Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 23, 1882
Place of BirthWolverhampton, Straffordshire
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs. Laura Turner (wife), Box 199, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingTrainman
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number2260369
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionCanadian Forestry Corps Base Depot
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Forestry Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentBox 199, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMarch 29, 1917
Age at Enlistment35
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 3, 1962
Age at Death80
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
Plot16E-10-1, Heavenly Junction

Turner, Thomas

Acting Corporal Thomas Turner was 35 years old, married and the father of three children when he enlisted in March 1917. He served overseas with the Canadian Forestry Corps for two years, returning home in April 1919.

Thomas was the son of Jonah and Caroline Turner of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England. He was born in Wolverhampton on 23 February 1882 and he had two younger sisters, Elsie Gertrude and Elizabeth. Several other siblings died as infants. His father Jonah worked as a wrought iron stamper and stamper foreman. When the 1901 census was taken Thomas was 18 years old, living at home and also working as a stamper. He married a local girl, 23 year old Laura Dudwell, on 1 August 1908 and two weeks later they immigrated to Canada. They settled in Kenora, Ontario where Thomas found work with the Canadian Pacific Railway, first as a boilermaker’s helper then as a trainman. He and his wife had three children, all born in Kenora: Thomas (1909), Florence Irene (1912) and Clarence (1916).

By the spring of 1917 the war was in its third year. Britain put out a call for more Canadian foresters and Thomas went to Winnipeg to enlist, signing up with the No. 2 Forestry Draft on 29 March. Just a month later his unit left for the east coast, embarking from Halifax on 1 May and arriving in Liverpool on 14 May. Thomas was assigned to the Canadian Forestry Corps Base Depot, headquartered in Sunningdale, Berkshire, and he served with the depot for almost two years. He was promoted to Acting Corporal with pay on 1 January 1918. In early February 1919 Thomas developed a lump on his right foot and he was admitted to No. 16 General Hospital in Orpington. He was diagnosed with osteoma and he had surgery to remove the growth. He was discharged from the hospital on 11 March and five weeks later he embarked for Canada on the SS Belgic. He landed at Halifax on 23 April and was officially discharged on 27 April in Winnipeg.

After the war Thomas returned to his family in Kenora and resumed his job with the CPR. He worked for them as a boilermaker and boilermaker’s helper for another 28 years, retiring in March 1947. He became a member of the Kenora branch of the Canadian Legion and the International Association of Boilermakers. His son Clarence served with the Royal Canadian Engineers in the Second World War.

Thomas passed away at Pinecrest Home in Kenora on 3 November 1962, at the age of 80. He was survived by his wife Laura, his sons Thomas and Clarence, and his daughter Irene (Mrs. Don Gregor). Laura died in 1964 and she is buried beside Thomas in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

By Becky Johnson

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