Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinAlexander (aka Eli) Brest, 340 3rd Street North, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / Callingbarber
Service Details
Regimental Number524368
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion20th Draft No 10 to CAMC Depot
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Medical Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentMarch 6, 1917
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 8, 1949
Age at Death51
Buried AtHollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

Brest, Samuel

Samuel Brest was likely born in 1899 in Russia. His father was Eli (aka Alexander) Brest and he had at least two sisters, the family immigrating to Canada around 1906, settling in Kenora, Ontario where Eli worked as a second hand dealer.

With occupation given as barber and his father Alexander (aka Eli) in Kenora as next of kin, Sam signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 6 March 1917. He gave his date and place of birth as 2 October 1896 in Kenora although elsewhere in his record it is listed as September of 1898 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He stood under 5 feet tall and weighed just over 100 pounds, likely underage.

Sam embarked from Halifax with the 20th Draft No 10 to the Canadian Army Medical Corps aboard the SS Megantic on 30 April 1917. Once in England he was found to be undersize and unable to route march and thus his service during the war was spent in Britain. He worked as an orderly and was moved numerous times over the course of his service in England, twice serving at the No 10 General Hospital at Brighton where he was later admitted as a patient, suffering from pleurisy, in January of 1918. He also spent three months as a patient in the Canadian Hospital Etchinghill, April to July 1918.

Sam returned to Canada aboard the SS Belgic, arriving in Halifax on 23 February 1919. A newspaper from Kenora reported his expected arrival in the town although his proposed destination after discharge was given as Winnipeg. On 9 March 1923 in Winnipeg, Samuel married Olga Johnston. The couple gave birth to one son, Clarence Samuel, before moving to California where they later separated. Over the years Sam, working as a salesman, lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and then back to Los Angeles. At some point in the 1930’s he married Russian born Jessie Narotsky. Predeceased by his father Eli in 1942 in Kenora, his son Clarence in 1944, and his wife Jessie in 1948 in Los Angeles, Sam died on 8 December 1949. He and Jessie are interred in the Los Angeles Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

Sam’s son Clarence served as a Flying Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force, 434 Squadron during WW2, and while overseas, in early 1944, he married Marjorie Whitaker in the District of Drainie in Moray, Scotland. Just days later Clarence was reported as KIA on 20 January 1944. He is interred in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.

by Judy Stockham

grave marker photo: Jim Davis #46500432 on
Kenora Miner and News: 9 March 1919


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