Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 1, 1897
Place of BirthKeewatin, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinHugh Carson Craig (father), Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingFarmer
ReligionPresbyterian
Service Details
Regimental Number793275
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion4th Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Machine Gun Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentDalhousie, New Brunswick
Address at EnlistmentUpper Charlo, Restigouche County, New Brunswick
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 20, 1916
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 30, 1990
Age at Death93
Buried AtCremated (Carberry's Crematorium, Trail, BC)

Craig, Hugh Douglas

Lance Corporal Hugh Douglas Craig enlisted in January 1916, at age 18. He served in France and Belgium with the Canadian Machine Gun Corps and returned to Canada in June 1919.

Hugh Douglas was the youngest son of Hugh Carson Craig and Christiana Adams of Keewatin, Ontario. Hugh Carson was from Restigouche County in New Brunswick and his wife was born in Quebec. They were married around 1881 and their oldest child, Ellen, was born in 1882 in Minnesota. By 1885 they had moved to Keewatin, in northwestern Ontario, where Hugh Carson found work as a lumberman. They had five more children: Allan Murray, Earl Carson, Christina Gladys, Helena Allison and Hugh Douglas. Hugh Douglas was born on 1 June 1897 and his mother died in December 1898, when he was 18 months old.

When the 1901 census was taken the six children were living with their widowed father in Keewatin. By the time of the 1911 census Hugh Douglas had moved to New Brunswick, where he was staying with his uncle Robert Craig. Robert was a farmer and he lived in Restigouche County near the village of Upper Charlo. Hugh turned 18 in June 1915 and two months later the war entered its second year. He enlisted on 25 January 1916, signing up with the 132nd (North Shore) Battalion in the nearby town of Dalhousie. The recruits trained in New Brunswick and at Valcartier Camp in Quebec before heading overseas in the fall. They embarked from Halifax on the SS Corsican on 26 October and arrived in the UK on 5 November.

A month after arriving in England Hugh was transferred to the 104th Battalion. His new unit had also been recruited in New Brunswick and he trained with them for the next 15 months. In June 1917 the battalion became part of the 15th Brigade in the new 5th Canadian Division. The 5th Division never made it to France and instead the troops were used as reinforcements for Canadian Corps battalions already in the field.

In March 1918 Hugh was assigned to the Canadian Machine Gun Depot and at the end of the month he was sent to France. He was transferred to the 4th Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps, and he served with them until the end of the war. The Canadians were heavily involved in the last three months of the war, a period known now as the Hundred Days Offensive. On 1 October Hugh was promoted to Lance Corporal and at the end of October he became ill with influenza. He rejoined his unit a week later and on 11 November when the Armistice was signed they were in Valenciennes, France. On 16 November the battalion moved into Belgium, where they spent the next five months.

Hugh had three weeks leave in January 1919 and he returned to England with his unit in April. He embarked for Canada on 28 May on the Empress of Britain, landing in Quebec on 4 June and getting discharged in St. John, New Brunswick two days later. When the 1921 census was taken Hugh was staying with his uncle Robert again and working as a scaler at a saw mill. Not long after that he moved to Weyburn, Saskatchewan and by the early 1930s he was married and living in Whitecourt, Alberta. His wife, Erma Jane Wilson, was born in 1892 in Kansas City, Kansas, the only child of Richard and Olive Wilson. Her mother was American but her father was born in Canada.

By 1937 Hugh and Erma were living in the tiny community of Ymir, which is 20 km south of the town of Nelson in British Columbia. A few years later they moved to Nelson. During the Second World War Hugh joined the Veterans Guard of Canada, a corps made up of veterans of the Great War. The unit provided home guard services at sites such as power plants and factories as well as at internment and prisoner of war camps. After the war Hugh worked as a postal clerk in Nelson until he retired in the 1960s. Erma died in 1982, at age 89 and Hugh passed away on 30 December 1990, at age 93.

By Becky Johnson

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