Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 13, 1895
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Jean Ferguson, mother, Suite 18 Alhambra Apts, Balmoral Place, Winnipeg
Trade / CallingCivil Engineer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number622302
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionBrigade Headquarters
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Pay Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentApril 15, 1915
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 14, 1966
Age at Death71
Buried AtSanctuary Park Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario

Ferguson, Morven Seaforth

Morven Seaforth Ferguson was born on 13 January 1895 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His father David Thompson Ferguson, watchmaker and jeweller, was from Collingwood, Ontario while his mother Jean Anderson Nisbet MacKenzie was from Doon, a village that is now a suburb in Kitchener, Ontario. Jean’s father was a minister and had moved the family to Rat Portage around 1884 to serve at the Knox Presbyterian Church, marrying David and Jean on 10 February 1886. Children born to the couple, all in Rat Portage, were John Binning (1887-1936), Malcolm MacKenzie (1888-1935), Dorothy Madeline (1890-1893), Jessie Nisbet (1892-1987), Morven, Kenneth Gordon (1901-1980), and David Athol (1905-1985). Sadly, father David, on a trip to the west coast, ended his life by his own hand on a steamer between Vancouver and Victoria in September of 1911. Jean later married widower George Douglas, the family moving to Winnipeg.

With occupation first given as stenographer, later changed to civil engineer, and his mother Jean Ferguson in Winnipeg as next of kin, Morven signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 15 April 1915. As a Private with the 44th Battalion, Morven embarked from Halifax aboard the SS Lapland on October 22nd. That December he was admitted to the Military Hospital at Bramshott for a few days suffering from tonsillitis. In In February 1916 at Bramshott he was appointed Lance Corporal and then confirmed as Corporal that July before embarking for France in early August.

In April of 1917 Morven was awarded a Good Conduct Badge and in late July of 1917 he was granted a ten days leave to Paris, rejoining the 44th Battalion on August 8th. In late October Morven was admitted to the No 51 General Hospital in Etaples, and was out of service until rejoining the 44th in January of 1918. In May he reverted to the rank of Private at his own request, transferring to the Canadian Army Pay Corps. As paymaster clerk, he was appointed Acting Sergeant without pay while employed at Brigade Headquarters. Morven was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK in late September. In January of 1919 Morven was confirmed in the rank of Sergeant, proceeding to England in late April. With the end of the war Morven embarked for Canada on June 25th on the RMS Caronia and was discharged from service on July 10th in Winnipeg.

Morven stayed in Winnipeg after the war, found living on Langside Street with his siblings for the 1921 census. On 21 November 1931, in nearby Selkirk, Morven married school teacher Phyllis Olive Grace Leslie. Born in 1899 in the RM of Arthur, Manitoba, Phyllis was the only child of veterinarian William Leslie and Sarah Emma Demorest who had married in 1893 in Richmond, Ontario. Morven and Phyllis gave birth to two known children, Portia Leslie Theresa and William. It appears that Morven was the central Canada agent for Jans Kors Smit and Sons Ltd, an industrial diamond company with headquarters in Toronto. Morven and Phyllis maintained a summer home on Lake of the Woods/Kenora. At some point after 1940 the family moved to Toronto.

Morven died on 14 June 1966 in Toronto, Ontario. He was predeceased by his sister Dorothy in 1893, his father David in 1911, his mother Jean in 1933, all interred in Kenora, his brother Malcolm in 1935 in Moncton, and his brother John in 1936 in Winnipeg. He was survived by his wife Phyllis, daughter Portia Vickery, son William of Toronto, sister Jessie Landon of Toronto, brothers Kenneth of London and David Athol of Winnipeg. Morven was interred in the Veteran’s Plot in Sanctuary Cemetery in Toronto. Morven’s wife Phyllis died on 8 September 1972 in Toronto.

Morven’s brother Malcolm enlisted in Winnipeg in May of 1916 and went overseas with the 221st Battalion, serving in France with the 78th Battalion. Suffering a gunshot wound/shrapnel wound, he was invalided to Canada in the fall of 1918 and discharged as medically unfit that December.

by Judy Stockham


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