Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 28, 1889
Place of BirthFarewell, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWilliam Allen, father, Grandiew, Manitoba
Trade / CallingBank Clerk
Service Details
Regimental Number553005
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion34th Fort Garry Horse
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Cavalry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentSt Regis Hotel, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentApril 27, 1916
Age at Enlistment26
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 4, 1966
Age at Death76
Buried AtColwood Burial Park, Colwood, British Columbia

Allen, Martin Forbes

Martin Forbes Allen was born on 28 October 1889 in the village of Farewell, Township of Arthur in Wellington North, Ontario. His parents were William and Marjory (née McIntosh) Allen. Over the years William worked as a shopkeeper, farmer, and carpenter/builder. Children born to the family were Ellen Jane (1879-1879), Lodvick Richard (1881-1925), Rachel William (1883-1973), Charles Morrison (1885-1947), John William (1887-1963), Martin, Joseph Alfred (1892-1985), and George Robert (1895-1946). By the 1901 Canada census the family had moved to Manitoba and were found farming in Aberdeen in the District of Marquette. In 1906 they were in Fork River in the District of Dauphin, and by 1911 had settled in Grandview.

Although he gave his address as the St Regis Hotel in Winnipeg when he signed his attestation papers in the city on 27 April 1916, Martin had been working as a bank clerk for the Bank of Ottawa in Keewatin in northwestern Ontario. With the 4th Draft of the 34th Fort Garry Horse, Martin arrived in England aboard the SS Northland on 25 September 1916.

‘In 1914, the regiment mobilized for the First World War. After being shifted between various roles, the Fort Garry Horse finally became part of the newly formed Canadian Cavalry Brigade in February 1916. In 1917, the Fort Garrys participated in a number of engagements, most notably as the nucleus of a particularly devastating raid against a German trench at Ascension Wood on the night of 8/9 July. The raid was such a triumph that it served as a model for other later trench raids and was studied by a number of Indian and British officers because of its success. But the Fort Garrys’ most famous action in 1917 was during the Battle of Cambrai in November. After a number of setbacks and communications problems, ‘B’ Squadron made a lone attack through German lines. But the squadron took serious casualties, including its commander. Lieutenant Harcus ‘Jock’ Strachan took charge of the squadron, leading it to silence a German artillery battery and inflict serious casualties on the enemy before bringing its survivors back to friendly territory, an act that earned him the Victoria Cross.’ (

‘The regiment continued to serve in the Calvary Brigade, taking part in the important actions of Moreuil and Rifle Wood in March and April 1918. In October 1918, the Regiment took part in the battle of Gattigny Wood, members earning 21 decorations for this action. The attack was judged by the commander of the Cavalry Corps, General Kavanagh, as the best cavalry action carried out by any cavalry unit on any front during the war. After the war ended in November 1918, the regiment did a short period of garrison duty in Belgium and came home to Winnipeg in 1919 under command of Lt. Col. H.I. Stevenson DSO.’ (

Once in England Martin was taken on strength with the Fort Garry Horse Reserve Regiment until transferring to the Canadian Reserve Calvary Regiment in March of 1917. In late April he arrived in France, joining the Fort Garry Horse on the 1st of May.

In early October of 1917 Martin was admitted to the No 12 Stationary Hospital at St Pol suffering from myalgia, with discharge on the 23rd. He was awarded a Good Conduct Badge on 7 April 1918. That July he was granted a ten day leave to the UK followed by a fourteen day leave in late October. In April of 1919 Martin returned to England, and embarked for Canada from Liverpool on the 21st of May.

After the war Martin returned to Grandview, found on the 1921 Canada census living on his own and working as a banker. By 1940 he was living in nearby Dauphin with his widowed mother, occupation given as gentleman on a voters list. In 1945 Martin moved to British Columbia, first living in Chemainus before retiring to Langford/Colwood in 1960.

Predeceased by his father William in 1932 and his mother Marjory in 1942, both in Grandview, Martin died on 4 March 1966 in the Veterans Hospital in Saanich, British Columbia. He is interred in the Colwood Burial Park in Colwood.

Martin’s brother Robert signed his attestation papers in Stratford, Ontario in early November of 1914, going overseas in April of 1915 aboard the SS Grampian as a Private with the 18th Battalion. He returned to Canada aboard the Grampian in February 1919, rank of Corporal.

The Town of Keewatin held a demonstration in August of 1919 to honour those from Keewatin who had served during the war. If he attended Martin would have been presented with a medal and badge by the mayor. He is commemorated for his service on the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country Honour Roll housed at the Keewatin Legion and on the ScotiaBank WW1 Roll of Honour.

by Judy Stockham

photos of Martin: courtesy of Beverley Durston
obituary: courtesy of Mike Melen
grave marker photo: Gayle L,

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