Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 29, 1882
Place of BirthLondon
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinEmily Louisa Bacon, wife, 1560 Elgin Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingPaperhanger
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number460900
Service RecordLink to Service Record
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Ordnance Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentJune 21, 1915
Age at Enlistment33
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 19, 1950
Age at Death58
Buried AtRoyal Oak Burial Park, Victoria, British Columbia
PlotSection H Plot 14 Grave 8

Bacon, William James

Although a birth record was not found, according to his later attestation and death record William James Bacon was born on 29 January 1882 in London, England. On various England censuses his father was given as Henry John Bacon and his mother as Elizabeth James, the couple marrying on 16 September 1883 in Marylebone, London. At the time of the 1891 census the Henry, Elizabeth, and William were living in the St Pancras area of London where Henry was working as a house painter and Elizabeth as a charwoman. By the 1901 census they had moved to Southend-on-Sea, a coastal city on the Thames estuary about 70 kilometres east of London. For the census Henry was working as a house painter and William as a paperhanger. Other children born to the family were Florence Elizabeth (1899-1970), Walter Charles (1901-1981) and, according to the 1911 census, a child that died in infancy or early childhood.

On 25 December 1902, in Southend-on-Sea, William married Emily Louise Bennett. Born on 25 June 1884 in Lambeth, London, Emily was the daughter of French polisher George and Matilda (née Laver) Bennett. Her parents had married 1878 in Southwark in central London. The couple settled in Southend-on-Sea where William was employed as a house painter. Children born in Southend-on-Sea were Irene Emily (1903) and Janet Louisa (1906).

William, Emily, and the two children immigrated to Canada in 1913, departing from England aboard the Scotian on June 5th and destination on the passenger list given as Winnipeg, Manitoba.

William signed his attestation papers on 21 June 1915 in Winnipeg. His occupation was given as paperhanger and his wife Emily on Elgin Avenue in Winnipeg as next of kin. Previous military service was given as two years with the Territorials (Medical Corps) in England. As a Private with the 61st Battalion, William embarked for England aboard the Olympic on 5 April 1916. After training in England, William was transferred to the Canadian Ordnance Corps and was in France for duty with the 1st Canadian Division by October 10th of that year. During WW1 the Canadian Ordnance Corps repaired field, heavy and siege guns, their carriages and mountings. They also repaired horse transport vehicles of all kinds. William’s record indicated that he worked in an administrative role of the COC and achieved the rank of Conductor. The title Conductor meant literally a person who conducted persons and items from one place to another. Additional pay was awarded for the appointments of Conductor. Dating back to childhood, William suffered from periodic episodes of epilepsy and in 1918 he was hospitalized first in France and then by June in England due to the epilepsy. In October of 1918 it was decided that he be invalided to Canada, arriving on the 27th. William was discharged from service as medically unfit on 21 December 1918.

At the time of the 1921 census, the family was living in Winnipeg where William was working as a dry goods salesman. Children born in Winnipeg were Winnifred Joyce (1920) and Wilfred Harry (1925). From there the family moved to the rural area of Pellatt in northwestern Ontario on the outskirts of Kenora where they farmed. Around 1945 William and Emily moved to Victoria, British Columbia.

William passed away on 19 July 1950 in the Veterans Hospital in Victoria. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Emily and children Irene (Harry) Tyson of Kenora, Janet (Frank) Chamberlain of Toronto, Winnifred of Victoria, and Wilfred in Toronto. Winnifred would later marry Thomas Watson. He was also survived by his sister Florence (Horace) Jackson and brother Walter, both back in England. Emily later died on 1 July 1970. William and Emily are interred in the Royal Oak Burial Park in Victoria.

By Judy Thorburn

Veteran Death card from Library and Archives Canada