Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 9, 1894
Place of BirthGilbertstown, Donegal
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMr J Boyd, father, Gilbertstown, Donegal, Ireland
Trade / CallingMiller
Service Details
Regimental Number2293310
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionLord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Cavalry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentL.S.H.(R.C.)
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 10, 1917
Age at Enlistment22
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 22, 1952
Age at Death58
Buried AtHillside Cemetery, Medicine Hat, Alberta

Boyd, Robert Hugh

According to his attestation papers, Robert Hugh Boyd was born on 9 April 1894 in Gilbertstown, Dunkineely, Donegal, Ireland while his obituary gives the date as 6 July 1894. Farmers, his parents were John and Eliza(beth) (née Shaw) Boyd. As found in the 1901 Ireland census household members were John and Eliza, John’s brother Andrew, and children Catherine (16), Margaret (14), Martha (12), William (10), Daniel (8), Robert  (6), Fanney (4), and Mary (1). Another son, Andrew, was born to the family in 1902.

In early May of 1911 Robert immigrated to Canada, leaving Londonderry aboard the Scotian on the 8th. He was joining his brother Daniel who was already living in Keewatin, a community in northwestern Ontario near Kenora. Daniel had arrived on the Ionian in October of 1910. In the day Keewatin was a huge drawing card for immigrants as employment was readily available with the Lake of the Woods Milling Company in its various departments. The 1911 Canada census found Robert, Daniel, and their uncle William Boyd (age 40) boarding in the John Cassels household along with relatives from back home, Thomas and James McCullagh. Robert and Daniel were working as teamsters for the Lake of the Woods Milling Company in Keewatin.

With occupation listed as miller Robert signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 10 February 1917, giving his father back in Ireland as next of kin. Fair-haired with gray eyes he had completed his medical examination at Tuxedo Park, Winnipeg on the 6th. He gave his present address as Lord Strathcona’s Horse. He embarked from Canada on the 26th of March aboard the Missanabie.

Once in England Robert was temporarily posted to the Canadian Machine Gun Depot at Crowborough before being transferred to the Canadian Reserve Calvary Regiment on the 17th of July. By the end of October he was in France as reinforcement for Lord Strathcona’s Horse. In late April of 1918 Robert was appointed Lance Corporal and was on command for a course of instruction at the Canadian Corps HR Gun School, returning on the 9th of May. In July Robert was hospitalized in the No 3 Australian General Hospital in Abberville for a week with influenza. In October he sustained a gunshot wound to the leg (slight) and admitted to the No 48 Casualty Clearing Station. In November he was granted a twenty-one day special leave to the UK, rejoining the unit on the 8th of December. A week later he was granted another leave, fourteen days to the UK, but it was mid January before he rejoined the unit from the leave. In March of 1919 Robert was promoted to Corporal. He returned to England in mid April and arrived back in Canada at Halifax on the 28th of May, discharged a few days later.

After the war Robert returned to Keewatin and was found in the 1921 Canada census living with brother William (incorrect age given on census), Thomas McCullagh, and Archibald Hanlon. With occupation given as flour miller, on 17 September 1924, at the United Church in Keewatin, Robert married Velma Irene House. Velma, born in Keewatin, was the daughter of James and Amelie (née Kitchen) House. At the time of her father’s death in 1936, James was a foreman at the mill.

Robert and Velma moved to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba in 1936 and then  a few years later  to Medicine Hat, Alberta as transfers with the  Lake of the Woods Milling Company  as they had operations in both cities. They gave birth to one child, a son James.  Robert died on 22 November 1952 in Medicine Hat, followed by his wife Velma on 6 December 1983. They are interred in the Hillside Cemetery, Medicine Hat. Over the years Robert was a member of the Canadian Legion, the Independent Order of Oddfellows of Keewatin, and the board of stewards of Westminster United Church in Medicine Hat. He took a keen interest in sports.

The town of Keewatin held a demonstration in August of 1919, honouring all who served during the war with badges and medals. Among the recipients was Robert Boyd. His name is also included on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour plaque and the Town of Keewatin Roll of Honour.

by Judy Stockham

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grave marker photograph by CrabbyMuffin on


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