Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 3, 1898
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Martha Kelly, mother, 380 Agnes Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingCommercial Traveller
Service Details
Regimental Number2504044
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionRailway Construction Depot
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Railway Troops
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment380 Agnes Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentMay 14, 1918
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 19, 1970
Age at Death72
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Kelly, William Albert

William Albert Kelly was born on 3 July 1898 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. His father James Kelly was the son of Irish immigrants that had settled in the village of Brussels, Huron, Ontario. His mother Martha Mathieson was born in Admaston, a small community near Renfrew, Ontario. Martha was the daughter of Scottish immigrants with her father employed as a hotel keeper over the years. At the time of James and Martha’s marriage in 1893 in Renfrew, both were living in Renfrew where James was working as a mason. The following year the couple moved to Rat Portage where James found work as a contractor. Children born to the family while living in Rat Portage were Francis James (1895), Mayme (1896 in Winnipeg), William Albert, and Isabella (1901). By the 1911 census the family had moved to Winnipeg where James continued to work as a builder/contractor. By 1916 William Albert was employed in Winnipeg as a salesman for a wholesale dry goods company.

With occupation given as commercial traveller, 19 year old William Albert Kelly signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 14 May 1918. His paper was stamped Engineers with his service number indicating Railway Construction Troops Draft. He served in Canada as a Sergeant with the No 2 District Depot, Canadian Engineers and was discharged from service in Hamilton on 30 June 1919. William’s brother Frank¬†enlisted in Winnipeg in March of 1917 and served overseas with the Signal Service, Canadian Engineers, returning to Canada in May of 1919.

At some point after the war William also went into the contracting business and along with his father was a partner in the Kelly and Kimberley firm; his father’s former firm was Kelly Brothers. On 4 June 1930, in Winnipeg, William married Beatrice May Lorch. Born in 1907 in Kitchener, Ontario, Beatrice had moved to Spy Hill, Saskatchewan with her parents Phillip and Minnie (Naubauer) Lorch and siblings. She later worked for a telephone company in Regina and then Winnipeg prior to their marriage. William and Beatrice gave birth to two children, June Maureen and Barbara Joy. William’s parents had moved back to Kenora and it appears that William and his family also lived there.

Predeceased by his mother Martha in 1942 and his father James in 1961, both in Kenora, William Albert Kelly died suddenly on 19 September 1970 at his residence on Coney Island, Kenora. For twenty eight years he had been superintendent of Bond Construction, retiring in 1966. He was a life member of the Masonic Lodge and a member of Knox United Church in Kenora. In his younger years he had been interested in the sports of curling, bowling and hockey. William was survived by his wife Beatrice and children Mrs June (Jack) Scobie of Regina and Mrs Barbara (Logie) Smellie of Winnipeg and his nine grandchildren. Also surviving were his siblings Mrs Mayme Clarke of Kenora, Mrs Isabel Wilson of Winnipeg, and brother Frank of Regina. Beatrice later died in 1982 in Burnaby, British Columbia, followed by Barbara in 1998, likely in Minnedosa, Manitoba where she and her husband had retired to, and June in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan in 2003. William and Beatrice are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

By Judy Stockham

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