|Date of Birth||March 29, 1873|
|Place of Birth||Portrush, County Antrim|
|Next of Kin||Miss Maggie Hopkins, sister, Portrush, Ireland|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||February 24, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||43|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||December 18, 1932|
|Age at Death||59|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
William Hopkins was born on 29 March 1873 in the coastal community of Portrush in the county of Antrim in Northern Ireland. His parents were John Hopkins and Jane Dougherty (also spelled Doherty) who had married in December of 1867 in Londonderry. Known children born to the family were John (1869), Mary Eliza (1870), Ellen (1871), William, and Margaret (1873).
An age appropriate William Hopkins was found on the passenger list of the Sicilian that arrived in Montreal on 15 May 1907. Born in Ireland, this William was headed to Winnipeg to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway. A later passenger list for William gave his initial date of entry to Canada as 1907. By around 1912, William was living in Kenora, Ontario and working for the railway in the shops.
With occupation given as labourer and his sister Maggie back in Ireland as next of kin, William signed his attestation papers in Kenora on 24 February 1916. He was listed as married although it is not known if he married before coming to Canada or after. He had initially listed his wife as next of kin and then crossed it off. No evidence of a Canadian wife or a wife living in Canada was found. With blue eyes and grayish hair, he was found fit for service.
Organized in November of 1915 under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel H Machin and mobilized in Port Arthur, Ontario, the 94th Battalion had recruited throughout northwestern Ontario, including the town of Kenora. As a Private with the 94th Battalion, William embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 28 June 1916 for overseas.
Once in England William was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion, on to the 30th Battalion in September, and then back to the 32nd in November. Medical examinations in England revealed that William had defective vision and he was reclassified as C2, fit for noncombatant service in England only. He was transferred to the Canadian Ordnance Corps at Ashford on 17 December 1917 where he served until March of 1918. William embarked from Liverpool on the 12th of March, and would spend time at the Tuxedo Military Hospital in Winnipeg until his discharge on the 20th of August. On his discharge paper Kenora was given as his intended residence where he was to work as a hotel porter.
However once in Kenora William resumed working for the Canadian Pacific Railway in the shops. He was a member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion. He made a trip back to Ireland in 1923, arriving in late May and returning to Canada in August.
William died in the Kenora General Hospital on 18 December 1932. He had previously been living at the YMCA across from the CPR train station in Kenora. At the time of his death he was survived by a brother and sister back in Portrush, Ireland. William is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.
‘Bill Hopkins had many friends in Kenora who will miss his cheery personality, especially around the shops where he was well known and liked.’
Kenora Miner and News, 21 December 1932
by Judy Stockham
William’s grave marker was installed in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in 2018 by the Last Post Fund.