Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 1, 1895
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs James Kelly, mother, 380 Agnes Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingTelegrapher
Service Details
Regimental Number2265445
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionCanadian Corps Headquarters Signal Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment380 Agnes Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentMarch 14, 1917
Age at Enlistment22
Theatre of ServiceFrance
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 23, 1990
Age at Death95
Buried AtRiverside Memorial Park Cemetery, Regina, Saskatchewan

Kelly, Frank James

According to his attestation papers, Francis James (Frank) Kelly was born on 1 March 1895 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. His father James Kelly was the son of  Irish  immigrants that had settled in the village of Brussels, Huron, Ontario. His mother Martha Mathieson was born in Admaston, a small community near Renfrew, Ontario. Martha was the daughter of Scottish immigrants with her father employed as a hotel keeper over the years. At the time of James and Martha’s marriage in 1893 in Renfrew, both were living in Renfrew where James was working as a mason. The following year the couple moved to Rat Portage where James found work as a contractor. Children born to the family while living in Rat Portage were Frank, Mayme (1896 in Winnipeg), William Albert (1898), and Isabella (1901). By the 1911 census the family had moved to Winnipeg where James continued to work as a builder/contractor. By 1916 Frank was working in Winnipeg as a telegraph operator.

With occupation given as telegrapher and his mother Mrs James Kelly in Winnipeg as next of kin, Frank signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 14 March 1917. From the Ottawa Signal Training Depot, Frank embarked for overseas aboard the Megantic on 24 November 1917 with a Signal Draft to the Canadian Engineers Training Depot in England. The following September he proceeded overseas, taken on strength with the Canadian Signal Pool in early October. In December he was transferred to the Canadian Corps Headquarters Signal Company. With the end of the war he returned to England in May of 1919 and was discharged from service in Toronto on June 18th.

Frank’s brother William signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg in May of 1918 and served as a Sergeant with the No 2 District Depot, Canadian Engineers in Canada until he was discharged in June of 1919.

The 1921 Canada census found Frank living with his mother and two sisters on Coney Island, Kenora and working as a telegrapher. On 10 September 1924, in Kenora, Frank married school teacher Jean Marion McLeod. Born in 1899 in Woodstock, Ontario, Jean was the daughter of Donald McLeod and Alexandrina Sutherland who had married in 1893 in Keewatin, at the time a thriving community near Kenora. A pioneer of the lumber industry in Keewatin, Donald also served for a time as the town’s mayor.

At some point Frank and Jean moved to Saskatchewan. The couple had two known children, sons Donald and William. Frank worked for 47 years for CP Telegraphs and was a life member of the Royal Canadian Legion. Predeceased by his wife Jean in 1980, Frank died on 23 March 1990 in Regina. He was also predeceased by his mother Martha (1947), father James (1961), brother William (1970), sister Mayme Clarke (1986), all interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, as well as his sister Isabel Wilson. At the time of his death he was survived by son Donald (Gwyn) of Saskatoon, son William (Shelagh) of Regina, and five grandchildren. Frank and Jean are interred in the Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery in Regina.

by Judy Stockham

gravemarker photo: Saskatchewan Cemetery Project
Frank’s obituary: courtesy of the Regina Public Library


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