Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 8, 1893
Place of BirthWells, Somerset
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Mary Embery, mother, 43 Talbot Street, Rishton, Lancashire, England
Trade / CallingMiller
Service Details
Regimental Number2383839
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentApril 22, 1918
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 20, 1962
Age at Death69
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Embery, Leslie

Leslie Embery was born on 8 August 1893 in Wells, Somerset, England. He was the first born child of Richard Embery and Mary Ellis who had married during the last quarter of 1892 in Wells. Leslie had three younger siblings, Lucy Cora (1895), Alec Victor (1896), and Eric (1905), all born in Wells. The family eventually moved to Rishton, Lancashire where Richard, Leslie, and Eric worked in the local paper mill.

Leslie immigrated to Canada in 1913, arriving in Halifax aboard the Sardinian on the 3rd of May. His intended destination was given as Keewatin, Ontario where he had found work with the Lake of the Woods Milling Company, a flour mill that had been attracting many immigrants.

Having had his medical examination the previous November (Category A2), Leslie signed his recruitment papers in Port Arthur, Ontario on 22 April 1918. His occupation was given as miller and his mother Mary back in Rishton as next of kin. With the 65th Draft of the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment, Leslie embarked from Montreal aboard the City of Vienna on June 28th. Unfortunately the ship wrecked/was grounded 12 miles off the coast of Halifax on the morning of July 7th and the passengers were quartered at Mewburn Barracks in Halifax until embarking aboard the Thangwa on July 10th.

Once in England Leslie was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion. From 10 August to 20 September he was at the Frensham Pond Segregation Camp as were many of the newly arrived troops, the camps designed to prevent the spread of disease to reserve battalion camps. Although the armistice had been signed, Leslie joined the 52nd Battalion in the field in France on December 24th. On 10 February 1919 the 52nd Battalion returned to England and embarked for Canada aboard the Olympic on the 17th of March. Leslie was discharged from service on March 31st in Port Arthur.

Leslie’s brother Alec enlisted in Accrington, Lancashire as a Driver with the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery. Although the circumstances are unknown, he died on 4 February 1917 in the War Hospital in Manchester.

After the war Leslie returned to Keewatin and his job at the flour mill, eventually retiring in 1954. His sister Cora immigrated to Canada in the 1920’s, living in Keewatin, but returned to England after a few years. Leslie made a two month trip home in 1924, returning in mid July. On 19 September 1942, in Keewatin, he married Janet Allan Feltham. Born in Keewatin in 1912, Janet was the daughter of William and Janet (née Smart) Feltham, William also an employee of the mill. Leslie was a member of the Keewatin Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, St Andrews United Church, and the Retired Mens Club.

Leslie died on 20 December 1962 in St Joseph’s Hospital in nearby Kenora. He was predeceased by all of his family back in England, his mother in 1948, father in 1950, brother Eric in 1958, and sister Cora in 1960. Although Eric had lived in Australia for a while, all died in the Rishton area. Leslie’s wife Janet died on 23 April 2010 in Kenora and is interred with Leslie in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.

Leslie is commemorated for his service on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company WW1 Roll of Honour plaque, on the Municipality of Keewatin for King and Country plaque, and on the Town of Keewatin Roll of Honour plaque. In August of 1919 the town of Keewatin held a demonstration where all who served and family members of those who did not return were presented with medals and badges by the mayor. Leslie’s name was on the list of recipients as published in the Kenora Miner and News.

By Judy Stockham