Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 13, 1892
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWilliam A Weir, father, 511 Wardlaw Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental NumberNA
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionNursing Sisters
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Medical Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at Enlistment511 Wardlaw Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentMay 25, 1917
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 29, 1990
Age at Death98
Buried AtMountain View Cemetery, Vancouver, British Columbia
PlotJONES/*/41R/004R/0003 (43)

Weir, Jessie Helen

Jessie Helen Weir was born on  13 August 1892 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. Her father William Anderson Weir was from Glasgow, Scotland and had immigrated to Canada in 1883. Her mother Josephine Van Felson was born in Quebec City where the couple married in 1889. The marriage registration gave William’s occupation as employee of the Imperial Bank in Toronto.

Shortly after the marriage William and Josephine moved to Fergus to manage the town’s Imperial Bank. Their first child, son George Patrick, was born in Fergus in 1890. In 1891 the family relocated to Rat Portage, once again to manage the Imperial Bank. Along with Jessie, children born to the family in Rat Portage were Wilhelmina Emily (1895), Arthur Van Felson (1898), James William (1900), and Alice Mabel (1903).  In 1905 the family moved to Quebec and then on to Winnipeg, Manitoba  in 1910 where William had secured the position of manager  of the Sterling Bank. In 1916 he was appointed Secretary of the Western subsection of the Canadian Bankers Association and manager of the Winnipeg Clearing House, a position he held until his retirement in 1940. Along with her parents and siblings Wilma, Arthur, and James, Jessie was found living on Wardlaw Avenue in Winnipeg in the 1916 census, her occupation given as kindergarten teacher.

Later that year, answering the call to serve,  Jessie arrived in Liverpool, England  aboard the Grampian in September. Along with a number of other young ladies, her intended address was Devonshire House, Piccadilly and her occupation was listed as nurse. On 25 May 1917, Jessie, having completed her medical examination and found fit, signed her Officers’ Declaration Paper with the Department of the Canadian Medical Corps overseas at Westenhanger. On the form she gave seven months former military experience as a Voluntary Aid Detachment at the Base Hospital, Leicester.

Classified as Home Sister, Jessie’s first assignment was at the Canadian Red Cross Special Hospital in Buxton. Her rate of pay was $2.00/day plus a mess allowance of $1.00/day and a field allowance of 60 cents/day. In February of 1918 she was transferred to the No 10 Canadian General Hospital in Brighton and then in June to the Granville Canadian Special Hospital in Buxton. By November of 1918, Jessie was receiving $4.00/day.

As  a Nursing Sister, Jessie was next found on the passenger list of the Olympic that arrived in Halifax  in January of 1919. Newspaper articles in  Winnipeg reported that she had been ill and was invalided back to Canada.

In September of 1919, as part of his tour of Canada, the Prince of Wales visited the Tuxedo Military Hospital in Winnipeg. Jessie, along with two other nursing sisters, were guests that had been invited to meet with him at the hospital.  In October of 1919 Jessie headed out to Vancouver to enter the Vancouver General Hospital training school for nurses. The newspaper article reporting her departure said she had served overseas for two years as a VAD.

On 8 April 1920 Jessie married John Charles Short in Winnipeg (he is also listed in various records as Charles John). The first born  child of John William and Margaret (née McCarthy) Short, John Charles had been born and raised in Rat Portage/Kenora. His father, born in New Brunswick, and his mother, born in Quebec, were married in Rat Portage in 1889. John SR first worked as a steam boat captain on Lake of the Woods and later was involved in the lumbering industry. Jessie and Charles were found on the 1921 census for Vancouver, with Charles’ occupation transcribed as rigger. He was later found on a passenger list of the Lady Nelson that arrived in Boston from Trinidad in 1931, his occupation was listed as salesman and permanent residence as Vancouver. Over the years it appears that Charles was involved in the produce industry, eventually becoming manager of Evans Produce in Vancouver. Jessie and Charles gave birth to two sons, John and Peter.

Predeceased by her father William in 1946 and her mother Josephine in 1950, both in Winnipeg, her husband Charles in 1961, and likely all of her siblings, Jessie died on 29 August 1990 in Vancouver. Charles and Jessie are interred in the Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver. At the time of her death she was survived by her son John and wife Elaine, son Peter and wife Margaret, seven grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. Her death notice said she held the rank of Home Sister (Nursing) in the Canadian Army Medical Corps during the First World War, serving in the Canadian and British Hospitals in England.

Jessie’s brother George also served during the war, enlisting in Victoria, British Columbia and going overseas as a Lieutenant with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles. Once in France he was transferred to the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. He was awarded the Military Cross in June of 1917 and was later invalided back to Canada as unfit for service due to illness.

by Judy Stockham

obituary provided by Mike Melen
grave marker photograph by Bob Thomas,


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