|Date of Birth||November 2, 1887|
|Place of Birth||Arnprior, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Irene Barr, wife, 322 1st Street North, Kenora, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||mill hand|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Forestry Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||December 21, 1914|
|Age at Enlistment||27|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||August 2, 1942|
|Age at Death||54|
|Buried At||Lake of The Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
According to his attestation papers Donald Edward Barr was born on 2 November 1887 in Arnprior, Ontario. Both of his parents James and Agnes (née Dewar) Barr were from the area and had married in Arnprior in 1881. By the 1891 Canada census the family was living in Pine Creek, Alberta where James was listed as a farmer. By the 1901 Canada census the family had moved back to Ontario and was living in McNab, Renfrew where James was working as a carpenter millwright. Children born to the family were James (abt 1883), Bernice (abt 1885), Donald, John (abt 1889), Stewart (abt 1891), Archibald Crawford (abt 1894), and Melford McIntyre (abt 1896). By the 1911 Canada census James, Agnes, and the three youngest children had moved to Vancouver, British Columbia.
At some point Donald moved to Kenora, Ontario where he gained employment with the Canadian Pacific Railway as a trainman/brakeman. On 15 March 1911, in Kenora, he married Irene Caroline Easterbrook. The daughter of James and Carrie (née Fleming) Easterbrook, the Easterbrook family had moved to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) before 1901 when James found work with one of the local mills. The 1911 Canada census found Donald, Irene, and baby James living at 631 Second Street South.
With occupation given as mill hand and his wife Irene as next of kin, Donald signed his attestation papers in Kenora on 21 December 1914 in Kenora. With blue eyes and light hair, he was twenty-seven years of age. The 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion had been raised in northern Ontario during the spring of 1915 with its headquarters in Port Arthur. Although the battalion was still training, Colonel Hay had been required to provide a draft of about 250 troops to act as reinforcements for the 1st and 2nd Divisions already in Europe. With the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 52nd Battalion, Private Donald Edward Barr embarked from Montreal aboard the Missanabie on 4 September 1915.
Once in England Donald was transferred to the 12th Battalion. In March of 1916 he was placed on command to the 10th Brigade Machine Gun Company and transferred to the Canadian Machine Gun Depot that June, recently qualifying in 2 Range Finding Course. Later that month he was on his way to France.
In December of 1916 Donald was posted to the Canadian Machine Gun Pool at Camiers and transferred to the 4th Canadian Machine Gun Company in March of 1917. On 13 April 1917 he was admitted to St Luke’s War Hospital in Halifax, Yorkshire, suffering from gastro enteritis. He was later transferred to the Summerdown Convalescent Hospital near Eastbourne in Sussex. Discharged in May of 1917 Donald was posted to the Canadian Forest Corps on July 9th. He was posted to District 3 the next month and then on to District 53. He was appointed Lance Corporal but reverted to the rank of Private. From there he served with District 51, 138 Company in Scotland. Granted a leave in early 1919 at Inverness, Donald later embarked for Canada on 14 May 1919.
Returning to Kenora, the Barr family was found living at 180 Second Street South, with family members of Donald and Irene, and children James, Edith (b abt 1915), Margaret (b abt 1916), and Bernice (b abt 1920). Also staying with the family was Irene’s mother Carrie. Donald was working as a trainman for the Canadian Pacific Railway.
It appears that the family unit disintegrated, with Irene and the children moving out west. A 1927 Millet, Alberta newspaper reported the arrival of Irene and children to the town to visit with her parents. An article of the next year reported that the family was still in town, and were being visited by Donald. Along with daughter Margaret, Irene was found on the 1940 Voters List for nearby Wetaskiwin.
Donald died on 2 August 1942 at the Kenora General Hospital. His obituary, mistakenly calling him Daniel, stated that he worked at the Canadian Pacific Railway Camps and also the Canadian Pacific Railway. No family members were mentioned. Donald is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. The Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion took part in his service.
At least two of Donald’s brothers enlisted during the war. Archibald signed his attestation papers on 7 September 1915 in Victoria, British Columbia. With the 47th Battalion he embarked from Montreal on the 13th of November aboard the Missanabie, returning to Canada on 13 June 1919 aboard the Olympic. Further details of his service are unknown. Melford Barr signed his attestation papers on 4 February 1916 in Vancouver with the 231st Battalion. However his name was not listed on the nominal roll of the battalion when it embarked for overseas.
by Judy Stockham