Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 23, 1894
Place of BirthKeewatin, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinThomas Andrew Shaw, Father
Trade / Callingclerk
Service Details
Regimental Number2650666
Service Record Link to Service Record
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Pay Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJune 30, 1916
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 28, 1977
Age at Death82
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Shaw, Allan

Allan Shaw was born on August 23, 1894 to Mabel Jessie (Waugh) and Thomas Andrew Shaw, in Keewatin, Ontario. Thomas, born in Kemptville, Ontario, and Mabel, in nearby Oxford Mills, had married in the RM of South Dufferin in Manitoba in May of 1890. Children born in Manitoba were Donald (1891) and Bessie (1893). Moving to Keewatin, Thomas was the last factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company post which closed in August of 1894. Although neither a death nor a burial record could be found, it appears that Mabel Jessie died as Thomas married Ida Ermine Travis in December of 1897 in nearby Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora).

In the 1901 census, Father Thomas was a ‘carharter’, although this may be a mis-translation, which is difficult to read in the original. Two more members had been born into the family, Mabel (1898) and Edith (1900). Mabel Jessie’s mother was living with the family. By 1911, a new baby Marion (1910) had been born. Father was listed as a merchant, Donald as a scaler, Bessie as a teacher, and Allan as a labourer in a sawmill.

Although he enlisted in 1916, after a month Allan was rejected due to flat feet. As the need for soldiers increased, he was conscripted in 1918, and the term ‘naturally flat feet’ was attached to his attestation papers. With the 76th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, he sailed for England on the S.S. Lapland from Halifax on February 2, 1918, arriving in Glasgow on the 25th.

Once in England, in May Allan came down with a serious case of Influenza and was sent to the Canadian General Hospital, Bramshott. For two weeks he was delirious and ‘seriously ill’, but  by May 18th was taken off the seriously ill list. His medical history notes show that he once again was ill in August, with pneumonia, and was being observed for ‘mumps.’ He was discharged on October 11th. He seems to have spent the remainder of his service in the Canadian Army Pay office, until he was demobilized from Witley, Wing ‘J’, in August 1919. He sailed in September on the S. S. Minnekahda to Halifax, and was discharged on September 18th, 1919.

Once back in Keewatin, Allan was found in the 1921 census living with his stepmother and siblings Donald, Mabel, Marion, and Ronald who had been born in 1912. He was working as a packer at the local flour mill. In October of 1925, in Winnipeg, Allan married May Beatrice Symonds. Born in Goderich, Ontario, May was the daughter of Charles and Mary Frances (Hart) Symonds; the family had moved to Keewatin when May was a child. Allan and May gave birth to a daughter Ramona June in 1927. Over the years Allan was employed in the woods industry. He served on the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, helped to organize the Red Cross Blood Donor Clinic in Kenora, and the Kenora Bush Search and Rescue Unit. He authored a book entitled ‘The Days Between’ that spoke of the history of the town of Keewatin in the early 1900’s. Allan was a member of the Kenora branch of the Canadian Legion.

Predeceased by his daughter Ramona Osborne in 1963 and his wife May Beatrice in 1967, Allan died in Winnipeg on 25 Mar 1977. He is buried in the family plot in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. At the time of his death he was survived by his sister Bessie, brother Ronald and two grandchildren.

After the war the town of Keewatin held a demonstration in August of 1919 to honour their sons and daughters that had served during the war.  Among them was Allan, receiving a medal and badge from the mayor.

by Penny Beal

Photographs of Allan courtesy of Ron Larman, nephew, Family Album.


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