"Over the Top" Trench Warfare Header
Blank Menu Bar

Shawnee County Casualties in WWI
Stories of Valor and Tragedy on the Battlefield

Sapper William Frank KARR, 10th Brigade, Canadian Railway Troops
Sapper William Karr headstone
William Frank Karr

Return to: Stories

Died on October 28th, 1917 (Sunday) from wounds sustained, possibility on October 22nd, from intense shelling while the 10th Canadian Railway Troops were repairing tracks near LaClytte (Klijte) in Belgium. The War Diaries from the 10th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops shows for (Monday) October 22nd

"Weather rainy. Coys on maintenance and construction. Putting in spurs to Batteries, ballast difficult to get owing to shortness of rolling stock. Two cases of sickness to hospital and one G.S. W. (Ed. GSW short for gunshot and shrapnel wounds) to hospital"

No other entry in the War Diaries, close to the date of KARR's death, makes any mention of casualties, other than cases of sickness caused by the cold and rainy conditions in Belgium in October, 1917. William KARR was, at the time of his death, over 54 years of age.

William KARR had been a well known house mover in North Topeka at the time of the declaration of war by Britain, and its Empire nations, on Germany August 4, 1914. Born in Des Moines on August 30, 1863, KARR traveled to Canada in 1916 in order to join an expedition to help excavate King Tut's tomb in Egypt. After arriving in Saskatchewan he decided to volunteer for military service in the Canadian Forces. KARR signed his attestation papers in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada on Oct 31, 1916.

The interesting part of William KARR's story is that he "shaved" 10 years off his age on the Attestation Paper by declaring that he was born on August 30, 1873, when in fact he was born in 1863. This places him at 53 years of age instead of the 43 that he declared (see paper below). He also stated that he was a widower but his ex-wife (Amanda) was still alive and living in Soldier Township, Kansas in 1920, according to the Federal Census for that year.

According to information gleaned from the 10th Railway Troops Casualty Reports, KARR shipped overseas (after completing basic military training) in June 1917. He was disciplined briefly in August 1917 after being caught smoking on parade. As shown above, in October he was part of the railway repair work near LaClytte and he was seriously wounded (shrapnel wound right axilla) possible on Oct 22nd, succumbing to his wounds on the 28th October, 1917 at the No. 2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station (situated at Remy Siding, just southwest of Poperinghe, Belgium).

KARR is buried in the British Military Cemetery of Lijssenthoek in Belgium Grave Reference XXII F. 14. The Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery is located about 12 kilometers west of Ypres town centre, just outside the Belgian town of Poperinge. The cemetery contains 9,901 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, a few of which were brought in from the battlefields after the Armistice, and 883 war graves of other nationalities, mostly French and German. It is the second largest Commonwealth cemetery in Belgium.

Canadian Attestation Paper for William Frank Karr


Return to: Stories

Copyright © 2008-2021