Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 1, 1891
Place of BirthGlasgow, Lanarkshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinEllen (Helen) Morton, 6 Mansfield Terrace, Springburn, Glasgow, Scotland
Trade / CallingTrainman
Service Details
Regimental Number439051
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Field Bakery
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Service Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentDecember 25, 1914
Age at Enlistment23
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 10, 1988
Age at Death97

Morton, Robert Paterson

Robert Paterson Morton was born on 1 May 1891 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. His father William was from Lesmahagow while his mother Helen (née Paterson) was from Tollcross, both in Lanarkshire. The couple had married in 1872 in Cadder. An engine fitter by trade, William and Helen  moved to nearby Glasgow soon after their marriage and gave birth to the following children, William, Helen, Elizabeth, Gilbert, Violet, Christina, and Robert.

Robert’s brother William JR was the first in the Morton family to immigrate to Canada, settling in Kenora, Ontario where he found work as a machinist with the Canadian Pacific Railway. Marrying before leaving Scotland, his wife Elizabeth, infant son William, his mother Helen, and Robert were all listed as passengers of the  Grampian that arrived in Halifax in April of 1908, destination given as Kenora. With occupation given as salesman with a clothing store, Robert was living with his brother William and family on School Street in Kenora for the 1911 census. He later gained employment with the CPR.

Robert signed his attestation papers in Kenora on 25 December 1914. With occupation given as trainman he had brown eyes and dark hair. Although a local newspaper report had him listed as going overseas with the 52nd Battalion that arrived in England in December of 1915, Robert’s service record shows he had left Montreal aboard the  Missanabie on 4 September 1915 with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 52nd Battalion.

Once in England Robert was transferred to the 27th Battalion, taken on strength in the field in late January of 1916. By July of 1916 he was transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps and would spend the remainder of the war with the 1st Field Bakery. He was awarded a Good Conduct Badge in January of 1917. Later that year he was granted a ten day leave and another one to the UK in  mid October  of 1918. By April of 1919 Robert was back in England, serving with the Canadian Army Service Corps at Seaford.

Having being granted permission to do so, Robert married Elizabeth Watson, daughter of the late William Watson and Ann (née Calder) Watson, on 21 May 1919 in the District of Partick in the burgh of Glasgow. Elizabeth’s occupation on the marriage registration was given as sewing machinist. Robert was struck off strength to Canada on 13 August 1919 while Elizabeth was found on the the passenger list of the Baltic that arrived in Halifax on 21 August 1919. The couple made their way to Kenora as Robert resumed employment with the CPR.

Early the next year, expecting their first child, Elizabeth wanted to return to Scotland. They arrived in Liverpool, England on 15 February 1920 aboard the Scandinavian. The couple gave birth to a daughter early that spring but all was not well with Elizabeth and she died of a massive infection on the 19th of April. Entrusting the care of the baby with relatives, Robert returned to Canada at the end of May.

On 22 January 1921 in Toronto Robert married Elizabeth Bridger, daughter of Thomas and Annie Elizabeth (née Dorman) Bridger. According to the marriage record Lizzie was born in Folkestone, Kent although census documents show the family living in nearby Kenardington. She was the youngest of the family’s nine children. Lizzie had arrived in Canada aboard the Metagama in May of 1920. After the marriage the couple returned to the Kenora area and gave birth to five children, two daughters, Kathleen and Barbara, and three sons, Robert, Roderick, and Edward. Robert SR continued to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway, eventually moving to East Kildonan, Winnipeg. He retired in 1956, with his last  trip as a conductor on the Lakehead/Winnipeg weekly local.

Predeceased by his wife Lizzie in 1974, Robert Paterson Morton died on 10 March 1988 in Toronto, having moved  there to live with his daughter Kathleen. Most of Robert’s children also served for their country with son Robert serving in WW2 in the Forestry Corps, later joining the Winnipeg Rifles after D Day to fight in Belgium and France. Son Edwin served for two years in the US Army while daughter Barbara served in the Women’s Army Corps during WW2. Son Rod was a career soldier in the Canadian Army, serving in technical areas in the early days of satellite control.

by Judy Stockham

Morton-Robert-Paterson-2 Morton-Robert-Paterson-3 Morton-Robert-Paterson-4 Morton-Robert-Paterson-5

photograph of Robert courtesy of the family

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