Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 21, 1891
Place of BirthNorthampton
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Lucy Cory (mother), 41 Kettering Road, Northampton, England
Trade / CallingRailroad brakeman
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number2125130
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo. 58 Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Railway Troops
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 10, 1917
Age at Enlistment25
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19660905
Age at Death74
Buried AtSt. Patrick's Cemetery, Thunder Bay, Ontario
PlotBlock 51, R-2, Lot 21

Cory, George Herbert

Sapper George Herbert Cory was one of four brothers who served in the First World War, two with the Canadian forces and two with the British. The oldest of the boys, William Roger Cory, died of wounds in October 1917 but the other three survived the war.

George was the son of William Henry Cory and Lucy Ann Freeman of Northampton, Northamptonshire, England. William and Lucy were married in 1877 and they had seven children, five sons (Harry, William, George, Charles and Philip Thomas) and two daughters (Olive and Dora). George, the fifth child, was born in Northampton on 21 October 1891 and his father died in 1898 when he was seven years old. At the time of the 1901 census all seven children were living with their widowed mother in the parish of St. Giles in Northampton.

The oldest son Harry immigrated to Canada in 1907 and settled in the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. George joined him there the following year, arriving in July 1908 on the Empress of Ireland. He was 16 years old, a baker, and listed as going to his brother in Kenora. He returned to England in 1910 and when the 1911 census was taken he was back in Northampton, living with his mother and working as a baker’s assistant. His brother William left for Canada in March 1911 and George returned there in 1912, settling in Kenora and finding work with the Canadian Pacific Railway.

During the war Canada played a major role in providing skilled railway workers to serve in France and Belgium. In 1916 rail transportation was being expanded and more recruits were needed. George enlisted in Winnipeg on 10 February 1917, signing up with No. 1 Section Skilled Railway Employees. A week later he left Kenora by train with six other volunteers. They were sent to Montreal where the unit had been mobilized and early in March they embarked for the UK on the SS Ausonia. In England No. 1 Section became the 12th (Canadian) Light Railway Operating Company, Royal Engineers and three weeks later they were re-designated as No. 58 Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company (Canadians), Royal Engineers.

George’s unit was in England for only a month before being sent to France, arriving there on 19 April 1917. During two major battles – Messines Ridge in June 1917 and Lys in April 1918 – No. 58 Company operated just behind the combat areas where trains were needed to haul troops, ammunition, supplies, ambulance units and refugees. In June 1918 George had his first leave and he rejoined his unit at the end of the month for the final period of the war. The fighting moved into a more open phase and roads and railways were essential for maintaining supplies to the front lines. On 11 November the Armistice ended hostilities but it would be months before most of the Canadians returned home. The 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions occupied parts of Germany while the other two divisions remained in Belgium, and the railway troops were kept busy until the spring. George had ten days leave in Paris in January 1919 and two weeks leave in the UK in March. He returned to England with his unit on 17 April, two years after they had first arrived in France. No. 58 Company was disbanded and the troops returned to Canada the following month. George arrived in Halifax on the SS Aquitania on 24 May and he was discharged due to demobilization on 30 May in Winnipeg.

When the 1921 census was taken George was living in Kenora again. In the household with him were his brothers Philip and Harry as well as Harry’s wife and three children. Within a few years George moved to Fort William and he was married there on 14 September 1926. His wife, 28-year-old Margaret May Carney, was a bookkeeper who was born and raised in Fort William. Her parents were John and Alice Carney and she was the third of their four children. Her father was a grain merchant and he had died in 1910 when she was 12 years old.

George worked for George Weston Ltd. as a commercial traveller for 25 years. Following that he was employed by a realty company until his retirement in 1959. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 6. He and his wife May had one son, Patrick. George died on 5 September 1966, at age 74, and May passed away three years later. They are buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Fort William.

By Becky Johnson

Derry-Willard-91 Cory-George-Herbert-90 Cory-George-Herbert-91

Grave marker photos courtesy of Lynda Piilo.

« Back To Soldier Biographies