William Magnall was born at 27 Brunshaw Road in Burnley on the 18th January 1901 (RoB Burnley 1901 Q1 Vol.8e p.179) to James William Magnall (FM024) and Annie (nee Pounder) (FM239). At the time of the 1901 Census he was with his mother who was visiting 34 Anne Street in Burnley. He completed grade 8 at rural school in 1912 age 11. He started working in a cotton factory but when he got his pay he told his employers that he had not been paid the correct amount. When he was told that was the pay for boys he told them to hire a boy and quit. His family said that he looked old for his age!
During World War I William served in the army in India. Whilst stationed at Lahore in India he learnt to speak Hindustani. Between 1917 and 21st March 1921 (when he was discharged) he was in the Royal Field Artillery. In Britain he was a driver, in India he was a gunner at the Khyber Pass.
On discharge from the army William started a course in engineering in 1922 but he didn’t complete the course.
William married Elizabeth Violet Duckworth (EM178) (b.4th February 1899) on the 25th February 1922 in Burnley (RoM Burnley 1922 Q1 Vol.8e p.363). In 1928 they were living at 26 Eldwick Street in Burnley. William worked for four years in a textile factory but they then decided to move to Canada.
The following information is from Diane James:-
“He came over first by himself in 1929, with the harvesters to Montreal, when they got to Canada either the jobs had fallen thru or it was a roués to get cheap labourers. They were stuck, no job, no money. He somehow got back to England. They were living at 98 Cliver Street Burnley at the time of their emigration. That was straight opposite Pheasant Ford School.
After living at 10th Avenue in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, he moved the family to Vantell Mines, where he worked for a while. When he’d saved enough, they moved to South Swift Current, he built a two bedroom wood house. He found an old windmill to charge his car battery, and to power the lights in the house. He later rented this house out to Stan and Mary Tite ( who later became Marie and his second wife) for $5 a month (early 30’s). The family then moved to the Carleton apartment Hotel, he was the boiler man in exchange for the rent. In May 1936 they moved to Pearson Road, R.R. # 1, South Westminster (10531-127th Street, Surrey, B.C.) they cleared the trees and built a two story house with the lumber he got off the land and made at Brownsville Sawmill, where he worked as a watchman.
Then the war came, enlisted June 15, 1940, he went back to England (left Oct. 8th, landed in Treenoch Oct 21st, 1941) to be a fireman, during the bombings in London (Nov.’41 with Beerling Fire Co., PAC 9785-86), also escorted prisoners to Canada. Discharged from the Veterans Guard of Canada, in Vancouver, Sept 15, 1947.
One winter in the late 40’s, it was so cold at Cultus Lake, that Violet came and stayed with their son, while he stayed at the C.F.Base fire hall. He left a tap trickling so it wouldn’t freeze up, but when he came up to check on the house the drain had froze, the sink, the counters, the floor was a sheet of ice. So he got the house warmed up and drilled holes through the floor to let the water out. She got a new kitchen floor. He bought a few different houses around the Chilliwack area, fixed them up and sold them.
Another funny winter story was; In Surrey the milk was delivered in bottles and the milk expanded and popped up. Bill picked up the bottle, put it under his night shirt and came inside, but, his what-z-it touched the cream and got frozen stuck on. They were afraid he might loose a piece by the time they got it off.
In 1954 they lived in a little cottage at 282 Fir Street, Cultus Lake. 1959 was his first trip back to Burnley after leaving 30 years ago. April 1972 a trip to England.
He was Parade Marshall on Canada Day parade at Peace Arch in White Rock, B.C.
He and Marie would go camping in a trailer to Nicola Lake and Stump Lake and fish.
dark brown hair, blue (very blue) eyes, had a good singing voice. smoked”
Elizabeth died on 16th March 1957, William later remarried to Marie Tite (DM058) and he died on 3rd November 1976 aged 75.
Many thanks to Diane James for providing much of the information, especially the stories.
[Last updated 08 Dec 2003]