Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 15, 1877
Place of BirthCharlotteville, Norfolk, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinSevina McCall, wife, 467 6th Avenue East, Vancouver, British Columbia
Trade / CallingRailroadman
ReligionFree Thinker
Service Details
Regimental Number1039394
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion3rd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Railway Troops
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment467 6th Avenue East, Vancouver, British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentAugust 14, 1916
Age at Enlistment38
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 6, 1928
Age at Death50
Buried AtPleasant Street Cemetery, Kamloops, British Columbia

McCall, Wallace Henry

Although he gave his place of birth as Simcoe, Ontario on his attestation papers,  Wallace Henry  (Henry Wallace  on birth registration) McCall was born on  15  October 1877 in nearby Charlotteville, Norfolk. His parents Lewis and Prudence (née Cassills) McCall had married 29 December 1869 in Charlotteville, Lewis’ occupation was given as farmer. Children born to the family were Harriet (1870), Amelia (1872, d bef 1881), Alfred (1874), Wallace (1877), Bertha (1881), Charlotte (Lottie) (1884), and Walter (1890-1892).

In 1883 the family moved to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario  (where Lottie and Walter were born) as Lewis, working as a millwright, found work in the local sawmills, over the years working at Ross, Hall, and Brown sawmills and the Rat Portage Lumber Company. He worked as a conductor for the Canadian Pacific Railway for a time before moving to nearby Keewatin to work as a millwright at the Lake of the Woods Milling Company in 1904. Prudence died in Rat Portage in 1891, followed by baby Walter in 1892.

By 1913 Wallace had moved to Courtenay, British Columbia where he was working as a clerk. On 7 August 1913, in Vancouver, he married Charlotte Sevina Newsham. Born Charlotte Lavina,  Sevina, birth date of 15 August 1892, was the daughter of Edward and  Ellen (Mulholland) Newsham of  Birtle, Manitoba. Their first child Lewis was born the next year, followed by Norman in 1915.

Wallace enlisted with the 239th Battalion on 14 August 1916 in Vancouver, British Columbia. His occupation was listed as railroadman, wife Sevina in Vancouver as next of kin, and religion as Free Thinker. With the rank of Lance Corporal, he embarked from Halifax on the Olympic on 16 December 1916. In early February of 1917 the battalion was redesignated as the 3rd Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops, arriving in France on 15 March. Canadian railway units played a major role in the construction and maintenance of railways of all gauges, including light railways, for the five British Army areas in France and Belgium. More information about the Canadian Railway Troops can be found here. Shortly after arrival in France, Wallace was appointed Acting Sergeant, rank of Sergeant confirmed on 1 July. In September he was granted a week leave. That December and through to early April of 1918 Wallace was transferred through a series of hospitals and convalescent depots for a stricture of the urethra, rejoining the unit on 7 April. On the morning of 15 August while returning from a Divisional Ration Dump with rations on a wagon, he started to shift a bundle of hay while the team was moving, slipped from the rack of the wagon, and fell to the ground. Run over by the wagon, he sustained injuries to his head and arms. He was evacuated to England, first admitted to the Fort Pitt Hospital in Chatham on the 23rd, on to the Howard Dewalden Hospital in Maidstone, back to Fort Pitt, and then to the Military Hospital in Gravestone on 7 September with discharge on the 17th. Remaining in England, he embarked from Liverpool for Canada aboard the Carmania on 30 January 1919. Wallace was discharged from service on 7 March in Vancouver.

After the war the family settled in Kamloops, British Columbia and two more children were added to the family, George (1923) and a daughter Shirley. Wallace died on 6 April 1928 in Kamloops and is interred in the Pleasant Street Cemetery in Kamloops, his grave unmarked. It is unlikely that any of the family remained in the area. His wife Sevina died on 21 February 1931 in Vancouver, son Norman, single,  died in 1967 in Quesnel, British Columbia, son Lewis, widower,  in 1991 in Sechelt, British Columbia, and son George in 2009 in Victoria although his usual residence was Courtenay. Following in his father’s footsteps, volunteering for the Canadian Forces as age 17, George served in the European Theatre in WW2 and as an Instructor during the Korean Conflict.

Wallace’s brother Alfred also served during the war, his skill as a saw filer put to use with the Canadian Forestry Corps in Great Britain. Predeceased by their father in 1916 and his wife Ruth in 1947, Alfred died in 1951 in Vancouver and is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora along their parents and Ruth.

By Judy Stockham

 


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