Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 18, 1891
Place of BirthBirmingham, Warwickshire
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinLily Elizabeth Parkes, 500 Maryland Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingButcher
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number830201
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion144th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at Enlistment500 Maryland Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentDecember 20, 1915
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 28, 1957
Age at Death66
Buried AtMountain View Cemetery, Thunder Bay, Ontario
PlotBlock 6 Row 2 Lot 12

Parkes, Samuel

Samuel Parkes was born on 18 February 1891 in Birmingham, England. His parents Isaac Parkes and Betsy Oseland were both from Birmingham, their marriage registered during the 3rd quarter of 1889 in King’s Norton, an area in Birmingham. The 1891 England census listed the family in King’s Norton and in 1901 in Aston, another area in Birmingham. Both censuses gave Isaac’s occupation as general labourer. By the time of the 1911 census Isaac was working as a labourer carter for the Department of Health Corporation in Birmingham. Known children born to the family were Nellie (1890), Samuel, Lillian (abt 1893), Beatrice (abt 1895), William Isaac (1897), John Robert (1899), Charles (1902), Elsie May (1903), and Grace (1906).

Samuel immigrated to Canada in 1910, arriving in Quebec on 7 May aboard the Lake Champlain. On his way to Keewatin in northwestern Ontario, his previous occupation was given as a sawyer and his intended occupation as a butcher. Living on Superior Street in Keewatin at the time of the 1911 Canada census, Samuel was working as a teamster/baggage transfer. At some point after the census he moved to Winnipeg. On 7 June 1913, in Assiniboia (now part of Winnipeg), Samuel married Lily Elizabeth Reeves. Born on 9 February 1893 in Birmingham, Lily was the daughter of Isaac Reeves, a lithographic printer, and his third wife Rachel Adelaide Neal. She had immigrated to Canada in 1911, arriving in Quebec on 19 June on the Lake Manitoba, on her way to Winnipeg where her sister was living. For the 1916 census, Samuel, Lily, and daughter Gladys Eileen (born in 1914) were listed as living in Winnipeg with Samuel working as a butcher. It was also noted that he was at Camp Hughes.

Samuel enlisted with the 144th Battalion on 20 December 1915 in Winnipeg. His occupation was given as butcher and his wife Lily in Winnipeg as next of kin. With rank of Private, along with the battalion he embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 18 September 1916, arriving in England on the 25th. In January of 1917 he was transferred to the 2nd Canadian Labour Battalion, arriving in France on 2 February.

Four Canadian Labour Battalions for work in rear areas were organized in England in December 1916 and January 1917 using men not fit for service in the trenches (B Category). The intention was to have one battalion attached to each Canadian division in France but in fact all were employed in railway construction under the Director of Labour (British). In November 1917 two of the battalions finally went to the Canadian Corps and the other two became battalions of Canadian Railway troops. In November 1917, the 2nd and 3rd Labour Battalions were redesignated as the 12th and 11th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops, respectively. In March 1918, the 1st and 4th Labour Battalions were redesignated as the 1st and 2nd Canadian Infantry Works Battalions, respectively. (Library and Archives Canada)

On 1 May 1917 Samuel was appointed Lance Corporal. In October he attended the 3rd Army School of Cookery for three weeks. After the battalion was redesignated as the 12th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops that November, Samuel was appointed Acting Corporal on 1 December, confirmed in rank of Corporal on 30 January 1918. He was granted a two week leave to England in mid February, returning in early March. Samuel’s wife Lily and daughter Gladys had arrived in England on the Sicilian on 23 June 1916 and would later return to Canada on the Metagama on 24 March 1919. With the end of the war Samuel returned to England in early January of 1919 and arrived back in Canada aboard the Empress of Britain on 25th of February. He was discharged from service on demobilization on 26 March 1919 in Winnipeg, rank of Corporal.

Samuel and Lily settled in Winnipeg, with Samuel’s occupation given as grocery shopkeeper on Portage Avenue in the St James area of Winnipeg at the time of the 1921 census. The couple had given birth to son Raymond Samuel in 1920 and would later give birth to son Kenneth Earl in 1925. Most of Samuel’s family immigrated to Canada, with his parents and siblings Lillian, Elsie, and Grace arriving on 28 March 1920 aboard the Melita and brother Charles on 19 July 1920 on the Megantic, all settling in the Winnipeg area. His sister Nellie and husband WW1 veteran Edward Brown also immigrated to Canada, eventually living in Toronto.

According to his obituary, Samuel and Lily and family moved to Fort William, Ontario in 1937, Samuel as manager of the Empire Meat Market and then opening his own store, the Public Savings Meat Market in 1946. During WW2 he enlisted with the Forestry Corps, serving in Canada. He was a member of Sturgeon Creek Lodge 245, AF and AM, Unit 257 ANAF Veterans, and the Prince Edward Branch of the Canadian Legion, East Kildonan.

Samuel died on 28 May 1957. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Lily, daughter Gladys (Mrs George Thompson) of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, sons Raymond serving with the RCASC in Germany and Kenneth of Fort William, and ten grandchildren. He was also survived by his five sisters, Nellie (Edward) Brown of Toronto (d 1960), Lillian (Edwin Charles) Parkes of Winnipeg (d 1979), Beatrice (Arthur) Poole of Winnipeg (d 1968), Elsie (William) Hobson of Winnipeg (d 1979), and Grace (Thomas) Pynter of Winnipeg (d 1978). He was predeceased by his father Issac (1922), mother Betsy (1936), brother Charles (1942), all interred in the Saint James Cemetery in Winnipeg, and his brothers John (1947) and William (1951) back in Birmingham. After Samuel’s death Lily moved to Calgary in 1959, to Winnipeg in 1964, and then to Brandon in 1981. She died in Brandon on 31 March 1983. Samuel and Lily are interred in the Mountain View Cemetery in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

By Judy Stockham

Samuel’s grave marker photograph provided by Lynda Piilo,

« Back To Soldier Biographies