Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 2, 1886
Place of BirthRamsey, Huntingdonshire
CountryEngland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Harriet Weston, Farcet, Huntingdonshire, England
Trade / Callingcook
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number198820
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 22, 1916
Age at Enlistment29
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 3, 1917
Age at Death31
Buried Atno known grave/Vimy Memorial

Weston, William

William Weston was born on 2 March 1886 in Ramsey, Huntingdon, England. His parents George and Harriet (née Rolt) Weston had married during the last quarter of 1862 in Ramsey.

The 1871 England census found the Weston family living on Horne Road in Ramsey, household members including parents George and Harriet, and children Ann, age 7, Eliza, age 5, John, age 4, Harriet, age 2, and Sarah Jane, age 8 months. George’s occupation was listed as agricultural labourer. By the 1881 England census the family had moved to St Thomas street in Ramsey, and household members for this census were George and Harriet, and children John (14), Sarah (10), and new members to the family Polly (8), George (6),  Frederick (3), and Alfred (1). Sometime before the 1891 England census the family moved to nearby Farcet where George had secured a job of engine driver. Living on Bakers Row were George and Harriet, with children Polly who was working as a farm labourer, Alfred, and children born since the previous census, Arthur, age 7, William, age 5, and Herbert, age 2. For the 1901 England census, the family was living on Bakehouse Row (probably same street as in 1891) and George was working as a general farm labourer. Also listed on the census were mother Harriet, Alfred who was working as a general labourer, Arthur and William who were working as a brickyard labourers, and Herbert. By the 1911 England census, the only household members were the parents George who was listed as a agricultural labourer and old age pensioner, and Harriet.

A possible 1911 Canada census record for William had him immigrating  to Canada in 1910 and living in the Subdistrict of the Village of Chamberlain in the District of Regina, Saskatchewan. Listed as a lodger, because of the poor quality of the document, his occupation couldn’t be deciphered.  Four of William’s brothers also immigrated to Canada, George with wife Emma and daughter Nellie in 1905, Arthur and wife Mary in 1906, Herbert in 1911, and Alfred with wife Florence and children Alex and Herbert in  1912. Arthur settled in Kenora, Ontario working for the Canadian Pacific Railway and George, Alfred and Herbert eventually farmed/worked out in Saskatchewan.

On 2 September 1913 in Kenora, William married Clara Sargent, daughter of Charles and Sarah (née Woods) Sargent of Colchester, Essex, England. Clara had arrived in Quebec, Canada aboard the Corsican just 5 days earlier, destination listed as Kenora and reason for travel to be married to WM Weston, farmer, who had been in Canada for 4 years. With William’s occupation given as cook on the registration, his brother Arthur and his wife Mary were the witnesses. The couple must have moved/returned to Saskatchewan, as Clara died there on 4 September 1914, probably in the Maple Creek/Shaunavon/Cypress Hills  area where George and Herbert were known to farm and it appears that William owned property there as well. Western Land Grant records list Part SW Section 24 Township 6 Range 9 Meridian W3 (Cypress Hills Sheet) as belonging to Arthur Weston-William Weston the late, and the SE Part to William Weston.

It is not known when William returned but he signed his  attestation papers  in Kenora on 22 January 1916.  With 3 years previous experience with the 2nd Battalion of Northamptonshire in the British Army, his occupation was given as cook and marital status as single. Blue-eyed with brown hair, Corporal William Weston left Kenora by train with other local members of the 94th Battalion on 25 May 1916, destination Port Arthur Ontario.

‘On May 25, 1916, the men of ‘C’ an ‘D’ Companies from Kenora and Fort Frances were moved to the Lakehead and on June 9, 1916, the Battalion left for Valcartier, Quebec for ‘Summer Camp’ as it was called. For two hundred and five of these men it was the last time they were to see their families and friends. The 94th trained at Valcartier for a period until they sailed from Halifax for England on the RMS Olympic. Although the 94th remained a battalion on paper until July 27th, 1918, with an office at East Sandling, if actually ceased to exist on July 13th, 1916 when it was broken up and the men were transferred to the 17th and 32nd Reserve Battalions to be used as replacements for casualties in front line units.’(from the now defunct 94th Battalion website)

The 94th Battalion embarked from Halifax on 28 June 1916. Once overseas William was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion on 13 July 1916, taken on strength as Acting Sergeant. He was sent on a cookery course on 30 August 1916. On 13 January 1917, he was taken on strength in the field with the 52nd Battalion and his  rank of Sergeant was confirmed.

On 3 September 1917, Sergeant William Weston was reported as killed in action. Circumstances of his death are unknown and his body was not recovered for burial. Inscribed on the ramparts of the Vimy Memorial in Pas de Calais are the names of over 11,000 Canadian soldiers who were posted as ‘missing, presumed dead’ in France. Sergeant William Weston’s name is among them.

In a transcription of William’s military will dated 2 January 1916 (possible error, probably 1917)  with unit given as 52nd Battalion, he indicated that he would leave four of his horses to his brother Herbert in Cloverley, Saskatchewan, his farm implements and the rest of his horses and cattle to his brother Arthur in Kenora, and the remainder of his money and property to his mother in Farcet.

Sergeant William Weston is commemorated on page 347 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Kenora Cenotaph, on St Alban’s Pro Cathedral WW1 Roll of Honour in Kenora, and on the Kenora Legion War Memorial.

by Judy Stockham


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