Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 30, 1895
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Henry Richard Woodley (mother), 145 Ontario Street, Victoria, British Columbia
Trade / CallingCarpenter
Service Details
Regimental Number16840
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion1st Reserve Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentValcartier, Quebec
Address at EnlistmentVictoria, British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentSeptember 17, 1914
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 14, 1982
Age at Death87
Buried AtRoyal Oak Crematorium, Saanich, British Columbia

Woodley, Lorne Arnold

Acting Lance Sergeant Lorne Arnold Woodley enlisted at the start of the war and went overseas with the 1st Canadian Contingent. He served in England, France and Belgium for four years, returning home in January 1919.

Lorne was the son of Henry Richard and Matilda Woodley of Victoria, British Columbia. Henry and Matilda (née Curry) were born in Ontario to British immigrant parents. By the time of the 1891 census they had moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Henry, age 19, was living with his family and working as a plumber while Matilda, age 24, was staying in a boarding house and working in a factory. They were married in Winnipeg on 10 July 1892 and their first child, Charles James, was born there the following summer. A short time later the family moved to Rat Portage (now called Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. Three children were born in Rat Portage: Lorne Arnold (30 January 1895), Grace Emily (1896) and Henry Fred (1901). Around 1904 the Woodleys moved west to British Columbia, spending a couple of years in Vancouver before settling in Victoria. The youngest child, Walter Clifton, was born in Vancouver in 1904.

The war started on 4 August 1914 and mobilization orders were issued in Canada three days later. Volunteers were told to enroll with their local militia then proceed to Valcartier, Quebec, where the 1st Canadian Contingent would be assembled. Lorne had already served with the 88th Regiment Victoria Fusiliers. He officially joined them on 9 August then headed east by train with the rest of the local volunteers. He was 19 years old and working as a carpenter at the time. His medical at Valcartier on 5 September found him fit for overseas service. On 17 September he joined the 7th Battalion (1st British Columbia Regiment), which had been organized two weeks earlier. He embarked for England with the 1st Canadian Contingent, sailing on the SS Virginian and landing at Plymouth on 14 October. After training in England for another four months Lorne’s unit arrived in France on 10 February 1915, where they became part of the 1st Canadian Division, 2nd Infantry Brigade.

Lorne spent almost two years with the 7th Battalion in France and Belgium. In 1915 they fought at the Second Battle of Ypres (St. Julien) in April and at Festubert in May. In June Lorne spent a few days in a hospital at St. Omer, suffering from myalgia, and in November he had nine days leave. The Canadians spent the winter and spring holding a section of the front line in the Ypres Salient and in June 1916 they took part in the Battle of Mount Sorrel. Later that summer they were sent south for the Somme Offensive, where the four Canadian divisions suffered 24,000 casualties in less than three months. Afterwards Lorne’s unit moved to a quieter sector in the Lens-Arras area, across from Vimy. In January 1917 Lorne had ten days leave and while he was away he became ill. He was admitted to Rochester Row Military Hospital in London where he stayed for two months. In mid-March he was transferred to the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth and on 8 May he moved to the convalescent centre at Epsom.

Lorne served in England for the rest of the war. On 22 May 1917 he was transferred to the 1st Reserve Battalion and he was appointed as Acting Lance Corporal on 18 December 1917, Acting Corporal on 13 April 1918 and Acting Lance Sergeant on 23 October 1918. The Armistice ended hostilities in November and he embarked for Canada on 2 January 1919 on the Empress of Asia, landing at Victoria three weeks later. He was discharged on demobilization on 4 February. While he was overseas his mother had passed away, in July 1916. His oldest brother Charles James enlisted with the Canadian Garrison Regiment in April 1918 and he served in Canada for 15 months.

After the war Lorne settled in Victoria where he worked as a plumber and later as a stationary engineer. He was married on 23 September 1921 to 23-year-old Naomi Jones. Naomi was born in Perth, Scotland and came to Canada with her widowed mother, two brothers and a sister in May 1919. An older brother was already living in Victoria and Naomi found work there as a telephone operator at the Empress Hotel. Lorne and Naomi had one child, their daughter Vera June who was born in June 1922. Naomi passed away in Victoria in March 1972, at age 73. Lorne died in the Victoria General Hospital ten years later, on 14 August 1982, at age 87. They were both cremated at Royal Oak Crematorium. Their daughter Vera June (Mrs. Jack Sargent) passed away 2007.

By Becky Johnson

Obituary courtesy of Mike Melen

Woodley-Lorne-98 Woodley-Lorne-99

« Back To Soldier Biographies