The People

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

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  • Gander, Ernest James Image
  • Gander, Ernest James

  • Ernest James Gander was from Upper Dicker, Arlington, Sussex. His parents were Albert and Jane Ann (née Martin) Gander. The children born to the family were Albert Edward, George Henry, Bessie, Ernest, Edith, and Ellen Louise. In the 1891 census the family was residing in Arlington, father’s occupation listed as groom. By 1901, the family was in Hellingly District in Sussex, with Albert Senior’s occupation changed to farmer. Ernest immigrated to Canada in 1908, coming to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) to be employed first as a wiper for the Canadian Pacific Railway, then as a fireman in 1910, and finally as engineer in 1915.

    Ernest James Gander signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 19 February 1916. With the qualifications of steam engineer, Ernest embarked from Halifax on 21 June 1916 aboard the SS Baltic with the 2nd Field Company, Canadian Engineers. Once overseas, he was transferred to the 15th Field Company, 4th Division of the Canadian Engineers at Bramshott, and arrived in France on 12 August 1916 to be transferred yet again to the 11th Field Company.

    In January of 1917, Ernest wrote the Kenora Miner and News, thanking the ladies of Kenora for “the kind and generous parcels” sent to the boys; the cake was a great treat as it arrived in time for Christmas. Ernest reported the boys were well and hearty but had lots of narrow escapes and that although not very cold, the weather was “awful wet and muddy, which puts the trenches in fearful shape for the boys”. Sapper Ernest Gander was awarded a Good Conduct Badge on 18 February 1918. During his time in France, twice Ernest was granted leave: 12 days during October of 1917, and then 14 days from 26 October to 13 November 1918, perhaps spending time with his future wife the day the war was officially ended. Ernest returned to Kenora, Ontario, Canada in June of 1919.

    Ernest returned to England after the war to marry Julie Adrienne Pinet in April 1920. Julie was from Belgium; circumstances of how they met during the war unknown. The couple returned to Kenora where they raised their family: Albert James, Helen, Margaret, and Roland. Ernest retired from the CPR in 1949.

    Ernest James Gander died on 6 July 1960 in Kenora and is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery. His wife Julie died in 1968 and is also interred in the cemetery. Over the course of his life, he talked very little of the war to his family.

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

    by Judy Stockham

    family photos and buttons: courtesy of son Roland Gander.
    newspaper clippings: Kenora Miner and News

    KMN 23 February 1916

    KMN 23 February 1916

    KMN 20 January 1917

    KMN 20 January 1917

    Julie Pinet Gander

    Julie Pinet Gander

    KMN

    KMN

    Lake of the Woods Cemetery

    Lake of the Woods Cemetery

    uniform buttons

    uniform buttons

  • Regimental Number:
  • 503719
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Engineers
  • Battalion:
  • 4th Divisional Engineers
  • Place of Birth:
  • Upper Dicker, Arlington, Sussex
  • Country:
  • England
  • Next of Kin:
  • Albert Gander, father, Upper Dicker, Sussex, England
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • May 18, 1884
  • Trade or Calling:
  • locomotive engineer, CPR
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • February 19, 1916
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 31
  • Religion:
  • Church of England
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • July 6, 1960
  • Age at Death:
  • 76
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 17E-12-4
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Ernest James Gander was from Upper Dicker, Arlington, Sussex. His parents were Albert and Jane Ann (née Martin) Gander. The children born to the family were Albert Edward, George Henry, Bessie, Ernest, Edith, and Ellen Louise. In the 1891 census the family was residing in Arlington, father’s occupation listed as groom. By 1901, the family was in Hellingly District in Sussex, with Albert Senior’s occupation changed to farmer. Ernest immigrated to Canada in 1908, coming to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) to be employed first as a wiper for the Canadian Pacific Railway, then as a fireman in 1910, and finally as engineer in 1915.

    Ernest James Gander signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 19 February 1916. With the qualifications of steam engineer, Ernest embarked from Halifax on 21 June 1916 aboard the SS Baltic with the 2nd Field Company, Canadian Engineers. Once overseas, he was transferred to the 15th Field Company, 4th Division of the Canadian Engineers at Bramshott, and arrived in France on 12 August 1916 to be transferred yet again to the 11th Field Company.

    In January of 1917, Ernest wrote the Kenora Miner and News, thanking the ladies of Kenora for “the kind and generous parcels” sent to the boys; the cake was a great treat as it arrived in time for Christmas. Ernest reported the boys were well and hearty but had lots of narrow escapes and that although not very cold, the weather was “awful wet and muddy, which puts the trenches in fearful shape for the boys”. Sapper Ernest Gander was awarded a Good Conduct Badge on 18 February 1918. During his time in France, twice Ernest was granted leave: 12 days during October of 1917, and then 14 days from 26 October to 13 November 1918, perhaps spending time with his future wife the day the war was officially ended. Ernest returned to Kenora, Ontario, Canada in June of 1919.

    Ernest returned to England after the war to marry Julie Adrienne Pinet in April 1920. Julie was from Belgium; circumstances of how they met during the war unknown. The couple returned to Kenora where they raised their family: Albert James, Helen, Margaret, and Roland. Ernest retired from the CPR in 1949.

    Ernest James Gander died on 6 July 1960 in Kenora and is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery. His wife Julie died in 1968 and is also interred in the cemetery. Over the course of his life, he talked very little of the war to his family.

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

    by Judy Stockham

    family photos and buttons: courtesy of son Roland Gander.
    newspaper clippings: Kenora Miner and News

    KMN 23 February 1916

    KMN 23 February 1916

    KMN 20 January 1917

    KMN 20 January 1917

    Julie Pinet Gander

    Julie Pinet Gander

    KMN

    KMN

    Lake of the Woods Cemetery

    Lake of the Woods Cemetery

    uniform buttons

    uniform buttons

  • « Return to all stories
  • Gander, Ernest James Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 503719
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Battalion:
  • 4th Divisional Engineers
  • Place of Birth:
  • Upper Dicker, Arlington, Sussex
  • Next of Kin:
  • Albert Gander, father, Upper Dicker, Sussex, England
  • Date of Birth:
  • May 18, 1884
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Engineers
  • Country:
  • England
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Trade or Calling:
  • locomotive engineer, CPR
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • February 19, 1916
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 31
  • Religion:
  • Church of England
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • July 6, 1960
  • Age at Death:
  • 76
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 17E-12-4
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Gander, Ernest James

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