The People

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

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  • Walker, William John Image
  • Walker, William John

  • William John Walker was born on 30 June 1886, the son of Joseph and Mary Walker of Fivemiletown, Co. Tyrone, Ireland. He had a younger brother Edward, born about 1890. William’s father was listed as a gardner in the 1901 Ireland census, the family living in Corcreedy, Fivemiletown. Before immigration William had been working as a porter at the Fivemiletown Railway Station. By the 1911 census, Mary, widowed, was living on her own.

    William John’s name next showed up on the 10 May 1910 Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission to the United States, leaving Montreal, bound for New York, giving his mother Mary Walker of Fivemiletown as next of kin and his occupation as fireman.

    By the time of his enlistment on 22 October 1914, William John Walker was living in Kenora, Ontario, employed as a locomotive engineer with the Canadian Pacific Railway. Standing 5 feet 9.5 inches tall, William had grey eyes and dark brown hair. Laurence O’Flaherty, a coworker and fellow Irishman, also enlisted on the same day.

    With the 27th Battalion William and Laurence left Kenora for training in Winnipeg on 01 November 1914 according to an article in the Kenora Miner and News dated November 4th. The 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion was the first independent battalion to be raised in Manitoba in the First World War, raised as part of a response to the demand for reinforcements early in 1915 as Canada struggled overseas. Another article in the paper dated 15 May told of the battalion passing through Kenora from Winnipeg on May 12 heading east on the first leg of the journey overseas. On 17 May 1915 the 27th Battalion left Quebec aboard the Carpathia. By 18 September a cable had been received that the battalion had left England for France.

    Their first major offensive was the battle of St Eloi, 5 kilometres from Ypres. Begun on 27 March 1916 by the British, the Canadians joined in on 4 April with the 27th Battalion taking over the front line, fully exposed to artillery fire. Casualties were high. One of the most notable battles of Somme the 27th Battalion participated in was the Battle of Courcelette, begun on the morning of 15 September 1916. This battle marked the first time in history that tanks were used in warfare although all 6 tanks were knocked out that day. Lasting until 22nd of September, the Canadian Corps lost about 7200 soldiers.

    Over the course of 1916 William was admitted to No 8 Stationary Hospital in Wimereux for eleven days in April, and in August and September to No 4, 5, 6, and 12 Canadian Field Ambulance for what appears to be Pyrexia of unknown origin (unexplained fevers) and influenza. He returned to the field on the 7th of September. On 22 October 1916 he was awarded a Good Conduct Badge.

    Private William John Walker died on 25 August 1917 at the St Johns Ambulance Brigade Hospital in Etaples, France as a result of gunshot wounds to his shoulder and spine. He is interred in the Etaples Military Cemetery in Etaples, Pas de Calais, France“During the First World War, the area around Etaples was the scene of immense concentrations of Commonwealth reinforcement camps and hospitals. It was remote from attack, except from aircraft, and accessible by railway from both the northern or the southern battlefields. In 1917, 100,000 troops were camped among the sand dunes and the hospitals, which included eleven general, one stationary, four Red Cross hospitals and a convalescent depot, could deal with 22,000 wounded or sick.” (cwgc.org)

    In the early 1920’s Williams medals and decorations, plaque and scroll, and Memorial Cross were sent to his mother Mary in Cleen, Fivemiletown, Ireland.

    William John Walker is commemorated on page 344 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Canadian Pacific Railway Roll of Honour, on the Kenora Cenotaph and on the Kenora Legion War Memorial in Kenora, Ontario, in a book entitled “Fivemiletown’s Fallen” by Mark Byers, on the Fivemiletown Methodist Church Roll of Honour, and on the Fivemiletown War Memorial. On 24 Apr 1917, his coworker from Kenora and member of the 27th Battalion, Laurence O’Flaherty had also died of his wounds.

