Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 14, 1892
Place of BirthHatfield, Hertfordshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs William Larman (mother) 135 Crown Street, Peterborough, Northampton, England
Trade / CallingCPR Fireman
Service Details
Regimental Number700719
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion16th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentYMCA, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 11, 1916
Age at Enlistment23
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 12, 1958
Age at Death66
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Larman, William Arthur

William Arthur Larman was born on 14 May 1892 in Hatfield, Hertfordshire in England. His father William was from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, while his mother Eliza Ann Parrott was from Hatfield, a community about 25 kilometres south of Hitchin. Over the years William SR was employed as a goods guard for the Great Northern Railway. At some point after the birth of William the family moved to Bradford, Yorkshire where three children were born, Priscilla May (1894-1960), James Edward (1897-1967) and Frederick (1898-1899). By the time of the birth of their next child, Frank (1900-1977), the family had moved to Peterborough. Children born in Peterborough were Ada Gwendoline (1903-1964), George Harold (1906-1976), and Hilda Lilian (1908-1908). It appears that two more daughters were born after the time of the 1911 census, Norah in late 1911 and Elsa in early 1914.

Living at home in Peterborough, William was working as a storesman for the Great Northern Railway for the 1911 England census. On 1 May 1912 William signed attestation papers for the British Territorial Force, serving as a Driver until discharged at his own request in mid April of 1913. By then he had already left for Canada, arriving in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the Empress of Britain on the 16th of March. His destination was given as Kenora, Ontario.

Upon arrival in Kenora William began working for the Canadian Pacific Railway, first as a wiper and then as a fireman. Along with a number of other young fellows from the Peterborough area, he lived in the YMCA across the street from the train station. The building was set up to house 50 to 60 men and had a restaurant, bowling alley, games room, gym, library, lounge, tennis courts, and bowling greens.

William signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg with the 101st Battalion on 11 January 1916, occupation given as CPR fireman and place of residence the YMCA in Kenora. Fred Gray, another Peterborough fellow, also living at the YMCA and working as a CPR fireman, signed the same day. William gave his mother back in Peterborough as next of kin. With brown eyes and fair hair, he was 23 years old.

The 101st Battalion had been organized in Winnipeg in November of 1915 with training taking place throughout the winter of 1916 before moving to Camp Hughes in May. The battalion embarked from Halifax aboard the SS Olympic on the 29th of June and on board were Privates William Larman and Fred Gray.

Once in England the battalion was absorbed by the 17th Reserve Battalion and from there William was transferred to the 16th Battalion that November, taken on strength in the field on the 28th. On 19 August 1917 he was admitted to the No 22 General Hospital in Camiers, the victim of a gunshot wound to the foot, likely sustained during the battalion’s participation in the Battle of Hill 70, August 14-17th. ┬áLater that month he was moved to the No 6 Convalescent Depot in Etaples and then on to another Convalescent Depot in Bluchy. By the end of October he had been discharged to base details at Etaples and moved to the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp in early November.

William was granted a 14 day leave to the UK in January of 1918 and upon his return rejoined the 16th Battalion. He was sent on a course in May and to rest camp in October. His second leave to the UK was granted in January of 1919 and by the end of March the 16th Battalion was back in England. During the war the 16th Battalion achieved battle honours at Ypres, Gravenstafel, St Julien, Festubert, Mont Sorrel, Somme, Thiepval, Ancre Heights, Ancre, Arras, Vimy, Arleux, Scarpe, Hill 70, Passchendaele, Amiens, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, and Pursuit to Mons.

William returned to Canada aboard the Empress of Britain, arriving in Quebec on 4 May 1919, travelling on the same ship that brought him to Canada six years earlier. He was discharged from service on demobilization on the 7th.

Back in Kenora, William resumed his career with the CPR. On 20 October 1923, in Fort William, William married Mabel Shaw, daughter of Thomas Shaw and his second wife, Ida Travis. Thomas had moved to Keewatin in the 1890’s to assume the job of factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company post. Mabel, a teacher at the time of marriage, had been born in Keewatin. Although the marriage record gave their intended place of residence as Fort William, the couple returned to Kenora.

William and Mabel gave birth to three children, Bernice, Kelvin, and Ronald. William was promoted to engineer in 1940, retiring from the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1957. He was a member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion, the First World War Veterans, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.

William died suddenly at his home in the IOOF Block in Kenora on 12 March 1958. His Veteran Death Card listed his wife, Mabel Larman of Kenora, Ontario as his next of kin. William is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Mabel, daughter Bernice (Greg) Payne of Welland, Ontario, son Kelvin, also of Welland, and son Ron, at home. He was also survived by three brothers and four sisters back in England. William’s wife Mabel died in 1972 and is interred beside him.

From the 17th Reserve Battalion, Fred Gray had been attached to the 43rd Battalion and was trained as one of the carrier pigeon handlers for the 43rd. He too returned to Kenora after the war.

Private William Arthur Larman is commemorated on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour and ┬áthe Canadian Pacific Railway Roll of Honour for his service during WW1.

by Judy Stockham

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Images of William Larman copyright 2014 by R Larman. They may be used, with permission, for any non-profit purposes. Platoon photo courtesy of the online 101st Battalion Souvenir Booklet.

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