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Manitoba man, exploring Hants County family connection, looking for public's help

Kevin Lunn is hoping someone from Hants County has a photograph of his great-uncle, Walter Frances Lunn, who was killed in action near the end of the First World War.
Kevin Lunn is hoping someone from Hants County has a photograph of his great-uncle, Walter Frances Lunn, who was killed in action near the end of the First World War. - Submitted

HANTS COUNTY, N.S. — A Winnipeg man can easily describe what his great-uncle looked like based on his enlistment papers, but he still can't picture him.

Kevin Lunn is hoping someone from Hants County may be able to help him track down a photograph of Walter Frances Lunn, who was killed in action overseas during the First World War.

“My father was born not long after my grandfather received word that Walter Francis Lunn was killed in action. My father was born on Nov. 23, 1918, and my great-uncle was killed in action Sept. 27, 1918 — not that long before the Armistice, actually,” said Lunn, noting his father was named after his great-uncle.

“That's kind of the immediate draw. I'm interested in family history and I actually retired a few years back and it's been a hobby."

His grandfather, Lewis Lunn, was one of the many Nova Scotians who took a Harvest Express train in the early 1900s to work on a farm out west. While there, he fell in love and permanently relocated.

Lunn has been researching his family's history and says he has been able to trace back to his fifth great-grandfather, who served in Halifax with one of the British regiments and retired near Lawrencetown.

“Back in 1990, a woman by the name of Shirley Spencer and her husband did a family history of the Lunns in Nova Scotia. I got that book back in 1990. It's been a great lead in tracking down information on my ancestry,” he said, adding the Internet has also been extremely helpful.

“With it also being the 100th anniversary, essentially, of the First World War, and knowing that I had a great-uncle that served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and knowing that he was killed in action and that my father was named after him, it seemed to me to be a natural draw that I'd want to follow up."

Despite being able to piece together much of his ancestry, what his great-uncle looked like remains a mystery.

Lunn did discover that his great-uncle listed his sister, Sophia Anna Fielding, of Hants County, as his next of kin when he signed up for military duty. She was born in 1891 and died in 1990. Lunn says Walter Lunn's sister was likely living in St. Croix at the time. She was married to Ernest Fielding and they had three children: Lawrence, Calvin, and Hattie Jean.

“What I'm wondering is if any of her descendants might have papers or even a photograph that he may have given his sister,” said Lunn. “I think it's not unusual that many of these fellows who went overseas had their photograph taken in uniform and would have given them to family.”

Walter Lunn served with the 13th Canadian Infantry Battalion and was 24 years old when he died. His name is inscribed on the Hants County War Memorial in Victoria Park (though his middle initial appears incorrect).

He's hoping people will reach out to him with information or mementoes from his great-uncle.

“I really would like to know what he looks like. I have some physical descriptions of him from his enlistment papers... but no photograph,” said Lunn.

He's hoping to publish a research paper on the Lunn family and said he will provide it to the West Hants Historical Society, who has been quite helpful in his quest for more information.

“I don't want him to be forgotten.”

To contact Kevin Lunn with photographs or mementoes of his great-uncle, Walter Frances Lunn, email: klunn36@mymts.net.

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