Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 11, 1897
Place of BirthRathwell, Manitoba
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMother, Isabella Mulholland, Rathwell, Manitoba
Trade / CallingFarmer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number187799
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNo 1 Tramways Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Railway Troops
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentOctober 11, 1915
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 11, 1972
Age at Death75
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Mulholland, William Robert

William Robert Mulholland was born on 11 May 1897 in the RM of South Norfolk, Manitoba where the family farmed. His father George Wallace Mulholland was from the Branchton, Ontario area while his mother Isabella Moore Wilson was from Nottingham, England. The couple had married in Winnipeg in 1884 where they later gave birth to their first born, son George Wallace. Moving to the south central plains of Manitoba after George’s birth, the family first homesteaded in the Treherne district until moving to Indian Ford, just north of Rathwell. Nine children were born to the pioneer couple: George, Harold (1886), Harriet Elizabeth (Hattie) (1888), Minnie Ada (1892), Cecil Buchanan (1895), William, Florence Rose (1899), Colin Roy (1901), and Hugh Alexander (1904). In addition to farming William’s father George kept a half way house where people would stop overnight and often he would rent out his teams to people going to town across the river. He was also a horse trader.

With occupation given as farmer and his mother Isabella in Rathwell as next of kin, William signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 11 October 1915. He gave his birth place as Rathwell although it was likely that he was born on the farm. To appear older, he gave his birth year as 1896. Organized in November of 1915, and mobilized and recruited in Winnipeg, the 90th Battalion embarked from Halifax on 31 May 1916 aboard the  Olympic. On board was Private William Robert Mulholland.

Once in England William was transferred to the 11th Reserve Battalion at Shorncliffe. In mid July he spent ten days in the hospital at Shorncliffe recovering from a case of the mumps. In August he was struck off strength to the 27th Battalion, joining the unit in the field in France on the 28th. Also from Winnipeg, the 27th Battalion had landed in France in mid May of 1915. The battalion saw action in many of the major battles including Mount Sorrel, the Somme, Flers-Courcelette, Thiepval, Andre Heights, Arras, Vimy, Arleux, Scarpe, Hill 70, Ypres, Passchendaele, Amiens, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, and Cambrai.

In January of 1917, William spent ten days in treatment for PUO (fever of unknown origin). He was wounded on the 8th of June that same year, rejoining the unit on the 16th. In August he was granted a ten day leave and shortly after his return he suffered a shrapnel wound to the abdomen on the 19th. He was admitted to the No 23 Casualty Clearing Station before being transferred to the No 11 General Hospital at Camiers. After convalescing in Etaples and Trouville, William joined the Canadian Light Railway Operating Company in late November which was redesignated as the 1st Tramways Company, Canadian Engineers in February of 1918. ‘These companies built, maintained and operated light railways in forward areas. The gauge used was 60-centimetre and the cars were interchangeable with the Army Light Railway System. The trains were powered with petrol because they operated beyond the point where it was considered safe to use steam power.  Tramways carried ammunition to artillery batteries, engineering supplies, troops, rations, gas and other comparatively light loads. They also ran hospital trains to carry the wounded to field ambulance stations.’ (Library and Archives Canada).  In March of 1918 William was awarded a Good Conduct Badge and granted a fourteen day leave to the UK in late September. Not long after his return William was injured (foot) in an accident while on duty on the 21st of October. First admitted to the No 5 Field Ambulance, by the end of the month he was in a hospital in Seaford in England.

William arrived back in Canada on 5 April 1919 aboard the  Northland, disembarking at Halifax. He was discharged from service on the 10th of April in Winnipeg on demobilization.

Returning to the family farm, William married Maude Elsie Latimer on 6 October 1920, marriage registered in the RM of South Norfolk. Born in Indian Ford in 1900, Maude Elsie was the daughter of William and Caroline (née Gardner) Latimer. The newlyweds farmed in the area where they gave birth to their first two children, Minnie (1921) and Everett (1922). The family then moved to Redditt in northwestern Ontario where William found work with the Redditt Division of the Canadian National Railway, retiring in 1962 as an engine watchman. Children born in Redditt were Robert (1929), Garnet (1931), Laura (1933), Doris (1935), Gladys, Doreen (1940), and Wilson (Bill). William was a past president and honourary member of the Redditt Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and a member of St Alban’s Pro Cathedral in nearby Kenora.

Predeceased by his mother Isabella in 1938, his father George in 1956, his son Everett who was killed in action in 1945 during WW2, his daughter Gladys in 1950, son Robert in 1957, and son Garnet in 1961, William died in the Sioux Lookout General Hospital on 11 August 1972. At the time he was survived by his wife Maude Elsie, children Minnie (Thomas) Saunders, Laura (Roy) Craven, Doris (Floyd) McKay, all of Kenora, Doreen Longmuir of Sioux Lookout and Wilson of Petawawa, Ontario. He was also survived by siblings Cecil of Medicine Hat, Hugh of Revelstoke, Minnie Middleton of Transcona, and Rose McDonald of Westminster as well as sixteen grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Maude Elsie died in 1976 and is interred with William in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.

William’s brother Cecil served during WW1, going overseas in early April of 1916 with the 61st Battalion. He was transferred to the 27th Battalion and was reported as wounded. Cecil returned to Canada in late May of 1919. Along with Everett, William’s son Robert served during WW2 and also the Korean War. Son Garnet served during the Korean War as well.

by Judy Stockham

Mulholland-William-Robert-2 Mulholland-William-Robert-3

Everett’s grave marker photograph by Des Philippet,



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