Soldier Spotlight: Driver William James Kellett

Image: Casualty card from William’s military service file (Library & Archives Canada)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 101379
Rank: Driver
Branch: Canadian Engineers

William was born on December 25, 1872 in Settle, Yorkshire, England. He married Hilda Blanche Cheney of Van Kleek Hill, Ontario in the late 1800s or early 1900s. The couple moved their way west, living first in Manitoba, then in Saskatchewan, and finally in 1912 settled on a homestead at 26-72-5-W6, east of Clairmont. By this time they had six children. Hilda was the first teacher of the Kleskun Lake school, which opened in 1913. William enlisted in the Canadian army in October of 1915 and served in England. On July 31, 1917, he was accidentally killed near Sherrington Crossing, Codford, Wiltshire. According to the 14th Field Company War Diary entry for that day, “#101379 Driver Kellett, W.J. found killed by train at Railway Crossing near Codford.”

Sources: Smoky River to Grande Prairie, p. 295