Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 18, 1885
Place of BirthWalton
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinWife, Ethel Sharples
Trade / CallingLaborer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number820652
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion44th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentApril 24, 1916
Age at Enlistment30
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Decorations and MedalsMilitary Medal
Death Details
Date of Death19710828
Age at Death86
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Sharples, Arthur Henry

‘Surviving in the war was, most times, just a matter of sheer luck,’ Art Sharples told his daughter, Marg. ‘ Near the end of the war, my buddy, George and I were approaching what we figured was a deserted pillbox. George was leading a horse, a pitiful creature he’d picked up along the way. We separated – me on one side and George and the horse on the other. Suddenly there was an explosion!

By the time I checked the pillbox (it was empty) and looked for George, there was no sign of him or the horse. Whether he had stepped on a land mine or an unexploded shell, I don’t know but he was gone! I was lucky. It could have been me.’

Arthur Henry Davenport Sharples was born on June 18, 1885 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, the oldest son of John and Emma Sharples. His father died when he was 5 and his mother re-married. He learned the electrical trade in school but left home at 16 to join the Merchant Marine. In the 7 years that followed he saw much of the world ending up in Canada in 1908.

Art worked his way across the country eventually settling in the little village of Wabigoon, Ontario where he found work as a labourer in the sawmill. He became friendly with Robert Fuller, who had recently emigrated from England. The Fullers were a family of six, five girls and one boy. Art began walking out with Ethel Rose (Dodie)   and on January 4, 1913 they were married in the little Anglican Church in Wabigoon.

In 1914, when the Fuller family moved to the Kenora area, Art, Dodie and son Bob moved there as well and   Art went to work in   the Keewatin Box Factory. Here, he joined the Legion of Frontiersmen, a paramilitary group, that started in England to prepare patriots in the British Empire for war. In April 1916, Art enlisted with 141st Bull Moose Battalion, along with Dodie’s father, Robert and her brother, Charlie. He was promoted to   provisional corporal and remained with the Kenora detachment as a recruiter until 1917.

On April 28, 1917, he embarked from Halifax on the S.S. Olympia, arriving in England on May 7 where he was posted with the 18th Reserve Unit. On September 7, he was posted to France where he joined the   44th Battalion in the field.

Between October 7 and 27, he was part of the Canadian contingent at   Passchendaele, his first   battle and probably his worst, since on October 27, he was gassed and suffered shrapnel wounds to the head. He was sent to the #4 General Hospital in Camiers and from there he was sent to 14th Canadian Depot in Trouvelle and discharged to base detail in Etaples on November 9, 1917. The gassing at Passchendaele had weakened Art’s lungs. He contracted   tuberculosis and spent from December 12, 1917 to late January 1918 in treatment.

From January 29 to April 24, he rejoined the 44th in the trenches   where he was awarded the Good Conduct badge. On Aug. 10, he was transferred to Canadian Corps Infantry School in, then rejoined his unit in the field Sept. 30th with the rank of Sergeant. The 44th at this time was engaged in the battle for the Hindenberg Line.  He was granted a 14 day leave in the U.K. on Oct. 6, rejoining his unit   for the battle of the Argonne from October 30 to November 10 during which he was promoted to acting Company Sergeant Major.

For almost 6 months after the Armistice   Art was involved in various operations in Overyyssche, Belgium where he was billeted with a family. On April 27 he proceeded to England and left for Canada on May 27. He was discharged   at Port Arthur, Ontario on June 9 with the rank of Company Sergeant Major. He was awarded the Military Medal on July 3, 1919.

After the war, Art returned to help   work the Fuller family farm in Jaffray-Melick near Kenora. (Charles Fuller, who had enlisted with Art had been killed at Passchendaele in October 1917). Here, Elaine was born in 1920; Charles in 1921; Palmer in 1923 and Margaret in 1928.In the mid-twenties, Art moved the family to a farm in Riding Mountain, Manitoba, returning in the early thirties to Kenora where he and son Bob worked building the Trans-Canada Highway until he was hired as an electrician in the paper mill. The family moved to a home at the top of Melick Avenue.

During World War II Bob, Charlie and Palmer enlisted in the army. They   saw action in Italy and France, returning after the war to work and raise families in the Kenora area. Elaine married and moved to the Fort; Margaret became a teacher, married and raised her family in Kenora.

Art retired from the mill in 1955. After Dodie died in 1961 Art went to live with Marg and family in Donkirk Heights, a new subdivision near Kenora. Art was a good-natured gentleman and enjoyed his grandchildren and the bustling activity of the young families in the neighbourhood.

Art died on August 28, 1971 in Kenora. He is buried alongside Dodie in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

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Photographs of Arthur courtesy of his daughter Margaret Rule.

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