Memorable Manitobans: Frederick James Ney (1884-1973)
Born at Westfield, Sussex County, England on 17 September 1884, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Ney, brother of Frank A. Ney, he was educated at Rye Grammar School and privately. He was headmaster at the English College at Nicosia, Cyprus; and Headmaster of St. Mary’s High School at Cairo, Egypt. He came to Canada in 1909 where he was Headmaster at the West Treherne School, then Russell High School (1908-1909), and Chief Secretary of the Department of Education for the Manitoba Government.
In September 1914, he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force, serving with the RAMC, being gazetted as a Captain and sent overseas where he transferred to South Wales Borderers, 1916 (25th Division). He was in France from 1915 to the end of the war, seeing service in Ypres and Mons and was mentioned three times in dispatches. He was awarded the Military Cross (Messines), Belgian Croix de Guerre, and French Croix de Guerre. He was promoted to a Major on the eve of the armistice and was, for a time, specially attached to French Army in charge of large Motor Ambulance Convoy. He returned to Canada in 1920 and resumed his position with the Department of Education.
Ney married Mary Alberta Helena Aikins (1902-1979), daughter of J. A. M. Aikins, and they subsequently had one son, Michael Ney. He was the Founder and Honorary Organizer of the Overseas Educational League, Executive Secretary of the National Council of Education, and Honorary Secretary for Canada of the International Moral Education Congress. As organizer of the Overseas Education League, he was responsible for the organization of the scheme of Interchange of Teachers between Canada and other parts of the British Empire. As Secretary of the National Council of Education, he was responsible for the organization of the National Lectureship scheme, inaugurated in the spring of 1923 by Sir Henry Newbolt and Sir Michael Sadler.
He was awarded the Gold Medal of the City of Paris presented by the President of the Council at the Hotel de Ville, 19 July 1923. He was a member of the Masons (Wellington Lodge, No. 22, Rye, England), United Service Club (Winnipeg), Arts and Letters Club (Toronto), and Royal Colonial Institute (London, England). In 1968, he was inducted into the Order of Canada in recognition of his contributions to the field of education and teacher exchanges with the Commonwealth and France, and as founder of the Commonwealth Youth Movement.
He died at Nanaimo, British Columbia on 7 March 1973 and was buried in the Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens at Nanaimo.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.
Obituary [Helen Aikins Ney], Winnipeg Free Press, 17 July 1979, page 37.
Mary Alberta Helena “Helen” Aikins Ney, FindAGrave.
We thank Gary Mitchell and Donna Barraclough-Little for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 1 August 2023