Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 23, 1891
Place of BirthDalrymple, Aryrshire
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinJanet Armour (wife), 804 William Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingTeamster
Service Details
Regimental Number420822
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion16th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 18, 1915
Age at Enlistment23
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 21, 1957
Age at Death65

Armour, Thomas

Lance Corporal Thomas Armour enlisted in February 1915 and served overseas for almost four years. His wife and baby daughter moved to Scotland during the war and they all returned to Canada in March 1919.

Thomas was born on 23 November 1891 in Dalrymple, Ayrshire, Scotland. His parents, Thomas Armour Sr. and Jane Kennedy, were married in 1886 in the nearby town of Girvan. They had ten children between 1887 and 1907: Nellie (born in Girvan), Robert, James, Thomas, Margaret, Mary, Anne, William and Henrietta (all born in Dalrymple) and Andrew (born in Maybole). Thomas (Jr.) and James immigrated to Canada in 1911 and the rest of the family followed a year later. They settled in the village of Keewatin in northwestern Ontario.

The war began in August 1914 and Thomas signed up in the neighbouring town of Kenora in December, when recruitment started for a third overseas contingent. After training with the local volunteers for about a month he went to Winnipeg where he enlisted in the 43rd Battalion (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) on 18 February 1915. He was married in Winnipeg five days earlier, on 13 February. His wife, Janet Moonlight Roger, was from Aberdeenshire, Scotland and she’d been living in Canada for about three years. Thomas and Janet’s first child, daughter Eda, was born in Winnipeg.

The 43rd Battalion left for the east coast by train in late May, passing through Thomas’ hometown of Keewatin on the way. A large crowd gathered at the Kenora station to see the lads off. The battalion embarked from Montreal on the SS Grampian on 1 June, arriving in the UK eight days later. After just six weeks in England Thomas was sent to France and transferred to the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) with the rank of Acting Lance Corporal. The Canadian Corps spent that fall and winter in the Ypres Salient where the troops trained, formed work parties, had regular rotations in the front trenches and carried out raids on the German lines. In February 1916 Thomas had eight days leave and in June his battalion took part in the Battle of Mount Sorrel. Thomas’ wife moved back to Scotland that summer, arriving at the end of June with baby Eda. Her intended residence was 88 Moss Street, Keith, Banffshire, and she stayed there until the end of the war.

The Somme Offensive started on 1 July and in late August the Canadians left the Ypres Salient and moved south to the Somme area, where they relieved the Australians in the front lines. Thomas’ unit arrived near Albert on 1 September and they went into the trenches four days later. Their position was heavily shelled and the battalion suffered 400 casualties in just two days. Thomas was one of the casualties on 7 September, when he was hit in the left shoulder by shrapnel. The following day he was admitted to No. 9 General Hospital in Rouen and he was evacuated from there to the UK, where he would spend the rest of the war.

Thomas was in Edinburgh War Hospital for a month, from 12 September to 13 October, followed by a month at King’s Canadian Red Cross Convalescent Hospital in Bushey Park. When he was released he spent about three months at the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre and in March 1917 he was assigned to the Manitoba Regiment Depot. In November he was transferred to the 11th Reserve Battalion and he served with them for the next 15 months. During that time he took courses in musketry, bombing and rifle bombing. On 1 March 1919 he was transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion and a week later he was on his way back to Canada. He embarked on the RMS Minnedosa with Janet and Eda on 8 March, arriving in St. John, New Brunswick nine days later. He was discharged in St. John on 21 March. His brothers Robert, James and William also served overseas and they all returned home by May. Their youngest brother Andrew served in the Second World War.

After the war Thomas and his wife settled in Keewatin and he found work at a local flour mill. They had four more daughters, all born in Keewatin: Jean (1920, died as an infant), Isobel (1923), Jeanette (1925) and Daphne (1927). In 1929 Thomas and Janet moved to Los Angeles, California, where his brother James was living. Thomas worked as a packer in a flour mill. He passed away in Los Angeles on 21 May 1957, at age 65, and Janet died in Panarama City, California in 1985.

Thomas is commemorated on the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country 1914-18 honour roll.

By Becky Johnson

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