|Date of Birth||November 19, 1890|
|Place of Birth||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||William Huggins, father, Imperial, Saskatchewan|
|Trade / Calling||Steam Engineer|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Imperial, Saskatchewan|
|Date of Enlistment||April 29, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||25|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||March 14, 1964|
|Age at Death||73|
|Buried At||Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery, Regina, Saskatchewan|
William Clarence Huggins was born on 19 November 1890 in Keewatin, Ontario, a small community about 6 kilometres west of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. Both of his parents, William Caro Huggins and Eliza(beth) Harriet Betsworth, were born in England. William Sr immigrated to Canada as a young child with his parents and siblings and along with his brother James first came to the Lake of the Woods area around 1877 as they travelled to Beausejour, Manitoba to take up homesteading. Drawn by the beauty of the lake, William Sr returned to the Keewatin/Rat Portage area in 1880, eventually becoming a steamboat captain on Lake of the Woods. On 23 November 1889, in Winnipeg, William Sr married Eliza, an opera singer from the Shoreditch area of London. They first made Keewatin their home where son William was born but by the time of their next son Ralph’s birth on 17 September 1892 they had moved to nearby Rat Portage. Other known children born to the family, all in Rat Portage/Kenora, were Cyril Clifford (25 December 1893), Irene Mona (5 July 1895), Frederick Edwin (Ted) (10 November 1897), Alberta Louise (16 January 1900), George (8 November 1901), and Vincent Caro (12 September 1905).
According to the family history as published in the book The Imperial Review, William Sr owned and operated several steamboats on the Lake of the Woods and became Captain of the SS Keenora in 1897, carrying freight and passengers between Rat Portage and Rainy River. Along with his wife he operated stopping places at Oak Island, Dog Island, and Yellow Girl on the lake. With the opening of the railway and the slowing down of the steamboat travel on Lake of the Woods, the family moved to Winnipeg around 1906 and from there to Imperial, Saskatchewan. William Sr and Cyril worked the Qu’Appelle on Last Mountain Lake that had runs from Port Hymen to Watertown. The family farmed in the area and ran a summer resort on Imperial Beach.
William signed his attestation papers with the 195th Battalion on 29 April 1916 in Imperial, Saskatchewan. His occupation was given as steam engineer, his father William of Imperial as next of kin, and his date and place of birth as 13 November 1891 in Kenora. He was discharged from service as medically unfit on 13 October 1916 at Camp Hughes. William’s brothers Ralph and Cyril both enlisted during the war.
By the time of the 1921 census, William and his wife Isabella were living in Regina where he was working as a janitor at the Royal George Apartment Block. Born in Scotland in 1896, Isabella’s maiden name was Black. They had given birth to son James Struthers around 1916. Other children born to the family were son John William and daughter Mary Elizabeth.
William died on 14 March 1964 in a hospital in Regina and is interred in the Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery. He was predeceased by his sister Alberta in 1922 in Winnipeg, father William in 1937 and mother Eliza in 1947, both interred in the Imperial Cemetery, and brother George in 1959 in Los Angeles. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Isabella, son James of Vancouver, son John of Regina, daughter Mary of Ontario, brothers Ralph of Saskatoon, Cyril of Regina, Ted of Kenora, Vincent of Imperial, and sister Irene Strange of Alberta. Isabella died in 1966 and is also interred in the Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery.
by Judy Stockham
gravemarker photo: Saskatchewan Cemetery Project
obituary: courtesy of the Regina Public Library
relevant pages of The Imperial Review including the photo of William’s parents: courtesy of Elsie Henry, Saskatoon