Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 11, 1870
Place of BirthHammersmith
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinAda King, Wife, 350 7th Ave South, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingHarness and Saddle Maker
Service Details
Regimental Number198779
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion94th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment350 7th Ave South, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 15, 1916
Age at Enlistment46
Theatre of ServiceEngland
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 4, 1931
Age at Death61
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

King, William Charles

William Charles King was born 11 June 1870 in Hammersmith, England. He was the eldest child of William King and Emma Sarah Tomlin. His siblings were: Ellen Sarah (1872-1934; m. William J. Granville), James Edward (1876-1929), Emma Elizabeth (1880-1938; m. John E. Pike), Edward George (1884-1943), and Mary Annie (1887-1910). The family was living in Elswick, Northumberland, England in 1881.  In October of 1886 they immigrated to Canada and settled in Marquette, Manitoba.  The next year, William Sr. died, leaving his wife and six children to cope in this new land.

William Charles learned the trade of harness and saddle making. In 1893 he came to Rat Portage (now Kenora), Ontario and conducted a harness shop for Mr. Arnold who ran the Russell House at the time. William was the first harness maker in town. He eventually took over Arnold’s business and had a shop on the north side of 2nd. Street. Some years later he opened up the King Manufacturing Company, a harness and saddle emporium on the east side of Matheson Street. He was a dealer in harnesses, collars, saddlery, robes, blankets, whips and stable supplies.

On 24 December 1895 William married Ada Duncan. They had nine children: William Hartley (1896-1988), Alma Dora (1898-1956; m. Fred Anderson), John Albert (1900-1942), Thomas Downey (1903-1948), Ada Ellen (1905-1983; m. Joseph W. McInnis), Edward George (1909-1998), Orville (b. 1912), Margaret (b. 1915), and Robert. William was very musical and was a member of the Citizen’s Band of Kenora.

On 15 January 1916, William enlisted with the 94th Battalion in Kenora stating that he was 40 years 7 months of age. He was actually almost 46 years old. William was sent to Port Arthur and then Valcartier, Quebec where the battalion was in training and became a member of the band for the 94th. However, when his unit went overseas in June of 1916 William was not with them. He had developed a hernia so was discharged from the 94th on 25 June 1916 as medically unfit. He re-enlisted the very next day with the 171st Battalion (#684805) and had a hernia operation in July 1916.  By September he was declared fit for duty and went overseas with the 171st Battalion arriving in England on 30 November 1916. He was employed as a bandsman and in the quartermasters stores in Bramshott, England until 18 September 1917. William was still having problems with his hernia so he was discharged as unfit for military service and returned to Canada.

Back in Kenora after his war service, William continued to play in the Citizen’s Band and run his businesses which included an automobile business in his later years. He died on 04 July 1931 in Kenora, and is buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.  The Citizen’s Band played at his funeral.

William’s son, Thomas Downey served with the US Navy during WW2.

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