Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 21, 1874
Place of BirthHuddersfield, Yorkshire
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinNelly Turner (wife), 608 College Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingGroom
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number700118
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionNo. 35 Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Forestry Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at Enlistment608 College Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentDecember 7, 1915
Age at Enlistment41
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 24, 1952
Age at Death78
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Turner, Lewis Thomas

Corporal Lewis Thomas Turner was 41 years old, married and the father of three children when he enlisted in December 1915. He served overseas in England and France for almost three years, returning to Canada in May 1919.

Lewis was the son of John William and Annie Turner of the Isle of Man, a self-governing island (not part of the UK) located between Great Britain and Ireland. John and Annie were both born in Lancashire, England and they were married in 1865 in Manchester. In the early 1870s they moved to the county of Yorkshire. Lewis was born on 21 September 1874, his birth registered as Thomas Henry Lewis Turner in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. He had at least six siblings: Annie, Alice, John and George born in Manchester, and James and Ellen born in Huddersfield. In the summer of 1892 when he was 17 Lewis enlisted in the British army, signing up with the Royal Artillery in Woolwich, Kent. By then his family was living on the Isle of Man where his father was in the grocery and produce business. When Lewis attested he listed his occupation as joiner and said he’d already been training with a militia unit. He served as a driver with the Royal Artillery for seven years, three years in England and four years in India. In 1899 he was transferred to the reserves and in February 1900 he was discharged as medically unfit.

In 1899, a few months after being transferred to the reserves, Lewis married Helen (Nelly) Hartley in Liverpool, England. When the 1901 census was taken they were staying in Seaforth, a village just north of Liverpool, and Lewis was working as a painter’s carter. Around 1905 he immigrated to Canada, settling in St. James, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and his wife followed a year later. They had three children, a son John (1907) and two daughters, Alice (1912) and Grace (1915). Lewis joined a local militia unit, the 18th Mounted Rifles, training with them for about four years, and when the war started he became an active member of the Home Guard.

By the fall of 1915 the war was in its second year and Lewis enlisted on 7 December, signing up in Winnipeg with the newly-organized 101st Battalion. He was 41 years old and working as a groom at the time but he said he’d also worked as a farmer. The battalion trained in the city over the winter then spent a few weeks at Camp Hughes, and on 23 June 1916 they left for the east coast. About 5,000 friends and relatives gathered at the train station in Winnipeg to see the men off and wish them well. The unit embarked from Halifax on 29 June on the SS Olympic and in England the recruits were absorbed into the 17th Reserve Battalion.

Overseas service:

-Lewis was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion on 13 July 1916
-he was ‘on duty’ with the 2nd Brigade from October 1916 to January 1917
-he was transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps in April
-No. 35 Company CFC was organized in April and Lewis was assigned to the unit on 2 May
-they arrived in Le Havre, France on 4 May
-Lewis was promoted to Corporal that same day
-he served with No. 35 Company for six months
-in November he was transferred to the Canadian Labour Pool
-in February 1918 Lewis was classed as B2, suitable for non-combatant work
-he was in No. 7 General Hospital in Etaples from 10 February to 25 March, with inflammation of the knee
-he spent another week at a convalescent centre
-Lewis was almost blind in one eye, which he said was from an injury sustained during his service with the Royal Artillery
-in April he was classed as B3, suitable for sedentary work, due to his defective vision
-in June he was transferred to No. 19 Company CFC
-he was given two weeks leave in the UK in July
-in August he was classed as permanent base due to his defective vision
-in January 1919 he was transferred from No. 19 to No. 70 Company CFC
-in February he returned to the Labour Pool
-Lewis had two weeks leave in the UK in March 1919
-when his leave expired he was kept in England and posted to the Canadian Forestry Corps Base Depot
-he embarked from Liverpool on 7 May on the SS Orduna
-he was discharged in Winnipeg on 19 May

After the war Lewis returned to his family in St. James and he found work with the post office, first as a carrier then as postmaster. Around 1940 he and Nelly moved to Kenora, Ontario to live with their married daughter, Alice Townson. Lewis became a member of the Kenora Legion and he worked as caretaker of both the Armoury and Legion buildings. He passed away at Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg on 24 August 1952, at age 77. He was predeceased by his wife in 1945 and survived by his son Jack of Dallas, Texas, and his daughters Alice Townson and Grace Twitchings. Lewis is buried in the veterans section at Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

By Becky Johnson

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Veteran Death Card courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.

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