The People

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

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  • Gagnon, William Image
  • Gagnon, William

  • William Alfred Gagnon was the second of six sons born to Joseph Gagnon and Victoria Madore in Norman, Ontario on 28 March 1894. He was raised in Keewatin.

    The 1911 census shows William living in Keewatin with his parents and siblings. He was working as a teamster at the sawmill.

    On 13 July 1914 William married Louise Marie Gauthier in Keewatin, Ontario. He listed “butcher” as his occupation on his marriage record. He and Louise moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

    William enlisted with the 221st Battalion CEF on 28 October 1916 in Winnipeg. He and Louise lived at 580 Sherburn St. at the time and William was working as a labourer. On 18 April 1917 William embarked from Halifax with the 221st battalion aboard the S. S. Ausonia and arrived in England on 29 April. He was transferred to the 11th Reserve battalion until being assigned to the 78th Battalion on 07 June 1917. That fall William received a gunshot wound to his left arm during the Second Battle of Passchendaele.  He spent time in hospital in England and fully recovered by the time of his return to the 78th in April of 1918. William’s service in France continued until June of 1919. He returned to Canada aboard the S.S. Belgic in August of 1919. His brother, Charles Gagnon, died of influenza in hospital in England on 9 March 1919 after three years service in France.

    When William arrived back in Keewatin after the war he met his 22 month old daughter, Margaret for the first time. She had been born a few months after his embarkation for England. William and Louise had three more daughters – Irene (Forsythe), Leona (Parmeter) and Yvonne (Roach); and three sons – William, George and Lawrence.

    William worked for the Department of Highways in Kenora retiring as a road foreman.

    William also served in the Second World War. He was a Staff Sergeant in the RCAF from 1940 to 1944.

    William died at age 66 on 3 April 1959 in Kenora, Ontario and is buried there in the Roman Catholic section of the Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

    Gagnon-William-2 Gagnon-William-3 Gagnon-William-4 Gagnon-William-5 Gagnon-William-6 Gagnon-William-7 Gagnon-William-8 Gagnon-William-9

    Photographs provided by William’s grandson Cliff Forsythe.

  • Regimental Number:
  • 288885
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Battalion:
  • 221st Battalion
  • Place of Birth:
  • Keewatin, Ontario
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Next of Kin:
  • wife - Louise Gagnon, 580 Sherburn St., Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • 580 Sherburn St., Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Date of Birth:
  • March 28, 1894
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Labourer
  • Marital Status:
  • Married
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • October 28, 1916
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 22
  • Religion:
  • Roman Catholic
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • April 3, 1959
  • Age at Death:
  • 65
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • RC B -19 - 4
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • William Alfred Gagnon was the second of six sons born to Joseph Gagnon and Victoria Madore in Norman, Ontario on 28 March 1894. He was raised in Keewatin.

    The 1911 census shows William living in Keewatin with his parents and siblings. He was working as a teamster at the sawmill.

    On 13 July 1914 William married Louise Marie Gauthier in Keewatin, Ontario. He listed “butcher” as his occupation on his marriage record. He and Louise moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

    William enlisted with the 221st Battalion CEF on 28 October 1916 in Winnipeg. He and Louise lived at 580 Sherburn St. at the time and William was working as a labourer. On 18 April 1917 William embarked from Halifax with the 221st battalion aboard the S. S. Ausonia and arrived in England on 29 April. He was transferred to the 11th Reserve battalion until being assigned to the 78th Battalion on 07 June 1917. That fall William received a gunshot wound to his left arm during the Second Battle of Passchendaele.  He spent time in hospital in England and fully recovered by the time of his return to the 78th in April of 1918. William’s service in France continued until June of 1919. He returned to Canada aboard the S.S. Belgic in August of 1919. His brother, Charles Gagnon, died of influenza in hospital in England on 9 March 1919 after three years service in France.

    When William arrived back in Keewatin after the war he met his 22 month old daughter, Margaret for the first time. She had been born a few months after his embarkation for England. William and Louise had three more daughters – Irene (Forsythe), Leona (Parmeter) and Yvonne (Roach); and three sons – William, George and Lawrence.

    William worked for the Department of Highways in Kenora retiring as a road foreman.

    William also served in the Second World War. He was a Staff Sergeant in the RCAF from 1940 to 1944.

    William died at age 66 on 3 April 1959 in Kenora, Ontario and is buried there in the Roman Catholic section of the Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

    Gagnon-William-2 Gagnon-William-3 Gagnon-William-4 Gagnon-William-5 Gagnon-William-6 Gagnon-William-7 Gagnon-William-8 Gagnon-William-9

    Photographs provided by William’s grandson Cliff Forsythe.

  • « Return to all stories
  • Gagnon, William Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 288885
  • Force:
  • Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • Battalion:
  • 221st Battalion
  • Place of Birth:
  • Keewatin, Ontario
  • Next of Kin:
  • wife - Louise Gagnon, 580 Sherburn St., Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Date of Birth:
  • March 28, 1894
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • 580 Sherburn St., Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Labourer
  • Marital Status:
  • Married
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • October 28, 1916
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 22
  • Religion:
  • Roman Catholic
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • April 3, 1959
  • Age at Death:
  • 65
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • RC B -19 - 4
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Gagnon, William

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