Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 10, 1896
Place of BirthPortland, Leeds County, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Jessie Lodema Davis (mother), 25 Fourth Street, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingMarine Fireman
Service Details
Regimental Number4070223
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at Enlistment25 Fourth Street, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentNovember 23, 1917
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 17, 1941
Age at Death45
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Davis, Herbert Samuel

Private Herbert Samuel Davis was called up in November 1917, at age 21. He served in France and Belgium with the 52nd Battalion and returned to Canada in March 1919.

Herbert was the son of Lyman Davis and Jessie Clements of Kenora, Ontario. He was born on 10 October 1896 in Portland, Leeds County, Ontario and he had at least one older brother, Reuben, and a younger sister, Vidas Agnes. Both of his parents were born in Ontario. The family was still living in the Portland area at the time of the 1911 census but sometime after that they moved to the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. Lyman found work there in a sawmill. He died in Kenora on 20 December 1915, at age 48.

Conscription started in Canada in 1917 and Herbert was called up that fall, on 23 November. He had just turned 21 and he was working as a marine fireman at the time. He was living on Fourth Street in Kenora with his mother and he named her as next of kin. Herbert had his medical in Winnipeg and he was assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment. He trained in Manitoba over the winter and spring and he was sent to England in the summer, embarking from Halifax on 16 June 1918 and arriving at Liverpool twelve days later. He was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion at the end of June.

The final period of the war started in August and the Canadians were heavily involved in operations in those last three months. On 26 September Herbert was drafted to the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion and sent to France. The 52nd had been organized in Port Arthur and recruited in northwestern Ontario, including the town of Kenora. Herbert joined the unit in the field in early October, just before the capture of Cambrai. Over the next month the Canadians continued moving northeast towards Belgium and on the morning of 11 November the 52nd was in Wasmuel, just west of Mons. When they learned of the Armistice the battalion band turned out and paraded around the town, accompanied by a crowd of civilians singing and waving flags.

The troops marched from Wasmuel to Mons on the afternoon of 11 November and they spent another three months in Belgium. The battalion moved to Le Havre by train on 5 February and embarked for England five days later. The men were sent to Bramshott Camp and most of them were immediately given leave. After five weeks in England they left for Canada on the SS Olympic on 17 March. There was a huge celebration when they arrived in Port Arthur and the unit was demobilized there at the end of the month. Herbert and the other Kenora veterans arrived home on 31 March and a large reception was held the next day at the Tourist Hotel, with over 200 returned soldiers in attendance.

By the time of the 1921 census Herbert and his mother had moved to Winnipeg. They were living on Ellice Avenue and he was working as a switchman for the railway. His mother was married again on 14 July 1921 to John Allan Brough.

Herbert died in an accident at work on the morning of 17 December 1941. He was working as a switchman at the CPR yards near Salter Street in Winnipeg when he fell under the wheels of a switch engine. His funeral was held in Kenora three days later and he’s buried in Angel Crest Block at Lake of the Woods Cemetery. His mother died in 1952 and she’s also buried there, along with her husband John Brough.

By Becky Johnson

Davis-Herbert-Samuel-90 Davis-Herbert-Samuel-91

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