Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 28, 1898
Place of BirthGlasgow
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMary McNicol, mother, Ville St Pierre, Quebec
Trade / CallingClerk
Service Details
Regimental Number50641
Service Record
Battalion7th Canadian General Hospital
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Medical Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentMay 20, 1915
Age at Enlistment17
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details

McNicol, Robert

Robert McNicol was born on 28 May 1898 in the district of Kinning Park in Glasgow, Scotland, date confirmed by his Scotland birth registration record. His father William McNicol, a marine engineer, was from Alloa in Clackmannshire while his mother Mary McLeod Martin was from Ayr in Ayrshire. The couple married in Kinning Park on 24 December 1886. Known children born to the family were Peter (1887), William Martin (1889), Elizabeth Wallace (Bessie) (1894), Robert, and John Martin (1901). It appears that Peter was the first to leave the family, immigrating to New Zealand and marrying there in 1904. Son William next immigrated to Canada, settling in Montreal where he married in 1911. Although a passenger list was not found for William Sr, by 1912 he was living in Montreal, Quebec. Mary and children Bessie, Robert, and John joined him that year, arriving aboard the Letitia on 4 August.

Robert enlisted in Montreal with the Canadian Army Medical Corps on 20 May 1915. Only 17, likely to appear to be older his year of birth was given as 1897. At the time he was working as a clerk for the Dominion Bridge Company in Lachine. His mother was listed as next of kin and Active Militia as Westmount Rifles (bugler).

Arriving in England in August of 1915, after training at the CAMC Training Depot, Robert joined the RAMC Depot Mustapha in Alexandria, Egypt on 2 February 1916. In late March he was transferred to the No 7 Canadian General Hospital for permanent duty in Abbassia, an area in Cairo. The hospital unit was moved first to Le Tréport in France in late April until August and then for the rest of the war was operating in Г‰taples. During the move Robert returned to England, arriving in France on 31 May 1916. First hospitalized at the No 7 in November for two weeks with influenza, that December he was hospitalized for two weeks with acute bronchitis, and then in February of 1917 for ten days with tonsillitis. On 21 May Robert was granted one Good Conduct Badge, and in June he was granted a ten day leave, returning to duty on the 19th. In mid July of 1918 Robert was granted a two week leave. In late September of 1918 he was once again admitted to the hospital, spending a week recovering from pharyngitis. In mid March of 1919 he was granted a two week leave in France. With the end of the war Robert left Г‰taples for England on 31 May 1919, and arrived in Halifax on 8 July aboard the Olympic. He was discharged from service in Montreal on demobilization 12 July, intended residence given as Lachine.

Robert’s brother William enlisted at Valcartier in September of 1914, serving overseas for the most part as Sergeant with the 13th Battalion. Sustaining a gunshot wound to the leg in mid June of 1916, after recuperating and granted a furlough to Canada, he was struck of strength on compassionate grounds on 11 January 1917 in Montreal.

At the time of the 1921 census Robert was living with his parents and siblings Bessie and John in Lachine. On 7 June 1924 in the St Andrew Presbyterian Church in Lachine, he married Helen Borland Beattie. Born on 12 December 1899 in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Helen was the daughter of David Beattie and Mary Ann Fadgean. By the time of the 1911 census her family was also living in Lachine. At the time of the marriage Robert was working as an accountant. However, the marriage failed, with Helen later marrying Harold Gowne Thorpe in 1935.

At some point Robert moved to Kenora, Ontario, joining the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion on 10 January 1942. It appears that he later moved back to Quebec, with a Robert McNicol, chief accountant, and his wife Rose Anne living in the Jacques Cartier-Lasalle area of Montreal for Voters lists from 1957 to 1963. Further trace of Robert was not found, his death and final resting place unknown. According to an online family tree, it appears that his father William died in 1929 and mother Mary in 1949, both in Montreal, his brother Peter in 1979 in Auckland, New Zealand, brother William in 1952 in Kearney, New Jersey in the States, and John in 1965 in Toronto.

By Judy Stockham

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