Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 6, 1888
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMary Georgina Cameron (wife), Winnipeg; address later changed to London, England
Trade / CallingLumber manufacturer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental NumberNA
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Brigade
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Field Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Date of Enlistment23/12/1914
Age at Enlistment26
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death31/01/1942
Age at Death53
Buried AtSt. Peter's Anglican Church Cemetery, Quamichan, Cowichan, British Columbia

Cameron, Douglas Lorn

Lieutenant Douglas Lorn Cameron signed up with the 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion in December 1914. He served overseas for four years with the infantry, the Canadian Forestry Corps and the Canadian Field Artillery.

Douglas Lorn was the oldest son of Sir Douglas Colin Cameron and Lady Margaret Cameron Ferguson of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Douglas (Sr.) and Margaret were both born in Ontario and they were married in Montreal in February 1880. They settled in Winnipeg where Douglas became very involved in the business community, especially the lumber industry. He formed the Rat Portage Lumber Company and the couple spent at least ten years living in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. Their three children were born there: Evelyn Anne (1885), Douglas Lorn (6 June 1888) and Leslie Fergus (1896). Douglas served as the mayor of Rat Portage for two years. After returning to Winnipeg he was active in local and provincial politics as well as the militia, and his family lived in a large home at 65 Roslyn Road. He served on the provincial legislature for three years and was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba in 1911.

Douglas Lorn was married in Winnipeg on 5 September 1912, at age 24. His father was still Lieutenant Governor and the wedding was a big social event in the city that fall. The bride, Mary Georgina Nanton, was the daughter of Sir Augustus Nanton and Georgina Hespeler. Mary’s mother had died in 1887, when she was three weeks old, and her father remarried in 1894. Augustus was very well known in the Winnipeg business community and he was one of the principal developers of western Canada. During the war he donated half of his fortune to support the Canadian forces in Europe, while also working tirelessly to maintain Winnipeg’s economy. From 1917 to 1920 he and his wife Ethel operated their summer cottage on Lake of the Woods as a convalescent home for wounded soldiers.

The war had started in August 1914 and both of the Cameron boys enlisted a few months later. Douglas signed up on 23 December and he was given a commission as a Lieutenant with the 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion. The unit was being raised as part of the second overseas contingent and they sailed for England in the spring, embarking from Quebec on the SS Carpathia on 17 May 1915. Douglas’ wife went to England at the same time but she travelled separately, sailing from New York on the SS Transylvania. She lived in London during the war and their only daughter, Elspeth Mary, was born there.

After training for another four months the 27th Battalion headed to the coast on 15 September 1915 and arrived in Boulogne, France three days later. They became part of the 6th Brigade in the new 2nd Canadian Division. In October Douglas was ill with influenza and in January 1916 he had a one-week leave. That winter the Canadians were holding a section of the front line in Belgium, south of the Ypres Salient, and in March-April 1916 they took part in the disastrous and confused fighting at St. Eloi Craters. Douglas was sent on temporary wood cutting detail afterwards and starting in June he was out of action for several weeks due to chronic and acute gastritis. He rejoined his unit in July then spent most of August at the School of Instruction. At the end of August the Canadians were moved south to the Somme area, to take part in the Somme Offensive.

In late September Douglas went to the UK on an extended leave and when it ended he was kept in England and transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps. He served with them for the next year, part of that time at District No. 51 in Inverness, Scotland. In March 1917 he developed a cough and chest pain and he spent a month at the Royal Herbert Hospital in Woolwich. In December he was sent to the Canadian School of Gunnery then transferred to the Canadian Field Artillery. On 15 February 1918 he was back in France and he served with the 1st Brigade, 3rd Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery until the end of the war. The Canadians were heavily involved in the final months of the war, a period known now as the Hundred Days Offensive, and they had some of their greatest victories during that time.

Douglas had two weeks leave in January 1919 then returned to England with his unit on 21 March. His wife and baby daughter had gone to Canada a year earlier, in March 1918, and they were living in Winnipeg. Douglas embarked from Southampton on the SS Olympic on 15 April 1919 and was officially discharged two weeks later in Winnipeg. His brother Leslie Fergus also survived the war and he returned to Canada in September 1918.

Around 1920 Douglas and his family moved to Vancouver and he worked in the lumber industry. Ill health forced him to retire in 1936 and it may have been around then that he and his wife moved to Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island. Douglas passed away in Cowichan Bay on 31 January 1942, at age 53. Mary Georgina died in 1980 and they are both buried in the cemetery at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Quamichan (Cowichan Bay), Vancouver Island. Their daughter Elspeth married Theodore Newton in March 1942. She died in Guelph, Ontario in 2009, at age 91.

By Becky Johnson

Cameron-Douglas-Lorn-90 Cameron-Douglas-Lorn-91 Cameron-Douglas-Lorn-92

A photo of his grave marker can be found on canadiancheadstones.com

 


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