The People

soldier_photobar

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

Search by name, or filter the search results using the list of options below. To search by alphabetical list, click here.

  • « Return to all stories
  • Shirvell, Thomas William John Image
  • Shirvell, Thomas William John

  • The second born child, Thomas William John Shirvell was born during the first quarter of 1889 in Christchurch, Hampshire, England. His parents Thomas Edward and Mary Jane (née Scott) Shirvell had married in Christchurch during the last quarter of 1886. As baker, confectioner, and pastry cook, Thomas’s parents operated a bakery from their home. Other children in the family were Amy (1887-1967), Dorothy (1893-1948), Mable (1896-1982), Elsie (1898-1980), and Harold (1899-1982) and over various censuses were sometimes listed as assistants in the bakery. Thomas’ mother was shown as being blind in the 1901 census and by 1903 she had died. His father continued to operate the bakery, with household members in the 1911 census being father Thomas, and children Amy, Dorothy, Mable, Elsie, and Harold.

    Along with two other lads from Christchurch, Alfred Chalk and Walter Hilliar, young Thomas was found on the arriving passenger list of the Oceanic of 2 April 1908, destination Glanford, Ontario. Tom, as he was known to his friends, had given his occupation as gardener. He eventually made his way to Kenora, Ontario, and following in his father’s footsteps, found employment as a baker. He made a trip back to England to visit family in 1913, returning to Kenora in March.

    With good friend Ernest Harold Sawkins, Thomas William Shirvell enlisted in Kenora on 1 January 1915. Standing 5 foot 5 inches, Tom was blue-eyed with dark brown hair. The 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion had been raised in northern Ontario during the spring of 1915 with its headquarters in Port Arthur. Although the battalion was still training, Colonel Hay had been required to provide a draft of about 250 troops to act as reinforcements for the 1st and 2nd Divisions already in Europe. With the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 52nd Battalion, Privates Thomas William Shirvell and Ernest Harold Sawkins embarked from Montreal aboard the Missanabie on 4 September 1915. After continued training at Shorncliffe, a Kenora newspaper reported that the 2nd Draft had been sent to France 20 November 1915. Although Thomas’ name is listed in the report, he had been taken on strength with the No 1 Company at Shorncliffe on 14 September 1915 and then transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps TD on 11 February 1916. In March he was then transferred to the 3rd Canadian Field Bakery and had arrived in France by the end of the month. Tom was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK in September 1918 and shortly after his return he was confirmed in the rank of Corporal. He returned to Canada aboard the Belgic in April of 1919.

    After the war Tom travelled to England for a visit with his family in Christchurch in May of 1921, returning to Canada aboard the Scandinavian in October. On 26 June 1925, in Kenora, Tom married Margaret Christie, a native of Glasgow, Scotland. His best man/witness was good friend Harold Sawkins. The couple stayed in Kenora but were met with tragedy in the form of the early deaths of their two children, Mable, age 4 and Thomas at birth. Over the years Tom worked at Jackson’s Bakery and was renown for his skills as a baker. However, his health was never great and he spent the last year of his life at Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg.

    Thomas William John Shirvell died on 25 December 1950 in Winnipeg and is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. His wife Margaret died in April of 1978 in Kenora. Tom remained good friends with Harold and his family over the course of their lives, a favourite “uncle” to Harold’s children. No other members of his birth family immigrated to Canada. His father died in Christchurch in 1936.

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

    by Judy Stockham

    newspaper clippings: Kenora Miner and News
    Veteran Death card: Library and Archives Canada
    obituary: Winnipeg Free Press

