|Date of Birth||June 24, 1878|
|Place of Birth||Helensburg, Dunbartonshire|
|Next of Kin||James Black, father, Helensburg, Dunbartonshire, Scotland|
|Trade / Calling||Cook|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||May 8, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||36|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||December 7, 1947|
|Age at Death||69|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Peter Black was born on 24 June 1878 in Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, Scotland as confirmed by his birth registration. His father James Black, saddler, was from Coulter in Lanarkshire as was his mother Annie Duncan. The couple had married in Dunbartonshire. Peter was their first born child, followed by Mary Jane (1880), James (1985), Adam (1887), Christina (1889), and David (1890). For the 1881 Scotland census Peter was living with his uncle and aunt, William and Christina Crawford, in Kilmalcolm in Renfrewshire but by the next census was back in Helensburgh with his parents. By the 1901 Scotland census Peter was working as a mason apprentice. In 1906 he immigrated to Canada, arriving in Montreal aboard the Athenia on the 24th of September.
Peter signed his attestation papers with the 52nd Battalion on 8 May 1915 in Kenora, giving his birth year as 1880 perhaps to appear younger. He had been working as a cook, likely in nearby Minaki. He gave his father James back in Helensburgh as next of kin and listed 8 years of service with the 1st Dunbartonshire Rifles. Raised in northern Ontario during the spring of 1915, the 52nd Battalion had its headquarters in Port Arthur. As a Private with the battalion, Peter embarked from St John, New Brunswick aboard the California on 23 November 1915.
Once in England the battalion trained at Witley for six weeks under British instructors before moving on to Bramshott for two more weeks of training. By late February of 1916 the battalion was in France. In May of 1917 Peter was admitted to No 8 and 12 Field Ambulances as well as a convalescent depot, suffering from tonsillitis. He rejoined the unit later that month. He was granted a ten day leave to Paris in July, followed by a fourteen day leave to the UK in January of 1918. On the 29th, in Helensburgh, Peter married Margaret Duncan. Born in 1878, Margaret was the daughter of William and Mary (née Renwick) Duncan. She had been living with the Black family in Helensburgh for the 1901 Scotland census, occupation given as dressmaker. In December Peter was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK, able to spend Christmas with his new bride, followed by another leave in late January of 1919. By mid April Peter embarked for Canada, discharged from service due to demobilization on the 30th in Saint John, New Brunswick.
After the war Peter and Margaret were to make Minaki their home, Margaret arriving in St John’s, Newfoundland on 25 April 1919 aboard the Corsican. The couple were found on the 1921 census for Minaki where Peter was working as a cook in a sawmill. It appears that a short time later Peter began working for the Department of Lands and Forests in Minaki, listed as a fire ranger on a 1940’s voters list.
Predeceased by Margaret in 1938 in Kenora, Peter died on 7 December 1947 in Winnipeg. An article in the Kenora newspaper mistakenly reported that he died suddenly in Winnipeg on the 11th. Margaret and Peter are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora.
by Judy Stockham
Peter’s grave marker was installed in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in 2018 by the Last Post Fund.