Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 30, 1891
Place of BirthLondon
Marital StatusSingle
Next of Kinmother, Ada Powell of London, England
Trade / CallingSalesman - steam engine supplies
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number37183
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion4th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 23, 1914
Age at Enlistment23
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 11, 1973
Age at Death82
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Powell, Wilfrid Bayley

Wilfrid Bayley Powell was born 30 July 1891 in London, England. His parents were Louis Herbert Powell and Ada Jane Dunster Bayley. His siblings included: Martin (1893 – 1963), Ruth (1895 – 1941) and Edna (1898 – 1999). Louis worked as a clerk to a printers broker and a printers traveller.

Wilfrid immigrated to Canada sometime before enlisting with the CEF for service in WW1 on 22 September 1914 at Valcartier, Quebec.  He was single, listed his occupation as salesman, and reported previous service with the 19th Middlesex Corps. His unit (4th Battalion) sailed to England in October 1914 and upon his arrival Wilfrid was transferred to the Divisional Ammunition Park as #C37183 with the rank of Private. On 26 June 1915 he was on command at the Cadet School at General Head Quarters. Wilfrid was promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion on 10 July 1915 and he reported to No. 3 General Base Depot. He was on leave from 28 September to 5 October 1915. Wilfrid was in France in February of 1916 when he was admitted to hospital for treatment of venereal disease. It was April before he was discharged to rest camp.  For six weeks during the summer of 1916 Wilfrid served as temporary Major while commanding A Company.  He reported to hospital in St. Omen on 16 August 1916 with a hernia that had been caused by the ‘strain of duty’. He had surgery in England and was discharged from hospital on 16 September 1916.  A note in his service record says that Wilfrid was to be Acting Quarter Master in Greenwich.  In May of 1917 he was transferred to the 1st Central Ontario Regiment and posted to the Regimental Depot.  Wilfrid was seconded to the RAF on 15 October 1917.  He was taken on the Canadian Records list of the Royal Flying Corps upon his arrival in France on 17 December 1917 and served with the 59th squadron.  In March of 1918 Wilfrid spent a week on course at the 3rd Army School and then was granted two weeks leave to the UK.  However, he ended up in hospital at Le Touquet with tonsillitis and wasn’t discharged until 9 April 1918.  In December of 1918 Wilfrid ceased to be seconded to the RAF and relinquished his commission.  He was struck off strength on 27 January 1919 due to general demobilization.  Wilfrid spent some time in Finchley with his brother Martin before returning to Canada.

The 1921 Canadian Census shows Wilfrid working as a Superintendent at a school for the blind on 186 Beverley St., Toronto, Ontario. On 08 September 1927 he married Ethel Florence Bell in Toronto.  They had one daughter, Susan, born in 1930.  Wilfrid and Ethel became estranged and Ethel moved out with daughter, Sue.  Wilfrid continued to support them, working as a salesman for the Gutta-Perch Rubber Co.  In 1940 Ethel died of breast cancer and Sue lived with an aunt in Toronto.

With the outbreak of WW2, Wilfrid enlisted in the Canadian Army and was first stationed in South Porcupine, Ontario guarding German prisoners of war.  He then joined the RCAF, was made wing commander and posted to Brandon, Manitoba to train new pilots. In 1942 he married Bessie Ross in Brandon, and his daughter Sue rejoined him.  At the end of the war, Wilfrid took a job with Veterans Affairs in Winnipeg and the family lived in the River Heights area of the city for a few years.  Then he bought the charred remains of Ken-O-Kee Lodge on Keewatin Beach Road in Keewatin, Ontario.  He renovated it while working as a night watchman at a garage in Kenora.  His wife Bessie was diagnosed with cervical cancer and went to Lethbridge, Alberta for treatments.  Wilfrid ran the lodge for two summers before selling it at a loss.  He got a job as a welfare officer in Kenora and moved to an apartment over a store in downtown Kenora.  Bessie returned from her treatments and daughter, Sue, went to Winnipeg and took training as a registered nurse. When she returned to Kenora she worked at the Kenora General Hospital and married Ejnor Johanson.  In 1963 they moved to Toronto.  Sue became a writer, public speaker, sex educator and media personality.

Wilfrid retired and he and Bessie moved out to Longbow Lake.  Bessie died in Florida in 1962 and Wilfrid became a resident of Pinecrest Home for the Aged in Kenora in 1964. He passed away on 11 November 1973 and is buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

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