Harold Dean Powless signature

On this day in 1915, Harold Dean Powless signed up in Toronto, where he was a piano worker. Powless was born in Deseronto on November 5th, 1898, the son of David John Powless and his wife, Louisa (née Maracle), both Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. Louisa died in 1907 and the family were living in Toronto by 1910, when Harold’s father married an English widow called Rose Hannah Mepham (née Hawkins). When Harold enlisted, they were living at 56 Humbert Street, Toronto.

Harold was described as five feet four and a half inches tall, with a fair complexion, grey eyes and black hair. He was transferred to the 58th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, with the regimental number 453787. He claimed to be 18, but was actually 17 when he signed up. His service record shows that he arrived in England on the SS Caronia on November 11th, 1916 and was transferred to the 36th Battalion. In December he was admitted to hospital for a month, suffering from pneumonia. In January he joined the 107th Battalion and went to France with them on February 25th, 1917. He was sentenced to seven days of field punishment number one for “obtaining double rations by false pretences” in  April 1917. In July 1918 he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion.

Harold married Florence May Mason in Luton, England in late 1918. The couple arrived in Canada on board the SS Scotian on August 3rd, 1919. He was demobilized in Quebec on August 5th.

SS Scotian

SS Scotian, courtesy of the Waugh Family site

By November 1920, Harold was back in Toronto and, along with other returned soldiers, was looking for work, as this extract from the Toronto Star shows. At this time he was living at 6 Ravina Crescent with his wife.

Job-seeking advertisement from Harold Dean Powless

Image courtesy of the Canadian Great War Project.

Harold and Florence eventually settled in Oshawa, where Harold worked as a carpenter. Harold died there in 1977 and was buried in the Oshawa Union Cemetery and Florence died in 1991.