Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 6, 1888
Place of BirthSt Andrews, Manitoba
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinCatherine Loutett (Loutitt), mother
Trade / CallingRailroad brakeman, CPR
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number2125136
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 8, 1917
Age at Enlistment29
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 27, 1953
Age at Death65
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Loutett, Walter

The third child in the family, Walter Loutett (also commonly spelled Louttit, Loutitt) was born on 6 February 1888 in St Andrews, Red River Settlement. His parents Thomas Lowe Loutitt and Catherine Corrigal were both descendants of Orkney Island Scotsmen that immigrated to the area to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company and who married indigenous or Métis women. According to the Diocese of Rupert’s Land Archives, Thomas and Catherine had married on 11 February 1880. Walter had  5 siblings, Catherine(1883), Frederick (1885), Margaret (1890), Ada (1892), and George (1897). Sometime after the birth of Ada the family moved to Rat Portage (Kenora) Ontario where Walter’s father found employment as a livery man/blacksmith. For the  1911 census the family was living on 4th Avenue in Kenora although Walter was not present at the time.

Walter enlisted on 8 February 1917 in Kenora, occupation given as railroad trainman.  Listed as a Private on the nominal rolls of the No 1 Section, Skilled Railway Employees, he embarked from Halifax aboard the Ausonia on 4 March 1917. First redesignated as the 12th (Canadian) Light Railway Operating Company, Royal Engineers that March, the unit was changed to the No 58 Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company (Canadians) Royal Engineers on April 7th. The battalion arrived in France on April 19th. ‘This unit was operating lines in the immediate rear of active operations and hauled troops, ammunition, supplies, material, ambulance trains, refugees for the battles of Messines Ridge, June 1917, and the Lys, April 1918.’ (Library and Archives Canada). A description of some of the activities of the 58th Broad Gauge Operation Company was summarized in the Canadian Rail’s November December 1993 edition that marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the war: ‘The Canadian Railway Troops on World War 1’ . Walter  was promoted to 2nd Corporal on 13 April 1917 at Aldershot.

Sometime before leaving for France, Walter met his future wife Ellen (Nell) Florence Sharman. In early August of 1918 Walter was granted 2 weeks leave for England. While on leave he married Ellen on the 12 of August at the Registrar’s Office in London. Born in 1893 in Coggeshall, Essex, Nell was the daughter of Harry Sharman and Caroline Johnson.

Suffering a gunshot wound to the head during the latter part of the war, Walter was hospitalized in the University College Hospital in Rouen, France from 23 October 1918 until 15 November 1918. Because of this injury, he is listed on Canadian Pacific Railway Honour Roll.

On 4 November 1918 at his own request, Walter reverted to the rank of Sapper. He embarked for Canada on 8 March 1919 aboard the  Minnedosa, arriving in St John New Brunswick on the 17th and discharged from service on demobilization on the 21st.

After the war Walter and Nell settled in Kenora and had one child, Jean. They also cared for a great nephew, grandson of sister Catherine, for a number of years in their home as well as foster children. Walter worked for the CPR, retiring as a conductor in 1947. He and his family later moved to nearby Sioux Narrows where he was living at the time of his death on 27 August 1953. Walter’s wife Nell made a couple of trips back to England to visit her family, one in 1924 and another in 1954. Nell died on 25 April 1974.

Walter and Nell’s  daughter Jean married William Franchuk in 1945 and had a tourist camp for a number of years in Sioux Narrows. Jean and William had two sons, grandsons for Walter and Nell. Predeceased by her husband William in 1989, Jean died in March of 2013. Walter’s father Thomas died in Kenora in 1940 followed by his mother in 1942. His brother Fred died in 1911. Walter’s sister Cathrine married John Bailey. After the deaths of three of their young children, she died of tuberculosis in 1916, leaving behind  four children.  Walter’s sister Margaret married Captain William Oake of the Salvation Army and they had a family of two boys and two girls. She died in 1938 in Winnipeg. His sister Ada married Fred Houghton and they had at least 8 children. Ada died in 1951. Walter’s brother George, more commonly known as Dodie, died in 1965. He never married. With the lone exception of Margaret, Walter and Nell  and his parents and siblings are all interred in Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. His daughter, son-in-law, and grandson Stephen are interred in Pine Ridge Cemetery in Sioux Narrows.

by Judy Stockham