Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 1, 1894
Place of BirthGreat Yarmouth, Norfolk
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinFlorence Cossey, wife, Talbotville, Ontario
Trade / CallingDraughtsman
Service Details
Regimental NumberVR-5485
Service Recordsee images below
BattalionHMS Niobe and Seagull
BranchRoyal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentOctober 23, 1917
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 13, 1967
Age at Death73

Cossey, Hylton Herbert

Hylton Herbert Cossey was born on 01 March 1894 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. His parents, Herbert Thomas Cossey and Rose Annie Lake were married in Yarmouth in 1893. They had four children – Hylton, Ruby, Claude and Donald when they immigrated to Canada in June of 1903.  Herbert was a boat builder and he came to Canada to honour a contract to build  the 120 foot stern wheeler ‘Alberta ‘ for the Hudson Bay Company. Later it was brought down the Saskatchewan River through Lake Winnipeg and the Red River where it wound up its career making excursions to River Park.

The 1911 Canadian census showed the family living in Kenora, Ontario with the addition of children Lillian, Stanley and Douglas. Son, Gordon, arrived in 1918. While in  Kenora/Keewatin Herbert’s boat building business (Keewatin Boat Works or Cossey Boat Works) crafted many boats for cruising Lake of the woods including, the Erin, Calypso, Hostalingia, Raven, Ramona, Nahmeaka, Condon and the Ariel.

Hylton worked for the Cossey boat company in Keewatin and also at a bank. He married Florence Mabel Auckland on 15 October 1917 in Talbotville, Ontario. They had met in Keewatin where ‘Flossie’ had come to teach in 1915.

A few days after the marriage, on 23 October, Hylton enlisted in the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve in Halifax with the service # VR-5485. He listed his occupation as ‘draughtsman’ and his next of kin as his wife Florence in Talbotville. Starting with the rank of Able Seaman, during the course of the war he advanced to the rank of Stoker Petty Officer. He served on the base depot ship H.M.S. Niobe and was in Halifax harbour during the explosion of the French munitions ship the S.S. Mont Blanc. A piece of shrapnel from the explosion was kept as a souvenir of the event. He then served on the base depot ship HMCS Seagull in North Sydney, Nova Scotia from 1 June 1918 to 10 January 1919 when he returned to the Niobe until demobilized in mid March. Hylton’s service was commemorated on the Town of Keewatin plaque and he was one of the returning veterans honoured at a ceremony in Keewatin in August 1919.

After his discharge from the Navy, Hylton returned to Keewatin and continued is work in boat building as a designer. Daughter, Viva Florence, was born in August of 1922. A fire destroyed the family home on May Avenue, Keewatin and they moved to Windsor, Ontario where a second daughter, Catherine, was born in March 1924.

Around 1927 Hylton began working at Fisher Boat Works in Detroit. Eventually the family moved to the USA taking up residence in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. The 1940 US census listed Hylton’s occupation as ‘sales department – marine’. After he and Flossie divorced in March 1950, Hylton married Helen O’Donnell on 29 May 1950 in Steuben, Indiana. According to the marriage record Helen, the daughter of James O’Donnell and Frances Cobeck, was born in 1906 in East St. Louis, Illinois. At the time of the marriage both Hylton and Helen were living in Michigan.

Hylton Herbert Cossey died on 13 May 1967, last residence Saint Clair Shores, Macomb, Michigan. Helen later died in 1986 in Pasco, Florida.

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