Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 13, 1885
Place of BirthLurgan, County Armagh
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinSusan Wilson, sister, 75 Princess Street, Lurgan, Ireland
Trade / CallingLabourer
Service Details
Regimental Number503247
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion56th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentOctober 12, 1915
Age at Enlistment30
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 24, 1963
Age at Death78
Buried AtBurnsland Cemetery, Calgary, Alberta

Taylor, Samuel Joseph


Samuel Joseph Taylor was born on 13 June 1885 in Lurgan, County Armagh in northern Ireland. His parents were Absalom Taylor, a shoemaker, and Mary Ann Stevenson, the couple marrying on 18 February 1889 in Lurgan. At the time of the marriage Absalom was a widower. Samuel had an older sister Susan (born 1883) and younger siblings Sarah (born 1889), Elizabeth (born 1891), and James (born 1893). Hard times fell upon the family, with Absalom, Mary Ann, and likely all of the children entering the Union Workhouse in Lurgan. Sadly, Mary Ann died on 23 June 1898 followed by Absalom on 5 October, also in 1898, both in the workhouse. By the time of the 1901 Ireland census, Sarah and Elizabeth were living in the Walker’s Orphan School on Harrington Street in Dublin. According to the family, Samuel and possibly James were sent to Canada under the British Home Child emigration movement.

‘Between 1869 and the late 1930s, over 100,000 juvenile migrants were sent to Canada from the British Isles during the child emigration movement. Motivated by social and economic forces, churches and philanthropic organizations sent orphaned, abandoned and pauper children to Canada. Many believed that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural Canada, where families welcomed them as a source of cheap farm labour and domestic help. After arriving by ship, the children were sent to distributing and receiving homes and then sent on to farmers in the area.’ (Library and Archives Canada)

With a party of other children under the care of the Barnardo agency, Samuel arrived in Quebec, Canada aboard the Numidian on 29 July 1901. The Ups and Downs magazine published by the Canadian branch of Dr Barnado’s Homes in Toronto printed in their October 1901 issue that Samuel had arrived at their farm home in Russell, Manitoba on 5 August of that year. Another entry by the magazine of February 1902 stated that a Samuel Taylor had left the farm home for employment with David Squier in Plumas, Manitoba.

Samuel enlisted with the 56th Battalion, CEF on 12 October 1915 in Lethbridge, Alberta. His occupation was given as labourer, his place of birth as Belfast, Ireland, and his next of kin as his sister Susan Wilson in Lurgan. It appears that Samuel had left his farm placement in Manitoba and immigrated to the United States as he gave more than 5 years US military experience upon attestation. In his military will he left mining claims in Rye Valley, Oregon to his sister Sarah Hawthorne in Belfast.

With rank of Private, Samuel arrived in England aboard the Missanabie on 30 January 1916 with the No 2 Tunnelling Company, Canadian Engineers and arrived in France on 10 March. The tunnelling units were occupied in offensive and defensive mining involving the placing and maintaining of mines under enemy lines, as well as other underground work such as the construction of deep dugouts for troop accommodation, the digging of subways, saps (a narrow trench dug to approach enemy trenches), cable trenches and underground chambers for signals and medical services.

A short time after arrival, Samuel accidentally sprained his ankle. On the 23rd of March he was admitted to the No 29 Canadian Field Ambulance and eventually the No 1 Canadian General Hospital in Etaples on 20 April. A few days later he was invalided to England and admitted to the Metropolitan Hospital in London on the 24th. Samuel was transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital in Bromley, Kent on 20 June, to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park in Epsom on 29 June, to the Ramsgate Canadian Special Hospital on 14 July and to the Military Hospital at Shorncliffe on 26 July where he was discharged on the 31st. In August he was transferred to the Canadian Engineers Training Depot, fit for service. From there he went through a series of transfers, admitted to the hospital in Shorncliffe in November suffering from rheumatism.

On 24 December 1916, in St Phillip’s Church in Tottenham in London, Samuel married Ethel Warrilow. Born on 15 November 1895 in Tottenham, Ethel was one of twelve children of Arthur and Lavinia Warrilow.

In January of 1917 Samuel was taken on strength as a Batman at the Adjutant General Office in London until mid March. Following another series of transfers, he was awarded one Good Conduct Badge on 12 October in London. In March of 1918 Samuel was transferred to the newly formed 13th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops, arriving back in France on 29 March. Canadian railway units played a major role in the construction and maintenance of railways of all gauges, including light railways, for the five British Army areas in France and Belgium.

Suffering from scabies, myalgia, and sciatica, Samuel spent most of December of 1918 in various field ambulances and hospitals in Rouen and Trouville, discharged in early January 1919. By March he was back in England. In late April Samuel, Ethel, and their sixteen month old son Lawrence embarked for Canada aboard the Metagama, arriving in Quebec on 2 May, destination given as Winnipeg. Samuel, rank of Sapper, was discharged from service on 6 May in Quebec.

By that July Samuel and his family were living at 336 1st Street North in Kenora, Ontario where Samuel worked as a shoemaker. Daughter Lavinia Mary was born in August. By the time of the 1921 census they were living in Snowflake, Manitoba, Samuel having followed up on a soldiers land settlement although the census gave his occupation as shoemaker. Moving to Estevan, Saskatchewan, homesick, Ethel and the children returned to England, arriving in Liverpool on 11 February 1923 aboard the Marloch. Samuel followed that December, arriving on 15 December on the Montclare. While in England the family lived at 48 Dorset in Tottenham, the Warrilow family home.

In 1928 Samuel returned to Canada, arriving in Quebec on the Aurania on 19 August. Ethel and the children returned in 1929, arriving in Quebec on the Alaunia on 9 June, on their way to Samuel in Turner Valley, in the District of Calgary, Alberta.

Samuel and Ethel made Turner Valley their home, Samuel’s occupation given as shoemaker at the time of their son Lawrence’s enlistment with the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940. During the war Samuel served at the Army Training Centre in Edmonton. Sadly, Lawrence was reported as killed in action on 10 May 1943. He is interred in the Ripon Cemetery in Yorkshire, England.

Samuel died on 24 April 1963 following a lengthy illness. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Ethel, daughter Mary (Leonard) White, five grandchildren, one great grandchild, and his sister Sarah Hawthorne in Belfast, Ireland. Samuel is interred in a military plot in the Burnsland Cemetery in Calgary. Ethel later died on 20 July 2000 in Duncan, British Columbia. She is interred in the Hatley Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Victoria.

By Judy Stockham

Photographs of Samuel and Ethel and family information provided by great granddaughter Mary Lou White
Family records from Ireland and family information provided by great niece Lorraine  Dunleavey
Grave marker photograph by  Alberta Family Histories Society
Lawrence’s obituary and grave marker photograph as found on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial website

« Back To Soldier Biographies