Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 27, 1895
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Rebecca Theresa Belbeck (mother), 1124 Dallas Road, Victoria, British Columbia
Trade / CallingChauffeur and Bookkeeper
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number400085
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionLondon Area
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentVictoria, British Columbia
Address at EnlistmentVictoria, British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentMay 11, 1915
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 10, 1955
Age at Death60

Belbeck, Orville Leslie

Private Orville Leslie Belbeck enlisted with a field ambulance unit in the spring of 1915 and went overseas that summer. He served in Great Britain for four years, most of that time with the Canadian Army Service Corps.

Orville was the only son of Albert Alexander Belbeck and Rebecca Theresa Wilson of Victoria, British Columbia. Albert was born in Eugenia Falls, Grey County, Ontario and Rebecca was from Toronto. They were married in December 1891 in Winnipeg. Albert was living in Rat Portage, Ontario at the time, working as a railway conductor, and they made their home there for a few years. Their two children were born in Rat Portage (later called Kenora): Edna in November 1892 and Orville on 27 March 1895. By 1901 the family had moved to Winnipeg and in 1906 they were in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. When the 1911 census was taken they were living in Victoria, BC, and Albert was working as a saddler.

Orville enlisted in Victoria on 11 May 1915, signing up with the No. 1 Field Ambulance Depot, Canadian Army Medical Corps. He attested a second time on 9 June at Camp Vernon. Depot units sent draft of recruits overseas as needed and Orville went late that summer with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft, arriving in England on 5 September on the SS Scandinavian. He spent the next three months at the Canadian Army Medical Corps Training School and with the Assistant Director of Medical Services Sub-Staff. In December he was transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot and he served with the CASC in various positions for the rest of the war.

In January 1916 Orville sprained his knee and he spent two weeks in Moore Barracks Hospital. In February it was noted that he had a deformed toe, the result of an old fracture. The toe was amputated at Moore Barracks Hospital in July and when Orville recovered he was attached for duty to the Ontario Military Hospital at Orpington. He was a patient himself at the OMH in mid-April 1917, suffering from facial paralysis and deafness in one ear. He was back on duty in early May.

By the summer of 1918 Orville was serving in the Canadian Army Service Corps London Area. In August he was admonished for being drunk in Piccadilly while on active service. He was a 3rd class storeman at the time and in January 1919 he was graded as a 2nd class storeman with pay. By the fall of 1919 most of the Canadian troops had returned home and on 18 November Orville was transferred to the 2nd Canadian Discharge Depot. He embarked for Canada ten days later on the SS Cassandra, arriving in Halifax on 2 December. He was discharged in Halifax on 20 December, with his intended residence listed as Vancouver.

Orville’s family had moved to Portland, Oregon in 1918 and he joined them there within days of arriving back in BC When the 1920 U.S. census was taken on 1 January he was living in Portland with his mother and his sister Edna, who was a stenographer. His father continued to work in BC but he spent some time in Portland too. At the time of the 1930 census Orville was working as an advertising salesman. His mother died in Portland in 1944 and his father in Vancouver in 1954. Orville passed away in Portland on 10 September 1955, at age 60, and his sister Edna died there in 1972.

By Becky Johnson

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