William Edward Lawrence was born 7 November 1882 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the second son of Robert Jenkin Lawrence (1856 – 1903 ) and Rosa (Starling) Lawrence (1857 – 1944) both born in England and married in Toronto on May 23, 1880. They then moved to Winnipeg and the oldest son, Harry, was born 27 February 27 1881.

The family moved to Port Arthur in 1883-4 and settled there. By 1896 William (Bill) was a member of the Port Arthur Lacrosse Club championship team along with brothers Harry and Robert (Bob).

World War 1

William enlisted on 14 April 1916 in Fort Frances in the 141st Overseas Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, with the Regimental Number 820594. His trade was listed as cement worker. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, 135 pounds, with fair complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, a scar on the front of his right shin, and his religion was listed as Church of England.

While in Canada in 1916 he had several episodes of being absent without leave, but on 1 Jan 1917 he was promoted to Prov. L/Cpl. A will made out on 6 February 1917 listed his wife as Annie Lawrence. The marriage likely took place in January as a Separation Allowance for Annie was dated 21 Jan 1917 and began payments in February.

He embarked from Halifax 28 April 1917 and arrived in England on 7 May 1917 travelling on the SS Olympic. He reverted to ranks on 17 May 1917. On 21 June 1917 he was Taken On Stength (TOS) 44th Battalion Canadian Infantry (10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division) in France. He was promoted Corporal and appointed L/Sgt on 1 Jan 1918

William was wounded 20 July 1918 with a gunshot wound to the left wrist. The 44th Bn was at Maroeuil (southwest of Vimy). He appears to have been wounded during a scouting raid the night of 19/20 July. On 29 August 1918 he was diagnosed with V.D. G. (venereal disease-gonorrhoea) and spent time in a General Hospital at Wimereux. He forfeited his Field Allowance which was placed under stoppage of pay at the rate of 50 cents per diem while in hospital from 31 August to 28 October (59 days). He was then returned to his unit near the end of hostilities on 11 November.

He returned to Canada 28 May 1919, and was discharged on demobilization with the rank of A/Sgt. on 9 June 1919. The discharge certificate mentions a slight scar on left wrist (GSW July 1918). Following the war, he was employed by Barnett-McQueen, contractors, for 31 years until his retirement in 1952. His wife Anna (Annie) died in 1949 followed by William in 1954.

William and Annie Lawrence
Contributed by David Belrose, great nephew to William Lawrence.

Death notices

Fort William Daily Times-Journal, Monday, August 15, 1949

Mrs. Lawrence, P. A. Pioneer, is Called by Death

Mrs. Anna Lawrence, 66, wife of William Lawrence, of 272 Cornwall St., Port Arthur, died Saturday in hospital after a lengthy illness. Born in Formosa, Bruce county, Ont., she came to Port Arthur 65 years ago by steamer with her parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. John Rabb.

Besides her husband, she is survived by two sons, Joseph Smith, of 141 South Rockwood avenue, Port Arthur, James Smith, of 220 Wilson street, a daughter Gladys, Mrs. Gordon Jones, of McKenzie River, 11 grandchildren,  three brothers, Andrew, Frank and Joseph, all of Port Arthur, three sisters, Mrs. Catharine Conover, of Santa Anna, Cal., Mrs. Christina Jones, of Sudbury, and Mrs. Edward Deacon of Fort William.

The funeral will be held at 8.45 a.m. Tuesday from Everest’s chapel to St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic church for mass at nine. Interment will be in St. Andrew’s cemetery and prayers will be said at eight tonight at the chapel.


PANC 1954 Sep 6 p. 3

Here 70 years, W. Lawrence Dies

William Edward Lawrence, 72, of 325 Marion street, died Sunday in Winnipeg after a month’s illness.

Born in Winnipeg, he came to Port Arthur 70 years ago with his parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. R. Lawrence.

He was educated at Central School and the Collegiate, Port Arthur. In his younger days he was a well-known lacrosse player. A veteran of the First Great War, he enlisted at Fort Frances and served overseas with the 44th battalion in Europe 1914 – 1919 sic), being discharged in Port Arthur in 1919. He was employed by Barnett-McQueen, contractors, for 31 years until his retirement in 1952.

Surviving are two step-sons, Joseph Smith, 325 Marion street, and James, of 31 Centre street; one step-daughter, Gladys, Mrs. Gordon Jones, Ottawa; one sister, Mrs. Rose McIntyre, Secord street; and two brothers, Charles, McIntyre Township, and Albert, Ontario street. He was predeceased by his wife in 1949.  The funeral will be held Wednesday at 3.15 p.m. from 299 Arthur street to Riverside cemetery. Rev. D. Burns will officiate.