Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 25, 1882
Place of BirthBarleith, Riccarton
CountryScotland
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinCatherine McLean McConnachie, wife, Box 183, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingMechanic
ReligionPresbyterian
Service Details
Regimental Number2115256
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionCanadian Corps Troops Mechanical Transport Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Age at Enlistment35
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 29, 1972
Age at Death90

McConnachie, Thomas

Thomas McConnochie was born on 25 April 1882 in the village of Barleith in the parish of Riccarton in Ayrshire, Scotland as per his Scotland birth record. Over the years, especially in Canada, the surname was spelled McConnachie. His father Thomas, a railway engine driver, was from Dreghorn while his mother Margaret (Maggie) Manson was from Monkton, both within a 10 kilometres radius of Riccarton. Marrying in 1874 in Monkton, the family made Hurlford in Riccarton their home. Thomas had three older siblings, George (1875), John (1877), and Sarah (1880), and three young siblings, Helen (1885), Margaret (Maggie) (1887), and Agnes (1890). Sadly, it appears that Thomas Sr had died shortly before the birth of Agnes. The 1881, 1891, and 1901 censuses found the family living in Railway Building 6A, with Thomas Jr working as an apprentice locomotive steam engine fitter in 1901.

Thomas immigrated to Canada in 1907, embarking from Glasgow aboard the Numidian on 6 April. His occupation was given as engine fitter on the passenger list and he was on his way to Winnipeg. In January of 1911 he made a return trip to Scotland, arriving back in Canada aboard the Saturnia that April, destination given as Winnipeg. According to a later passenger list, that spring he moved to Kenora, Ontario. On 25 June 1913, in Kenora, Thomas married Catherine (Kate) McLean Easton. Born in 1892 in Greenock, Scotland, Catherine was the daughter of David Eastman and Harriet Wolltmann. She had arrived in Canada aboard the Cassandra in May of 1911, listed as a domestic on her way to Kenora. The couple gave birth to their first child, son Thomas, in June of 1915.

Thomas signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 17 May 1917. His occupation was given as mechanic, place of birth as Hurlford, Scotland, and his wife Catherine in Kenora as next of kin. With the 12th draft to the Canadian Army Service Corps Training Depot he embarked from Halifax aboard the Justica on 22 June 1917.

After training in England, Thomas was taken on strength with the Canadian Army Service Corps Pool overseas in early March 1918, transferred to the 1st Base Motor Transport the next day. He was assigned to the 2nd Heavy Repair Shop and then posted to the Canadian Corps Troops Mechanical Transport Company that July. Thomas was granted a fourteen day leave to England in mid March of 1919, rejoining the unit on 1 April. He left Le Harve for England on 18 May and embarked for Canada on the Royal George on 7 June. Thomas was discharged from service on demobilization on 18 June 1919 in Toronto.

After the war Thomas returned to Kenora, the couple giving birth to son Norman in October of 1920. In May of 1923 Catherine and the children travelled to Scotland for an extended holiday, returning in April of 1924 on the Metagama. In the early 1930’s the family moved to Sutherland, Saskatchewan, now part of Saskatoon. In 1935 Thomas made a trip back to Scotland, returning aboard the Duchess of Atholl in mid May. According to his BC death record, over the years Thomas worked as a railway master mechanic, retiring in 1946.

Thomas and Catherine moved to Victoria, British Columbia around 1952, living on Marifield Avenue for a number of years. Thomas died on 29 September 1972 in the Victoria General Hospital. Following cremation at the Royal Oak Burial Park, his cremains were dispensed elsewhere.

Both of Thomas and Catherine’s sons served during WW2. Thomas, a doctor who graduated with his medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1940, served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps from 1941-1945. After the war he took further anaesthetic training and became anaesthetist at the Hamilton Sanatorium when open heart surgery was first performed. Norman, a banker, enlisted with the RCAF in 1940 in Saskatoon, completing tours of duty in Africa, the Middle East, and England. Obtaining the rank of Flight Lieutenant (Squadron Signals Leader), he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in November of 1944.

By Judy Stockham


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