Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 4, 1881
Place of BirthSt. Anthony, Stearns County, Minnesota
CountryU.S.A.
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinPeter Komatich (brother), Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingRailroader
Service Details
Regimental Number472503
Battalion322nd Field Artillery, Battery F
ForceAmerican Expeditionary Forces
Branch83rd Infantry Division
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentDuluth, Minnesota
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMarch 23, 1918
Age at Enlistment37
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 10, 1951
Age at Death70
Buried AtAssumption Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
PlotLot 322, Grave 7

Komatich, Nick

Private First Class Nick (Nicholas) Komatich was born in St. Anthony, Stearns County, Minnesota on 4 February 1881. He grew up in Stearns County and by the time he was 14 he was working away from home as a farm labourer. He immigrated to Canada in 1911, at age 30, and settled in the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. He was taken on by the Canadian Pacific Railway and he worked for them for 35 years.

The U.S. entered the war in April 1917 and Nick returned to Minnesota a year later to enlist. He signed up in Duluth on 23 March 1918 and served with the 322nd Field Artillery regiment. The 322nd was in the 83rd Infantry Division and the recruits trained at Camp Sherman in Ohio. The regiment embarked for France in June 1918 on the SS Canopic and took part in the Meuse Argonne offensive in the last six weeks of the war. After the Armistice the 322nd was transferred to the 32nd Division and the troops were kept in Germany until April 1919, as part of the Army of Occupation. Nick sailed from Brest, France on 7 May on the Plattsburg, arriving in Hoboken, New Jersey nine days later. He was listed in Battery F of the 322nd Field Artillery regiment and next of kin was his brother Peter Komatich in Winnipeg. He was discharged on 27 May in Des Moines, Iowa.

After the war Nick returned to Kenora and went back to his job with the CPR. He was married around 1921, probably in the U.S. His wife Rose Watercott was born in 1884 in Wisconsin, the daughter of Herman and Josephine Watercott. Her parents were farmers and her family moved to Stearns County, Minnesota when she was a child. Nick and Rose settled in Winnipeg and their only son, Thomas Frank, was born there in 1923. Nick became a Canadian citizen in the early 1930s and he was a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and the Brotherhood of Firemen and Enginemen.

Nick moved back to Kenora in late 1942 and he joined the local branch of the Canadian Legion. During the Second World War his son Thomas enlisted in the U.S. army and served overseas with the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Nick retired from the CPR in 1947, after a 35-year career. He was honoured at a CPR banquet in Kenora on 21 March 1947, along with sixteen other employees who had retired over the previous five years.

Nick and his wife lived in Winnipeg after his retirement. He passed away in Misericordia Hospital on 10 April 1951, at age 70, and he’s buried in Assumption Roman Catholic Cemetery in Winnipeg. Rose died in April 1961, at age 77, and their son Thomas passed away in 2006.

By Becky Johnson

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