Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 25, 1893
Place of BirthLondon
CountryEngland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Lily West, mother, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingCPR Fireman
ReligionMethodist
Service Details
Regimental Number523751
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Canadian Field Ambulance
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Medical Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentYMCA, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMarch 16, 1916
Age at Enlistment22
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 7, 1964
Age at Death71
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
Plot35E-34-3

West, William Stokes

William Stokes West was born on 23 July 1893, birth registered in the West Ham District of London, England. His father Alfred West was from High Onger, Essex, a community northeast of London, while his mother Eliza Marie (Lily) Green was from Walthamstow, about 18 kms from High Onger and now a suburb of London. The couple married on 16 June 1890 in Saint Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London. Over the years Alfred worked as a silk salesman and draper (cloth merchant, retailer or wholesaler). William had two older siblings, Elizabeth Harriett (Bessie) and Alfred, and four younger siblings, Arthur Melville, Lilian Frances (Fanny), Violet Constance, and Ethel, the last two born in Canada.

Along with his parents and Arthur and Fanny, William immigrated to Canada in 1899, arriving in Quebec in June aboard the Scotsman. The family first settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba where Violet was born in 1900 and sadly passed away later that year. Sometime after the birth of Ethel in 1901, the family moved to northwestern Ontario, first likely living in Norman and then later in nearby Kenora. By 1910 William had found work with the Canadian Pacific Railway out of Kenora.

William signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 16 March 1916, occupation given as fireman for the CPR and his mother Lily in Kenora as next of kin. As many of the CPR employees did, he had been lodging at the YMCA across the road from the train station in Kenora. After training with the No 10 Draft of the Canadian Army Medical Corps, William embarked for England from Halifax on the 6th of August aboard the Scandinavian.

By late September of 1916 William had arrived in France, taken on strength with the CAMC as reinforcement at Le Havre on the 24th. He was to serve with the 1st Canadian Ambulance for the duration of the war.  Field ambulance units removed casualties from dressing stations and regimental aid posts to casualty clearing stations.  In mid December of 1917 he was granted a two week leave to England. On 17 March 1918 William was awarded a Good Conduct Badge followed by a second two week leave on 19 November 1918. He returned to England in March of 1919 and embarked for Canada aboard the Olympic on April 15th. Private William West was discharged from service on April 24th in Kingston, Ontario.

After the war William returned to Kenora and resumed working for the Canadian Pacific Railway, later promoted to engineer. A member of the Brotherhood of Enginemen and Firemen, he retired from the railroad in 1935. It appears that William, known as Bill, never married.

Predeceased by his mother Lily in 1926 and his father Alfred in 1937, William died on 7 May 1964 at his residence on 4th Street North in Kenora. Along with his parents and sibling Arthur who later died in 1978, William is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

by Judy Stockham

William’s grave marker was installed in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in 2018 by the Last Post Fund.

 


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