|Date of Birth||October 25, 1890|
|Place of Birth||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Helen A. Hastings (wife), 55 Donald Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Grain Broker|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||34th Fort Garry Horse|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||55 Donald Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||29/01/1916|
|Age at Enlistment||25|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||21/08/1955|
|Age at Death||64|
|Buried At||St. John's Anglican Cathedral Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
Captain Walter Anderson Hastings was the son of George Victor Hastings and Margaret Ferguson Anderson of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Margaret was born in North Dumfries Township, Waterloo County, Ontario. George was born in Quebec and he started working in the milling business at an early age. His mother was Mary Ogilvie and George was employed by the family firm, the Ogilvie Milling Company. In the early 1880s he was working in Winnipeg and a few years later he became involved in the founding of the Lake of the Woods Milling Company.
George and Margaret were married in 1886 in North Dumfries Township. They had a son, Victor John, in 1887 and a daughter, Agnes Stuart, in 1889, both born in Winnipeg. A short time later they moved to Keewatin, Ontario, where George was the superintendent of the Lake of the Woods Milling Company’s flour mill. Walter was born in Keewatin on 25 October 1890. The family returned to Winnipeg after a few years and a daughter, Margaret Helen, was born there in 1896.
When the 1911 census was taken Walter was living with his parents in Winnipeg. He was working as a bookkeeper for the Lake of the Woods Milling Company and like his father he went on to have a long career with the company. Walter was married on 3 January 1912 at Wayne Street Church in Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A. He was still living in Winnipeg at the time and his wife, Helen Audrey Clawson, listed her residence as Toronto. Helen was born in 1891 in Missouri, one of three children of George and Nita Clawson. Walter and Helen’s first child, George Victor, was born in Winnipeg in October 1913. The war started in August 1914 and Walter’s brother, Victor John Hastings, enlisted about six weeks later. He served for five years, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and earning the Military Cross.
Walter was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 34th Fort Garry Horse on 29 January 1916 in Winnipeg. His occupation was grain broker and next of kin was his wife, Helen. His service file noted that he had been serving with the Fort Garry Horse since 1 April 1915 and he was transferred to the overseas draft on 31 December 1915. He embarked for the UK on 5 February 1916 with the 2nd draft of the Fort Garry Horse. On 3 April he was transferred to the 3rd Divisional Cavalry and sent to France. In May the Canadian Corps Cavalry Regiment was formed at Abeele, Belgium and Walter’s unit became ‘C’ Squadron in the new regiment.
In June Walter injured his left knee when his horse fell on him and he was out of action for about a week. Late that summer the Canadians moved south to the Somme area to take part in the Somme Offensive. Walter re-injured his knee in early October and he reported to No. 6 Canadian Field Ambulance. On 8 October he was admitted to No. 7 Stationary Hospital in Boulogne and from there he was evacuated to England on the hospital ship St. Andrew. He became a patient at No. 2 Western General Hospital in Manchester where he received treatment for synovitis in his left knee.
Due to his injury Walter was granted leave in Canada from 23 October to 23 December 1916. His leave was extended to 23 March 1917 then to 23 May. In May he was struck off strength of the Canadian overseas forces and transferred to the 34th Fort Garry Horse Depot Squadron in Winnipeg. He was promoted to Captain on 20 July. Walter served for another year in Military District No. 10 (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and northwestern Ontario). He was discharged on 31 July 1918, due to being medically unfit. He was awarded the Victory and British War medals.
After his service Walter returned to his position with the Lake of the Woods Milling Company. He and his wife had three more children: Robert Allan (1919), Edward Peter (1927) and Virginia Helen (1929). Their oldest son, George, served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1940 to 1947.
Walter passed away at home on 21 August 1955, at age 64. His cremains were interred in the family plot at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral Cemetery in Winnipeg. Helen died on 10 June 1966 at Misericordia Hospital in Winnipeg and she is also buried at St. John’s Cemetery. Other family members buried there include their three sons, George, Robert and Edward, their daughter Virginia (Mrs. Roger Bric), Walter’s parents and his brother Victor John Hastings.
Walter is commemorated on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour 1914-1918.
By Becky Johnson
Photo of Walter is from the Royal Canadian Legion Military Service Recognition Book – Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario Command – Volume 6.