    KMN 20 January 1915

    KMN 20 January 1915

    KMN 16 June 1915

    KMN 16 June 1915

    KMN 22 September1915

    KMN 22 September1915

    KMN 11 December 1915

    KMN 11 December 1915

    Veteran Death card

    Veteran Death card

    WFP 28 December 1950

    WFP 28 December 1950

  • Regimental Number:
  • 439071
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Army Service Corps
  • Battalion:
  • 3rd Field Bakery
  • Place of Birth:
  • Christchurch, Hampshire
  • Country:
  • England
  • Next of Kin:
  • T E Shirvell, Christchurch, Hampshire, England
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • January 19, 1889
  • Trade or Calling:
  • baker
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • January 1, 1915
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 26
  • Religion:
  • Church of England
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • December 25, 1950
  • Age at Death:
  • 62
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 42E-22-2
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • The second born child, Thomas William John Shirvell was born during the first quarter of 1889 in Christchurch, Hampshire, England. His parents Thomas Edward and Mary Jane (née Scott) Shirvell had married in Christchurch during the last quarter of 1886. As baker, confectioner, and pastry cook, Thomas’s parents operated a bakery from their home. Other children in the family were Amy (1887-1967), Dorothy (1893-1948), Mable (1896-1982), Elsie (1898-1980), and Harold (1899-1982) and over various censuses were sometimes listed as assistants in the bakery. Thomas’ mother was shown as being blind in the 1901 census and by 1903 she had died. His father continued to operate the bakery, with household members in the 1911 census being father Thomas, and children Amy, Dorothy, Mable, Elsie, and Harold.

    Along with two other lads from Christchurch, Alfred Chalk and Walter Hilliar, young Thomas was found on the arriving passenger list of the Oceanic of 2 April 1908, destination Glanford, Ontario. Tom, as he was known to his friends, had given his occupation as gardener. He eventually made his way to Kenora, Ontario, and following in his father’s footsteps, found employment as a baker. He made a trip back to England to visit family in 1913, returning to Kenora in March.

    With good friend Ernest Harold Sawkins, Thomas William Shirvell enlisted in Kenora on 1 January 1915. Standing 5 foot 5 inches, Tom was blue-eyed with dark brown hair. The 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion had been raised in northern Ontario during the spring of 1915 with its headquarters in Port Arthur. Although the battalion was still training, Colonel Hay had been required to provide a draft of about 250 troops to act as reinforcements for the 1st and 2nd Divisions already in Europe. With the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 52nd Battalion, Privates Thomas William Shirvell and Ernest Harold Sawkins embarked from Montreal aboard the Missanabie on 4 September 1915. After continued training at Shorncliffe, a Kenora newspaper reported that the 2nd Draft had been sent to France 20 November 1915. Although Thomas’ name is listed in the report, he had been taken on strength with the No 1 Company at Shorncliffe on 14 September 1915 and then transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps TD on 11 February 1916. In March he was then transferred to the 3rd Canadian Field Bakery and had arrived in France by the end of the month. Tom was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK in September 1918 and shortly after his return he was confirmed in the rank of Corporal. He returned to Canada aboard the Belgic in April of 1919.

    After the war Tom travelled to England for a visit with his family in Christchurch in May of 1921, returning to Canada aboard the Scandinavian in October. On 26 June 1925, in Kenora, Tom married Margaret Christie, a native of Glasgow, Scotland. His best man/witness was good friend Harold Sawkins. The couple stayed in Kenora but were met with tragedy in the form of the early deaths of their two children, Mable, age 4 and Thomas at birth. Over the years Tom worked at Jackson’s Bakery and was renown for his skills as a baker. However, his health was never great and he spent the last year of his life at Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg.

    Thomas William John Shirvell died on 25 December 1950 in Winnipeg and is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. His wife Margaret died in April of 1978 in Kenora. Tom remained good friends with Harold and his family over the course of their lives, a favourite “uncle” to Harold’s children. No other members of his birth family immigrated to Canada. His father died in Christchurch in 1936.

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

    by Judy Stockham

    newspaper clippings: Kenora Miner and News
    Veteran Death card: Library and Archives Canada
    obituary: Winnipeg Free Press

    KMN 20 January 1915

    KMN 20 January 1915

    KMN 16 June 1915

    KMN 16 June 1915

    KMN 22 September1915

    KMN 22 September1915

    KMN 11 December 1915

    KMN 11 December 1915

    Veteran Death card

    Veteran Death card

    WFP 28 December 1950

    WFP 28 December 1950

  • « Return to all stories
  • Shirvell, Thomas William John Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 439071
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Battalion:
  • 3rd Field Bakery
  • Place of Birth:
  • Christchurch, Hampshire
  • Next of Kin:
  • T E Shirvell, Christchurch, Hampshire, England
  • Date of Birth:
  • January 19, 1889
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Army Service Corps
  • Country:
  • England
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Trade or Calling:
  • baker
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • January 1, 1915
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 26
  • Religion:
  • Church of England
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • December 25, 1950
  • Age at Death:
  • 62
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 42E-22-2
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Shirvell, Thomas William John

  • Photo Gallery
Back to Top