Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 18, 1892
Place of BirthBruce County, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Jesse Giles (mother), Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingTeamster
Service Details
Regimental Number198266
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion4th Canadian Divisional Train
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentNovember 17, 1915
Age at Enlistment23
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19541019
Age at Death62
Buried AtBrookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Giles, Robert Edward

Driver Robert Edward Giles was the only son of Jesse Adam Giles and Mary Ann McDonald. Jesse was from London, England and Mary Ann was born in Proton, Ontario. They were married in 1890 in Port Elgin, Bruce County, Ontario and Robert was born on 18 January 1892 in the neighbouring township of Saugeen. He had two younger sisters, Greta and May. Jesse was a farmer and he died of tuberculosis in 1903, at age 36. Sometime after that Mary Ann and the children moved to Kenora, Ontario and when the 1911 census was taken they were living there with Mary Ann’s two brothers, John and William McDonald, her sister Annie and their elderly parents.

The war entered its second year in August 1915 and Robert enlisted in Kenora late that fall. He was 23 years old and working as a teamster at the time. He signed up on 17 November with the 94th Overseas Battalion, which was being recruited in towns throughout northwestern Ontario. The battalion was based in Port Arthur and the Kenora recruits were sent there in May 1916 to join the rest of the unit. They left for Quebec on 9 June and spent a short time at the military camp in Valcartier, north of Quebec City. The troops embarked for England on the SS Olympic at the end of the month, arriving in Liverpool on 6 July. A week later Robert was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion.

In November Robert attended a Transport Drivers School and in January 1917 he was transferred to the Canadian Army Services Corps Training Depot. He was sent to France that summer, disembarking at Le Havre on 11 July. At the end of July he was attached to the 4th Canadian Divisional Train and he served with them for almost two years. Divisional Trains were part of the Canadian Army Service Corps, which was responsible for the transport and supply of food, ammunition, equipment, clothing and supplies for the Canadian troops. In March 1918 Robert had two weeks leave in Paris.

After the Armistice the 4th Divisional Train moved into Belgium and stayed there until the following spring. In February 1919 Robert had two weeks leave in the UK. He arrived back in England with his unit on 9 May and four weeks later he was on his way home to Canada. He embarked from Southampton on 6 June on the HMT Olympic and arrived in Halifax six days later. He was discharged on demobilization on 16 June in Toronto, with his intended residence listed as Kenora.

In February 1920 Robert moved to Detroit, Michigan, where a friend of his was living. When the 1930 census was taken he was still in Detroit, single, boarding with a Mrs. Crozier and working as a truck driver for a cartage company. He passed away on 19 October 1954, probably in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is buried in the Field of Honour at Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg.

By Becky Johnson

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