The People

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

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  • Grendys, Walter Image
  • Grendys, Walter

  • Sergeant Walter Grendys was born in Poland on 31 December 1896. According to his Canadian Legion membership application he enlisted in the cavalry in Rzeszów in 1914 and served with them until 1921.

    When the First World War started Poland was not an independent state but was partitioned between three empires. Thousands of Polish men were recruited during the war, some like Walter serving with the Allies and others serving with the German and Austro-Hungarian forces. Heavy fighting took place on Polish lands, including the area around Rzeszów. According to family members Walter was wounded by machine gun fire but he recovered and survived the war. Shortly after the Armistice the Republic of Poland was created and early in 1919 the cavalry was re-organized into 14 new units. Over the next two years they took part in most of the major battles in the Polish-Soviet War (February 1919 – March 1921).

    Walter married his wife Julia (Julianna) Palka while he was still serving in the cavalry. Their first child, Mervin Raymond, was born in Poland in March 1922. By then Walter and Julia were farming in the village of Mrowla, northwest of Rzeszów. Not long after that they immigrated to Canada and their next son, Brownie Charles, was born in Manitoba in 1924. He was followed by four daughters: Christine, Mary Anne, Lydia and Wanda. Walter and Julia took up farming near Renwer, in western Manitoba, and they became Canadian citizens. They later moved to Keewatin, Ontario where they lived for most of the 1940s. Walter was the manager of a hotel there and he joined the Keewatin branch of the Canadian Legion. His son Brownie enlisted during the Second World War and served as a Gunner with the Royal Canadian Artillery

    By the early 1950s Walter and his family had moved to the community of Forest, west of London, Ontario, where he continued to work as a hotel manager. Julia passed away at Victoria Hospital in London in January 1969, at age 70. Afterwards Walter lived for awhile with his daughter Wanda in Toronto before moving back to London. He passed away at his home in London on 3 April 1987, at age 90. He was survived by his six children, twelve grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery along with his wife and other family members.

    By Kenora Great War Project

     Grendys-Walter-90 Grendys-Walter-91LeftLeft

    Grendys-Walter-93 Grendys-Walter-94 Grendys-Walter-95

    Photos courtesy of Grendys family tree on Ancestry.

  • Regimental Number:
  • Service Record:
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • Polish Cavalry
  • Branch:
  • Battalion:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Country:
  • Poland
  • Next of Kin:
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Date of Birth:
  • December 31, 1896
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Farmer
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Rzeszów, Poland
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • 1914
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 17
  • Religion:
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • April 3, 1987
  • Age at Death:
  • 90
  • Buried at:
  • Mount Pleasant Cemetery, London, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • Section 1, Row 31, Stone 37
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Sergeant Walter Grendys was born in Poland on 31 December 1896. According to his Canadian Legion membership application he enlisted in the cavalry in Rzeszów in 1914 and served with them until 1921.

    When the First World War started Poland was not an independent state but was partitioned between three empires. Thousands of Polish men were recruited during the war, some like Walter serving with the Allies and others serving with the German and Austro-Hungarian forces. Heavy fighting took place on Polish lands, including the area around Rzeszów. According to family members Walter was wounded by machine gun fire but he recovered and survived the war. Shortly after the Armistice the Republic of Poland was created and early in 1919 the cavalry was re-organized into 14 new units. Over the next two years they took part in most of the major battles in the Polish-Soviet War (February 1919 – March 1921).

    Walter married his wife Julia (Julianna) Palka while he was still serving in the cavalry. Their first child, Mervin Raymond, was born in Poland in March 1922. By then Walter and Julia were farming in the village of Mrowla, northwest of Rzeszów. Not long after that they immigrated to Canada and their next son, Brownie Charles, was born in Manitoba in 1924. He was followed by four daughters: Christine, Mary Anne, Lydia and Wanda. Walter and Julia took up farming near Renwer, in western Manitoba, and they became Canadian citizens. They later moved to Keewatin, Ontario where they lived for most of the 1940s. Walter was the manager of a hotel there and he joined the Keewatin branch of the Canadian Legion. His son Brownie enlisted during the Second World War and served as a Gunner with the Royal Canadian Artillery

    By the early 1950s Walter and his family had moved to the community of Forest, west of London, Ontario, where he continued to work as a hotel manager. Julia passed away at Victoria Hospital in London in January 1969, at age 70. Afterwards Walter lived for awhile with his daughter Wanda in Toronto before moving back to London. He passed away at his home in London on 3 April 1987, at age 90. He was survived by his six children, twelve grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery along with his wife and other family members.

    By Kenora Great War Project

     Grendys-Walter-90 Grendys-Walter-91LeftLeft

    Grendys-Walter-93 Grendys-Walter-94 Grendys-Walter-95

    Photos courtesy of Grendys family tree on Ancestry.

  • « Return to all stories
  • Grendys, Walter Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • Force:
  • Polish Cavalry
  • Battalion:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Next of Kin:
  • Date of Birth:
  • December 31, 1896
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • Country:
  • Poland
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Farmer
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Rzeszów, Poland
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • 1914
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 17
  • Religion:
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Saw Service In:
  • Europe
  • Date of Death:
  • April 3, 1987
  • Age at Death:
  • 90
  • Buried at:
  • Mount Pleasant Cemetery, London, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • Section 1, Row 31, Stone 37
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Grendys, Walter

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