Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 22, 1880
Place of BirthAtwood, Perth County, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinRobert Dunn (father), Portage La Prairie, Manitoba
Trade / CallingPhysician
ReligionPresbyterian
Service Details
Regimental NumberN/A
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionPrincess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (attached)
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Medical Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentSelkirk, Manitoba; also Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentApril 11, 1916
Age at Enlistment35
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 9, 1918
Age at Death37
Buried AtThelus Military Cemetery, France
PlotIII. C. 6.

Dunn, St. Clair

Captain St. Clair Dunn was a practising physician when he was commissioned as an officer in the spring of 1916. He went overseas that fall and arrived in France a year later. St. Clair was killed in action near the Vimy front in March 1918.

St. Clair was the son of Robert Dunn and Charlotte Douglas Donaldson of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Robert and Charlotte were both born in Ontario, Robert in Stratford and his wife in London. They were married on 1 January 1878 in Elma Township, Perth County. They had at least six children: William Lorne (1878), James Howard (January 1880, died as an infant), St. Clair (22 December 1880), Jessie Donaldson (1883), Alice Ray (1887) and Elma (1901). St. Clair was born in the village of Atwood in Elma Township. When the 1881 census was taken the family was still living in Elma Township. Alice was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1887 and by 1891 they were living in the town of Keewatin, in northwestern Ontario, where Robert worked as a millwright. By the time the next census was taken in 1901 Robert and Charlotte had moved to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. The youngest daughter, Elma, was born there in August 1901.

St. Clair attended medical school at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and graduated as a doctor in 1908. He was the first physician to establish a resident medical practice in Gimli, Manitoba. He was married in Gimli on 15 December 1909. His wife, Gladys Irene Ethel Thomas, was born in 1890 in the RM of South Norfolk, Manitoba, the daughter of Joseph Thomas and Mary Jane Taylor. By the time he enlisted St. Clair and his wife had three children: Clifford Earle, Olive and Beatrice. Another son, William St. Clair, was born in the fall of 1916, most likely in Calgary where Gladys was living at the time.

When St. Clair was commissioned as a Captain he signed two Officer’s Declarations. The first was on 11 April 1916 in Selkirk, Manitoba. He gave his address as Portage la Prairie, next of kin as his mother and he said he was currently in the active militia. He signed his second Officer’s Declaration on 9 May 1916 in Selkirk. His address was listed as Selkirk and next of kin was his father in Portage la Prairie. St. Clair was attached to the 108th (Selkirk) Battalion, which trained at Camp Hughes over the summer. He had his medical at Camp Hughes in August and his unit headed overseas that fall, sailing from Halifax on 18 September on the SS Olympic. They arrived in England about a week later.

On 13 February 1917 St. Clair was attached to the 14th Reserve Battalion and in June he was posted to Granville Special Canadian Hospital at Ramsgate. He was sent to France in early October and served for a short time at No. 8 Canadian Field Ambulance. By January 1918 he was attached to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, serving as a medical officer. The Canadians were in the Arras-Lens area that winter, holding a long stretch of the front line.

St. Clair was killed in action on 9 March 1918. From his circumstances of casualty card: “While reconnoitring the front line trenches on the Avion sector, he was killed by an enemy ‘Trench Mortar’ bomb.”

St. Clair is buried in Thelus Military Cemetery near Arras. He was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, which were sent to his mother. His mother and widow both received Memorial Crosses. He is commemorated on the University of Manitoba Roll of Honour 1914-1918.

By Becky Johnson

Grave marker photo courtesy of J. Stephens, Canadian Virtual War Memorial; Winnipeg Evening Tribune is March 22, 1918; photos are from University of Manitoba publications.


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