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

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  • Shayer, Alexander Joseph Image
  • Shayer, Alexander Joseph

  • Private Alexander Joseph Shayer enlisted in North Bay, Ontario in February 1916 at age 21 and served overseas for two years, most of that time with the 5th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops. He was invalided back to Canada due to illness in October 1918.

    Alex was the only child of John Chaillé and Cecile Deschênes of Bonfield, Nipissing District, Ontario. He was born on 29 January 1895 and baptized the following day as Joseph John Alexander Chaillé. His parents were both born in Ontario and his father was a lumberman. Alex began working for the Canadian Pacific Railway around 1913 and by the time he enlisted, at age 21, he had anglicized his surname to Shayer. He signed up in the nearby town of North Bay on 11 February 1916, joining the 159th Battalion. His address was Bonfield and he named his mother Mrs. John Shayer as next of kin. She passed away six months later, in August 1916, while he was still in Canada.

    The 159th (1st Algonquins) Battalion was recruited in the districts of Nipissing and Sudbury and based in Haileybury, 100 km north of Bonfield. After training over the summer and fall the recruits embarked from Halifax on 1 November on the Empress of Britain and arrived in England ten days later. In January 1917 they were absorbed into the 8th Reserve Battalion to be used as reinforcements for other units. Just a week later Alex was attached to the 5th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops and on 24 February he was sent to France. He served with the 5th Battalion for 15 months. During that time the Canadians were at the battles of Vimy Ridge, Hill 70 and Passchendaele and the railways were essential for evacuating the wounded and moving troops, equipment and supplies. On 13 May 1918 Alex was transferred to the 2nd Canadian Infantry Works Battalion and a month later he became ill with diphtheria, He was invalided England and admitted to a military hospital in Kirkdale. From there he was sent back to Canada, arriving in Halifax on 27 October on the Araguaya. He had leave from 30 October to 13 November then he spent a month in the Guelph and Whitby Military Convalescent Hospitals. He was officially discharged on 18 December “having been found medically unfit for service.” Three weeks earlier he had been awarded his service chevrons and his character on discharge was described as “very good.”

    After the war Alex returned to his job with the CPR and when the 1921 census was taken he was living in Chapleau, Ontario. He was the town’s enumerator for the census and he was one of several CPR employees lodging with a local farmer. In 1925 when he made a trip to Detroit to visit a friend he listed his home address as Bonfield. Sometime after that his job with the CPR took him west to the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. In January 1934 his father passed away, at age 72. His death was registered as John Cheyer and he’s buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Cochrane, Ontario. Alex worked for the CPR in Kenora until he retired due to illness. He died in the Fort William Sanatorium on 4 January 1941, at age 46, and his body was returned to Kenora for burial. Alex was an honourary member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and his funeral, held on 8 January, was organized by the B. of R.T. and the Kenora Legion. He is buried in the veterans section of Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

    By Becky Johnson

    Shayer-Alexander-90Shayer-Alexander-Joseph-1

     

  • Regimental Number:
  • 648806
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Railway Troops
  • Battalion:
  • 5th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops
  • Place of Birth:
  • Bonfield, Ontario
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mrs. John Shayer (mother), Bonfield, Ontario
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Bonfield, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • January 29, 1895
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Trainman
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • North Bay, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • February 11, 1916
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 21
  • Religion:
  • Roman Catholic
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • January 4, 1941
  • Age at Death:
  • 46
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 37E-34-2, Liberty View
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Private Alexander Joseph Shayer enlisted in North Bay, Ontario in February 1916 at age 21 and served overseas for two years, most of that time with the 5th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops. He was invalided back to Canada due to illness in October 1918.

    Alex was the only child of John Chaillé and Cecile Deschênes of Bonfield, Nipissing District, Ontario. He was born on 29 January 1895 and baptized the following day as Joseph John Alexander Chaillé. His parents were both born in Ontario and his father was a lumberman. Alex began working for the Canadian Pacific Railway around 1913 and by the time he enlisted, at age 21, he had anglicized his surname to Shayer. He signed up in the nearby town of North Bay on 11 February 1916, joining the 159th Battalion. His address was Bonfield and he named his mother Mrs. John Shayer as next of kin. She passed away six months later, in August 1916, while he was still in Canada.

    The 159th (1st Algonquins) Battalion was recruited in the districts of Nipissing and Sudbury and based in Haileybury, 100 km north of Bonfield. After training over the summer and fall the recruits embarked from Halifax on 1 November on the Empress of Britain and arrived in England ten days later. In January 1917 they were absorbed into the 8th Reserve Battalion to be used as reinforcements for other units. Just a week later Alex was attached to the 5th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops and on 24 February he was sent to France. He served with the 5th Battalion for 15 months. During that time the Canadians were at the battles of Vimy Ridge, Hill 70 and Passchendaele and the railways were essential for evacuating the wounded and moving troops, equipment and supplies. On 13 May 1918 Alex was transferred to the 2nd Canadian Infantry Works Battalion and a month later he became ill with diphtheria, He was invalided England and admitted to a military hospital in Kirkdale. From there he was sent back to Canada, arriving in Halifax on 27 October on the Araguaya. He had leave from 30 October to 13 November then he spent a month in the Guelph and Whitby Military Convalescent Hospitals. He was officially discharged on 18 December “having been found medically unfit for service.” Three weeks earlier he had been awarded his service chevrons and his character on discharge was described as “very good.”

    After the war Alex returned to his job with the CPR and when the 1921 census was taken he was living in Chapleau, Ontario. He was the town’s enumerator for the census and he was one of several CPR employees lodging with a local farmer. In 1925 when he made a trip to Detroit to visit a friend he listed his home address as Bonfield. Sometime after that his job with the CPR took him west to the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. In January 1934 his father passed away, at age 72. His death was registered as John Cheyer and he’s buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Cochrane, Ontario. Alex worked for the CPR in Kenora until he retired due to illness. He died in the Fort William Sanatorium on 4 January 1941, at age 46, and his body was returned to Kenora for burial. Alex was an honourary member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and his funeral, held on 8 January, was organized by the B. of R.T. and the Kenora Legion. He is buried in the veterans section of Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

    By Becky Johnson

    Shayer-Alexander-90Shayer-Alexander-Joseph-1

     

  • « Return to all stories
  • Shayer, Alexander Joseph Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 648806
  • Force:
  • Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • Battalion:
  • 5th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops
  • Place of Birth:
  • Bonfield, Ontario
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mrs. John Shayer (mother), Bonfield, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • January 29, 1895
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Railway Troops
  • Country:
  • Canada
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Bonfield, Ontario
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Trainman
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • North Bay, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • February 11, 1916
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 21
  • Religion:
  • Roman Catholic
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • January 4, 1941
  • Age at Death:
  • 46
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 37E-34-2, Liberty View
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Shayer, Alexander Joseph

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