    By Judy Stockham

    newspaper clippings: Kenora Miner and News
    Medals and Decorations card: Library and Archives Canada
    grave marker photo: courtesy of Len on findagrave.com
    Fivemiletown War Memorial photos: Fivemiletown CWMP
    Fivemiletown Methodist Church Roll of Honour: Peter Heatherington, Fivemiletown
    photo card of Fivemiletown Railway Station: courtesy of Mark Byers of Fivemiletown

    Fivemile Railway Station

    Fivemile Railway Station

    KMN 24 October 1914

    KMN 24 October 1914

    KMN 31 October 1914

    KMN 31 October 1914

    KMN 4 November 1914

    KMN 4 November 1914

    14 April 1915

    14 April 1915

    KMN 12 May 1915

    KMN 12 May 1915

    KMN 15 May 1915

    KMN 15 May 1915

    KMN 18 September 1915

    KMN 18 September 1915

    KMN 1 March 1918

    KMN 1 March 1918

    Fivemile Roll of Honour

    Fivemile Roll of Honour

    Fivemile Cenotaph

    Fivemile Cenotaph

    Kenora Cenotaph

    Kenora Cenotaph

    Kenora Cenotaph

    Kenora Cenotaph

    Kenora Legion

    Kenora Legion

    Kenora Legion

    Kenora Legion

    Etaples Military Cemetery

    Etaples Military Cemetery

  • Regimental Number:
  • 72111
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • No
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Battalion:
  • 27th Battalion
  • Place of Birth:
  • Fivemiletown, Co. Tyrone, Ireland
  • Country:
  • Ireland
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mrs Mary Walker, Fivemiletown, Co. Tyrone, Ireland
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Birth:
  • June 30, 1886
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Locomotive Engineer, Canadian Pacific Railway
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • October 22, 1914
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 28
  • Religion:
  • Wesleyan
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • August 25, 1917
  • Age at Death:
  • 31
  • Buried at:
  • Etaples Military Cemetery, France
  • Plot:
  • XXII. Q. 4A.
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • William John Walker was born on 30 June 1886, the son of Joseph and Mary Walker of Fivemiletown, Co. Tyrone, Ireland. He had a younger brother Edward, born about 1890. William’s father was listed as a gardner in the 1901 Ireland census, the family living in Corcreedy, Fivemiletown. Before immigration William had been working as a porter at the Fivemiletown Railway Station. By the 1911 census, Mary, widowed, was living on her own.

    William John’s name next showed up on the 10 May 1910 Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission to the United States, leaving Montreal, bound for New York, giving his mother Mary Walker of Fivemiletown as next of kin and his occupation as fireman.

    By the time of his enlistment on 22 October 1914, William John Walker was living in Kenora, Ontario, employed as a locomotive engineer with the Canadian Pacific Railway. Standing 5 feet 9.5 inches tall, William had grey eyes and dark brown hair. Laurence O’Flaherty, a coworker and fellow Irishman, also enlisted on the same day.

    With the 27th Battalion William and Laurence left Kenora for training in Winnipeg on 01 November 1914 according to an article in the Kenora Miner and News dated November 4th. The 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion was the first independent battalion to be raised in Manitoba in the First World War, raised as part of a response to the demand for reinforcements early in 1915 as Canada struggled overseas. Another article in the paper dated 15 May told of the battalion passing through Kenora from Winnipeg on May 12 heading east on the first leg of the journey overseas. On 17 May 1915 the 27th Battalion left Quebec aboard the Carpathia. By 18 September a cable had been received that the battalion had left England for France.

    Their first major offensive was the battle of St Eloi, 5 kilometres from Ypres. Begun on 27 March 1916 by the British, the Canadians joined in on 4 April with the 27th Battalion taking over the front line, fully exposed to artillery fire. Casualties were high. One of the most notable battles of Somme the 27th Battalion participated in was the Battle of Courcelette, begun on the morning of 15 September 1916. This battle marked the first time in history that tanks were used in warfare although all 6 tanks were knocked out that day. Lasting until 22nd of September, the Canadian Corps lost about 7200 soldiers.

