The People

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These are the stories of Kenora participants in the First World War.

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  • Butt, Ernest William Image
  • Butt, Ernest William

  • Private Ernest William Butt was called up in February 1918 and served for a year and a half in Canada and the UK. He returned home in August 1919 and died in a hunting accident five months later.

    Ernest was the son of William Butt and Eleanor Kate Pearce of Kenora, Ontario. His parents were both born in England and by the mid-1890s they were married and living in Kenora, known as Rat Portage at the time. They had six sons: Archibald Morris (1895), Ernest (20 April 1896), Edwin (1897), Lawrence Frank (1900), William Jr. (1902) and Morris/Maurice (1908). When the 1911 census was taken the family was living in the Rideout area and William was working as a car inspector for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Archibald had died at age three but the other five boys were all living at home.

    The war entered its fourth year in August 1917 and conscription started in Canada that fall. Single men aged 20 to 34 were required to register by 10 November. Ernest was 21 years old and working as a fireman for the CPR by then. He had his army medical in Port Arthur on 30 March 1918 and he was found fit for service. Five days later he was enrolled in “H” Company of the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment. His brother Edwin was called up at the same time and attached to the same unit.

    Depot battalions sent drafts of recruits overseas as needed. Ernest and Edwin were assigned to the unit’s 4th Draft on 1 April and a few days later they left for the east coast, embarking from Halifax on 8 April on the SS Tunisian. The draft arrived in England on 19 April and that same day Ernest was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion, which was based at Seaford in East Sussex. At the end of May he became ill with influenza and he spent almost two weeks at No. 14 Canadian General Hospital. After recovering he served with the 6th and 18th Reserve Battalions for the next year. In June 1919 he was attached to the Canadian Machine Gun Depot for his last two months in the UK. He embarked from Liverpool on the SS Belgic on 13 August and landed at Halifax ten days later. He was discharged on demobilization on 26 August in Port Arthur. His brother Edwin had returned from overseas in March.

    Ernest was killed in a hunting accident on 17 January 1920, just five months after returning home. He was with his brother Frank and a friend, Clarence Faulkner, when a gun they were carrying in a sleigh accidentally discharged. Ernest was shot in the abdomen and he died a short time later. His funeral was held from his parents’ home on 19 January and he was laid to rest in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. His parents and all of his brothers except Edwin are also buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery: William (1864-1960), Eleanor (1869-1929), Archibald (1895-1898), Frank (1900-1931), William Jr. (1902-1990) and Maurice (1908-1999).

    Ernest is commemorated on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.

    By Becky Johnson

    Butt-Edwin-90Butt-Ernest-90

  • Regimental Number:
  • 2383645
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Battalion:
  • Canadian Machine Gun Depot
  • Place of Birth:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Next of Kin:
  • William Butt (father), Post Office, Kenora, Ontario
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Post Office, Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • April 20, 1896
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Locomotive Fireman
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Port Arthur, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • February 4, 1918
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 21
  • Religion:
  • Church of England
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Conscripted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Great Britain
  • Date of Death:
  • January 17, 1920
  • Age at Death:
  • 23
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • Chapel Grounds, 1E-8-3
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Honouring all who served, remembering those who died.
  • Private Ernest William Butt was called up in February 1918 and served for a year and a half in Canada and the UK. He returned home in August 1919 and died in a hunting accident five months later.

    Ernest was the son of William Butt and Eleanor Kate Pearce of Kenora, Ontario. His parents were both born in England and by the mid-1890s they were married and living in Kenora, known as Rat Portage at the time. They had six sons: Archibald Morris (1895), Ernest (20 April 1896), Edwin (1897), Lawrence Frank (1900), William Jr. (1902) and Morris/Maurice (1908). When the 1911 census was taken the family was living in the Rideout area and William was working as a car inspector for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Archibald had died at age three but the other five boys were all living at home.

    The war entered its fourth year in August 1917 and conscription started in Canada that fall. Single men aged 20 to 34 were required to register by 10 November. Ernest was 21 years old and working as a fireman for the CPR by then. He had his army medical in Port Arthur on 30 March 1918 and he was found fit for service. Five days later he was enrolled in “H” Company of the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment. His brother Edwin was called up at the same time and attached to the same unit.

    Depot battalions sent drafts of recruits overseas as needed. Ernest and Edwin were assigned to the unit’s 4th Draft on 1 April and a few days later they left for the east coast, embarking from Halifax on 8 April on the SS Tunisian. The draft arrived in England on 19 April and that same day Ernest was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion, which was based at Seaford in East Sussex. At the end of May he became ill with influenza and he spent almost two weeks at No. 14 Canadian General Hospital. After recovering he served with the 6th and 18th Reserve Battalions for the next year. In June 1919 he was attached to the Canadian Machine Gun Depot for his last two months in the UK. He embarked from Liverpool on the SS Belgic on 13 August and landed at Halifax ten days later. He was discharged on demobilization on 26 August in Port Arthur. His brother Edwin had returned from overseas in March.

    Ernest was killed in a hunting accident on 17 January 1920, just five months after returning home. He was with his brother Frank and a friend, Clarence Faulkner, when a gun they were carrying in a sleigh accidentally discharged. Ernest was shot in the abdomen and he died a short time later. His funeral was held from his parents’ home on 19 January and he was laid to rest in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. His parents and all of his brothers except Edwin are also buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery: William (1864-1960), Eleanor (1869-1929), Archibald (1895-1898), Frank (1900-1931), William Jr. (1902-1990) and Maurice (1908-1999).

    Ernest is commemorated on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.

    By Becky Johnson

    Butt-Edwin-90Butt-Ernest-90

  • « Return to all stories
  • Butt, Ernest William Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 2383645
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Battalion:
  • Canadian Machine Gun Depot
  • Place of Birth:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Next of Kin:
  • William Butt (father), Post Office, Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • April 20, 1896
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Post Office, Kenora, Ontario
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Locomotive Fireman
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Port Arthur, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • February 4, 1918
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 21
  • Religion:
  • Church of England
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Conscripted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Great Britain
  • Date of Death:
  • January 17, 1920
  • Age at Death:
  • 23
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • Chapel Grounds, 1E-8-3
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Butt, Ernest William

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  • Honouring all who served, remembering those who died.
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