Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 6, 1899
Place of BirthManchester, Lancashire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Martha Hulmes, mother, 217 2nd Street, Kenora,Ontario
Trade / CallingDelivery man
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number198885
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion31st Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentApril 16, 1915
Age at Enlistment16
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 4, 1920
Age at Death21
Buried AtMountain View Cemetery, Fort William, Ontario

Hulmes, Edward


The Hulmes family was from Manchester, Lancashire in England where parents Thomas and Martha (Pennington) had married on 24 March 1883. Thomas was listed as a coal wharfinger (takes custody of and is responsible for goods delivered to the wharf) in the 1891 census and as a coal dealer in later censuses. Children born to the family were Thomas (1884-1961), Jane (1885-1958), Frank (1888-1949), Martha (1890-1959), William (1892-1955), Lucy (1894-1953), Harry (1897-1971), and Edward (1899-1920). By the 1911 census Frank, William, and Edward were listed as assistants to their father in the coal business.

Although Frank, along with George Stubbins, had travelled to Canada in 1911, they both  returned to England. With the death of Thomas Sr in 1912, the family, except for Thomas Jr who had married and started a family of his own, immigrated to Kenora, Ontario in 1913: Frank aboard the Hesperian in February, Martha Sr aboard  the Teutonic and Lucy and William aboard the Victorian in March, and Martha Jr, Harry, and Edward aboard the Tunisian in May.

With the outbreak of the war, all five Hulmes sons responded to the call. Edward signed his attestation papers in Kenora on 16 August 1915, giving a false birth year of 1897. A blue-eyed, fair-haired delivery ‘man’, Edward was only 16 years of age. First posted to the No 1 Field Ambulance Brigade, he was transferred to the 94th Battalion at Camp Sewell in January of 1916.

Organized in November of 1915 with recruitment in Port Arthur, Fort William, Kenora, Rainy River, Fort Frances, and Dryden, the 94th Battalion had its headquarters in Port Arthur. In May of 1916, Edward and his brothers Harry and Frank, along with a number of other local fellows, left Kenora for Port Arthur where they were to train for a short time; a large crowd saw them off at the station. In early June, Privates Edward and Harry Hulmes, with the battalion, left for Valcartier, Quebec for ‘summer camp’. Frank, injured while in training, had returned home. The 94th embarked from Halifax on the 28th of June aboard the SS Olympic.

Once in England Edward was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion, followed by a transfer to the 30th Battalion by the end of August. Back again to the 17th Reserve Battalion that December, by January of 1917 Edward was taken on strength with the 31st Battalion in France, arriving at the unit in early March. However his service was short lived as his age was discovered and he was  back in England by the end of the month. Along with a number of other returning soldiers, Edward was next found on the passenger list of the Scandanavian that arrived in Canada on the 23rd of June.

Back in Kenora Edward found work with the Canadian Pacific Railway as a fireman. Due to a shortage of work he transferred to the Canadian government railways in 1920, continuing to work in northwestern Ontario. On 4 August 1920, while firing the locomotive, Edward was killed when the train plunged through a burning bridge north of Fort William (Thunder Bay). The engineer later succumbed to his injuries and another crew member was badly injured.

Edward’s Veteran Death Card listed his mother, Mrs M Hulmes of Kenora, Ontario, as his next of kin.  He is interred in the Mountain View Cemetery in Fort William, Ontario although a grave stone  commemorates his death in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. His name is also found on Kenora’s St Alban’s Pro Cathedral Roll of Honour. Edward’s mother Martha remarried and died in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1944.

Edward’s brother Thomas back in England served with a number of different units, with a Kenora newspaper article suggesting he was with Kitchener’s Army. William went overseas with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 52nd Battalion and transferred to the 15th Battalion once in France while Harry was transferred to the 16th Battalion, also in France. Brother Frank did not go overseas.

by Judy Stockham

Hulmes-Edward-2 Hulmes-Edward-3 Hulmes-Edward-4 Hulmes-Edward-5 Hulmes-Edward-6 Hulmes-Edward-7

1916 newspaper article about the Hulmes family provided by  Gail Hulmes-Backsai


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