Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 18, 1890
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Wilhelmina Creelman (aunt), Spokane, Washington, U.S.A.
Trade / CallingLongshoreman/Stevedore
Service Details
Regimental NumberWR/600131
BattalionInland Water Transport Division
ForceBritish Army
BranchRoyal Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentSeattle, Washington, U.S.A.
Address at EnlistmentSeattle, Washington, U.S.A.
Date of EnlistmentDecember 15, 1917
Age at Enlistment27
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain, Greece and Russia
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 7, 1946
Age at Death55

Thompson, William Stanley

Sapper William Stanley Thompson was living in the state of Washington when the war started. He enlisted at a British recruiting centre in 1917 and served with the Royal Engineers in the UK, Salonica and Russia, returning home in October 1919.

William was the youngest son of Benjamin Franklin ‘Frank’ Thompson and Augusta Bohn. He was born on 18 September 1890 in the town of Rat Portage in northwestern Ontario. He had an older sister Sarah (Sadie) and two older brothers, Arthur Bohn (1887) and John (1888). All three boys were born in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), where their father worked in the local lumber industry. When the 1891 census was taken Augusta was listed as widowed and living in Fort Frances with the four children. She was working as a cook and lodging with a hotel keeper, Edward Scott and his wife. The census recorded Augusta as 30 years old, born in Ontario and of German ancestry. The children’s father was born in the U.S.

By 1901 Augusta had returned to Rat Portage where she was living with her older sister, Wilhelmina Bohn. Only two children were still at home, Arthur and William. Sadly, Augusta died on 3 March 1904, at age 42, and she’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. Wilhelmina had moved to the state of Washington around 1902. She married Samuel Henry Creelman and they settled in the Spokane area. Arthur and John moved west to British Columbia then Arthur went on to Washington around 1911. John may have spent some time in the U.S. too. William was 13 years old when his mother died and he stayed in Kenora, possibly with relatives or friends of the family. When the 1911 census was taken he was living with a widower and working in the grocery business. In July 1912 he moved to Washington where his aunt Wilhelmina and brother Arthur were living.

The U.S. entered the war in April 1917 and William signed up at a British recruiting centre in Seattle on 15 December 1917. Six days later he was in New York where he attested and had his medical. His address at the time was Seattle, his occupation was longshoreman/stevedore and his most recent employer was the Pacific-Alaska Company out of Seattle. By January 1918 he was in England and on 14 February he was assigned to the Inland Water Transport Division of the Royal Engineers. He served with them as a stevedore for the next year and a half.

William served in England for most of 1918 before being sent to Greece. He sailed from Southampton on 20 December 1918 and arrived in Salonica via Taranto, Italy. He was stationed in Salonica for six months, from January to July 1919. From there he was sent to Russia where he served for about a month. He embarked from Russia in mid-August and arrived in England at the end of the month. Three weeks later he was on his way back to the U.S. He arrived in New York on the SS Royal George on 2 October, on his way to Seattle. He was discharged from service on 29 October, his character described as very good. His brother John Thompson was conscripted in Canada and he served for a short period in the summer of 1918. Arthur Bohn Thompson served in Canada for seven months and was discharged in May 1918 for medical reasons.

William said he planned to live in Seattle after the war but by 1923 he had moved to San Pedro, California, a community within the City of Los Angeles. When the 1930 census was taken William was single, living in San Pedro and working as a longshoreman on the docks. He was still there in 1941 when he completed his World War II draft registration card. He passed away in Los Angeles on 7 February 1946, at age 55. His brother Arthur died in Port Alberni, British Columbia in 1955, at age 68. Their aunt Wilhelmina Creelman had passed away in Spokane, Washington in 1940.

By Becky Johnson

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