Hugh Norval Powless signature

On this day in 1916 Hughie Norval Powless, a carpenter, signed up in Hamilton. He was born in Tyendinaga on January 5th, 1896, the son of John Powless and Margaret (née Brant). In 1911 he was living at the Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford. He married Lulu Ethel English shortly after enlisting, on March 9th, 1916 in Hamilton. The couple were living with their son, Francis, and Hughie’s parents at 7 Canon Street West in Hamilton.

Powless joined the 173rd Battalion with the regimental number 690315. He was described as five feet five and three quarter inches tall, with a dark complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. His service file shows that he left Halifax on the SS Olympic on April 29th, 1917. He was transferred to the 125th Battalion and later served in France with the 7th Canadian Railway Troops. In June 1918 he was admitted to hospital, suffering from trench fever. In April 1919 he was transferred back to Canada on the SS Scotian. On the journey, he contracted influenza and was sent to hospital in New Brunswick, suffering from pneumonia. He was discharged in Hamilton on May 23rd as medically unfit.

Hughie went on to serve in World War II. You can read more about him in this blog post by Bob Richardson. He died in Pomona, California in 1978.

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