Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 2, 1896
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMary Reid, mother, 225 Clair (Clare) Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingBrakeman
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number400163
Service Record
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Medical Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentMay 13, 1915
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 6, 1950
Age at Death53
Buried AtSt Mary's Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Reid, William John

William John Reid was born on 2 June 1896 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), in northwestern Ontario, date confirmed by his baptism record. His parents Charles Francis Reid and Mary Elizabeth Savage were both born in New Brunswick, marrying on 1 November 1887 in Newcastle. Son Francis William (Frank) was born in 1888 in New Brunswick before the family moved to Rat Portage where Charles Sr found work as a railroad brakeman. Children born in Rat Portage were Mary Adell (1890), Charles (1893), and William. At the time of the 1901 census for Rat Portage Mary, listed as a widow, was living with the children and taking in boarders, Savage family members. By 1904 the family had moved to Winnipeg where Mary gave birth to son Cummings Patrick that March. For the 1906 census Charles Sr was once again listed with the family, while in 1911, although her marital status was given as married, he was not with Mary and the children. At the time of the census Frank was working as a barber, Charles in the CIR shops and William as a caller for CIR/City, CIR likely a railway. The next year Mary Adell married Philip Neil. By the 1916 census Mary was once again listed as a widow, with other household members being barbers Frank and Charles, Cummings, and Mary’s brother Patrick. Frank was also listed as incarcerated in the Selkirk prison in the Selkirk census. William was overseas.

William’s attestation papers first indicated that he enlisted in Winnipeg on 13 May 1915, service number as with the No 2 Canadian Ambulance, Canadian Army Medical Corps. The date and place were later crossed off and given as 10 October 1915 at Shorncliffe in England with the CAMC. His occupation was given as brakeman, date and place of birth as 1 June 1897 in Kenora, and his next of kin as his mother Mary Elizabeth in Winnipeg.

William spent time hospitalized at Moore Barracks from 16 December 1915 to 22 January 1916 with scabies. In April, May and early June he was confined to barracks a number of times for neglect of duty, drunkenness, being away without leave, and taking eggs without consent. On 7 June he was transferred to the CAMC Training School. That month he was awarded Field Punishment No 2 twice, 14 days followed by another 28 days for refusing to obey a lawful order by a superior. In late July William was struck off strength to No 13 Canadian Field Ambulance, embarking for France on 12 August. Field ambulance units removed casualties from dressing stations and regimental aid posts to casualty clearing stations. On 6 February 1917 he was admitted to No 7 Canadian General Hospital in St Omer with the mumps, discharged on the 26th. In late June William was granted a ten day leave to Paris. That August he was attached to the 44th Battalion for water detail. In August of 1918 he was admitted to the No 5 General Hospital in Rouen with a shrapnel wound to the arm, evacuated to England on the 25th. Following discharge from the hospital, William was posted to the CAMC No 2 Depot, struck off strength to the hospital ship Araguaya in late December. In mid May of 1919 he returned to the CAMC Casualty Company in England, embarking for Canada from Glasgow aboard the Saturnia on 18 June. William was discharged from service on 1 July in Winnipeg.

William’s brother Charles enlisted in Winnipeg with the 223rd Battalion in early March of 1917. A medical condition saw him transferred to the Manitoba Regimental Depot once in England where he was employed as a barber before returning to Canada with his war bride in March of 1918 where he was discharged from service as medically unfit. ¬†With the onset of conscription, his brother Frank signed his recruitment papers in Regina on 30 August 1918, assigned medical category D. He was hospitalized in Regina for most of his service (vdg 67 days and influenza 8 days), and was discharged from service on 7 December 1918.

After the war William stayed in Winnipeg where he worked as a switchman with the Canadian National Railway. On 3 January 1931, in Winnipeg, he married Evelyn (Eva) Fifer Kreger. Born on 12 April 1905 in Glasgow, Scotland, Eva was the daughter of George Adolph Kreger, a master hairdresser/barber, and Annie Douglas Dorman. Along with her parents, she had immigrated to Canada in 1907, arriving in Halifax on the 17th of April aboard the Numidian on their way to Winnipeg. She had later been schooled in Scotland, returning to Winnipeg in 1918.

William and Evelyn gave birth to one child, daughter Mary Ann. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen and, along with his brother Charles, the Fort Rouge Branch of the Canadian Legion.

William died on 7 December 1950 in the Victoria Hospital in Winnipeg as the result of a fall down his basement stairs. His Veteran Death card mistakenly gave the date as the 6th. He was predeceased by his father (before 1917 according to his brother Charles’ service record) and his mother Mary Elizabeth in 1934 in Winnipeg. He was survived by his wife Eva and daughter Mary Ann (Winnipeg), brothers Charles (Winnipeg), Frank (Montreal), and Cummings (Oregon) and sister Mary Adell Neil (Winnipeg). His brother Frank later died in 1955 in Montreal, Cummings in 1967 in Riverside, California, and sister Mary Adellin 1968 in Winnipeg. William’s wife Eva died on 21 November 1980 in Grace Hospital in Winnipeg. She was survived by her daughter Mary Ann Polle of Edmonton and two granddaughters. William is interred in St Mary’s Cemetery while Eva is in Thompson in the Park Cemetery (formerly Garry Memorial Park), both in Winnipeg.

By Judy Stockham

Grave marker photo:  Leone Hanson Sigurdson,

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