Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthJuly 27, 1895
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJohn Henry Gamble (father), Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingCommercial Traveller
ReligionPresbyterian
Service Details
Regimental NumberCan 151068
ForceRoyal Air Force
BranchRoyal Air Force (Canada)
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of Enlistment15/10/1917
Age at Enlistment22
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death02/06/1950
Age at Death54
Buried AtElmwood Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Plot5-G0130

Gamble, Alexander

Alexander Gamble joined the Royal Flying Corps in October 1917, at age 22, and served in Canada for 15 months as an Aircraft Mechanic 3rd Class.

Alex was the son of John Henry Gamble and Margaret Jean Campbell of Kenora, Ontario. John was born in Watertown, Wisconsin and came to Canada around 1885. Margaret was from Perthshire, Scotland and immigrated to Canada as a young girl. John and Margaret were married in 1888 in Lethbridge, Alberta (the North-West Territories at that time). Their first child, Ella May, was born in Lethbridge in 1889. The family moved to Rat Portage, Ontario a short time later and John had a long career there with the Canadian Pacific Railway. A daughter Vera was born in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in 1893 and Alex followed two years later, on 27 July 1895. John was a railroad brakeman in 1895 and a conductor by 1901.

When the war started in August 1914 Alex had just turned 19 years old. Early in 1917 the Royal Flying Corps organized a pilot training program in Canada and recruiting centres opened across the country. Alex enlisted with the Royal Flying Corps on 15 October 1917 in Winnipeg. His occupation was commercial traveller, his address Kenora and next of kin his father John Henry Gamble. He was sent to Toronto on 18 October and began training as an Aircraft Mechanic 3rd Class. On 1 April 1918 the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service were amalgamated to form the Royal Air Force and Alex was transferred to Royal Air Force (Canada). Operations began winding down after the Armistice and he was discharged on 14 January 1919, ‘in consequence of being Surplus to R.A.F. requirements.’

Alex moved to Winnipeg after the war and started working as a travelling salesman for the Blue Ribbon Company. He was married in Kenora on 21 July 1921. His wife, Eva May White, was born in Leeds County, Ontario in 1895, the second of three daughters of Charles White and Frances Alberta Heath. Eva’s family moved to Rat Portage/Kenora around 1899. Some of their relatives were already living there including Eva’s uncle George Heath, who was also a veteran of the First World War.

Alex and Eva had three children: Doris (1922), John Alexander (1929) and Frances Ann (1931). Alex was involved with the United Commercial Travellers, the Travellers Curling Club and the Northwest Travellers Association, where he served a term as president. He was a member of Fidelity Lodge, AM and FM, and Fort Rouge United Church. His mother died in Kenora in 1936 and his father in 1941; Eva’s mother passed away in 1926 and her father in 1938. They are all buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

On the night of 2 June 1950 Alex was returning from Dauphin to Winnipeg when his car had a tire blowout. He lost control and the car struck the gates of Headingley Jail. Alex was taken by ambulance to Deer Lodge Hospital but he died on the way there or shortly after arriving. A passenger in the car, Charles Grant, died in the Winnipeg General Hospital three days later. Alex’s funeral was held on 5 June and he’s buried in Elmwood Cemetery.

Eva remarried about two years after being widowed. Her second husband, Burton Henry Taylor, was also a veteran of the war and a widower with one son, Bert. He operated Taylor Hardware in Winnipeg and retired in 1955. Burton passed away in 1977 and he’s buried in Brookside Cemetery. Eva died at the Grace Hospital on 9 August 1993, at age 97, and she’s interred in Elmwood Cemetery. Also buried there are Alex and Eva’s son John (d. 2001) and their daughter Doris (Mrs. Ainsworth Smith)(d. 2007). Their daughter Frances (Mrs. Gordon Rosser) died in Calgary in 2005.

By Becky Johnson


Photo at the top: Winnipeg Free Press, June 3, 1950. Grave marker photo courtesy of Greg Ferguson on findagrave.com.


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