Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 10, 1887
Place of BirthQuebec City, Quebec
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinAndrew Cotter, father, Box 305, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingPlumber
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number2503848
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionRailway Construction and Forestry Depot
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Forestry Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at EnlistmentRoom 14, Glines Block, Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentApril 23 1918
Age at Enlistment29
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death27 December 1972
Age at Death85
Buried AtRiverview Cemetery, Kamsack, Saskatchewan
PlotOld St Stephens, Block 1, Lot 73

Cotter, William Thomas

William Thomas (Bill) Cotter was born on 10 December 1887 in Quebec City, date confirmed by his baptism record. Both of his parents, Andrew Cotter and Mary Jane O’Neill, were born in Quebec to Irish immigrants. The couple married on 21 April 1884 in Quebec City. Over the years Andrew worked as a plumber as did some of his sons. Bill had two older siblings, Andrew Henry (1885), Justin (Jessie) (1886), and four younger siblings, Mary Eva (1890), Thomas (Tom)(1891), Stella (1893) and Agnes (1898). Shortly after the birth of Agnes the family moved to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. Sadly, Bill’s mother died in May of 1900.

Against all odds, the Kenora Thistles hockey team won the Stanley Cup in January of 1907. For the 1907-1908 season Bill, along with a few others, were signed to the team. However, without financial backing, a short time later the team folded although the name has been used over the years with many hockey clubs in Kenora.

On 10 September 1908, in Kenora, Bill married Mamie Thone. Nineteen years old, Mamie was the daughter of Frank Thone and Mary Wheeler. At the time Bill was working as a steamfitter and Mamie as a dressmaker.

According to the Alberta Homestead records, in May of 1913 Bill made application for a grant of land. He was living in the area of Peavine north of Edmonton although his former residence was given as Calgary. His birth place was given as Quebec City and occupation as plumber. The next year, with place of residence given as Peavine and former residence as Edmonton, he made a second application for a grant of land.

Bill signed his recruitment papers with the No 6 Draft of the Canadian Forestry Corps on 23 April 1918 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At the time he was living in the Glines Block on Portage Avenue. He gave his occupation as plumber and his father Andrew in Kenora as next of kin. He gave his date of birth as 10 December 1888 and marital status as single. Bill was discharged from service from the Railway Construction and Forestry Depot in Brockville on 3 October 1918, struck off strength on return to Registrar’s records.

With the No 6 Draft, Canadian Forestry Corps, Bill’s brother Tom embarked from Halifax aboard the SS Megantic on 20 February 1918. Upon arrival in England he was taken on strength with the CFC base depot at Sunningdale. In late March he was transferred to 55 District 130 Company at Sandhurst, Berkshire where he was to serve until early June of 1919. By July 8th Tom was back in Canada.

According to an entry written by his daughter in Spinning Stories: a Woven History, Kamsack, Togo, Veregin, Runnymede, Cote, Bill moved to Kamsack, Saskatchewan in 1919. The next year he married Martha Armstrong, daughter of Thomas and Sarah Jane (née Parry) Armstrong. Born in 1892 in Liverpool, England, Martha was living with her parents and siblings in Kenora at the time of the 1911 census, the family later moving to Kamsack. Bill and Martha’s first child, son Wilfred, was born in 1921 followed by daughter Bernice in 1926. Up until that time Bill had been working with Andy Soder’s plumbing and tinsmith business. The family moved to Winnipeg from 1926-1933, returning to Kamsack for a plumbing contract. They purchased the Kandy Kitchen, a shop known for its homemade candy and ice cream. Selling the shop in the early 1940’s, Bill returned to the plumbing business. Over the years he coached a local hockey team and served on town council for twenty-five years. Bill was actively involved in community affairs which included the Board of Trade, Knights of Columbus, curling, and local politics as a member of the Liberal party.
Predeceased by Martha in 1954, Bill died on 27 December 1972. Martha and Bill are interred in the Riverview Cemetery in Kamsack.

Bill’s father Andrew died in February of 1929 in Kenora and according to his obituary at the time of his death he was survived by sons Henry of Australia, Jessie of western Canada, William of Edmonton, Tom of Kenora, and daughters Eva Kehoe of Calgary, Stella Bellefeuille of Kenora, and Agnes of Winnipeg. Bill’s parents and sister Stella are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.

by Judy Stockham

gravemarker photo: TLK (Trish Kelly) on
information about Bill’s life in Kamsack: Spinning Stories: A Woven History, Kamsack, Togo, Veregin, Runnymede, Cote

« Back To Soldier Biographies