|Date of Birth||September 6, 1896|
|Place of Birth||Aylmer, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Wm. Robert White (father), 300 Polson Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Bank Clerk|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||300 Polson Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||February 9, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||19|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||February 9, 1957|
|Age at Death||60|
|Buried At||Nanaimo Cemetery, Nanaimo, British Columbia|
Birth date: William was born in Aylmer, Ontario, September 6th, 1896 to William Robert White (born October 1, 1869, Elgin County, Ontario) and Ethel Elizabeth Gregory (born November 4, 1870, Belmont, Middlesex, Ontario). They were married in Aylmer, Ontario June 1, 1893. William is descended from and related to historic families in early Ontario and Canadian history. One, in particular, is the Secord family, who received land grants for the services they provided to the British, especially in the War of 1812.
Early life: The small family of three was living in Simcoe, Norfolk County, Ontario in the 1901 census. William Sr. was a Baggage man. William appears to have had a brother, Philip, who was born and died in 1904. His only other sibling was a sister, Elizabeth Secord, born June 2, 1905, Essex County, Ontario. By the 1911 census, the family was living in the parish of Kildonan, District of Selkirk, Manitoba. William’s father was working as a Clerk with the C.P.R. By the time the 1916 census was taken, William had enlisted. His parents and sister were now living at 300 Polson Avenue, Winnipeg North, Manitoba. His father was still working as a clerk with the CPR.
War experience: William was a bank clerk at the time of his enlistment on February 9th, 1916. He was sent to the 184th Battalion at Camp Hughes, Manitoba. As it turns out, William never saw service. It was determined that he had a serious, pre-existing medical condition and an operation was recommended by the medical board. William was transferred to the Clearing Depot at Camp Hughes on September 26, 1916. In January 16, 1917, he decided not to have the operation and instead requested that he be discharged. The medical board agreed and his discharge was approved January 17th. The actual discharge date was not identified; however, his medical record received a final stamp of approval on March 12, 1917.
Life after the war: At some point following the war, William moved to Kenora and on June 1, 1921, he married Phyllis Lawrence Rydeen, who was born in 1902 in the United States of America, daughter of Benjamin P. Johnson and Elizabeth S. Krede Rydeen. Shortly after they appear in the 1921 census. William was a timekeeper. Louise Rydeen, Phyllis’ 17 year old sister, was living with them. William joined the Kenora branch of the Legion.
It is not known how long the couple lived in Kenora, but all family members are recorded in British Columbia, according to Voters’ Lists and research notes from family researchers on ancestry.ca. William and Phyllis were recorded in the 1949 Voters’ List in Burns Lake, District of Skeena. William was employed as an accountant. Mary Elizabeth White, a housewife and Percy Elmo White, a mechanic, were also living in the same residence at the time. According to his obituary, William served during WW2, rank of Major at time of discharge on 4 May 1946.
Date of death and burial location: After a lengthy illness, William died in Nanaimo, B.C. on February 9, 1957. He was buried in the Nanaimo Cemetery on February 13th. He and Phyllis had been living in Wellington, B.C. at the time. William had continued his occupation as an accountant, until his death. Phyllis died June 29, 1965 in Comox, B.C.
By Susan (Hillman) Brazeau in support of the Kenora Great War Project
Grave marker photograph by Donna Bruce, findagrave.com
Library and Archives Canada
Canada Marriages Index 1893
Ontario Births Indexes 1896, 1905
1901 Census of Canada
1911 Census of Canada
1916 Census of Canada
1916 Canadian Soldiers of the First World War
1921 Census of Canada
Ontario Marriages, 1921
1949 Voter’s List (B.C.)
Royal Museum, B.C., Online B.C. Archives