Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 5, 1889
Place of BirthGranite Falls, Minnesota
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs James Palmer, sister, Yeomans, Saskatchewan
Trade / CallingFarmer
Service Details
Regimental Number925986
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionTraining Depot No 1
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentYeomans, Saskatchewan
Date of EnlistmentJune 29, 1916
Age at Enlistment26
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 21, 1946
Age at Death57
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Butcher, Frederick Spencer

Frederick Spencer Butcher was born on 15 October 1889 in Granite Falls, Minnesota. According to the 1890 Minnesota census both his parents Samuel and Mary (Hall) Butcher were from Michigan. For the census his father was working as a express carrier, possibly for gold, and living with the family was Fred’s older sister Vernie. A family tree on ancestry suggests that this was a second family for Samuel and that his first wife, Sylvia Stone, had died in 1875 in Michigan. Fred’s half siblings from this marriage were George, Orville, and Harry. Fred’s father had fought in the American Civil War, enlisting as a Private in 2 November 1863. He served with the Company Battery F, 1st Light Artillery Regiment out of Jackson.

Fred was next found on the 1900 US Federal Census for Granite Falls with his mother and father, Samuel’s occupation given as ‘merchant’s package delivery’. Samuel died the next year in Granite Falls. By the 1910 US Federal Census Fred was living with his sister Vernie in Garnes, Burke, North Dakota. Vernie had married James Palmer and the couple had given birth to four children, Alma, Eva, Gladys, and Mable.

Vernie, James, and the children, as well as Fred, moved to Yeomans, Saskatchewan around 1911 where the family farmed. With occupation given as farmer and his sister Vernie as next of kin, Fred signed his attestation papers in nearby Weyburn, Saskatchewan on 29 June 1916 with the 152nd Battalion. He was granted a leave from 8 August to 18 September of that year, possibly to help with harvesting on the farm. At Camp Hughes he was eventually transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps No 1 Training Depot.

On 19 March 1917, in Winnipeg, Fred married Florence Lillian Willson. Born in 1888 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England, by the 1911 England census Lillian was living with her brother Ernest and family in Leicester and working as a hosiery mender.

Fred arrived in England with the 12th Draft to the Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot on 5 July 1917 aboard the Justicia. However his time spent serving was to be very limited. Three days after arriving he was hospitalized at Moore Barracks for close to a month with the mumps. By mid August of 1917 he was admitted to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital Monks Horton. In 1910 he had been laid up for three months with rheumatic fever and since then had suffered from chronic rheumatism. The damp English weather combined with training played havoc with his condition and with the diagnosis of endocarditis, it was decided that Fred should return to Canada in mid September. Found medically unfit for further service, Fred was discharged in Winnipeg on 21 December 1917.

Fred and Lillian farmed for a couple of years in Saskatchewan. The 1921 Canada census found the family listed as farmers in Clayton in the district of Mackenzie, with household members Fred and Lillian, and children Graydon and Betty. At some point they moved to Dryden, Ontario where Fred was employed as a stationery engineer at the Dryden Paper Company. The couple gave birth to five children, Graydon, Betty, Glen, Ruby, and Olive.

Around 1942 Fred moved to Kenora, Ontario where he died on 21 October 1946. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Lillian, sons Graydon and Glen, and daughters Betty (Rupert) Anderson, Olive, and Ruby (Lorne) Ralston. It appears that Lillian, Olive and Betty eventually moved to Windsor, Ontario while Graydon lived in Winnipeg and Glen in Amherstburg, Ontario.

Fred’s son Graydon served during WW2 with the Lake Superior Regiment as well as the Royal Winnipeg Rifles. On 12 May 1945 he was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field. Graydon died in Winnipeg in 1966. Graydon is interred with his father Fred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.

by Judy Stockham


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