Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Place of BirthBethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, London
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Alice Cuthbert, sister, Webster Farm, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingClerk (grocer)
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number721647
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion108th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentCoffee House, Logan Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 17, 1916
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 27, 1941
Buried AtBrookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Hemmings, Fred

Frederick Henams was baptized on 21 December 1862 in Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets in London, England. He was the son of Frederick Henams (1831-1936), woodcutter and firewood dealer, and Emma Ann Impey (1839-1920), both born in Bethnal Green. Frederick Sr and Emma married on 12 August 1855 in Bethnal Green. Known children born to the family were Elizabeth (1860-1943), Fred, Emma (1866-1950), Eliza (1869-1931), John William (1872-1872), James (1873-1933), and Alice (1876-?).

According to the 1901 Canada census Fred immigrated to Canada in 1881. By the time of the 1891 Canada census he was living in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario and working as a retail grocer and fruitier. According to family history, he had assumed the name Fred Hemmings as people could just not get Henams right. Living with him was restaurant keeper Agnes Prince. By the time of the 1901 census he had a tobacco store in Rat Portage and took in two lodgers. Three of Fred’s sisters were to immigrate to Canada. Elizabeth arrived during the 1890’s, marrying Harry Webster in 1898. They operated a large market garden on the outskirts of town for a number of years, Harry instrumental in the formation of the Kenora Agricultural Society. Eliza, along with her husband Frederick Simpson and their son, arrived in 1904 while Alice, husband Samuel Cuthbert and son Fred arrived in 1907. Alice later married Joseph Hinton.

Fred signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 17 January 1916. He gave his date and place of birth as 19 November 1872 in Essex, England. His address at the time was given as the Coffee House on Logan Avenue in Winnipeg and his next of kin as his sister Alice Cuthbert, Webster’s Farm, Kenora. His occupation was given as clerk (grocer). As a Private with the 108th Battalion that had recruited in Manitoba, Fred arrived in England aboard the Olympic on 25 September 1916.

Once in England Fred was transferred to the 14th Reserve Battalion in January of 1917. Apparently his real age was revealed and he was classified as overage although condition described as well preserved. In February he was transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps at Seaford. That April he suffered a blow to the head from a falling can of petrol, causing defective hearing in his right ear that would plague him for the rest of the war. After spending 21 days at the Eastbourne Canadian Military Hospital, in September of 1917 he was transferred to the CASC base depot in Shorncliffe for a few days before being transferred to the Canadian Army Medical Corps Depot. In October he was transferred to the Canadian Red Cross Specialty Hospital. He was to spend the remainder of his time in England, going through a further series of transfers. Fred returned to Canada aboard the Royal George, arriving in Halifax on 20 February 1919. A Kenora Miner and News report of February 22nd spoke of his imminent arrival home. Fred was discharged from service on demobilization in Port Arthur on March 24th with his intended address given as General Delivery, Winnipeg.

Fred was next found on the 1921 census living in Winnipeg as a lodger at 334 Toronto Street. His occupation at the time was given as retired soldier. A 1940 Winnipeg Voters list gave his residence as 145 James Avenue, occupation pensioner. Fred died on 27 February 1941, his address at the time 731 Toronto Street in Winnipeg. He was interred in a military plot in Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg. His Veteran’s Death card listed his sister Mrs Elizabeth Webster of Kenora as next of kin. Fred’s sister Eliza Simpson had died in 1931 and sister Elizabeth Webster later died in 1943, both interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

by Judy Stockham

Hemmings-Frederick-2 Hemmings-Frederick-3 Hemmings-Frederick-4

Photographs of Fred and his store on Main Street in Rat Portage provided by Lynn Voisard.

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