|Date of Birth||August 23, 1881|
|Place of Birth||St Andrews, Manitoba|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Frank Linklater, wife, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Steam Fitter|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Valcartier, Quebec|
|Age at Enlistment||33|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||April 24, 1915|
|Age at Death||33|
|Buried At||No Known Grave/Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial|
According to his attestation papers, Frank Linklater was born on 23 August 1881 in the RM of St Andrews, Manitoba. He was the first born child of Charles Patrick Linklater and Margaret Donald who had apparently married on 12 March 1880, both having Métis roots in the Red River Settlement. It appears that the couple gave birth to daughter Mary in 1883, followed by Thomas Charles in 1884 and Margaret Jane in 1886, the latter two births registered in the nearby RM of St Clements. By the time of the birth of their next child William in 1888 the family had relocated to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. However, the marriage failed and by the time of the 1891 census Charles had moved to Winnipeg while Margaret was living in Rat Portage with George Millward, a cook who was originally from England. A daughter Nellie had been born in 1890, birth registered with Charles as the father but her surname later changed to Millward. At the time of the 1891 census children living with George and Margaret were Frank, Mary, and Nellie, Margaret’s occupation given as laundress. Son Thomas was living with the William and Elizabeth Irving family, daughter Margaret Jane with Charlotte Hanger, and William, listed as an adopted son, with John Flett, all back in Manitoba.
By the time of the 1901 census Frank was living in Winnipeg with his father Charles and second wife Mary Elizabeth McDougall, the couple having married in 1893. Charles and Mary Elizabeth gave birth to three children Elizabeth Gertrude (1894), David Charles (1896), and Harold (1901). Back in Rat Portage his mother Margaret and George gave birth to four children George (1892), Mabel (1894), Arthur (1896), and Joseph (1899). Sadly Arthur died in 1904 followed by Margaret in 1905, both interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
On 5 March 1902, in Winnipeg, Frank married Sarah Margaret Swain. Born around 1881 in the RM of St Clement, Margaret was the daughter of William Robert Swain and Sarah Ann Omand, both also having Métis/Cree roots in the Red River Settlement. By the time of the 1911 census Frank and Margaret were living in Portage la Prairie where Frank was working as a driver for a hardware store. With the couple were son Leslie and Frank’s half brother Joseph Millward, listed as an adopted son. Leslie was born in Winnipeg on 29 July 1910, birth registration giving the name of his mother as Emma Swain, single. Also living in Portage la Prairie were Frank’s father with his wife and children as well as Frank’s brother Thomas and sister Margaret Jane.
With occupation given as steamfitter and his wife in Portage la Prairie as next of kin, Frank signed his attestation papers with the 8th Battalion on 22 September 1914 in Valcartier, Quebec. As a Private in F Company of the Battalion Frank arrived in England aboard the Franconia on 14 October. After training in England the battalion arrived in France on 13 February 1915.
On 24 April 1915 at Gravenstafel during the 2nd Battle of Ypres, Frank was reported as wounded, later changed to missing and presumed dead. ‘The first major battle fought by Canadian troops in the First World War took place from 22 April to 25 May 1915, outside the Belgian city of Ypres (now known by its Flemish name, Ieper). The untested Canadians distinguished themselves as a determined fighting force, resisting the horror of the first large-scale poison gas attack in modern history, and holding a strategically critical section of the frontline until reinforcements could be brought in. More than 6,500 Canadians were killed, wounded or captured in the battle.’(thecanadianencyclopedia.ca) With no known grave, Frank is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.
By the time of the 1916 census Frank’s wife Margaret had moved to Winnipeg and was living on Jarvis Street. Household members were listed as son Leslie, adopted son Joseph Millward, and Frank’s father Charles. It appears that Charles died that December in Scanterbury, Manitoba, interred in the St Philips Cemetery in Scanterbury. The 1921 census found Margaret and Leslie listed in the RM of St Clements, living in Grand Beach where Frank’s medals and decorations, plaque and scroll and Memorial Cross were sent. They were eventually to make nearby Grand Marais their home where Margaret later married widower Robert Hourie who’s first wife Christiana had died in 1927. Following in his father’s footsteps, Leslie served overseas during WW 2 with the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders and was reported as wounded in a February 1944 edition of the Winnipeg Tribune. Returning to Canada, Leslie married Betty Martin in 1948, Betty having served with the Air Force during the war. The couple made Grand Marais their home where they raised their daughter.
Predeceased by her second husband Robert in 1949, Frank’s wife Margaret Hourie died on 19 March 1950 in the Selkirk General Hospital. She is interred in the St Jude’s Cemetery in Grand Marais. Leslie died in 1998 followed by his wife Betty in 2013.
Many of the children of both Charles Linklater and Margaret Donald served during the war. Their son William enlisted after the death of Frank, going overseas to serve with the 8th Battalion. In the trenches east of Willerval during the Battle of Arras, William was reported as killed in action on 14 April 1917. With no known grave he is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial. Charles’ sons David and Harold Linklater both enlisted, David going overseas with the 79th Battalion and serving in Belgium and France with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. Suffering shell shock, trench fever, a gunshot wound, and gassing, David returned to Canada in May of 1919. Harold enlisted in 1917 in Lindsay, Ontario with the 252nd Battalion, transferring to the No 3 Special Service Company before being discharged as underage. Margaret’s sons Edwin and Joseph Millward also served. Edwin signed his attestation papers in Portage la Prairie in 1915, going overseas with the 44th Battalion. He served in France and Belgium as a Sergeant with the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps. Joseph enlisted in Winnipeg with the 200th Battalion in April of 1916, serving overseas with the 78th Battalion. Frank’s brother-in-law James Swain enlisted in Brandon, Manitoba in July of 1915 with the 44th Battalion, transferring to the 29th Battalion once overseas. James was reported as killed in action on 13 August 1918 and is interred in the Vignacourt British Cemetery in France.
Frank is commemorated on page 24 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, on the Portage la Prairie War Memorial, and along with his brother William Linklater and brother-in-law James Swain, on the Selkirk War Memorial in Selkirk, Manitoba. The monument was erected in commemoration of people from the Selkirk, St Andrews, and St Clements areas killed during military service.
By Judy Stockham