|Date of Birth||June 8, 1894|
|Place of Birth||Bletchy, Newport Nagnell, Buckinghamshire|
|Next of Kin||Richard Parmeter, brother, (no parents), Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||9th Battalion, CRT|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Railway Troops|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Minnedosa, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||January 2, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||20|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||January 2, 1951|
|Age at Death||56|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Wallace Augustus Parmeter was born on 8 June 1894 in Bletchy in the district of Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, England. His father Frank William Parmeter was from Bletchy where his parents, classified as hotel keepers on census documents, operated the Station Hotel and Refreshment Room. His mother Juliet Emma Chapman was from Uppingham, Rutland where her father was a plumber, builder, and painter. Frank and Juliet married in Uppingham during the 3rd quarter of 1888. The couple gave birth to a son John Hume Parmeter during the third quarter of 1889 in Kington, Herefordshire but the baby died during the quarter. The 1891 England census found Frank and Juliet in Kington where Frank was listed as a hotel keeper at the Burton House Hotel. Along with Frank and Juliet, six employees were on the census for the hotel including a housekeeper, barmaid, cook, waitress, and housemaid and boots servants. A son Frank Richard Parmeter was born to the family that May. By 1894 the family was in the district of Newport Pagnell for Wallace’s birth in Bletchy. During the third quarter of 1894, as registered in Newport Pagnell, father Frank died. After his death it appears that the family unit disintegrated. Although the age and place of birth are incorrect, a Juliet Parmeter was found on the 1901 census for St Marylebone, London as lodging at the Annie Wheeler household and working as a barmaid; the children were not with her.
Wallace’s brother Richard, age 14, was next found on the passenger list of the Ivernia that had embarked from Liverpool and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in mid April of 1906. Coming from the St Edward Orphanage his final destination was given as Minnedosa, Manitoba, with Arthur Thomas given as his friend/contact. Wallace, turning 15 four days before sailing, arrived in Canada aboard the Victorian in June of 1909, his destination also given as Minnedosa. The boys were to work on the farms in the area. For the 1911 Canada census Wallace was working for the Matthew Greenlaw family on their farm. In the 1916 census he was listed with the Arthur Reilly family, noted as being overseas under military service.
With occupation listed as farmer, Wallace signed his attestation papers on 2 January 1915 in Minnedosa, giving his brother Richard in Kenora, Ontario as next of kin and noting ‘no parents’. He gave 2 years of military service with the 12 Manitoba Dragoons.
In March of 1916 Private Wallace Parmeter embarked from Halifax aboard Lapland, arriving in England on the 25th. The following month he was diagnosed with diphtheria and would spend a month in the military hospital at Shorncliffe. In early July Wallace was transferred to the Canadian Pioneer Training Depot, taken on strength in the field with the 1st Pioneer Battalion in October. In January of 1917 Wallace was awarded a Good Conduct Badge and spent a few days in field ambulances with laryngitis. In May of 1917 the 1st Canadian Pioneers became known as the 9th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops. In October of 1917 Wallace was granted a 10 day leave to England. On 18 January 1919 aboard the Aquitania Driver Wallace Parmeter embarked for Canada.
Along with Richard, Wallace made his home in Kenora after the war. On 11 August 1919 Wallace married Ellen (Helen) Isabel Blair, daughter of James and Elizabeth (née Johnson) Blair. Born in Assiniboia, Manitoba Helen and her parents had moved to Kenora where James found work as a pipefitter. Wallace and Helen had three children, sons Benjamin Harold and Glen William, and daughter Helen Elizabeth, born in 1924 but died just days later. The marriage ended in divorce and Wallace later married Linda Ostrom. Born in Sweden Linda had immigrated to Canada in 1923 and to Kenora in 1926. Wallace worked as a constable for the Kenora Police Force for a number of years as well as a special and relief constable for the Ontario Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company. In his later years he worked for the Duport Mining Company, Lake of the Woods. Along with his brother Richard he was a member of the Kenora Legion.
Wallace passed away suddenly on 2 January 1951 while at work in Shoal Lake. He is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Linda, son Glen, and his brother and his family. Linda later married Hugo Carlson and she died in 1956 in Kenora.
Wallace’s brother Richard also served during the war, signing his attestation papers in Kenora in January of 1915 and going overseas with the 52nd Battalion. Once in France he was transferred to the 2nd Canadian tunnelling Company and promoted to 2nd Corporal. Richard died in Kenora in 1964.
Following in their father’s footsteps Benjamin and Glen served during WW2, both with the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, RCIC. Lance Corporal Benjamin Parmeter died of his wounds, high explosive shell wounds left calf and abdomen and compound fracture right femur and mandible, on 20 February 1944. He is interred in the Moro River Canadian Cemetery in Ortona, Provincia di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy. He is commemorated on page 412 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Kenora Cenotaph, and on the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion Cenotaph.
by Judy Stockham
photograph of Dick and Wallace: Lake of the Woods Museum Archives
photographs of Benjamin and Glen: provided by Glen Hendricks