Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 10, 1890
Place of BirthDouglas, Manitoba
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Mary Ellen Conn (mother), General Delivery, Vernon, British Columbia
Trade / CallingAutomobile mechanic
Service Details
Regimental Number4080043 and 171548
Service Record Link to Service Record
ForceAir Force
BranchRoyal Air Force (Canada)
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at EnlistmentCastle Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentDecember 4, 1917
Age at Enlistment27
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19450705
Age at Death55
Buried AtCremated

Conn, William Curle

Private William Curle Conn was called up in December 1917 and served for a short time in the Royal Air Force. He was discharged for medical reasons in July 1918.

William was born on 10 March 1890 in the village of Douglas, Manitoba. His parents, Robert Conn and Mary Ellen Curle, were both born in Ontario. They were married in Egremont, Grey County, Ontario in 1880 and they moved to Manitoba a short time later. Two of their children were born in Stonewall, Robert William (1881) and Elizabeth Evans (1884). Mary’s family had settled in the village of Douglas near Brandon, Manitoba and Robert and Mary moved there too. They had eight more children born in the Douglas area: John Alvin, William Curle, Mary Ellen, Rhoda Irene Ethel, Fergus (Bertie), Reginald, Wallace Homer and Zella Rae.

When the 1891 census was taken Robert and his wife were living in Rat Portage (now called Kenora), in northwestern Ontario with Robert’s occupation listed as house carpenter. They returned to Douglas by 1893 and he operated a lumberyard and sash and door factory. Their oldest daughter Elizabeth became a school teacher, teaching at Douglas School and at another school in a neighbouring village. Sadly, their son Bertie died in November 1901, at age four, and he’s buried in Madford (Douglas) Cemetery. The family was still in Douglas for the 1911 census but about a year later they moved out west to Vernon, British Columbia.

Three of William’s brother enlisted between March 1916 and March 1917, Reginald, Robert and John. Conscription started in Canada in August 1917 and single men age 20 to 34 were required to register by November. William was called up for service on 4 December 1917 in Vancouver and assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, B.C. Regiment. His address was the Castle Hotel in Vancouver, his occupation was automobile mechanic and next of kin was his mother in Vernon. He was granted conditional leave without pay and discharged on 8 April 1918 in order to join the Royal Air Force. His younger brother, Wallace Homer, had enlisted in Vancouver in February (at age 15).

William signed up with the Royal Air Force on 8 April and he was sent to Toronto for training. While he was there he spent two weeks at the Base Hospital, suffering from asthma. On 18 July a medical board recommended that he be discharged from service due his pre-existing disability (asthma). Before going home he was married in Toronto on 27 July. His wife, Rosina Ellen Vincent, was born in 1879 in Deptford, Kent, England (now part of the city of London), the daughter of Edwin Vincent and Rosa Morgan. Her parents had both died by 1902 and her younger brothers, Stanley and Sidney, were sent to Canada in 1903 as Home Children. Rosina immigrated in 1904, accompanying a group of Barnardo’s Home Children on the SS Bavarian, and she settled in Toronto. Her brother Stanley Vincent served in the First World War and died in Toronto in October 1919. His death was considered to be due to service and he’s buried in Prospect Cemetery.

At the time of the 1921 census William and Rosina were living in Halkirk, Alberta. William was working as a mechanic in a garage and they had a daughter, Kathleen Marie, who was a year old. William passed away in Calgary on 5 July 1945, at age 55. Sometime in the 1940s his wife moved to the state of Washington, where their daughter Kathleen lived. Rosina died in Los Angeles, California in 1978.

By Becky Johnson

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