Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 27, 1888
Place of BirthThornton Heath, Surrey
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs. Harry Warner (wife), Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingLocomotive Fireman
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number439038
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentDecember 21, 1914
Age at Enlistment26
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 12, 1963
Age at Death75
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
PlotPeaceful Hollow Block, 8E- 4-3

Warner, Harry Rupert

Private Harry Rupert Warner joined the 52nd Battalion in December 1914 and served overseas for a year and a half. For most of that time he suffered ill health and he was invalided back to Canada in May 1917 to continue his medical treatment.

Harry Rupert was born on 27 May 1888 in Thornton Heath, Croydon, Surrey, England, His birth name was Rupert John Mouser and he was the only son of Samuel Mouser and Mary Robinson. Samuel and Mary were married in Croydon in 1883 and they had two daughters, Daisy (b.1885) and Edith (b.1886). Rupert was the youngest child and his father died in 1896 when he was eight years old. At the time of the 1901 census he was living in Thornton Heath with Robert Robinson, a 74-year-old widow who was probably a relative. Rupert found work as a draper’s assistant and in July 1905, at age 17, he joined the British navy. He signed up for twelve years but he served for only about four months, getting his discharge by purchase in November 1905. Three years later he immigrated to Canada, arriving in May 1908 on the SS Kensington, age 20, his occupation listed as shop assistant and his destination Winnipeg. Around 1910 he moved to the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario where he was employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

On 30 October 1913 Rupert married a widow, 21-year-old Catherine Brimble (née Young) of Kenora. They were married in Winnipeg and by then Rupert was using the name Harry Rupert Warner. Catherine’s first husband had died in December 1909 when their only child was five months old. Harry and Catherine settled in Kenora and Lloyd, the first of their four sons, was born before the war started. Harry was an early volunteer, enlisting in Kenora in December 1914 with the third overseas contingent. Full time training with pay began in March 1915 and the recruits were transferred to the 52nd Battalion when it was organized later that month. It was based in Port Arthur and the Kenora lads were sent there in June to train with the rest of the battalion. In the fall they left for the east coast where they embarked for England on 23 November on the SS California. After a few more weeks of training the men were sent to France on 20 February 1916. They spent the first night in tents in a snowstorm before being moved to Belgium by train the next day.

On 23 February the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion joined the Canadian Corps, becoming part of the 9th Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division. In early March  the men went into the trenches for a six day rotation. Harry became ill later that month and he was sent to a hospital in Le Havre, rejoining his unit in mid-July. They were based near Ypres at the time and in the next few weeks the battalion had two rotations in the front line. German artillery was active and there were numerous casualties from shelling as well as from snipers. At the end of August the unit began training for the Somme Offensive and on 7 September they boarded trains for the move south. That same day Harry was admitted to #7 Stationary Hospital in France and from there he was evacuated to England. He suffered from severe stomach problems aggravated by army food and conditions in the trenches, and he was diagnosed with an ulcer and shell shock. He developed appendicitis and in December he had surgery to remove his appendix. After several more months in hospitals Harry was invalided back to Canada, embarking from Liverpool on 13 May 1917 on the SS Letitia. He received further treatment in Winnipeg at the Manitoba Military Convalescent Hospital and both the Winnipeg General and St. Boniface Hospitals. He was officially discharged on 18 June 1918, ‘being no longer physically fit for war service.’

Catherine’s brother Lawrence Young had enlisted underage and he died of wounds in France in February 1917, two days before his 18th birthday. After being discharged Harry returned to his family in Kenora and he and Catherine had three more sons, Lawrence, Earl and Mervin. When the 1921 census was taken he was working for the CPR and his wife’s sister Florence Gilbert, a widow, was staying with them. Harry was later employed at the Provincial Jail, working there until he retired, and he became a member of the Kenora branch of the Canadian Legion. His oldest son Lloyd was a Royal Canadian Naval Reserve volunteer and he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. Earl served in the Canadian army, becoming a Lance Corporal

Harry passed away at home on 12 July 1963, at age 75, and his wife died in 1979. They are buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora along with three of their sons, Lloyd, Earl and Lawrence.

By Becky Johnson

52nd-1914-12-30 52nd-1915-06-16 52nd-1915-12-08 Warner-Harry-90 Warner-Harry-91 Warner-Harry-Ruoert-1 Warner-Harry-92 Warner-Harry-Ruoert-5 Warner-Harry-Ruoert-6

Veteran Death Card courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

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