Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 1, 1892
Place of BirthKeewatin, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMr. John Hansen of 702 4th Ave. S., Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingLabourer
ReligionOther - See Notes
Service Details
Regimental Number439239
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentMay 21, 1915
Age at Enlistment23
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJanuary 26, 1926
Age at Death33
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Hansen, Henry John

According to his attestation papers, Henry John Hansen was born on 01 May 1892 in Keewatin, Ontario. (His baptism, obituary, and grave marker supports the date of birth as 01 May 1893). His parents were Johan (John) Haakon Hansen and Ida Malis Olson. Siblings included: Karine Hulda (b. 1895), Myrtle (b. 1896), Arthur (b. 1898) and twins Rudolph and Einer (b. 1900). Ida died in the early 1900’s and John took a second wife, Hilma Wahlin, on 08 March 1911. At least two more children were born: John Hans Nilsen and Robert Rudolph.

Henry was educated in Rat Portage (Kenora), Ontario. When he enlisted with the 3rd Contingent for overseas service during WW1 he was working as a labourer.  He signed his attestation papers on 21 May 1915 in Kenora and left for Port Arthur to join the 52nd Battalion for training in June. While there he met Hilma Nietula and they married on 02 October, just one month before Henry left for England with his unit. He sailed from St. John, New Brunswick aboard the S.S. California and arrived in England on 03 December.

Henry was sent to France in February 1916 and served there for three years with the 52nd Battalion. During this time the battalion took part in many of the war’s major battles including: Mount Sorrel, Somme (1916), Arras (1917, 1918), Vimy 1917, Hill 70, Ypres (1917), Passchendaele, and the Hindenburg Line. Henry’s service file records several minor illnesses (bronchitis, fever of unknown origin, urethritis and venereal disease) but no wounds or injuries. While receiving treatment in hospital in France in October 1917, Henry forfeited three days pay ‘for irregular conduct being in improper possession of government property in cooking potatoes outside the hospital marquee.’  He returned to England in February of 1919 and sailed for Canada in March aboard the S.S. Olympic. Henry’s official discharge due to demobilization came on 31 March 1919 in Port Arthur.

Henry was employed for a time in pulp mills in Port Arthur but on the opening of the paper mill in Kenora he returned to work at it. The local newspaper reported that Henry had been gassed during his overseas service and ‘since returning was having trouble from time to time’. After another ‘attack between Christmas and New Years 1925’, Henry decided to have an operation that could provide a permanent remedy. He had the operation on 25th January 1926 in Winnipeg and although it was deemed successful, complications developed and Henry died the next morning. He was buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.  Henry was survived by his wife and two small children; his father, John; his sisters – Hulda Swanson & Myrtle Nickel; and brothers Arthur and Einer (who served with the Royal Canadian Navy).

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