Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 31, 1899
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinGeorge and Helen Frisbie (parents), Portland, Oregon
Trade / CallingStudent
Service Details
Battalion116th Engineers
ForceAmerican Expeditionary Forces
Branch41st Division
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentPortland, Oregon
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 4, 2019
Age at Enlistment17
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details

Frisbie, Allan Grant

Corporal Allan Grant Frisbie was born in Canada and living in Portland, Oregon when the U.S. entered the war in 1917. He enlisted with the Oregon Engineers and served overseas for about a year.

Allan was born on 31 October 1899 in Rat Portage, Ontario. His father, George Clayton Frisbie, was born in Pennsylvania and his mother, Helen McQueen, was from southwestern Ontario. They were married in May 1896 in Winnipeg and they made their home in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. Six children were born there: Clayton Goodwin (1897), Anne McQueen (1898), Allan (1899), Karl Newell (1906), and twins who died as infants in 1901. George worked in the insurance business and he was also the U.S. Consular Agent in Rat Portage/Kenora and treasurer of the Rainy River Navigation Company. Around 1907 the family moved to the U.S. and the youngest child, Mary, was born in Colusa County, California in December 1908. By 1910 they had settled in Portland, Oregon. George worked as a bookkeeper in a law office and also invested in lumber and shipbuilding companies.

In June 1916 Allan’s older brother Clayton went to Vancouver to enlist in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The U.S. entered the war in 1917 and Allan enlisted at a recruiting office in Portland that summer. He was a student at Jefferson High School at the time and he also worked part-time as a newspaper carrier. He joined the Oregon Engineers and was assigned to Company B. The Oregon Engineers trained at Camp Withycombe, about 15 km southeast of Portland. In September they were sent to Camp Greene in North Carolina, where they were merged with an Idaho infantry unit to form the 116th Engineers Regiment. A supply train and a band unit were attached to the regiment a short time later. Training at Camp Greene included digging trenches and constructing fortifications and in late October they moved again, this time to Camp Mills on Long Island, New York. Two more companies and 500 drafted men were added to the regiment, which brought it up to full strength.

The 116th Regiment embarked from Hoboken, New Jersey on 26 November on the SS Tenadores and the SS Mallory, arriving at St. Nazaire, France on 10 December. Allan was on the Mallory and in a letter home he mentioned that they had Thanksgiving dinner while crossing the ocean (Thanksgiving Day was 29 November that year). He said the troops slept in canvas bunks strung from pipes and they had boat drill on the deck every day. After arriving in St. Nazaire the regiment was sent to a nearby rest camp and on 13 December it was re-designated as a training replacement regiment. Allan was one of only about 90 men who remained with the unit. By January 1918 he was Acting Corporal and he was checking freight that arrived at the docks. He served overseas for about a year and returned home to Portland after the war. His brother Clayton Goodwin Frisbie became a machine gunner and he was wounded three times but he survived the war. Their younger brother Karl served in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War.

Allan returned to high school in Portland in the fall of 1919 and went on to become a lawyer. When the 1930 census was taken he was living with his widowed mother and working as a lawyer at the Portland court house. His father had died in 1926. His mother passed away in 1943, his brother Clayton in 1967, his brother Karl in 1978 and his sister Anne (Nan) in 1986. Our research has not turned up any information on Allan after 1932, when he applied for membership in the Oregon Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was an attorney living in Portland at that time. His date of death and place of burial have not been found.

By Becky Johnson

Frisbie-Allan-90 Frisbie-Allan-91
Newspaper articles and photo courtesy of Historic Oregon Newspapers (public domain).

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