Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 2, 1894
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs L Sewell, mother, Selkirk, Manitoba
Trade / CallingElectrician
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number829332
Service Record
Battalion27th Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Forestry Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentSelkirk, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentNovember 29, 1915
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 17, 1969
Age at Death75
Buried AtChapel Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sewell, Horace

Horace (Bud) Sewell was born on 2 September 1894 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. Both of his parents John Sewell and Louisa Sarah Parr were from England, immigrating to Canada around 1891 according to later census records. Their first child, daughter Gladys, was born in 1893 in Rat Portage where John was working as a cook. Following Horace’s birth, son Claude was born in 1896, with John working as a laundry man at the time. Daughter Olive was born in May of 1898, but sadly she died that August and is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. By the 1901 census the family had moved to Winnipeg where John was working as a merchant/tailor at the time of the census. For the 1911 census his occupation was given as dyer/wool work. Children born in Winnipeg were John (Jack) (1902), Fred (1904), Edith (1905), and Louise (abt 1906). John died in 1916, death listed in Selkirk, Manitoba where the family was living at the time of the 1916 census.

Horace signed his attestation papers on 29 November 1915 in Winnipeg. His occupation was given as electrician and his mother in Selkirk as next of kin. As a Private with the 144th Battalion, Horace arrived in England on 25 September 1916 aboard the Olympic.

Once in England Horace was appointed Acting Corporal and transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion. In early February of 1917 he was appointed Acting Sergeant, transferring to the 27th Company of the Canadian Forestry Corps in mid month. Reverting to the rank of Private he proceeded overseas to join the unit in France.

‘The Canadian Forestry Corps provided lumber for the Allied war effort by cutting and preparing timber in the United Kingdom and on the continent of Europe during the war. Forestry units also cleared terrain for the construction of installations such as airfields and runway, prepared railway ties, as well as lumber for the creation of barracks, road surfaces, ammunition crates, trench construction, etc. These units were sometimes called on in the First World War to perform as infantry.’ (

In March of 1917 Horace was appointed Lance Corporal but after being absent from tattoo for two hours in late January of 1918 he was severely reprimanded and reverted to the rank of Private. In late February he was granted a two week leave to the UK. For reasons unknown, Horace was hospitalized from the 6th to 27th of November 1918. With the end of the war he returned to the CFC Base Depot in Sunningdale, England in late February 1919 and was struck off strength to CEF Canada on 30 March. Horace was discharged from service on 13 April 1919 in Winnipeg.

At the time of the 1921 census Horace, working as a chauffeur for a dry cleaners, was living with his mother and siblings Jack, Fred, Edith, and Louise in Winnipeg. Also lodging with the family was Harry Thompson who his mother would later marry. On 22 March 1922, in Winnipeg, Horace married Viola Crystabelle Zimmerman. Born in 1898 in the United States, Viola was the daughter of Albert Zimmerman and Emma Loepke. Her father, a dance instructor, was born in Switzerland while her mother was born in the United States. The family had moved to Winnipeg around 1905.

Horace and Viola were to make Winnipeg their home, giving birth to daughter June Olive in 1923 and son Gordon Allan in 1929. A Voters list of 1957 gave Horace’s occupation as civil servant. According to his obituary he served with the Canadian Forces from 1939 to 1945 during WW2. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Weston Branch.

Following a lengthy illness, Horace died on 17 September 1969 in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Viola, son Gordon (Alice), daughter June (Albert) Strom, and five grandchildren, all of Winnipeg. He was predeceased by his infant sister Olive, his father John, mother Louisa Thompson (1953, Winnipeg), brother Fred (1962, Winnipeg), and sister Gladys Mitchell (1967, Fort Lupton, Colorado). Trace of his brother Claude was not found after 1916 nor of his sister Louise after a 1924 border crossing record when she was on her way to her sister Gladys in Colorado. His brother Jack later died in 1984 in Winnipeg and his sister Edith McElroy in 1995 in Los Angeles. Horace’s wife Viola died on 1 November 1984 in Central Park Lodge in Winnipeg. Along with other family members, including their children, Horace and Viola are interred in Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Winnipeg.

By Judy Stockham


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