Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 25, 1890
Place of BirthCardiff
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMiss Annie Hullin (sister), Buckingham Palace, London, England
Trade / CallingTinsmith
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number439023
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionRoyal Canadian Regiment
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentDecember 19, 1914
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 13, 1917
Age at Death26
Buried AtBois-Carre British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
PlotVI. A. 16.

Hullin, Oswald Seton

Oswald was the 8th child out of 9 and the second of two sons born to Edwin and Mary Elizabeth Hullin of Glamorgan, Wales. Edwin was born in London, England but his wife and all their children (William, Annie, Eliza, Blanche, Ida, Kathleen, Beatrice, Oswald and Evelyn) were born in Wales. In 1881 Edwin was working as a clerk at a dry dock and they were living in the town of Penarth on the south coast of Wales. In 1891 he was employed at a ship-repairing works. By the time of the 1901 census, when Oswald was 10 years old, his father was secretary of an insurance company and they had moved to the nearby village of Barry. Oswald’s mother died in 1903 when he was 12 years old. His father remarried the next year and passed away in 1912.

When the 1911 census was taken Oswald was living in England in the county of Shropshire, about 200 miles north of his hometown. He was boarding with a family in the town of Shrewsbury and working as a cowman on a farm. Two years later he immigrated   to Canada, arriving in April 1913 via Portland, Maine on the SS Megantic. He was listed as age 22, single, a herdsman and his destination was Keewatin, Ontario. His  sister Ida, wife of Reverend Edward Diamond, was living in Keewatin at the time. The war started in August 1914 and Oswald signed his attestation paper in Kenora four months later, on December 19.   He was a tinsmith by trade and working for the Lake of the Woods Milling Company in Keewatin. He was of average  height, 5 ft  6 1/2 in tall, 146 lb with a 36 inch chest when expanded, light brown hair, blue eyes with a darker complexion. He was transferred to the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion when it was organized in March 1915.The battalion was headquartered in Port Arthur and he was sent there in June 1915 along with the rest of the Kenora volunteers. While they were training the Canadian Divisions were fighting in France and Belgium. Recruits were needed to replace casualties in the front line units and battalions in Canada were asked to send reinforcements. Oswald was sent to England with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft in September 1915, one of 250 men from the 52nd Battalion.

In England Oswald was transferred to the 12th Reserve Battalion and he trained with them for five months. In February 1916 he was taken on strength at the Canadian Engineer Training Depot and in April he was sent to France with the 7th Field Company of the Engineers. Three months later he was transferred to the Royal Canadian Regiment and he served with them from July 1916 until his death in May 1917.

From the War Diary of the Royal Canadian Regiment, 13 May 1917, Vimy: ‘Fine and very warm. Relief commenced last night completed at 1:30 a.m. .. Our Front Line is approximately 1400 yards from the enemy Lines. .. All Companies are working on the deepening and widening of the trenches and ‘D’ Company are digging a communication trench to Front Line and also building Dugouts in Support Line. ‘3 O.R. [other ranks] killed in action.

One of the ORs killed on 13 May 1917 was recorded as 439023 Pte. O.S. Hullin. Private Oswald Hullin is buried in Bois-Carre British Cemetery near the village of Thelus in France. The cemetery was established in April 1917 after the Canadian Corps captured Vimy Ridge.

From Oswald’s obituary: his sister Ida, married to Rev.  Edward Diamond, is living in Keewatin; his father, Edwin, is deceased and had served in the South Wales regiment. Oswald was the grandson of Capt. William Hullin and  great-grandson of General Hullin who was one of Napoleon’s famous Generals and president of the military commission in Paris, France.

Oswald  Seton Hullin is commemorated on the Keewatin Cenotaph, at  St. James Anglican Church in Keewatin, on the Municipality of Keewatin Roll of Honour (a  framed picture ), on the Lake of the Woods Milling Co. plaque  and on page 260 of the First World War Book of Remembrance  in Ottawa.

By Linda Pelletier

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