Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 15, 1892
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinElizabeth Montgomery, mother, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / Callingchauffeur
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number2593
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion2nd Divisional Ammunition Sub Park
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Forcea
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentDecember 11, 1914
Age at Enlistment22
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 30, 1966
Age at Death74
Buried AtChapel Lawn Memorial Gardens, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Montgomery, William Earl

With a family of eight children, five of the Montgomery sons were to enlist during the war.

The Montgomery family had its roots in Lanark County in Ontario. Oswald Montgomery Sr, the son of a farmer and local justice of the peace, was born in 1857 in the township of Drummond. On 11 June 1884, in the nearby township of Bathurst where she was born in 1859, he married Elspeth Rutherford Spalding. After the marriage the couple were to farm in the Drummond area, giving birth to sons Roy Spalding in 1885, Oswald Francis in 1886, and Clyde McIlquhan likely in 1888. By the time of the birth of their next son, Thomas Rothwell, the family had moved to Glenborough in South Cypress in Manitoba where Oswald Sr was a hotel keeper. By 1892 and the birth of son William Earl, the family was living in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario, Oswald once again working as a hotel keeper. A short time later they relocated to Winnipeg where Oswald Sr’s brother Thomas was living and the two brothers went on to own and operate the Winnipeg Hotel on the west side of Main Street. The facility featured a restaurant and bar on the main floor and 60 beds on the upper two floors. In 1901 the brothers enlarged the property by buying the former Dominion Hotel next door. The property was further enlarged in 1903 when they acquired a 100-foot frontage on Fort Street behind their building. On 10 March 1904, the Montgomerys sold the hotel to Maurice Nokes for about $125 000 and they began construction of the Queen’s Hotel at the intersection of Portage Avenue and Notre Dame Avenue which they eventually renovated into the Montgomery Block. Children born to the family in Winnipeg were Samuel Clifford (1894), Allan Ross (1896), and Elsie Kathleen (1898).

William Earl enlisted early in the war, signing his attestation papers on 11 December 1914 in Toronto. His date and place of birth was given as 17 August 1892 in Kenora, his occupation as chauffeur, and his mother in Winnipeg as next of kin. As a Private with the 2nd Divisional Ammunition Sub Park, he arrived embarked for England aboard the Megantic on 15 May 1915.

William arrived in Rouen on 15 September 1915. On 18 January of 1916 at a billet in Metreon, he sustained a detonator wound to his left hand, deemed as self inflicted. William was later found not guilty. Losing both his thumb and index finger, he was to spend time in a number of medical centres/hospitals in both France (Boescheppe, Ausberg, Г‰taples) and England (Taplow and Uxbridge) before returning to Canada in September of 1916 aboard the Missanabie. On 12 December 1916, in Winnipeg,   William was discharged from service as medically unfit.

The five Montgomery boys that enlisted were Oswald, Clyde, William, Samuel, and Allan. Allan was the first to enlist, signing his attestation papers at Valcartier on 23 September 1914. He went overseas as a Private with the No 1 Divisional Ammunition Park, later transferred to the 3rd Divisional Supply Column. However Allan suffered from rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatism and was returned to Canada in October of 1916, discharged from service on the 16th in Quebec. Samuel enlisted in February of 1915 as a Gunner with the 1st Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. Commissioned as   Lieutenant and serving latterly with the 7th and 5th Brigades, CFA, he was mentioned in despatches in 1917 and came home with a Military Cross. With a draft of the 76th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, Clyde arrived in England in November of 1917 and was to serve in France/Belgium with the 3rd Brigade Canadian Garrison Artillery. He returned to Canada in May of 1919. With the onset of conscription, Oswald was called up for service with the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment in January of 1918, discharged on return to Registrar’s Records that May.

William was to make Headingley his home where he worked for the Western Elevators. On 17 July 1934 in Selkirk, he married Blanche Elois Mosey. Born in 1884 in Manitoba, Blanche was the daughter of John Moyse and Isabella McMillan. Blanche had been previously married to Percy Davidson Hicks.

William died on 30 September 1966 in the Selkirk Hospital. At the time of his death he was survived by his siblings Reverend Roy Spalding Montgomery and Elsie Kathleen (John) Johnson, both of Winnipeg. He was predeceased by his father in 1926, his mother in 1950, both interred in St John’s Anglican Cathedral Cemetery in Winnipeg, his brother Allan in 1951, his brother brother Thomas in 1961, brother Oswald in 1963, all in Winnipeg, his brother Clyde in 1964 in San Francisco, and his brother Samuel, likely in British Columbia. His wife Blanche had passed away on 21 July 1966 in the Grace Hospital in Winnipeg. William and Blanche are interred in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens in Winnipeg.

By Judy Stockham

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