Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 3, 1897
Place of BirthManchester, Lancashire
CountryEngland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Martha Hulmes, mother, Box 383, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingGrocery store clerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number198726
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion16th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 10, 1916
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 14, 1971
Age at Death73
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
Plot30E-10-3

Hulmes, Harry

 

The Hulmes family was from Manchester, Lancashire in England where parents Thomas and Martha (Pennington) had married on 24 March 1883. Thomas was listed as a coal wharfinger (takes custody of and is responsible for goods delivered to the wharf) in the 1891 census and as a coal dealer in later censuses. Children born to the family were Thomas (1884-1961), Jane (1885-1958), Frank (1888-1949), Martha (1890-1959), William (1892-1955), Lucy (1894-1953), Harry (1897-1971), and Edward (1899-1920). By the 1911 census Frank, William, and Edward were listed as assistants to their father in the coal business.

Although Frank, along with George Stubbins, had travelled to Canada in 1911, they both  returned to England. With the death of Thomas Sr in 1912, the family, except for Thomas Jr who had married and started a family of his own, immigrated to Kenora, Ontario in 1913: Frank aboard the Hesperian in February, Martha Sr aboard  the Teutonic and Lucy and William aboard the Victorian in March, and Martha Jr, Harry, and Edward aboard the Tunisian in May.

With the outbreak of the war, all five Hulmes sons responded to the call. Giving his occupation as clerk, Harry signed his attestation papers in Kenora on 10 January 1916. To appear older, he gave his birth year as 1896.

Organized in November of 1915 with recruitment in Port Arthur, Fort William, Kenora, Rainy River, Fort Frances, and Dryden, the 94th Battalion had its headquarters in Port Arthur. In May of 1916 Harry and his brothers  Edward and Frank, along with a number of other local fellows, left Kenora for Port Arthur where they were to train for a short time; a large crowd saw them off at the station. In early June, Privates Harry  and Edward Hulmes, with the battalion, left for Valcartier, Quebec for ‘summer camp’. Frank, injured while in training, had returned home. The 94th embarked from Halifax on the 28th of June aboard the Olympic.

Once overseas Harry was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion followed by another transfer to the 16th Battalion on the 12th of November. By early December Harry had joined the unit in the field in France.

On 18 April 1917 in the vicinity of Vimy Ridge, Harry sustained a severe gunshot wound to his left arm. First admitted to St John’s Hospital in Etaples, by the end of the month he had been invalided to the 2nd West General Hospital in Manchester. In a letter home to his mother that May he wrote that he had been able to have relatives as visitors while in the hospital.

In June of 1917 Harry began transfers through a series of hospitals, spending 12 months in all and having nerve sutures done to aid his recovery. However he experienced loss of power in his hand and returned to Canada in February of 1918, classified as medically unfit for further service.

Once back in Kenora Harry found work with the Canadian Pacific Railway, eventually retiring as a machinist in 1957. On 21 February 1924, in Kenora, Harry married Christina McGeoch. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Christina, the daughter of George and Agnes McGeoch, had arrived in Canada aboard the Cassandra in 1920 on her way to Manitoba to work as a domestic. Harry and Christina gave birth to three children, Agnes, Bertha, and Arnold. Harry was a member of the International Machinists and Aero Space Workers, the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion, and the Oddfellows. During WW2 he served with the Home Guard Reserve.

Predeceased by his parents and all of his siblings, Harry died on 14 March 1971 in the Lake of the Woods District Hospital. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Christina, daughter Agnes (Gordon) Durrant of Calgary, daughter Bertha (Ernie) Clark of Kenora, son Arnold Hulmes of Calgary and nine grandchildren. Harry is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. Christina died in 1973 and is interred beside him. Harry is commemorated on the St Alban’s Pro Cathedral Roll of Honour.

Back in England, Harry’s brother Thomas served  with a number of different battalions; a Kenora newspaper article of March of 1916 suggested he was with Kitchener’s Army. Frank did not go overseas. Edward, enlisting at age 16, after serving for a short time with the 31st Battalion in France, was sent back to Canada in June of 1917 when his age was discovered. William went overseas with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 52nd Battalion and transferred to the 15th Battalion once in France. He returned to Canada in May of 1919.

by Judy Stockham

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1916 newspaper article about the Hulmes family provided by  Gail Hulmes-Backsai

 


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