Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 9, 1872
Place of BirthBristol
CountryEngland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Susannah Burnett, mother, 233 Stapleton Rd, Bristol, England
Trade / CallingPostal Clerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number198046
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion94th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentPort Arthur, Ontario
Age at Enlistment43
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 11, 1933
Age at Death61
Buried AtRiverside Cemetery, Port Arthur, Ontario

Burnett, Francis Henry

Francis Henry Burnett was born on 9 August 1872 in Bristol, England. His father Henry Burnett, mason, was from Minehead in Somerset while his mother Susannah Williams was from Turnham Grove in Middlesex. The couple married in 1865 in Bristol. Francis had an older sister Alice Maud (1870-1872) and a younger brother Ernest Thomas (1875-1942). By the 1891 England census Francis was working as a post office distribution clerk and by 1911 as a telegraphist.

Francis arrived in Canada aboard the Royal George on 21 September 1910, destination given as Toronto and occupation as civil servant. He later moved to Port Arthur, Ontario where he found work as a postal clerk. He signed his attestation papers on 20 September 1915 in Port Arthur, giving his mother Susannah back in Bristol as next of kin. He had previous military experience with the 96th Regiment of Lake Superior.

Upon enlistment Francis served for a short time with the 52nd Battalion out of Port Arthur before being transferred to the 94th Battalion, also headquartered in the Lakehead. As a Private with the 94th, he embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 28 June 1916.

Once in England Francis was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion and then on to the 30th Battalion in August. In November he was transferred to the 37th Battalion and then to the 1st Canadian Labour Battalion at Shoreham in December. Organized at Shoreham that December the 1st Canadian Labour Battalion arrived in France on 11 January 1917, strength 13 officers and 1010 other ranks. The battalion was to work mainly on broad gauge railways, roads, light railways, water services, trench cables, and salvage. It was redesignated as 1st Canadian Infantry Works Battalion on 28 March 1918.

In January of 1918 Francis was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK. In July he was transferred to the 8th Canadian Area Employment Company due to his myalgia and in December he was posted to the Canadian General Depot at Witley. He returned to Canada aboard the Caronia that embarked from Liverpool on 14 May 1919.

Francis returned to Port Arthur where he was discharged later that month, his place of contact listed as the Soldiers Aid Commission in the city. In 1922 he was listed as residing at the Red Shield Hostel on Pearl Street, Port Arthur. At some point he moved to Kenora where he applied for membership in the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion in April of 1930.

Francis died on 11 October 1933 in the Port Arthur General Hospital of cardiac asthma. He had been working as a hospital orderly and living at the Salvation Army Hostel. Commandant W Marshall of the Salvation Army conducted the service at the funeral home and a Canadian Legion service was conducted at the graveside by G Russell. Francis is interred in Riverside Cemetery, Port Arthur, Ontario.

by Judy Stockham

Burnett-Francis-Henry-2 Burnett-Francis-Henry-3 Burnett-Francis-Henry-4

Gravemarker photo: courtesy of Lynda Piilo
Obituary: courtesy of Thunder Bay Public Library

 


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