolled in the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario c1910 where, as an officer cadet, he received military training and education. He was in the Corps of Guides, which was the intelligence branch of the military. After he graduated, he studied architecture and in September 1915, he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. He was given the rank of Captain and put in command of the newly formed 3rd Divisional Cyclist Company in Toronto. He had six platoons, each containing thirty men and an officer and they left for England in January 1916.

At the beginning of World War I, it was decided that Cyclist units were needed for intelligence work for the Canadian forces. As the Corps of Guides specialised in this area, many were recruited to the Cyclist Corps and there was a high number of recruits with academic qualifications who were later given field commissions and transferred to other units. There were four Divisional Cyclist Corps but they were amalgamated to form the Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion in May 1916, with headquarters at Chiseldon Camp, near Swindon in England (where the Australian and British Army Cyclist Corps were located, too).

Bryant would have seen his men trained in England in various forms of fighting (using muskets, bombs and bayonets), learning signaling and topography techniques, tactics, and using Lewis guns from their bicycles. The Guides would have been trained on horseback when they were in Canada but the drills used on bicycles were not always so different. Over the course of the war, the Cyclists’ duties changed. Initially, they found themselves acting as battalion runners, dispatch riders, involved in sapping and mining activities, and doing many things they had not been trained for! By the end of the war, they were using their bicycles to reconnoiter the retreating enemy and report back. They had the nickname ‘Suicide Battalion’ as they were exposed to enemy fire for a month to six weeks at a time, unlike Infantry Battalions which had less time at the front line in between rests. It is not known which Western front Bryant may have been sent to, and he later transferred to the Western Ontario Regiment.



George Bryant Schwartz, Captain 3rd Division Cyclist Company, WWI



Marriage to Constance Henderson

Not long after his arrival in England, Bryant married Constance Henderson (1890 - 1973) of Toronto at the Chiseldon Parish Church 29 April 1916. (More information about her and her family appears in the Scottish Henderson family history.) They no doubt had met in Toronto and Constance followed her fiancé to England. She returned to her parents’ home in Toronto and their first child Constance Louisa was born 03 September 1917 but died three days later. Constance Sr went back to England and lived in Hitchen, just north of London. This was presumably because Bryant was based nearby with his new regiment. Their second child Suzanne Bryant was born there in October 1918.

After the war ended, Constance and Suzanne returned to Canada first and then Bryant was demobilized. They had two more children, Diana Bryant (1921) and Duncan Bryant (1924). The Schwartz family became linked to the Pringle family through the marriages of two of Bryant and Constance's children. Bryant renewed his love of travelling with an annual winter Caribbean cruise to places like Bermuda, the Bahamas, Cuba and the West Indies. He went by himself and the cruise ship was generally peopled with other Canadians. These cruises came to an end when World War II was declared. However, when he retired some years later, Bryant took Constance with him and they had various holidays across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom and probably Europe as well. Bryant died after a stroke while they were in Llandrindod Wells, Wales, 21 July 1958 aged 67. Constance died in 1973. [1]


Next: Schwartz Descendants



[1] Canadian Passenger Lists 1865-1935, Canadian Soldiers of WWI 1914-1918, Ontario Canada Deaths 1869-1934, Massachusetts Death Index 1970-2003 (; Passenger Lists leaving UK 1890-1960 (; Soldiers of the First World War – CEF (Library and Archives Canada); Royal Military College of Canada website; Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group website (; Swindon Web, Census of Canada 1891, 1901, 1911; Stewart, C. H. 1970. "Overseas" The Lineages and Insignia of the Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914 -1919,  Little & Stewart, Mission Press, Toronto, Canada; GRO certificates; Schwartz family tree