Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 1, 1878
Place of BirthKerrich Castle, Cumberland County
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinWife: Sarah Atkinson, Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingConstable, Keewatin Police Force
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number198976
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion94th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 17, 1916
Age at Enlistment37
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 7, 1958
Age at Death79
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Atkinson, Thomas James

Thomas James Atkinson was born on 01 November 1878, in Kerrich Castle, Cumberland – near Carlise, England. He married Sarah Noble in England. She was born on 20 May 1878 in England. In 1903 they immigrated to Keewatin, Ontario, Canada. They had seven children, all born in Keewatin. They were: Ernest (born 22 March 1902), twins George and Nathan (only lived for 19 days), Florance (lived only 6 months), William (lived for 7 years 3 months 25 days), Elsie (born on 01 April 1908) and Thomas James Harold (Harry) (born on 09 January 1913).

Tom’s employment in England was as a Bobby in the Police Force and he served as the Chief Constable in Keewatin from 1913 to 1916. On 17 February, at the age of 37 years, the Keewatin Council granted him a leave of absence to enlist in W.W.1 as a Private in the 94th Battalion #198976. In the meantime the Council was looking for a competent man to fill his position ‘but no one of military age fit for active service need apply’. Tom went to Valcartier Camp in Quebec with the 94th for training. He spent twelve days in hospital at the camp because of chronic rheumatism. During this time the 94th embarked for England and Tom didn’t go with them. Upon his discharge from hospital he spent a month with the 148th Battalion and then was   transferred to the Special Services Battalion. On 16 October 1916 Thomas was discharged from the army as medically unfit for further service.

He returned to Keewatin and his job on the police force until 1919. His wife, Sarah, died in 1918. Thomas then worked as a packer for the Lake of the Woods Milling Company for 27 years, retiring in 1952.

His son, Ernest, enlisted in W.W.2 and served in England where he met and married May. They had three sons and lived in England. Ernest died in England. Daughter Elsie married Andrew Herd. They lived in Keewatin and had seven children. Elsie died in 1996. Youngest son, Harry enlisted in W.W.2. After he served overseas, he returned to live in Keewatin. Harry didn’t get married. He died in 1990.

Tom’s second marriage was to a spinster, Mary Jane Harkness, at the St. James Anglican Church in Keewatin.

After Tom’s retirement, he worked for a camper, yard cleaning. Then he would walk home stopping at the Hi-Way Grocery store to buy a Lime Crush pop to refresh himself and a brick of vanilla Palm ice cream to take home to share with his son Harry and his grandson Bob. In his late 70’s, Tom was also building a road up a hill to his home which is now a paved one way street. He worked until his passing.

Tom died on 07 April 1958. He was 79 years old.   He is buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. Tom is commemorated for his WW1 service on the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country plaque.

Words of wisdom Tom shared with his grandson Jim were to do and take everything in life in moderation.

Atkinson-Thomas-James-1 Atkinson-Thomas-James-2 Atkinson-Thomas-James-3 Atkinson-Thomas-James-4 Atkinson-Thomas-James-5 Atkinson-Thomas-James-6 Atkinson-Thomas-James-7

Thomas’ grave marker was installed in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in 2018 by the Last Post Fund.

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