|Date of Birth||January 27, 1898|
|Place of Birth||Rat Portage (Kenora), Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Louisa Kelpin, mother, Stony Mountain, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Student|
|Regimental Number||892176, 72416, 878|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||Canadian Cavalry Regimental Depot|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Stony Mountain, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||April 20, 1916 (first enlistment)|
|Age at Enlistment||18|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||May 27, 1987|
|Age at Death||89|
Louis Henry Kelpin was born on 27 January 1898 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His father Charles Patrick Kelpin was from Ste Anne de Stukely, Quebec while his mother Marie Louise Brault was from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, USA. The couple married on 12 June 1893 in Lowell, Massachusetts where Charles was working as a furniture dealer. The next year they gave birth to their first child, son Paul Brault (1894-1969) followed by son Charles Arthur (1895-1957). By the time of Louis’ birth the family had relocated to Rat Portage. They were eventually to settle in Stony Mountain, Manitoba where Charles became the superintendent of the city of Winnipeg’s quarry. At one point he was also the general manager of Winnipeg’s water works construction (1916). Children born in Manitoba were Marguerite Mary (1900-1980), John Edward (1902-1994), William Alfred (1904-1904), Norah Louise (1906-1987), Olive Albina (1908-1987), Albert Joseph (1910-2001), and Mona Victoria (1913-2010).
Louis signed his first set of attestation papers on 20 April 1916 in Winnipeg with the 190th Battalion, service #892176. At the time he was living in Stony Mountain and working as a clerk. Likely to appear older he gave his year of birth as 1897. However Louis was discharged from service on 10 of August, unlikely to become an efficient soldier. On 7 July 1917 Louis attested with the Royal Flying Corps, service #72416. By this time his parents had moved to Winnipeg and Louis was living with them and working as a cook according to his attestation papers. He was discharged from the RFC on 10 July, not finally approved. On 4 February 1918, in Winnipeg, Louis attested once again, service #878. His occupation was given as clerk and his father Charles in Winnipeg as next of kin. He gave previous military service as with the 190th Battalion and the Royal Flying Corps, discharged due to a weak heart.
With the 66th Draft to the Depot Squadron 34th Fort Garry Horse, Louis arrived in England aboard the Thongwa on 22 July 1918. He was taken on strength with the Canadian Reserve Cavalry Regiment that had been organized at Shorncliffe in March 1917 to train drafts for the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Lord Strathcona Horse, Fort Garry Horse and Canadian Light Horse. Louis was hospitalized twice during training, eight days in May with bronchitis and twenty days starting in late October with influenza. Having served in Great Britain and with the end of the war, Louis embarked for Canada aboard the Royal George on 7 June 1919. He was discharged from service on 20 June in Winnipeg.
Louis’ brother Paul enlisted in Winnipeg in April of 1916 with the 34th Fort Garry Horse but was discharged from service that October as medically unfit. His brother Charles went overseas with the 196th Battalion and served in France/Belgium with the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade, awarded the Military Medal in May of 1918.
On 3 September 1932, in East Kildonan, a suburb of Winnipeg, Louis married Doris May Cabeldu. Doris’ father Phillipe Augustus Cabeldu was from Jersey, Channel Islands while her mother Amelia Marguerite Sohier was born in Montreal, Quebec. Amelia’s father, a sculptor from Jersey, had immigrated to Canada for a few years, returning to Jersey by the time of the 1871 census. Doris’ parents and sister had immigrated to Canada by 1901, eventually settling in Manitoba.
According to Betty O’Grady Matiskella’s book Descendants of Patrick O’Grady and Mary Steele 1757-2005, Louis and Doris gave birth to seven children, Edward Louis, Kathleen Louise, Junine Mary, Charles Philip, Lenora Rita, Mildred Doreen, and Mona Marie, the last born in Victoria, British Columbia where the family had moved around 1940-1942. Doris died on 9 February 1972 in Victoria. Acording to Matiskella, Louis married Hilda James in 1973 in Vancouver and Ruby Richardson in 1984.
Louis died on 27 May 1987 in the Memorial Pavilion in Victoria. The informant on his BC death record was his wife Ruby (Dawson) Kelpin. At the time of his death Louis was predeceased by his father Charles (1954) and mother Marie (1960), both in Victoria, as well as his siblings William (1904), Charles (1957), Paul (1969), Marguerite (1980), and Olive (1987). Royal Oak Crematorium was in charge of the arrangements, the suggestion being that Louis’ ashes were later scattered near the water at Beacon Hill Park, his favourite place to walk.
By Judy Stockham