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Billy Turner the first local to enlist in Second World War

Nov. 8 is Indigenous veterans' day
Billy Turner, a young Indigenous man, was the first soldier from Timmins to enlist in Second World War.

Nov. 8, we come together to honour the military service of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. The day is an opportunity to reflect and remember the contributions of Indigenous peoples' service to Canada — the lives lost and the lives that were forever changed.  

In the First World War, 1914-1918, more than 4,000 Indigenous people served in uniform. In the Second World War, 1939-1945, over 3,000 First Nations members, as well as an unknown number of Métis, Inuit and other Indigenous recruits, were in uniform for Canada.  

More than 2,700 Indigenous members continue to serve in Canada’s military forces. 

Billy Turner was the first soldier from Timmins to enlist in the Second World War. From Schumacher, Billy went to Schumacher Public School, where was on the honour roll for several years. 

Records of Billy are hard to track down. There was a William Turner born in Moose Factory in 1915. He married a Daisy Faries in 1938, before the war. Daisy ended up becoming a very established author who wrote one book in particular, Moose Factory Cree in 1974. This may be the same Bill that enlisted in 1940, but we can’t say for certain.  

The Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre regularly provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Timmins museum has to offer here and read more Remember This columns here.