|Date of Birth||July 6, 1897|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||William Butt (father), Post Office, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Teamster|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Place of Enlistment||Port Arthur, Ontario|
|Address at Enlistment||Post Office, Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||04/02/1918|
|Age at Enlistment||20|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||18/05/1983|
|Age at Death||85|
|Buried At||Victory Memorial Park, Surrey, British Columbia|
Private Edwin Frederick Butt was called up in February 1918, at age 20. He served in France and Belgium for six months with the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion.
Edwin was the son of William Butt and Eleanor Kate Pearce of Kenora, Ontario. He was born in Rat Portage (later called Kenora) on 6 July 1897 and he had five brothers: Archibald Morris (1895), Ernest (1896), Lawrence Frank (1900), William Jr. (1902) and Morris/Maurice (1908). His parents were both born in England and they came to Canada in the late 1880s/early 1890s. At the time of the 1911 census the family was living in the Rideout area in Kenora and William was working for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Archibald had died at age three but the other five boys were all living at home.
The war entered its fourth year in August 1917 and conscription started in Canada that fall. Single men aged 20 to 34 were required to register by 10 November. Edwin had just turned 20 in July and he had his army medical on 6 October in Kenora. He and his brother Ernest were both called up in February 1918 and sent to Port Arthur for training. They were enrolled in ‘H’ Company of the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment. Depot battalions sent drafts of recruits overseas as needed and on 1 April the two lads were assigned to their unit’s 4th Draft. A few days later they left for Halifax and they embarked from there on the SS Tunisian on 8 April. They arrived in Liverpool on 19 April and that same day they were transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion.
After four more months of training Edwin was drafted to the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion and sent to France. He joined his unit in mid-August 1918, just after the Battle of Amiens. The final period of the war, known now as the Hundred Days Offensive, began at Amiens on 8 August and ended with the Armistice on 11 November. The Canadians were heavily involved in operations in those last three months and they had some of their greatest victories during that time. In October Edwin was sent on a Lewis gun course and he rejoined his unit a few days after the Armistice. The 52nd Battalion was in Mons by then and they stayed in Belgium for another three months, leaving there by train on 5 February 1919. They embarked from Le Havre,France on 10 February and landed in England the next day. The men were sent to Bramshott Camp and most of them were immediately given leave. Edwin left for Canada with his battalion on 17 March on the SS Olympic. There was a huge reception when the troops arrived back in Port Arthur and they were discharged there on 31 March. Another reception was held at the Tourist Hotel in Kenora the next day.
Edwin’s brother Ernest returned from his overseas service in August and he died in a hunting accident in January 1920. When the 1921 census was taken Edwin was working as a shipper and living at home in Kenora, with his parents and three remaining brothers. He was married in Winnipeg on 28 June 1930 to Pearl Brock of Kenora. Pearl was born in 1892 in Belfountain, Ontario, the oldest daughter of Robert and Agnes Brock. Her family had moved to Rat Portage when she was a child. Two of her brothers, Clifford and Earl, served in the war and her uncle John Francis was killed at the Somme in 1916.
Edwin and his wife made their home in Kenora and he had a long career as a car inspector for the CPR. His mother had passed away in 1929 and his brother Lawrence died in an accident in 1931, at age 31. After retiring Edwin and his wife moved to White Rock, British Columbia. Pearl died there in January 1978. Edwin passed away in White Rock’s Peace Arch Hospital on 18 May 1983, at age 85. They are both buried in Victory Memorial Park in Surrey, BC. Edwin’s parents and all five of his brothers are buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
Edwin is commemorated in Kenora on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.
By Becky Johnson