Kelowna veteran remembered 100 years after death
An American who came to Kelowna and joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force is being remembered today in England.
Harry John Williams, a father of four and an engineer, died 100 years ago today in Seaford, East Sussex.
Researchers at the small, all-volunteer Seaford Museum have an ongoing program to compile a biographical sketch of people buried at the town cemetery and disseminate the information on the anniversaries of their death.
Museum chronicler Kevin Gordon determined that Williams was born in 1867 in Fair Haven, Vermont, graduated as an engineer from the University of Michigan and married a woman from Quebec.
The couple had four children, and the family came to Kelowna in 1904. Williams enlisted in 1915. He lied about his age, saying he was 44 instead of 48, apparently in hopes of seeing action at the front in France.
“He went over with the rest of the Kelowna boys last fall, but owing to his continued illhealth has never been able to get to the front,” the Kelowna Record reported in an item on Williams’ death, published April 26, 1917.
“He was unfortunate enough to contract measles, which was epidemic amongst the men for a time, and suffered severely.
“He was a son-in-law of Mr. J.C. Stockwell, and leaves a wife and four young children,” the newspaper reported.
A total of 133 men from Kelowna died during the First World War.