Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 12, 1896
Place of BirthKeewatin, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinNels Hansen, father, Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingAssistant Engineer
Service Details
Regimental Number1250349
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion19th Battery
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Field Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMay 9, 1917
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19811102
Age at Death85
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
PlotHistory Haven Block, 8E-34-2

Hansen, Carl Andrew

Bombardier Carl Andrew Hansen was one of four brothers from Keewatin, Ontario who served in the First World War.

Carl was the son of Nils (Nels) Julius Hansen and his wife Ellen Nilson. Nils and Ellen both immigrated to Canada in the 1880s, Nils from Norway and Ellen from Sweden. They were married in December 1888 in Winnipeg and a short time later they moved to Keewatin in northwestern Ontario. Nils was involved in the construction of the flour mill in Keewatin and he had a long career with the Lake of the Woods Milling Company. By the 1920s he was superintendent of the flour mill’s heating and sprinkler systems. He was also very active in community affairs and he served on the Keewatin town council in 1920 and as Keewatin’s mayor in 1921.

Nils and Ellen had seven children, their daughter Cleora (1890), followed by six sons: Hans, Allan, Carl, John, Fred and Clarence. Carl was born in Keewatin on 12 October 1897. When he enlisted at age 20 he was working as an assistant engineer. He signed up in Winnipeg on 9 May 1917 with the 76th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. At the end of the month the recruits were sent to a camp in Petawawa, Ontario to train. A dozen other local lads were in the same unit as Carl and during the brief stop in Kenora a large crowd gathered at the train station to wish them well and see them on their way. Just days after arriving in Petawawa Carl became ill with diphtheria and he spent a week in the camp hospital. The 76th was a reinforcement depot and recruits were sent overseas in drafts as needed. After training over the summer Carl was sent to the UK as part of the Depot’s 5th draft, embarking on 22 October 1917 on the SS Scandinavian.

Carl trained for a few more weeks in England and in December 1917 he was sent to France. He spent some time in the Artillery Pool and at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp before being transferred to his new unit, the 19th Battery, 4th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. When he joined them in the field in March 1918 they were based in the Lens-Arras area in France, where the Canadians were holding a long stretch of the front line. There were no major battles for the Corps that spring but artillery units supported the infantry during raids and carried out regular shelling of enemy positions.

In June 1918 Carl was out of action with a sprained wrist and in July he was admitted to a hospital in Le Tréport on the coast of France, suffering from bronchitis. His brother Allan was a patient there at the same time. Carl was promoted to Bombardier in October and the following month he rejoined the 4th Brigade in the field, just as the Armistice came into effect. Hostilities ended but the Canadians spent several more months in France and Belgium. Carl had two weeks leave in December and in April 1919 he became ill with tonsillitis. While he was sick his unit was sent back to England and he was transferred from a hospital in France to one in Orpington, Kent. He returned to Canada that summer, embarking from Glasgow on HMT Saturnia and landing in Montreal on 28 June 1919. He was discharged in Winnipeg three days later.

Three of his brothers also served: Hans with the 52nd Battalion, Allan in the Canadian Field Artillery and John with the 34th Fort Garry Horse. John died of illness in Winnipeg at age 19, while he was in training, but Hans and Allan survived the war.

After his discharge Carl returned to Keewatin and he was honoured at a ceremony there on 4 August 1919, when medals were awarded to veterans and the families of fallen soldiers. For the next three years he attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, graduating in 1923 with a B.Sc in Civil Engineering. The following year, on 31 December 1924, he was married in Keewatin to Beulah Isabell Armstrong, the daughter of Frank and Mary Armstrong. Beulah was born and raised in Keewatin and she worked as a stenographer. Her brother  Fred Armstrong had served overseas during the war. He died in 1918 after returning home, a victim of the influenza pandemic.

At the time of his marriage Carl was employed as a construction engineer in Niagara Falls, New York. He and his wife settled in the Riverview neighbourhood in Winnipeg and they built a summer home at Clearwater Bay on Lake of the Woods. They had two sons and a daughter. In 1930 Carl started his own business as a foundation specialist, Smith and Hansen Co., and he worked there until his retirement in 1962.   He was actively involved in his church, Rosedale United, and he was a member of Granite Curling Club and a long-time member of the Rotary Club in Winnipeg. Carl passed away in Winnipeg on 2 November 1981, at age 85, and he’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. Beulah died in 1986, survived by their daughter and two sons, and she’s also buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

Carl, Allan, Hans and John are commemorated on the Municipality of Keewatin ‘For King and Country’ 1914-1918 Honour Roll.

By Becky Johnson

Photos courtesy of daughter Marnie (Hansen) Karlberg.

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