Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 1, 1888
Place of BirthWrighthill, Dalrymple, Ayrshire
CountryScotland
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs. Jane Armour (wife), Suite 1, Ivanhoe Block, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingFarmer
ReligionPresbyterian
Service Details
Regimental Number859544
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion43rd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentSuite 1, Ivanhoe Block, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of Enlistment04/01/1916
Age at Enlistment27
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death21/11/1959
Age at Death71
Buried AtPeach Orchard Cemetery, Summerland, British Columbia

Armour, Robert

Private Robert Armour was married and the father of two young children when he enlisted in Winnipeg in January 1916. He was wounded in the last weeks of the war but he survived and returned home in March 1919.

Robert was the oldest son of Thomas and Jane Armour of Keewatin, Ontario. He was born on 1 August 1888 at Wrighthill, Dalrymple, Ayrshire, Scotland and he had nine brothers and sisters. Two of his brothers immigrated to Canada in 1911 and the rest of the family followed a year later. Robert was married by then and his wife, Jane (Jeannie) Duncan, was with them when they left Glasgow on the SS Grampian on 11 May 1912. The Armours settled in the town of Keewatin in northwestern Ontario. Robert and Jane’s first child, Barbara, was born there later the same year. Their next child, Thomas, was born in July 1914 in the RM of Russell, Manitoba.

Robert signed up in Winnipeg on 4 January 1916, joining the 179th Overseas Battalion. He was a farmer at the time and he was allowed to go on seeding furlough for six weeks starting on 20 April. In May his third child, daughter Jeannie, was born in Winnipeg. When his furlough ended Robert rejoined his unit at Camp Hughes. He trained with them until the end of August, when he developed appendicitis. He had an appendectomy and spent a month recovering in a Winnipeg hospital. By the time he was discharged on 30 September the 179th Battalion had left for overseas so Robert was transferred to a new unit, the 174th Battalion. They trained in Manitoba over the fall and winter and headed to the east coast in April 1917, embarking from Halifax on the SS Olympic and landing at Liverpool on 7 May. Robert spent the next six months with the 14th and 11th Reserve Battalions. On 9 November 1917 he was transferred to the 43rd Battalion (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) and sent to France.

Robert joined his new unit in the field in late November in a small draft of reinforcements. In December and early January he spent three weeks at the 3rd Division Training School. Over the winter the Canadians held a section of the front line between Lens and Arras, where they’d spent the previous winter. The battalions trained, worked on improving the defences, built new trenches, carried out raids and had regular rotations in the front line. In the summer of 1918 the Canadians were given eight weeks of intensive training in open warfare and they were heavily involved in the last three months of the war. They crossed the Canal du Nord in late September and the 43rd Battalion took part in several operations over the next few days. On 1 October they carried out an assault northwest of Cambrai and German artillery was very active. Robert suffered a shell concussion that day and he was admitted to No. 14 Field Ambulance, where he spent ten days recovering.

Robert rejoined his unit near Cambrai in mid-October. A week later, just as they were moving north to Valenciennes, he was given a two-week leave of absence in the UK. By the time he returned the Armistice had been signed and the 43rd Battalion was in Mons, Belgium. They stayed in Belgium for the next three months. The troops entrained for Le Havre on 5 February 1919 and they were back in England five days later. Robert embarked for Canada with his unit on 12 March on the SS Baltic and arrived in Halifax eight days later. He was discharged on 24 March in Winnipeg. Thousands of residents were in the streets that day to welcome the 43rd Battalion, which was one of the first local units to return home. Robert’s brothers James, Thomas and William also served overseas and they were all back in Canada by May 1919.

Robert and his wife lived in Winnipeg for the next 25 years and he had a long career there with City Dairy. They had four children: Barbara, Thomas, Jean and Rae. Around 1945 they moved to Summerland, British Columbia and Robert worked in a box factory until he retired in 1958. He passed away in Summerland Hospital on 21 November 1959, at age 71. Jean died in 1984, at age 93, and they are both buried in Peach Orchard Cemetery in Summerland.

Robert is commemorated on the Town of Keewatin Roll of Honour and the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country 1914-18 plaque.

By Becky Johnson

Armour-Robert-90 Armour-Robert-91 Armour-Robert-92

Obituaries and Card of Thanks courtesy of Summerland Museum & Archives Society.


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