Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJune 26, 1895
Place of BirthEnniskillen Township, Huron County, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Service Details
ForceImperial Motor Transport Service
BranchBritish Army
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of Enlistment1915
Age at Enlistment30
Theatre of ServiceFrance
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 16, 1981
Age at Death86
Buried AtWindsor Cemetery, RM of Rockwood, Manitoba

Young, Robert John

Robert John Young was the son of Isaac Young and Jane Johnston of Kenora, Ontario. Isaac was born in England and Jane in Huron County, Ontario. They were married in 1889 in Wingham, Huron County, where Isaac was a farmer. A daughter Mary Jane was born the following year and she was followed by Robert John, born on 26 June 1895 in Enniskillen Township. Not long after Robert’s birth the family moved to northwestern Ontario and settled in Rat Portage (now known as Kenora), where Isaac found work as a blacksmith. Two more children were born in Rat Portage, Isaac Jr. (1897) and Sarah Elizabeth (1901).

Robert’s family was still living in Kenora when the war started. His brother Isaac Young enlisted in the fall of 1915 and he served in France with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was seriously wounded at the Battle of Vimy Ridge and returned to Canada in December 1917. Details of Robert’s service aren’t known but according to local newspaper articles he enlisted with the Imperial Motor Transport Service in 1915. He was one of 710 Canadians who joined this British unit and they went overseas the same year. Robert served with them for four years and returned home in May 1919. His obituary mentioned that he served in France during the First World War and with the Royal Canadian Air Force for three years during the Second World War.

Early in 1921 Robert’s parents moved to the RM of Rockwood near Teulon, Manitoba where they took up farming. When the 1921 census was taken Robert was living with them and working as a farm labourer. His father passed away at home in 1923 and his mother died in Winnipeg two years later. They are buried in Windsor Cemetery in the RM of Rockwood. Robert was married in Winnipeg on 30 December 1926. His wife, Nellie Pauline Rogers, was born in Hopewell Hill, New Brunswick in 1893, the daughter of Fred Rogers, a farmer, and Jennie Eliza Moore.

Robert and Nellie made their home in Kenora and had at least two children, Donald and Jean. Robert worked as an engineer in the 1930s and after his service in the air force he opened his own business, Young’s Glass. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Kenora Rotary Club and a local Masonic lodge. Nellie moved into Pinecrest Home for the Aged in 1977 and passed away on 25 January 1980, at age 86. Robert died on 16 August 1981, also at age 86. They were both cremated. They have a grave marker in Windsor Cemetery, where Robert’s parents are buried, but it’s not known if Robert’s ashes are interred there. He was predeceased by his brother Isaac (1952) and his sister Mary Jane Hughes. His younger sister Sarah Elizabeth (Mrs. Daniel John Cain) died in Seattle, Washington in 1996.

By Becky Johnson

Photo of veterans (September 1974) courtesy of Lake of the Woods Museum

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