Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthProbably 1861
Place of BirthSt. Columb, Cornwall
CountryEngland
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs. Ellen Menear (wife), St. Austell, Cornwall, England
Trade / CallingLabourer
ReligionMethodist
Service Details
Regimental Number439313
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentMay 25, 1915
Age at EnlistmentAbout 53
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathProbably 1946
Age at DeathAbout 85

Menear, Samuel

Private Samuel Menear was over 50 years old and a father of nine when he enlisted in Kenora, Ontario in May 1915. He served for a year in Canada and England and was discharged as medically unfit due to an injury he suffered while training.

Samuel was the son of John Menear (Meneer/Manneer) and Margaret Solomon of St. Austell, Cornwall, England. He was most likely born in 1861 in St. Columb, Cornwall. His mother died when he was very young and at the time of the 1881 census he was living in St. Austell with his father and stepmother Mary. Both Samuel and his father were working as clay labourers. In 1891 Samuel married Ellen Stone and not long after that they immigrated to Canada. They settled in Rat Portage, Ontario where Samuel was employed as a labourer. Their first child, Margaret Annie, was born in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) on 25 March 1892.

By the summer of 1893 Samuel and Ellen had returned to St. Austell in Cornwall and they went on to have nine more children: Edith (1893), Violet (1895), Samuel (1896), Daisy Ellen (1897), George (1899), May (ca1901), Mable (1903) and twins Tom Stone and Rose (1906). Rose died as an infant in January 1907 and she’s buried in the parish of St. Ewe in Polgooth. When the 1911 census was taken Ellen was living in St. Austell with the nine surviving children. Margaret was listed as born in Ontario, Canada and most of the other children were born in St. Austell. Samuel wasn’t living with the family and he may have returned to Canada by that time.

The war started in August 1914 and Samuel enlisted in Kenora, Ontario the following spring, on 25 May 1915. He said he was born in St. Columb, Cornwall and next of kin was his wife Ellen in St. Austell. He passed himself off as 35 years old but he was most likely 53 at the time (based on census records and the UK birth registration index). He signed up with the 52nd Battalion which was being recruited in northwestern Ontario. The unit was based in Port Arthur and the Kenora volunteers were sent there in June to train with the rest of the recruits. In July, during a training skirmish, Samuel fell and suffered a groin injury from which he never fully recovered.

The 52nd Battalion left Port Arthur on 4 November 1915, heading to St. John, New Brunswick on the first leg of their journey overseas. On the way through Ottawa they were inspected by the Governor-General of Canada, the Duke of Connaught. The men embarked from St. John on 23 November on the SS California and arrived in Plymouth, England about ten days later. The battalion was sent to France in February 1916 but Samuel remained in England. He was transferred to the Base Company then attached to the 34th Battalion on 24 February and the 11th Reserve Battalion on 15 March.

Due to his groin injury Samuel was unable to march without considerable pain. In April a medical board recommended that he be discharged from service. He was transferred to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre on 2 May and discharged in Bath on 13 May, due to being permanently unfit for war service. His final medical stated that he was 45 years old and he had nine children, three boys and six girls. He intended to reside in England.

Little is known of Samuel’s life after the war but he appears to have stayed in England and he likely passed away in 1946. The UK death registration index records a Samuel Menear who died in St. Austell in 1946, at age 85. Ellen died the following year at age 82.

By Becky Johnson


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