Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 28, 1896
Place of BirthNorman, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinGustav Noreus, father, McDougall Mills PO, Ontario
Trade / CallingRailroad trainman
Service Details
Regimental Number2383975
Service Record
Battalion1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at EnlistmentKenora PO, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMay 19, 1918
Age at Enlistment22
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 19, 1927
Age at Death31
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Noreus, Arnold Eugene

Arnold Eugene Noreus, the son of Swedish immigrants, was born on 28 January 1896 in Norman, Ontario, a community in northwestern Ontario that is now part of Kenora. His father Gustav Noréus was born in 1859 in Nordmaling, Västerbotten in Sweden while his mother Emma Lovisa Lindgren (aka Svensdotter), born in 1861, had her birth registered in both Fredrika, Västerbotten and in Mo, Västernorrland. The couple married on 5 August 1883 in Mo. By the time of the birth of their first child Johan Arvid in 1884, the family was living in Tunadal, Skön, Västernorrland where Gustav was working as an arbetare (labourer). Children born in Tunadal were Arvid, Gustaf Albert (1885), Ruth Alexi (1886), Judith Paulina (1889), and Felix Alfhild (Alfred) (1891). Along with Gustav’s brother Johan, Johan’s wife and their children, the family immigrated to Canada in 1893. Leaving Tunadal on May 26th, they embarked from Göteberg for Hull, England aboard the Romeo on June 9th, final destination given as Winnipeg, Manitoba on the passenger list. Then embarking from Liverpool for Canada aboard the Vancouver, the family arrived in Quebec on the 24th of June. Sadly daughter Ruth died in Winnipeg that August.

The Noreus family settled in the village of Norman where Gustav worked as a labourer at one or more of the local saw mills, at one point foreman of the yard. Children born in Canada were Verna Annie (1894), Arnold, Ingeborg (1898-1898), Carl Axel (1900), Esther Allida (1903), Nora Linnea (1905), and Arthur Hilding (December 1908-June 1909).

Drafted under the Military Services Act of 1917, Arnold had his medical examination on 6 November 1917 in Kenora. He was called up for service in Port Arthur on 10 May 1918, assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment. At the time his address was given as the Kenora post office, occupation as railroad trainman, and his father Gustav at McDougall Mills, Ontario post office as next of kin. A portion of his pay was assigned to Miss Agnes Birberg, friend, in Kenora. With the 81st Draft of the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment, Arnold arrived in England on August 15th, taken on strength with the 18th Reserve Battalion the next day. He was to serve for the duration of the war in England. In late February of 1919 Arnold was admitted to the No 14 Canadian General Hospital in Eastbourne, Sussex for twenty-one days, diagnosis influenza, quinsey (tonsillitis), and laryngitis. That May Arnold was awarded five days Field Punishment No 2 and forfeited one day pay for being away without leave for six hours after being duly warned to remain in lines. He embarked for Canada aboard the Aquitania on June 14th and was discharged from service on demobilization on the 23rd at Port Arthur. Arnold’s brother Alfred was called up for service in April of 1918, serving in Canada.

On 29 September 1921, in Winnipeg, Arnold married Agnes Cornelia Birberg. Born on 14 October 1891 in Sättna, Västernorrland in Sweden, Agnes was the daughter of Nils Petter Birberg and Brita Johanna Sätterström. She had immigrated to Canada in August of 1913, leaving Göteberg on the Novo on the 25th, final destination on the passenger list given as Whitemouth, Manitoba. Agnes’ sister Hilda had immigrated to Canada in early February of 1907, marrying Nils Johan Amandus (Mandus) Bystrom that April in Whitemouth. Both couples were to make Kenora their home where Arnold and Mandus worked as fishermen and ice contractors. Arnold and Agnes gave birth to one child, son Kenneth.

In May of 1927, out to go fishing at a little branch of Big Stone Bay near Falls Portage on Lake of the Woods, sadly both Arnold and Mandus lost their lives in accidental drownings, date of the deaths recorded as May 19th. A funeral for the two men was held the following Tuesday at the Swedish Lutheran Church, the men laid to rest together at the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora that day. At the time of his death Arnold was survived by his wife Agnes and their three year old son Kenneth, his parents Gustav and Emma in Norman, brothers Arvid and Axel of Vancouver, Albert of Kenora, Alfred of Winnipeg, and sisters Judith (Godfrey) Nelson of Kenora, Verna (Andrew) Horngren of St Paul, Minnesota, Esther (Conrad) Anderson of Dryden, Ontario and Nora, also of Dryden. He was predeceased by by siblings Ruth, Ingeborg, and Arthur in infancy or childhood.

In November of 1928 Agnes and Kenneth moved to Winnipeg, a surprise farewell party held for her at the Temperance Hall in Kenora on the 13th. For a 1945 Voters list, Agnes and Kenneth were living in an apartment on Osborne Street, with Kenneth listed as away serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Agnes died on 30 September 1945 at St Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. She is interred with Arnold in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, also sharing the grave site with her sister Hilda and her husband Mandus. In 1946, in Winnipeg, Arnold and Agnes’ son Kenneth married Ellen Winona Arondus, daughter of Nicholas Arondus and Lydia Miller. Kenneth and Ellen were to make Little Britain on the outskirts of Winnipeg their home where Kenneth worked as a purchasing agent for the Manitoba Rolling Mills in nearby Selkirk. They gave birth to one child, daughter Karin. Kenneth died in 1974 followed by Ellen in 1999.

Arnold’s mother Emma died in 1939 and his father Gustav in 1940. His siblings Alfred died in 1939 (Toronto), Albert in 1953 (Kenora), Judith Nelson in 1954 (Kenora), Arvid in 1971 (Burnaby, BC), Esther Anderson in 1976 (Dryden), Axel in 1983 (Toronto), Verna Olson in 1989 (Minneapolis/St Paul), and Nora Nymark in 1996 (Dryden).

By Judy Stockham

Photograph of Arnold and his brother Alfred provided by Lori Nelson.

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