Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 28, 1870
Place of BirthWorcester, Worcestershire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinThomas Keen, father, Worcester, England
Trade / CallingClerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number198332
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion94th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentNovember 25, 1915
Age at Enlistment45
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details

Keen, Frederick William

Frederick William Keen was born on 28 March 1870, birth registered during the 2nd quarter in Worcester, Worcestershire in England. His father Thomas Keen, commercial traveller, was from Stoke in Devonshire as was his mother Amelia Babb where the couple had married in 1866. Children born to the family, all in Worcester, were Eliza (1867), Lillian (1868), Frederick, Edith (1872), and Reginald (1881). For the 1891 England census Fred was working as a clerk for the Royal Porcelain Works and by 1901 his occupation was given as commercial traveller. The family usually employed at least one servant.

Fred was next found on the passenger list of the  Virginian that arrived in Halifax on 8 April 1910. His occupation was given as farm labourer and his destination as the town of Keewatin in northwestern Ontario. He signed his attestation papers on 25 November 1915 in nearby Kenora, occupation given as clerk and his father Thomas back in England as next of kin. Likely to appear younger, he gave his year of birth as 1880. Organized in November of 1915 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel HA Machin with recruitment in Port Arthur, Fort William, Kenora, Rainy River, Fort Frances, and Dryden, the 94th Battalion was mobilized at Port Arthur. Along with a number of other local men, Fred trained in Port Arthur during the spring of 1916 before embarking from Halifax aboard the  Olympic on 29 June 1916.

Once in England Fred was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion and then on to the 43rd Battalion, embarking for France on the 24th of August. On 20th of November Fred was admitted to the No 7 Canadian Stationary Hospital in Havre suffering from a carbuncle on his neck. On the 1 January 1917 he was transferred to the No 6 Convalescent Depot in Etaples and then to the No 5 Convalescent Depot in Cayeux. On the 17th he was discharged to Base Depot, Havre. In February he was classified as Permanent Base and attached to the Canadian Corps Composite Company and then transferred to the 8th Canadian Area Employment Company in September. Fred was returned to England in December and embarked for Canada aboard the  Aquitania in April of 1918, arriving in Halifax on the 29th. He was discharged from service on the 18th of June, found medically unfit for further service due to his age.

Little is known about Fred after the war. An age appropriate Frederick William Keen was found on the passenger list of the Montclare that arrived in Liverpool on 9 May 1928, final destination given as Bayswater, London.

In August of 1919 the town of Keewatin held a demonstration to honour those of the town who had served, presenting each with a badge and medal. On the list of recipients noted in the Kenora Miner and News was Fred Keen. Fred is commemorated for his service during the war on the Municipality of Keewatin for King and Country plaque and on the St James Anglican Church plaque now hanging in St Andrews United Church in Keewatin.

by Judy Stockham

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