Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 26, 1894
Place of BirthNorman, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWilliam Travers Creighton (father), 166 Harvard Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingLawyer
ReligionPresbyterian
Service Details
Regimental NumberN/A
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion43rd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at Enlistment166 Harvard Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentDecember 18, 1914
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 18, 1917
Age at Death22
Buried AtSt. John's Anglican Cathedral Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
PlotL.14. B.29.

Creighton, George Gillespie

Lieutenant George Gillespie Creighton arrived in France in February 1916 and four months later he was seriously injured in an accident. He was invalided to Canada in December and he died in a drowning accident in July 1917.

George was the son of William Travers Creighton and Jean Menzies Gillespie of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Jean was born in Hamilton, Ontario and William grew up in Toronto. After they married they settled in Rat Portage (later called Kenora), in northwestern Ontario, where William had been living for a few years. He was the manager of a lumber company in the neighbouring village of Norman and he also became involved in mining in the Rat Portage area.

George was born in Norman on 26 September 1894 and his parents moved to Winnipeg a short time later. He had two brothers, James and John, and two sisters, Elizabeth and Margaret, all born in Winnipeg. John died at age 3 and Margaret died as an infant. William continued to be involved in the lumber industry as well as other business interests and the family lived at 707 Broadway Avenue.

George attended the University of Manitoba, studying law and graduating with a BA in 1915. The war had started in August 1914 and he enlisted later that year, before his graduation. He signed up in Winnipeg on 18 December 1914 with the 43rd Battalion, getting a commission as a Lieutenant. He was 20 years old with three years experience in a local militia unit, the 79th Cameron Highlanders of Canada. He was a big lad, 5’11’ with a 38″ chest, brown hair and brown eyes. After training over the winter and spring the 43rd Battalion headed east, embarking from Montreal on the SS Grampian on 1 June and arriving in the UK eight days later. The battalion spent the next eight months in England. They were sent to France in early 1916, disembarking at Le Havre on 22 February, and they became part of the 9th Brigade in the new 3rd Canadian Division. Just a few days later George’s brother James Mountjoy Creighton also enlisted, signing up in Winnipeg on 29 February with the 196th (Western Universities) Battalion.

Soon after arriving in France George was sent to No. 1 Grenade School and he rejoined his unit in early March. The Canadians were in the Ypres Salient that spring and the battalions had regular rotations in the front line. In June the 43rd took part in the Battle of Mount Sorrel (2-13 June 1916), their first time in combat. On 16 June they were relieved from a two-day rotation in the front line and the men moved to a rest camp. George was sent to the 3rd Divisional Bombing School and he was seriously injured there on 23 June. A rifle grenade exploded prematurely and he suffered shell fragment wounds to his left shoulder, chest, arm and leg.

From the War Diary of the 43rd Battalion, Ypres Salient, 23 June 1916, ‘Training under company arrangements. Instructors from guards take all N.C.Os. for instruction. Weather fine. Lieut G.G.Creighton accd. wounded at Bde.bombing school.’

George was sent to No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station then to No. 7 Stationary Hospital in Boulogne. He was listed as dangerously ill, with one shell fragment lodged near his heart and two in his shoulder. On 7 July he was well enough to be evacuated to England and he embarked on the hospital ship St. Denis. He spent the next four months in Mrs. Arnoldi’s Hospital for Officers at 47 Roland Gardens, South Kensington, London. His wound became infected and he had part of a rib taken out but the shell fragment near his heart could not be safely removed. In October his mother arrived in London from Canada. In November George was allowed to take leave and he spent it at Mrs. Denny’s Convalescent Home for Officers in Staplefield, Sussex. A few weeks later a medical exam found his condition had not improved and he was invalided to Canada. He left from Liverpool with his mother on 15 December on the SS Metagama, arriving in St. John, New Brunswick on Christmas Day.

A medical exam in Winnipeg on 31 March 1917 found George’s health had improved since returning home, but his left lung was collapsed and he tired easily. It was recommended that he be discharged from service. Sadly, he drowned in an accident on Lake of the Woods about four months later. He was out in a launch on 18 July, with his father and some friends, when a squall blew up. He pulled a canoe into another boat then suddenly slid off it into the water. His father and friends weren’t able to save him. George’s funeral was held in Winnipeg on 21 July, with full military honours, and he was laid to rest in the family plot at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral Cemetery.

Lieutenant Creighton is commemorated on the Next of Kin Monument in Winnipeg and on the University of Manitoba 1914-1918 Roll of Honour.

By Becky Johnson

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