Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 5, 1899
Place of BirthDauphin, Manitoba
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinEdward Robertson, father, Keewatin, Ontario
Trade / CallingMiller
Service Details
Regimental Number1250347
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion2nd Divisional Ammunition Company
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Field Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKeewatin, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMay 3, 1917
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 11, 1967
Age at Death68
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Robertson, Cecil Edwin

Cecil Edwin Robertson was born on 5 March 1899 in Dauphin, Manitoba. His parents Edmund John and Edith May (née Percy) Robertson were from Lavant, Lanark, Ontario, marrying in nearby Poland in June of 1893. By 1901 Edmund, Edith and Cecil had moved to Goat Road in Keewatin, Ontario where Edmund found work in the Lake of the Woods Milling Company in Keewatin. Children added to the family in Keewatin were Martha Marguerite (Rita) in 1901, Andrew Raymond (1904), Luella Isabel (1907), Percy Harold (1910), and Lydia (abt 1914). Once old enough, Cecil was also employed by the flour mill.

With occupation given as miller and his father Edmund as next of kin, Cecil signed his attestation papers with the 76th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery in Winnipeg on 3 May 1917. Mobilized at Winnipeg with recruitment in Manitoba, the 76th was formed to provide artillery reinforcement overseas. Later that month, along with 12 other local lads, Cecil passed through Kenora by train on the way to Petawawa, Ontario to train before going overseas. Cecil embarked from St John, New Brunswick aboard the Missanabie on 19 December 1917.

Only 18 years of age, once in England Cecil was attached to the Reserve Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery at Witley. In mid February of 1918 he was admitted to the #12 Canadian General Hospital at Bramshott with a case of the mumps and was not discharged until mid March.

Turning 19 in April, Cecil went overseas in May of 1918 and was taken on strength with the Canadian Artillery Pool in France on the 8th and then on to the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp on the 13th. In June Cecil was posted to the 2nd Divisional Ammunition Company, rank of Driver. In mid November Cecil became quite ill and was admitted first to the No 6 Canadian Field Ambulance on the 15th, then on to the No 57 Casualty Clearing Station before being admitted to the No 18 General Hospital in Camiers on the 24th. The diagnosis was influenza and bronchial pneumonia. By the end of December he had been invalided to England and admitted to the 1st West General Hospital in Liverpool. In February of 1919 he was transferred to the Military Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park in Epsom, with discharge on the 26th of March. Cecil embarked from Liverpool for Canada aboard the Caronia on 14 May 1919.

Once back in Canada Cecil returned to the family home in Keewatin and work at the flour mill. On 16 January 1934, in Keewatin, he married Margaret Lillian Calder. Born on 25 May 1912 in Letellier, Manitoba, Margaret was the daughter of Donald Calder and Elizabeth Kate Hayward. At the time of the marriage Margaret was working as a domestic in Keewatin. The couple went on to have two children, Clifford and Joyce. Cecil retired from the mill as a grinder in 1963. He was a member of St Andrew’s United Church in Keewatin.

Predeceased by his father Edmund in 1942 and his mother Edith in 1954, both in Keewatin, Cecil died on 11 July 1967 at the Kenora General Hospital. At the time he was survived by his wife Margaret, daughter Joyce (Stan) Bodnar of Fort William and son Clifford of Dryden. He was also survived by six grandchildren and sisters Rita Bovey of Winnipeg, Louella Newby of Nelson, British Columbia, and Lydia Demcoe of Detroit, Michigan as well as his brother Percy of Keewatin. Margaret later married Malcolm Arnott in 1970 and died on 3 November 1986 in Winnipeg. She is interred with Cecil in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

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 Cecil would have been presented with a medal and badge by the mayor. He is commemorated for his service on the  the Town of Keewatin Roll of Honour, the Lake of the Woods Milling Company WW1 Roll of Honour plaque, and the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country Honour Roll.

by Judy Stockham


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