Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 7, 1885
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinHattie E Woods, mother, 129 Maryland St., Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingSheet Metal Worker
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number3348125
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at Enlistment129 Maryland Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentNovember 11, 1917
Age at Enlistment32
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 8, 1963
Age at Death78
Buried AtRoyal Oak Crematorium, Victoria, British Columbia

Woods, William Harvey

William Harvey Woods was born on 7 March 1885 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His father Arthur Woods, son of Irish immigrant Russel Woods and Quebec born Eliza Huston, grew up on a farm in the Kildare/Joliette, Quebec region. His mother Harriet Ross, daughter of William and Margaret (Caswell) Ross was from the Township of Ross in the county of Renfrew where they farmed. Arthur and Harriet married on 27 February 1884 in Ross, occupation of Arthur given as baggage agent for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Rat Portage/Keewatin. After the wedding, the couple settled in Rat Portage.

By 1901 Arthur was employed as a town constable and eventually became chief of police of Kenora. Involved in municipal affairs, he served as alderman for a number of years. Living in Rat Portage/Kenora, the family grew: William Harvey (b 1885), Arthur Lorne (b 1886), John Stanley (b 1889), James Huston Ross (b 1893), MaryMarguerite (b 1894), Emily Eileen (b 1896), Dorothy Caswell (b 1899), VictoriaEvelyn (b 1901), Russell Vernon (b 1903), and Helen Florence (b 1907).

Leaving the police force, Arthur worked in real estate before the family moved to Winnipeg in late 1911. After a lingering illness Arthur died in February of 1915. The 1916 census found Harriet and the children living on Chalmers Avenue, Winnipeg North although Ross and Stanley were listed as serving in the military overseas.

Harvey Woods signed his recruitment papers in Winnipeg on 17 November 1917 and had his medical examination the following July of 1918. At 33 years of age, occupation given as sheet metal worker and living on Maryland Street with his mother, Harvey’s regiment was the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment. The city of Winnipeg was very much a victim of the Spanish Influenza in October and November of 1918, with 1732 cases and a death count of 61 reported by the end of October. By the end of January 1919 Winnipeg reported 12 863 cases and 824 deaths, huge numbers for the size of the city and yet thought to be under reported. Harvey was one of the unfortunates that contracted the dreaded disease as in October of 1918 he became ill with influenza while waiting to go overseas, followed by further complications of pneumonia. His service records show that he was considered very seriously ill and he was eventually transferred to the Manitoba Military Hospital Tuxedo Park. Recovery was slow and Harvey was discharged as medically unfit on 23 April 1919. Prescribed treatment included: ‘Dover’s Powder 5 grs. Aspirin 5 grs. every 4 hours. Pneumonia Jacket. Whiskey & Digitalis alternately every 2 hrs. Expectorant Cough Mix Tonic’.

At some point after the war Harvey married Constance Woolgrove, daughter of Amos and Kate Woolgrove of Northampton, England. Constance, occupation given as domestic, had immigrated to Canada in May of 1928, destination on the passenger list of the Letitia given as the YWCA Womens Hostel in Victoria. First living in Saskatoon, by the mid 1940’s Harvey and Constance were living in Nanaimo, British Columbia where he was employed as a sheet metal worker and/or mechanic. The couple had four children, three daughters and a son.

William Harvey Woods died on 8 May 1963 in Victoria (Saanich), British Columbia followed by his wife Constance in 1990, her death reported by a granddaughter. Cemetery listed for both was the Royal Oak Crematorium, Victoria.

Harvey’s mother Harriet and sisters Marguerite, Eileen (married Harold Dickie in Vancouver 1921, two sons), Dorothy (married Watkin Williams in 1926 in Winnipeg, two sons), and Helen all eventually moved to the Los Angeles area. Harriet died in 1940, Dorothy in 1973, Eileen in 1975, Marguerite in 1980, and Helen in 1990. His sister Victoria married Joseph Le Blanc and predeceased by her husband and survived by a son, died in Vancouver in 1980. His brother Lorne married Ethel Kelly in 1929 in Winnipeg and although he had lived and worked in Vancouver as a comptroller for BC Tourism, died in Victoria in 1972 (no children). His brother Russell stayed in Winnipeg, and survived by his wife Elinor and son Grant and family, died in 1984 with interment in Park Lawn, Winnipeg.

Harvey’s brother Ross enlisted in Winnipeg in October of 1915 and went overseas with the 90th Battalion aboard the Olympic in May of 1916. Once overseas he was transferred to the 27th Battalion and was awarded a Good Conduct Badge during his service. After the war he returned to Winnipeg and married Priscilla Kruspe in 1926. Ross was very active in the Fort Rouge Curling Club and also served as president of the Manitoba Curling Association. Survived by his wife and daughter Mrs WJ (Joan) Fraser, Ross died in Winnipeg in 1950. He is interred in the Elmwood Cemetery.

Harvey’s brother Stanley, working as a civil engineer with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway out of Lethbridge, Alberta, signed his attestation papers in Edmonton in January of 1915 and while serving overseas was awarded a Military Cross in 1916 and First Bar in 1918. After the war he remained in the armed forces (PPCLI) and married Alice Nash in Winnipeg in 1927. They lived in her home in Victoria and had one daughter. In April of 1932 Stanley was reported as missing, lost off the ferry run between Victoria and Vancouver. His body was never recovered.

by Judy Stockham


Obituary from the Victoria Daily Chronicle, 11 May 1963.

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