Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 17, 1873
Place of BirthSelkirk, Manitoba
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinAgnes Brunsel, wife, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / Callingboat builder
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number820722
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion141st Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMay 13, 1916
Age at Enlistment43
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 13, 1947
Age at Death74
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Brunsel, George

George Nelson Brunsel, son of Angus and Elizabeth Brunsel was born in Manitoba on 17 February 1873. He came to Rat Portage in 1879. He operated the first boat building company in Rat Portage with his brother Neill located on the lakefront between Main and Matheson street. Between 1899 and 1904 the company built many boats including the Daystar, the Wanderer and the Helen S. The business ended with a fire in October 1904. In 1906 it was purchased by Robert J. Parrott. Subsequently the business was operated by Gus Anderson in 1929, who in turn sold to J.W. Stone in 1934.

George went to work for Parrott Boat Building Company until he joined the 141st Battalion in Keewatin on 13 May 1916. He was 44 years old. In August of that year his unit went to Port Arthur for training and it wasn’t until April of 1917 that they embarked for overseas. When he landed in England, George was at camp in Shorncliffe.  In a letter he sent home he indicated that he had spent two months in quarantine.  His camp was near the ocean and on a clear day he could see France and hear the big guns firing.   There was a constant stream of aircraft overhead. On 08 September 1917 George was transferred to the 44th Battalion and sent to France. He spent time with salvage companies and in the Canadian Labour Pool.  In June of 1918 George was transferred to 14th Company of the Canadian Forestry Corps. He served with the Forestry Corps until returning to Canada in March of 1919.  A medical examination noted that George had impaired function of his left leg due to varicose veins and impaired function of his arteries.  He received his discharge due to being medically unfit for service on 04 April 1919 in Winnipeg.

Following the war  George returned to Kenora and was employed by J.W. Stone Boat Company until his retirement in 1939. In the early years he took part in all the boat races. He also spent time at his camp in Clearwater Bay which is now Pye’s Landing. The Brunsel family  lived at 801 Fourth St. North, Kenora.

On 07 August 1897  George had  married Agnes H Neill in  Rat Portage (Kenora)  Ontario. They had  7 children: Margaret Elizabeth Agnes (b.09 November 1899), George Neil (b. 02 March 1902), Helen Louise (b. 29 March 1903), Alice May (b. 21 March 1905), Ethel M (b. January 1909), Marguerite Belle (b. 19 May 1911) and Annie (b. 1914).

George passed away 13 September 1947 in Keewatin, Ontario and is buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. George’s Veteran Death Card lists his son-in-law, David McKie, of Keewatin, Ontario as next of kin.

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