Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 12, 1896
Place of BirthBarwick, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinDaisy Horley (mother), Barwick, Ontario
Trade / CallingFarmer
Service Details
Regimental Number198552
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion94th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentBarwick, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentDecember 21, 1915
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 10, 1982
Age at Death85
Buried AtPineridge Cemetery, Sioux Narrows, Ontario

Horley, Walter Allison

Private Walter Allison Horley enlisted in December 1915 and served for two years in Canada and Great Britain. He was discharged for medical reasons in December 1917.

Walter was the oldest son of William Timms Horley and Ordessa (Daisy) Ann Smith of Barwick, Ontario. William was a farmer and he and his wife were both born in Ontario. They were married in 1892 in Wallaceburg, Kent County. Their daughter Charlotte was born the following year in Sombra, Lambton County. Shortly after that they moved to northwestern Ontario and Charlotte died in Rat Portage in 1894. The next six children were born in Barwick in the district of Rainy River: Walter (12 October 1896), William Jasper (1899), Francis Harold (1901), Alma (1903), Andrew Richard (1905) and Edna (1912). When the 1911 census was taken the family was farming in Roseberry Township, which included the village of Barwick.

Walter enlisted in the town of Rainy River on 21 December 1915, at age 19. His occupation was farmer and next of kin was his mother Daisy in Barwick. He signed up with the 94th Overseas Battalion, which was based in Port Arthur and recruited in towns throughout northwestern Ontario. In the spring of 1916 the recruits were sent to Port Arthur to join the rest of the unit. They headed to the east coast a short time later, embarking from Halifax on 28 June on the SS Olympic and landing at Liverpool on 5 July. About two weeks after arriving Walter was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion.

In early November Walter was admitted to Moore Barracks Hospital suffering from asthma. He said he’d had it since about 1908 and he also had pneumonia twice in the previous five years. His asthma was aggravated by the training regimen and he was frequently short of breath. In January 1917 a medical board decided he was fit for service in category C3 (Great Britain only) and he was discharged from the hospital. Over the next seven months he served with several units including the Canadian Ordnance Corps and the Saskatchewan Regiment Depot. In August another medical board recommended that Walter be sent back to Canada. He was transferred to the Canadian Discharge Depot at Buxton and he embarked for Canada on 16 September on the SS Metagama, arriving in Quebec ten days later. He was discharged in Winnipeg on 29 December 1917, due to being medically unfit for further war service. His intended residence was Barwick. His brother William Jasper enlisted with the 141st Battalion in February 1916 and he served in Canada for five months.

At the time of the 1921 census Walter was living at home with his parents and working for the railroad. Not long after that he was hired as a park ranger in Quetico Park. He met his future wife, Katharine, while she was on a canoe trip in Quetico. Katharine, or Kay, was born in Berlin, Germany in 1900 and immigrated to the U.S. with her parents as a child. Walter and Kay were married in 1926 and they made their home in Rainy River. They had three children, Robert, Ruth and Faith. Walter worked as a game warden until about 1938 then as a fireman and engineer for the CNR. He was a life member of the Canadian Legion, Rainy River branch.

Not long after they were married Walter and his wife built themselves a cabin on an island in Whitefish Bay, near Sioux Narrows. They travelled there by canoe at first and later by boat. In the winter they used a dog sled and snowmobile. The cabin was expanded in the 1940s and they opened it as tourist and fishing lodge called the Sanctuary. When Walter retired he and his family moved there permanently.

Walter broke his hip in 1979 and went into the Kenora hospital then to Birchwood Terrace Nursing Home. He passed away on 10 March 1982, at age 85. Kay died in 1985 in Scarborough, Ontario, where her daughter Faith lived. Walter and his wife are both buried in Pineridge Cemetery in Sioux Narrows.

By Becky Johnson

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Photos and funeral card are courtesy of the Horley/Robinson public family tree on

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