On this day in 1915, Kenneth Milo Cole enlisted for the first time in Belleville. He was discharged as underage on April 3rd, 1916 (he was sixteen but had claimed to be eighteen when he signed up). He enlisted again on December 8th, 1916 in Napanee. At this point he was still only seventeen: he was born in Deseronto on June 8th, 1899, the son of Milo Cole and Bertha (née Pringle). His father was a baker and Kenneth gave his occupation as “baker’s assistant” on his first attestation form.
Cole was described as five feet three inches tall, with a dark complexion, blue eyes and black hair. He joined the 254th Battalion with the regimental number 1093109. His service record shows that he arrived in England on the RMS Olympic on June 9th, 1917 and was attached to the 6th Reserve Battalion in Seaford. He was admitted to hospital in December 1917 suffering from chronic orchitis. This was caused by a bicycle accident before he enlisted, where he ran into an animal (variously described in his file as a pig or a cow) in the dark.
Kenneth was sent home to Canada as unfit for further service, sailing from Liverpool on February 16th, 1918 on HMHS Llandovery Castle. Once back in Canada, Cole was treated for gonorrhea and scabies in military hospitals in Toronto. He was finally discharged from the army on December 6th, 1918, classed as medically unfit.
Kenneth married Minnie Irene Phillips on June 25th, 1920 in Toronto. In 1921 the couple were living with Minnie’s parents in Robbins Street, Madoc.