Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 29, 1889
Place of BirthBay City, Michigan
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs George Archambault, 693 Banning St, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingButcher
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number13603
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion5th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 22, 1914
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 9, 1951
Age at Death61
Buried AtMount Royal Cemetery, Montreal, Quebec
PlotSection L 5000 #139

Archambault, William Ernest

William Ernest Archambault was born on 29 December 1889 in Bay City, Michigan, birth confirmed by Michigan registration. His father George was from Ottawa while his mother Celina was from Quebec. William had an older sister Cora Maud, born in 1883 in Bay City, and an older brother George who was likely born in Quebec in 1885. At the time of Cora’s birth George Sr was working as a hotel keeper in Bay City. By the 1901 Canada census the family was living in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario where Cora had married Bertram David Taylor earlier that year. On the marriage record Celina’s maiden name was given as Pommerlane. George Sr was working as a butcher and Bertram as a grocery clerk. At some point William left for San Francisco, returning to Canada in November of 1911 with a border crossing entry listing him as a butcher on his way to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where his father was living. It appears that George and Celina separated, with Celina living with Cora and her family in Kenora for the 1911 Canada census and in Winnipeg with the family for the 1916 and 1921 censuses.

Along with his brother, William was living in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan at the outbreak of the the war. He first enlisted with the 27th Light Horse in Shaunavon and then with the 5th Battalion in Valcartier, Quebec on 22 September 1914. His attestation papers list his place of birth as Base City, Michigan and his date of birth as 29 December 1888. William’s occupation was given as butcher although elsewhere in his file it was indicated that he had been working at one time as a bartender for his father in Moose Jaw. He gave his mother Celina in Winnipeg as next of kin.

The 5th Battalion had been organized at Valcartier that September with recruits from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. As a Private with H Company of the 5th Battalion, William embarked from Quebec City aboard the Lapland on the 26th of September. A Kenora newspaper article reported William as killed in action in April of 1915, recanting the story that July.

William suffered a shrapnel wound (slight) to the thigh in September of 1915 and was invalided to the King George Hospital in London, discharged the next month. That October he was taken on strength with the 32nd Reserve Battalion before proceeding on draft to the 5th Battalion in June of 1916. In September he was admitted to the No 3 Canadian General Hospital in Boulogne with PUO, fever of unknown origin. He was transferred to England and spent time in a number of hospitals with a diagnosis of paratyphoid.

During the second quarter of 1917 in the registration district of Croydon in Surrey, William married Elsie Gertrude (née Randle) Grinham. The daughter of Peter Randle and Emma Strout, Elsie was born in 1888 in Lancing, Sussex. She had married sailor George Grinham in 1908 and had a son Peter who was born the next year. William was eventually found unfit for service due to a defective right knee, caused in part by the shrapnel wound and being buried by a shell explosion. He arrived back in Canada aboard the Metagama on 24 September 1917, with his wife Elsie and her son Peter arriving the next day aboard the Justicia.

William and his new family returned to Winnipeg and as reported in the Kenora newspaper, travelled to Kenora in March of 1918 to see his father. A notation in his file had William and Elsie living at the Indian Hospital, Fisher Island, the Pas, Manitoba in 1919. By 1921 William, Elsie, and Peter were back in England, living at Gloucester Arms, Upper Park Place, Regents Park in London.

William and Elsie eventually separated with Elsie marrying William Robert Worth in 1925 in Thorton Heath, St Paul, Surrey. William was found on the passenger list of the Aurania that arrived in Quebec in September of 1928. He was on his way to his brother George in Shaunavon.

William died on 9 April 1951 in the Military Hospital in St Anne de Bellevue, a suburb of Montreal in Quebec. He is interred in the Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal. Although they had separated, William was listed as a widower of Elsie Randall (sic) on his burial record.

by Judy Stockham

Gravemarker photo: courtesy of Graceti on

Archambault-William-2 Archambault-William-3 Archambault-William-4

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