Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 28, 1895
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWilliam G Kendall, father, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingStudent
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number198991
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion94th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 22, 1916
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 12, 1972
Age at Death77
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Kendall, Reuben Duffett

Reuben Duffett Kendall was born on  28  August 1895 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. His father William Glanfield Kendall was from Rettendon, Essex, England. At age twenty-three William had immigrated to Canada, first living in Stratford, Ontario where he worked for the Grand Trunk Railway before moving to Winnipeg in 1882 to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway. The following year, 1883, William transferred with the company to Rat Portage. Starting out as a brakeman, William worked his way up to engineer, retiring in 1921. Badly injured in a railway accident at Pine, he was hospitalized for nine months in 1886. Reuben’s mother Mary Frances Lucas was born in Bristol, Gloucestershire. After the death of her father in 1884, Mary Francis, along with her mother Hannah and sisters Adelaide and Agnes, immigrated to Canada in late September of 1886, arriving in Quebec aboard the  Ontario on the 28th. Although their destination was given as Winnipeg, the family ended up living in Rat Portage where William and Mary Frances married on 31 August 1888. Reuben, the youngest child born to the family, had older siblings Ivan (1890), Mervyn (1891), Juanita (1892), and Beatrice (1894).

Along with his brother Ivan, Reuben signed his attestation papers on 22 February 1916 in Kenora. His occupation was given as student  and his next of kin his father William. Both boys were blue-eyed with fair hair and tall for the day with Reuben measuring in at 5 feet 9 inches and Ivan over 6 feet. Organized in November of 1915 under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel HAC Machin and mobilized at Port Arthur, Ontario, the 94h Battalion had recruited in Port Arthur, Fort William, Kenora, Rainy River, Fort Frances, and Dryden. In May of 1916 C and D Companies from Kenora and Fort Frances were moved to Port Arthur and in early June the battalion left for Valcartier, Quebec before embarking from Halifax aboard the Olympic on the 29th. On board were Privates Reuben and Ivan Kendall.

Once in England both boys were transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion at East Sandburg and then on to the Canadian Siege Artillery in mid September. In late October Reuben, suffering from tonsillitis,  was admitted to a hospital in Stowlangtoft in Suffolk. Stowlangtoft was the home base for the Royal Garrison Artillery, C Depot Siege Artillery. During his stay at the hospital it was noted that he had ‘fairly marked deafness’  and his medical classification was changed to B2. Discharged from the hospital in late November, by the end of December Reuben was attached to the Canadian Depot Siege Artillery. By July of 1917, Reuben was in France, taken on strength with the 2nd Canadian Siege Battery in the field. In March of 1918, listed as with the 2nd Brigade  Canadian Garrison Artillery, he was granted a fourteen day leave, followed by another one to Paris in April of 1919. Organized in January of 1918 and formerly the 2nd Canadian Heavy Artillery Group, it was composed of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Canadian Siege  Batteries. Along with his brother Reuben, Ivan arrived back in Canada aboard the  Mauretania in May of 1919, disembarking in Halifax on the 9th. A Kenora newspaper article that May reported the boys return, adding that Reuben  had been  with the Canadian Army during the occupation of Bonne, Germany for about two months.

After the war Reuben  stayed in Kenora, residing with his brother Ivan and sisters Juanita and Beatrice in the family home his father had built in 1895 on 5th Avenue on property he had purchase from the Hudson’s Bay Company. At the time of the 1931 census he was lodging at a tourist camp on Lake of the Woods and working as a fire ranger. Likely employed by the Department of Lands and Forest, a voter’s list  of  1940  gave Reuben’s occupation as forester and in 1953 as marine department.

Survived by his sister Beatrice Kendall, Reuben died at home on 12 June 1972. He was predeceased by his mother Mary Frances in 1920, his father William in 1932, sister Juanita and brother Ivan in 1966, and brother Mervyn in 1971. All are interred in the family plot in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. The Kendall House still stands today, having been restored in 1998. It received the Heritage Foundation Award for the efforts made to maintain the character and charm of the Queen Anne architecture from the Victorian era. The house is currently operated as a bed and breakfast and also hosts some community events.

Reuben  is commemorated on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.

by Judy Stockham

Kendall-Reuben-Duffett-2 Kendall-Reuben-Duffett-3 Kendall-Reuben-Duffett-4 Kendall-Reuben-Duffett-5 Kendall-Reuben-Duffett-6 Kendall-Reuben-Duffett-7

Kendall photographs: Lake of the Woods Museum Archives

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