Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 23, 1894
Place of BirthEdinburgh
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinFather: Mr. Jas (James) Clark - Keewatin,Ontario
Trade / CallingSurveyor
Service Details
Regimental Number72074
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion27th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentNot stated but most likely with his parents in Keewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentOctober 22, 1914
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathJanuary 17, 1916
Age at Death21
Buried AtBailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, France
PlotII. C. 60.

Clark, William

William was the second child and only son of James  Clark and Jane/Jean (Heddle) of Keewatin, Ontario. His parents had married  on June 16, 1893 in Old Deer, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He had an older sister, Jeannie, and two younger sisters, Isabella and Jamesina, all born in Scotland. James immigrated to Canada in 1904 and Jane  followed with the children in 1905. When the 1911 census was taken William’s father was working as a caretaker at the Public School in Keewatin. At this time the family made their home on Mill Street in Keewatin beside the school.

When William enlisted with the 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion, on October 22, 1914, he was just 20 years old and was working as a surveyor. Known as ‘Bill’ to family and friends he signed up in Kenora to join the war effort. A private of the 27th Battalion during the First World War could expect to earn between $1.00 and $1.10 a day, or around $30 a month.  Just  over a week after enlisting William and seven other Keewatin lads plus eight from Kenora were off to Winnipeg  to start their training with the 27th Battalion.   A ‘rousing send-off’ was given to these young men from their home town communities.

Over the winter the battalion trained in Manitoba and the following spring they left for England, embarking from Quebec on May 17, 1915 on the Carpathia. The men spent several months training at Shorncliffe Camp in southeast England. On September 14 they marched from Shorncliffe to Southampton where they boarded a ship bound for France. They disembarked at Boulogne on September 18 and four days later the battalion was in Belgium. The Canadian Divisions were in the Ypres Salient that fall and the 27th Battalion was based south of Ypres near the town of Kemmel, very close to the border with France. Over the next four months the battalion spent time in training, work parties, improving the trenches, going on patrols and raids and doing rotations in the front lines. William was hit by a trench mortar during one of their rotations in the front trenches. It most likely happened on January 12 when the war diary of the 27th Battalion recorded one man wounded. William was evacuated to a casualty clearing station where he died of his wounds on January 17, 1916.

From the Circumstances of Death record for William: ‘Died of Wounds’ While on duty in the front line trenches, he was hit by a trench mortar bomb. He was evacuated to No. 2 Casualty Clearing Station where he later succumbed to his wounds.

William is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension in the French town of Bailleul, which is very close to the border with Belgium. The extension to the cemetery was made in April 1915 and it contains 4,400 Commonwealth First World War burials, many of them from No. 2 Casualty Clearing Station.

William is commemorated on the Keewatin Cenotaph, the Lake of the Woods Milling Co. plaque, the Kenora and Keewatin High Schools plaque, page 67 of the First World War Book of Remembrance and the Municipality of Keewatin Roll of Honour.

His sister Jamesina married Charles Burgoyne, a Keewatin resident and veteran of the First World War.

By Linda Pelletier

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Circumstances of death card courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.

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