Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 11, 1890
Place of BirthHelston, Cornwall
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Beatrice Wills, Mother
Trade / CallingBank Clerk
Service Details
Regimental Number439092
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 3, 1915
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death1975

Wills, Benjamin

Benjamin was born to Joseph Wills and Beatrice King  on 11 December 1890, in the Cornwall district of England. In the 1901 English census he  was living with his mother and sisters Minnie (4 years older), Lillie (two years younger) and Olive (8 years younger). He was in Canada when he enlisted as an expat, in the 52nd Battalion in 1915. He had been a bank clerk at the time.

Benjamin enlisted in Kenora on February 3rd, 1915 and arrived in England December 3rd, 1915.    He was assigned to the pay office in London on the 21st, but in April 1916 was attached to the 11th Battalion in Shorncliffe.  He was sent  to the 18th Reserve Battalion in London in February 1917. By March he began to show signs of ‘debility’ – mostly attributed to chronic bronchitis, but also with chest pains. He was in the Canadian Convalescent Hospital at Monks Horton from March 23 until April 4th. It was noted in his charts that he had scarlet fever as a youth, did not have TB, but smoked about 15 cigarettes a day. When re-examined in May, the doctor noted he ‘looks debilitated with poor physique.’ It was recommended he be categorized as ‘Ciii’. Most of that spring was spent at headquarters in London.

In August he was granted permission to wear a Good Conduct stripe. He continued his work and in September 1918 was named acting/Sergeant and to be paid as a Sergeant clerk. He was finally discharged on July 18th, 1919 in England, where he remained.  On his tracking papers, he is listed as being a Lance Corporal upon discharge.

While in England,  Benjamin married Pearl Sydenham in 1916, and they had two children. Benjamin died in Surrey, England in 1975.

by Penny Beal

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