    Over the course of 1916 William was admitted to No 8 Stationary Hospital in Wimereux for eleven days in April, and in August and September to No 4, 5, 6, and 12 Canadian Field Ambulance for what appears to be Pyrexia of unknown origin (unexplained fevers) and influenza. He returned to the field on the 7th of September. On 22 October 1916 he was awarded a Good Conduct Badge.

    Private William John Walker died on 25 August 1917 at the St Johns Ambulance Brigade Hospital in Etaples, France as a result of gunshot wounds to his shoulder and spine. He is interred in the Etaples Military Cemetery in Etaples, Pas de Calais, France“During the First World War, the area around Etaples was the scene of immense concentrations of Commonwealth reinforcement camps and hospitals. It was remote from attack, except from aircraft, and accessible by railway from both the northern or the southern battlefields. In 1917, 100,000 troops were camped among the sand dunes and the hospitals, which included eleven general, one stationary, four Red Cross hospitals and a convalescent depot, could deal with 22,000 wounded or sick.” (cwgc.org)

    In the early 1920’s Williams medals and decorations, plaque and scroll, and Memorial Cross were sent to his mother Mary in Cleen, Fivemiletown, Ireland.

    William John Walker is commemorated on page 344 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Canadian Pacific Railway Roll of Honour, on the Kenora Cenotaph and on the Kenora Legion War Memorial in Kenora, Ontario, in a book entitled “Fivemiletown’s Fallen” by Mark Byers, on the Fivemiletown Methodist Church Roll of Honour, and on the Fivemiletown War Memorial. On 24 Apr 1917, his coworker from Kenora and member of the 27th Battalion, Laurence O’Flaherty had also died of his wounds.

    By Judy Stockham

    newspaper clippings: Kenora Miner and News
    Medals and Decorations card: Library and Archives Canada
    grave marker photo: courtesy of Len on findagrave.com
    Fivemiletown War Memorial photos: Fivemiletown CWMP
    Fivemiletown Methodist Church Roll of Honour: Peter Heatherington, Fivemiletown
    photo card of Fivemiletown Railway Station: courtesy of Mark Byers of Fivemiletown

    Fivemile Railway Station

    Fivemile Railway Station

    KMN 24 October 1914

    KMN 24 October 1914

    KMN 31 October 1914

    KMN 31 October 1914

    KMN 4 November 1914

    KMN 4 November 1914

    14 April 1915

    14 April 1915

    KMN 12 May 1915

    KMN 12 May 1915

    KMN 15 May 1915

    KMN 15 May 1915

    KMN 18 September 1915

    KMN 18 September 1915

    KMN 1 March 1918

    KMN 1 March 1918

    Fivemile Roll of Honour

    Fivemile Roll of Honour

    Fivemile Cenotaph

    Fivemile Cenotaph

    Kenora Cenotaph

    Kenora Cenotaph

    Kenora Cenotaph

    Kenora Cenotaph

    Kenora Legion

    Kenora Legion

    Kenora Legion

    Kenora Legion

    Etaples Military Cemetery

    Etaples Military Cemetery

  • « Return to all stories
  • Walker, William John Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 72111
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Battalion:
  • 27th Battalion
  • Place of Birth:
  • Fivemiletown, Co. Tyrone, Ireland
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mrs Mary Walker, Fivemiletown, Co. Tyrone, Ireland
  • Date of Birth:
  • June 30, 1886
  • Survived War:
  • No
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Country:
  • Ireland
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Locomotive Engineer, Canadian Pacific Railway
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Kenora, Ontario
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • October 22, 1914
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 28
  • Religion:
  • Wesleyan
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Enlisted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • August 25, 1917
  • Age at Death:
  • 31
  • Buried at:
  • Etaples Military Cemetery, France
  • Plot:
  • XXII. Q. 4A.
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Walker, William John

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