Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 26, 1888
Place of BirthKeewatin, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinAnnie Elizabeth Hallam (wife), Armstrong P.O., British Columbia
Trade / CallingSurveyor and Farmer
ReligionMethodist
Service Details
Regimental Number2142335
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo. 138 Company, No. 51 District
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Forestry Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentVernon, British Columbia
Address at EnlistmentArmstrong P.O., British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 12, 1917
Age at Enlistment28
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death
Age at Death41
Buried AtDrowned in the Columbia River

Hallam, William

Acting Sergeant William Hallam enlisted in February 1917, at age 28, and served with the Canadian Forestry Corps in Great Britain.

William was the son of William Hallam Sr. and Cecillia McNabb of Armstrong, British Columbia. William Sr. was born in England and immigrated to Canada in the late 1880s. Cecillia was born in Ontario to Scottish immigrant parents. She had at least ten children, the first few with her first husband James Huggins and the rest with William. William Jr. was born on 26 November 1888 in Keewatin, Ontario and another son, Charles, followed in 1891. A short time later the family moved to British Columbia and settled in the Armstrong area in the Okanagan Valley, where William Sr. took up farming.

The war started in August 1914 and William’s brother Charles Hallam enlisted four months later. By the fall of 1915 he was in France where he served with a signal company in the Canadian Engineers. William was married in Armstrong on 1 January 1916. He was a surveyor student at the time and his address was Armstrong. His wife, Annie Elizabeth Lever, was born in Armstrong in 1891. Her father, Moses Lever, was a farmer who was born in New Brunswick and her mother, Hannah Bacon, was from Ontario.

William enlisted a year later, on 12 February 1917, in Vernon, British Columbia. His occupation was farmer and surveyor and next of kin was his wife in Armstrong. He signed up with the 30th BC Horse Draft, which provided reinforcements for Canadian units overseas. In April William was sent to the Royal School of Infantry in Victoria and in May he left for the east coast. He embarked from Halifax on the SS Olympic and arrived at Liverpool on 9 June. He was transferred to the 16th Reserve Battalion and he served with them for about six weeks.

On 18 July William was transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps and sent to their base depot at Sunningdale. The following day he was assigned to No. 62 Company in No. 53 District, which was headquartered at Egham, southwest of the city of London. He was appointed Acting Corporal in July and Acting Sergeant in November. The men in his unit cut timber in the nearby forest, laid railway track as needed, hauled the logs to the saw mill, operated the mill and transported lumber to the nearest railway. In the company camp were sleeping huts, a dining room, a recreation hut, canteens, various officers’ quarters and messes, a workshop and garage, bath houses, stables and a hospital.

In May 1918 William was transferred to No. 110 Company then in August to No. 138 Company, which was in No. 51 District. On 3 September he was posted to the headquarters for No. 51 District, based at Inverness, and he drew Class 1 Clerk’s pay. After the Armistice forestry operations in Great Britain began winding down and William returned to the base depot at Sunningdale on 19 January 1919. He embarked for Canada on 22 February on the SS Cassandra, arriving at St. John’s, Newfoundland about twelve days later. He was discharged on 1 May 1919 in Vancouver.

After the war William became a provincial land surveyor. When the 1921 census was taken he and his wife were living in Armstrong and his younger brother Herbert Hallam was also staying with them. Sadly, William drowned in the Columbia River in September 1930, while surveying for what would become the Big Bend Highway. His body was not recovered and he’s remembered on a marker in the Lever family plot in Armstrong Cemetery. Both Hallam Peak and Hallam Glacier in British Columbia are named after him.

Annie passed away in Vernon Jubilee Hospital in 1968 and she’s buried in Armstrong Cemetery. Also buried there are Charles’ parents and other members of the Hallam and Lever families.

By Becky Johnson

Photo courtesy of Hallam public family tree on ancestry.com.


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