|Date of Birth||February 11, 1869|
|Place of Birth||St. Clements, Manitoba|
|Next of Kin||Mary Favel (wife), St. Louis Guilbert, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||St. Louis Guilbert, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||November 13, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||46|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||April 8, 1944|
|Age at Death||75|
|Buried At||Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
Private Henry Favel enlisted in November 1915, at age 46, and served overseas in England, France and Belgium for two and a half years. After returning to Canada he served for another six months.
Henry ‘Harry’ Favel was born on 11 February 1869 in the Red River Settlement, which became part of the province of Manitoba when it was created the following year. His parents, John Favel and Nancy Thomas, were both métis and their fathers and grandfathers had worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Henry grew up in the St. Andrew’s area in Manitoba and he had four brothers and one sister: Richard Alex, John Jr., Thomas George, Robert James and Mary Ellen. Henry was married in Selkirk, Manitoba on 7 November 1894. His wife, Mary Anna Bella Irvine, was born in the St. Andrew’s area and was also descended from métis employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Henry and Mary’s first child, Walter Lawrence, was born in 1895 in St. Louis Guilbert (later renamed Petersfield). Not long after that they moved to northwestern Ontario and settled in or near Rat Portage. Two sons were born there, John Thomas in 1900 and William George in 1902. Both births were registered in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora). Within a few years Henry and his wife had returned to St. Louis Guilbert and taken up farming. They had at least five more children, all born in Manitoba: Irene (1905), Henry Irwin (1908, died at age 9 months), James Cornelius (1909), Wallace (1912) and Sarah Ellen (September 1914). The war started a month before Sarah was born and Henry, Walter and John Thomas all enlisted.
Henry signed up in Winnipeg on 13 November 1915 and joined the 90th Battalion (Winnipeg Rifles). He was 46 years old but passed himself off as 44. Over the winter the 90th Battalion boarded at Broadway barracks in Winnipeg and the men trained in three nearby churches. All three churches had gymnasiums, kitchen facilities and rooms for holding lectures and drills. In May 1916 Henry’s son John Thomas was transferred to the same unit and they headed overseas together, embarking from Halifax on 31 May on the SS Olympic and arriving in England on 8 June. Henry served with the 11th Battalion for a month before being transferred to a front line unit, the 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion. He was sent to France at the end of August. That fall the Canadians were at the Somme Offensive where they suffered 24,000 casualties in less than three months.
In January 1917 Henry was classified as permanent base and assigned to the Canadian Corps Headquarters. At the end of May he was in the hospital briefly due to a fever. Afterwards he was transferred to the Canadian Corps Composite Company where he served as an Army Dump Guard. In February 1918 he was posted to the Labour Pool then, two months later, to the 2nd Canadian Infantry Works Battalion. In July Henry was declared to be ‘surplus unfit’ and he returned to England. He suffered from myalgia and in September a medical board recommended that he be sent back to Canada. He sailed on the SS Cardiganshire and arrived in Quebec on 7 October.
Henry asked to be retained and he served in Canada for another six months before being discharged on 19 April 1919 in Winnipeg. His final medical report gave his age correctly as 50 years old. His son Walter Lawrence also served with the 27th Battalion and he was a prisoner of war for two and a half years. He returned to Canada in April 1919. John Thomas served in France and Belgium with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. He was wounded twice and returned home in December 1918. Henry’s brother Robert James Favel died at the Battle of the Somme in October 1916. He is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial in France and the War Memorial in Selkirk, Manitoba.
When the 1921 census was taken Henry was living in St. Andrews and farming again. John Thomas was married by then but the other six children were still at home. The oldest son, Walter, died in a workplace accident in 1940, at age 44. He’s buried in St. James Cemetery in Winnipeg. Three of the boys served during the Second World War, Thomas and Wallace with the Royal Canadian Engineers and William with the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps. They were all overseas when Henry passed away at his home in Winnipeg on 8 April 1944, at age 75. His funeral was held on 12 April and he’s buried in Brookside Cemetery. Sadly his infant grandson, Ronald Walter Henry Favel, died on the same day, 8 April 1944. Ronald is interred at Brookside as well as Henry’s son, John Thomas, who died in 1952.
Henry’s wife Mary passed away in Winnipeg in 1969, at age 92, and she’s buried at St. George’s Wakefield Anglican Cemetery in the RM of St. Andrews. Their daughter Irene (Mrs. Byrd) (1905-1984) is also buried there. Son James had died in 1964 and he’s interred in St. Boniface Cemetery in Winnipeg. Wallace moved to British Columbia around 1950 and passed away in Burnaby in 1969. He’s buried in the Veterans Memorial Park in Burnaby. William died in 1971 and he’s in Riverside Cemetery in Dauphin, Manitoba.
By Becky Johnson