Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Place of BirthOldcastle
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs T Marshall, sister, 1458 Ross Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingLocomotive Egineer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number2125024
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo 84 Canadian Engine Crew Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Railway Troops
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentYMCA Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 30, 1917
Age at Enlistment27
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 3, 1960
Age at Death71
Buried AtChapel Lawn Memorial Gardens, Winnipeg, Manitoba
PlotOld Rugged Cross Lot 13 Grave 0001

Kilroy, Percy Joseph

According to his attestation papers, Percy Joseph Kilroy was born on 19 December 1889 in Oldcastle, Ireland. A birth registration for a male Kilroy in Oldcastle was found for the last quarter of 1887, a passenger list for Percy gave his birth as 10 September 1887, and his obituary gave the year as 1887. His parents were James Arthur and Maria (née Gibson) Kilroy. Known children born to the family were James Arthur (b 1876), Mabel (Mae) (b 1878), Isabella (b 1879), Annie Eveline (b 1880), Myra (b 1892) as well as Bertie, George, and Lily according to an online family tree. Birth records of some of Percy’s siblings indicated that the family lived in Kilnaleck, Ballyean, and Ballahanna, all in Cavan.

Percy was found on the passenger list of the Bavarian that arrived in Halifax in early April of 1905. By the next year he was living in the RM of Selkirk, Manitoba, working as a hired hand on the John Morrow farm. He later moved to Kenora, Ontario where he found work with the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Percy signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 30 January 1917, giving his sister Mrs T (Myra) Marshall in Winnipeg as next of kin. His occupation was given as locomotive engineer and his place of residence as the YMCA in Kenora where a number of CPR employees resided.

Organized in December of 1916 with recruitment amongst railway men in all military districts east of Winnipeg, the No 1 Section, Skilled Railway Employees had a number of enlistments from CPR employees from Kenora. A local newspaper article of the 31st of January 1917 published the names of some 20 men who had enlisted and another article of the 7th of February spoke of the men passing through Kenora by train, heading east on the first leg of their journey to the front. As a Private with the No 1 Section, Percy embarked from Halifax on 4 March 1917 aboard the Ausonia.

Once in England Percy was promoted to Acting 2nd Corporal on the 23rd of March. The next month, on April 11th, he was admitted to the Military Isolation Hospital at Aldershot suffering from parotitis, the mumps. He was discharged on the 26th of June and posted to the No 85 Canadian Engine Crew Company at Purfleet on the 13th of November, reverting to rank of Sapper at his own request. By the 12th of December Percy was in France.

From January until June of 1918 Percy was attached to the No 58 Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company, rejoining the No 85 Canadian Engine Crew Company on the 6th. In early November of 1918 he was admitted to the No 35 General Hospital in Calais with inflamed adenoids and tonsils, discharged by the end of the month. In January of 1919 he was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK and by mid April he proceeded back to England. After a series of transfers, Percy was discharged in July with his intended residence given as High Street in Tullamore, Kings County, Ireland where his brother James Arthur had been living in the 1911 Ireland census.

At some point Percy returned to Canada and continued working for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Kenora and Winnipeg. On the side while in Kenora he also sold radios for General Electric. On 5 March 1932, in St James, Winnipeg, Percy married Dorothy Frank Cottrell. The couple were found on a 1935 Kenora Voters list as residing at the Kenricia Hotel. To his friends Percy was known as Captain Pat of Devil’s Gap Lodge on Lake of the Woods. Retiring from the CPR as an engineer in 1945, Percy then became the building superintendent of the Hart Building in Winnipeg. He was a long time member of the Winnipeg Game and Fish Association, of the Hook and Slice Club, and the Carleton Club. In April of 1958 Percy returned to Ireland for a three month holiday, intended destination given as Rheban Castle in Athy on the passenger list of the Empress of France that arrived in Liverpool on the 22nd. His marital status was given as single.

Percy died on 3 October 1960 at his home on Mayfair Avenue in Winnipeg. His Veteran Death card listed his brother Frank Kilroy of East Kildonan as his next of kin but Frank was likely his grand nephew. At the time of his death he was survived by his sisters Mae Large and Annie Tinkler, Frank, and several nieces and nephews in Ireland, Canada, and the United States. Percy is interred in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens in Winnipeg, his grave unmarked.

by Judy Stockham

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