Dr. Walter Francis Charteris was born in Chatham on the 8th of February 1898 to Dr. Charles Richard Charteris and the former Margaretta Wade Webster. He had an older sister Gwendoline Isobel Charteris and an older brother Charles Maxwell Charteris. (Charles drowned in Erieau on the 5th of July, 1913. He was only 17 years old.) Dr. Charteris was educated in Chatham and he enjoyed sports, particularly hockey. He played on the Chatham Collegiate Institute hockey team and he was a decorated boy scout.
While in university, Dr. Charteris left his medical studies to serve in World War I. He became an officer in the Canadian Navy and served in the medical section. He was assigned to a P.T. vessel and served as a Surgeon Sub Lieutenant. He was awarded the King George VI Coronation medal in 1937. After the war ended Dr. Charteris resumed his medical studies but remained in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corp as a reserve officer. In 1918, Dr. Charteris was elected Vice President of the Medical Society for his medical school.
After graduating M.B. in 1921 from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, he returned to Chatham and he set up a medical practice. According to the 1928 Ontario Medical Register, Dr. Charteris was registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 20th of June, 1921. In the 1924-5 edition of the Vernon’s City of Chatham Business Directory, Dr. Charteris had an office listed at 117 Wellington Street, West.
Dr. Charteris married Thelma Bronson Dietrich on October 4th, 1924. Mrs. Charteris was born in Findlay, Ohio on the 18th of December, 1895. She was the daughter of Bert Dietrich and the former Ida Estelle Bronson. Her father worked as an oil driller and she had a younger brother named Thurman. According to the 1910 U.S. Census, the Dietrich family’s living in Durham Twp, Greene County, New York. By 1920, Mrs. Ida Dietrich was living with her children back in Findlay, Ohio. Mrs. Dietrich was working as a nurse and Thelma was a public school teacher.
Dr. and Mrs. Charteris had a son Richard Webster Charteris born to them on the 29th of November, 1929 in Chatham. He was their only child and he also became a physician in Chatham.
Dr. Charteris served as the medical officer to the Second Kent Battalion during World War II.
In 1936, he served as the President of the Kent County Medical Society. According to the 1941 Shepherds City of Chatham Business Directory, his medical office was located still located at 117 Wellington Street. His love of sports continued and he could often be seen on the sidelines in Tecumseh Park, watching soccer matches and tending to injured players. He was made an Honorary President and life member of the Chatham and District Soccer Association.
Dr. and Mrs. Charteris resided at 430 King Street in Chatham. After a lengthy illness, Dr. Charteris died at the Public General Hospital in Chatham on the 20th of November 1964. Mrs. Charteris died in 1995. Dr. and Mrs. Charteris were buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery, in Chatham.
*Dr. Walter Francis Charteris is also featured on the Gathering Our Heroes website.
**HIs father Dr. Charles Richard Charteris and his son Dr. Richard Webster Charteris also appear on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.