Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 30, 1895
Place of BirthSt. Louis Guilbert, Manitoba
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinHarry Favel (father), St. Louis Guilbert, Manitoba
Trade / CallingLabourer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number71553
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion27th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentOctober 26, 1914
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarYes
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19400323
Age at Death44
Buried AtSt. James Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Favel, Walter Lawrence

Private Walter Lawrence Favel enlisted in October 1914, at age 19, and served overseas with the 27th Battalion. He was a prisoner of war from April 1916 until December 1918.

Walter was born on 30 March 1895 in St. Louis Guilbert, Manitoba. He was the oldest son of Henry ‘Harry’ Favel and Mary Anna Bella Irvine. Henry was born in 1869 into a m├ętis family in the Red River Settlement. His grandfather Samuel Favel and other family members had worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Henry and Mary Anna Bella were married in 1894 in Selkirk, Manitoba. Sometime after Walter was born 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 (later renamed Petersfield) 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. Walter signed up in Winnipeg on 26 October 1914, joining the 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion. He was 19 years old, a labourer and next of kin was his father in St. Louis Guilbert. The 27th Battalion was being raised as part of the second overseas contingent. After training over the winter the recruits sailed for England in the spring, embarking from Quebec on the SS Carpathia on 17 May 1915.

Walter’s unit trained for several months at military camps in England. In August he suffered a broken nose and he recovered at hospitals in Otterpool Camp and Shorncliffe. On 17 September the battalion marched to Folkestone on the coast where they boarded the Marguerite, disembarking at Boulogne, France the following day. Less than a week later the troops were in Belgium. That fall the Canadians were holding a section of the front line south of Ypres. There were no major operations for them but the policy was one of aggressive activity against the Germans, including raids on their trenches. The battalions had regular rotations in the front lines and the troops also spent time in work parties, digging and repairing trenches and dugouts, training and going on patrols. In October Walter became ill with influenza and he spent two weeks at No. 1 General Hospital and No. 1 Convalescent Depot, both in Boulogne.

In early April 1916 the 27th Battalion took part in its first significant engagement, the disastrous and confused fighting at St. Eloi craters. They suffered heavy casualties and Walter was reported wounded and missing on 4 April. Red Cross lists later reported him as killed in action on 6 April near St. Eloi but in July he was listed as a prisoner of war who was captured on 6 April at St. Eloi. He had been wounded in the back and he spent seven months in Kaiserin Augusta Schule Lazarett, a hospital in Cologne, Germany. While he was there he had surgery to remove shrapnel. Following his recovery he spent two years in prisoner of war camps including Wittenburg and Stendal. The Armistice ended hostilities on the Western Front on 11 November 1918 and Walter was repatriated to England on 27 December.

Walter served for another three months in the UK. He embarked from Liverpool on 3 April on the SS Lapland, arriving at Halifax a week later. He was discharged on demobilization on 14 April in Winnipeg. His father Henry had returned from overseas in October 1918 and his brother John Thomas was wounded twice and returned in December 1918. Henry’s brother Robert James Favel was killed in action in October 1916 at the Somme. Robert is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial in France and the War Memorial in Selkirk, Manitoba.

When the 1921 census was taken Walter was living in St. Andrews, Manitoba with his parents and employed as an engineer. He was married in Winnipeg on 25 October 1922. His wife, Agnes Warrington, was born in England around 1903, the daughter of James Warrington and Ellen Dukes. Her family immigrated to Canada in 1909, arriving in May on the SS Lombardia and settling in Winnipeg. Walter and his wife made their home in Winnipeg and he worked for the Furby Fuel Company. Sadly, Agnes passed away in Victoria Hospital in October 1932, at age 29. She’s buried in Elmwood Cemetery with her parents and other family members.

Around 1932 Walter started working for another heating business, the Northern Public Service Company. He was married again in Winnipeg on 1 January 1935. His wife, Amy Beatrice Eburne, was born in 1912 in Winnipeg and her parents, Thomas Eburne and Eliza Cooke, were both from England. Walter continued living in Winnipeg and he had three children: Walter Jr., Robert and Elizabeth. He died in a tragic workplace accident on 23 March 1940, at age 44, when he fell into a large bunker of fine coke and suffocated. His funeral was held four days later and he’s buried in St. James Cemetery. Amy’s parents are also interred there. Amy and her children later moved to British Columbia and she passed away in Vancouver in 1986, at age 73.

By Becky Johnson

Photo at top: St. James Cemetery, Winnipeg

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