Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 13, 1896
Place of BirthPortsmouth, Hampshire
CountryEngland
Marital StatusSingle (married in July 1916 before going overseas)
Next of KinMiss Kathleen Haseltine Mack (sister), 92 Marmion Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, England
Trade / CallingCarriage painter/farm labourer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number422298
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Canadian Mounted Rifles
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at Enlistment35 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg
Date of EnlistmentApril 8, 1915
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 5, 1953
Age at Death57
Buried AtChapel Lawn Memorial Gardens, Winnipeg, Manitoba
PlotGarden of the Apostles, Section 10, Lot A, Grave 3

Mack, Harold Douglas

Corporal Harold Douglas Mack enlisted in Winnipeg in April 1915 and served in France with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. He was wounded in August 1918 and returned to Canada five months later.

Harold was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England on 13 August 1896. His parents, Edward James Mack and Kathleen Elizabeth Haseltine, were both born in Hampshire. They were married on Portsea Island in 1881 and their first two children were born there, Charles Edward (1882) and Kathleen Haseltine (1883). When their next daughter, Lena Muriel, was born they were living in Chatham, Kent. They were still there for the 1891 census with Edward was listed as a carrier manager. Harold’s family moved back to Portsea Island before he was born and his father died late in 1899, when he was three years old.

In January 1900 Harold’s mother was admitted to a Portsmouth asylum for the mentally ill. At the time of the 1901 census Harold and Lena were living with their sister Kathleen, who was employed as a pupil school teacher. Their mother died in the asylum on 24 June 1903, at age 40. By 1911 Kathleen was a certificated teacher, living on her own in Southsea and working for the board council. Charles was married and living in Southsea with his wife and daughter, employed as a railway carrier collector. For the 1911 census Lena, a milliner, was a visitor in the household of Joseph and Elizabeth Gates in Southsea. Harold, age 14, was listed as an inmate in the Infant Orphan Asylum in Wanstead, Essex. The institution provided care and education for orphaned children from respectable families and admission was by subscriber election or by purchase. Children were admitted up to age seven so Harold had probably been there at least seven years.

On 8 April 1912, at age 15, Harold joined the 9th (County of London) Battalion, London Regiment, a unit in the Territorial Force. He listed his birth place as Portsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire, his occupation as warehouseman and his address as Finsbury Square in London. He served in the UK for about a year, first as a bugler then as a rifleman. Afterwards he immigrated to Canada, sailing from Liverpool on the SS Cymric in May 1913, at age 16, and travelling via Portland, Maine with Winnipeg, Manitoba as his final destination. The war started the following year.

Harold enlisted in Winnipeg on 8 April 1915, at age 18, signing up with the 44th (Manitoba) Battalion. He was living in Winnipeg, his occupation was carriage painter and next of kin his sister Kathleen in Southsea, England. Over the summer the 44th Battalion trained at Camp Sewell (later renamed Camp Hughes), returning to their Winnipeg barracks in the fall. Harold was discharged in October, recorded as absentee, and he attested again on 16 December 1915. This time he joined the 222nd Battalion, his occupation now listed as farm labourer and his address as Whitewater, Manitoba. He served as a bugler, getting promoted to Corporal in January 1916. Harold was married in Winnipeg on 6 July to Hazel Agnes Brown. Hazel was the daughter of Alexander and Mary Brown of Franklin, Manitoba. She was born in Hastings, Ontario around 1894 and she had two older sisters, Elsie and Edna, and a younger brother Wilfred. The family had moved to Manitoba when Hazel was a child.

The 222nd Battalion sailed from Halifax in mid-November on the SS Olympic, arriving in the UK about a week later. At the end of December Harold was transferred to the 19th Reserve Battalion and he trained with them for four months. On 3 May 1917 he reverted to the ranks in order to go to France and he arrived there a few days later. He was attached to a front line battalion, the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles, and he joined them in the field near Lens at the end of May. On 8 July his first child, daughter Lena Hazel, was born in Franklin, Manitoba. A month later the Canadians took part in the Battle of Hill 70, suffering about 9,000 casualties in the attacks on Hill 70 and Lens (15-25 August 1917).

In October Harold was sent to the 3rd Canadian Divisional School for five weeks. He was promoted to Corporal again on 20 December and in January 1918 he was given two weeks leave in the UK. He failed to return from his leave which resulted in his arrest on 27 January. His punishment was a reduction to the ranks and a fine. On 28 March Harold was appointed Lance Corporal and on 28 July he was promoted to Corporal again. The Canadian Corps had undergone intensive training in open warfare that summer and the final period of the war started with the Battle of Amiens on 8 August. Harold was wounded on the third day of the offensive, 10 August, suffering a bullet or shrapnel wound to his head. He was taken to No. 38 Casualty Clearing Station then moved to No 47 General Hospital. From there he was evacuated to England on the hospital ship Aberdonian.

On 17 August Harold was admitted to No. 1 Southern General Hospital in Birmingham where he recovered for two months. Following that he spent a month at Princess Patricia’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital. On 18 November, a week after the Armistice, he was discharged to duty and attached to the 18th Reserve Battalion. He embarked for Canada on the Empress of Britain in mid-January 1919, arriving at Halifax and getting two weeks landing leave. He was discharged on demobilization on 21 February 1919 in Winnipeg.

After the war Harold and Hazel lived in Franklin and Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. They also spent a few years in Kenora, Ontario where Harold joined the local branch of the Canadian Legion. Their second daughter, Olive Summers, was born in Kenora in May 1926. Sadly a stillborn son was born in December 1928 and he’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. By the early 1930s Harold and his family had moved to Winnipeg. He had a 20-year career as a meat inspector with the Department of Agriculture and he belonged to the Amalgamated Civil Servant Association, serving for awhile as president. His daughter Lena was married in November 1934 to Cyril Scarr and Olive married James Franke in July 1946. Harold and Hazel were divorced in December 1946.

Harold passed away at Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg on 5 December 1953, at age 57. He was survived by his second wife, Dorothy (Brown), and his two daughters. His funeral was held on 8 December and he’s buried at Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens. His brother Charles had died in Portsmouth, Hampshire in 1941. His sister Lena (Mrs. Van Toll) died in 1963 and his sister Kathleen (Mrs. Horne) in 1966, both in England. His daughter Lena (Mrs. Cyril Scarr) passed away in 1993 in White Rock, BC and she’s buried with her husband in Valley View Memorial Gardens in Surrey, BC. Olive (Mrs. James Franke) died in Washington State in 2005. Harold’s second wife Dorothy passed away at the Grace Hospital in Winnipeg on 31 December 1984, at age 94.

By Becky Johnson


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