Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 29, 1884
Place of BirthPort Arthur, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJulia Etta Brown (mother), Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingNone
Service Details
Regimental Number420487
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion43rd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentDecember 18, 1914
Age at Enlistment30
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 1, 1950
Age at Death66
Buried AtMountain View Cemetery, Vancouver

Brown, McKay

Private McKay Brown was the son of Matthew Brown and Julia Etta McElroy of Kenora, Ontario. Matthew was from Scotland and Julia was born in Ontario to Irish parents. They were married in St. Catharines, Ontario in 1882. Their first two children were born in Port Arthur: Matthew Silver (1882) and McKay (29 January 1884). By the summer of 1886 they were back in St. Catharines and a daughter, Jennie, was born there in June.

The family next moved to Rat Portage in northwestern Ontario. Matthew worked as a contractor and in Rat Portage he was also involved in the lumber industry. Sadly, daughter Jennie died of pneumonia in 1894, at age 8. Two more daughters were born in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Grace in 1897 and Ruby the following year. Grace died in 1904, at age 7, and their father passed away in 1907. Jennie, Grace and Matthew are buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

McKay was 30 years old when the war started and he enlisted later that same year, signing up in Winnipeg on 18 December 1914. Next of kin was his mother in Kenora and he said he had no trade or occupation. He joined the 43rd Battalion (Cameron Highlanders), a new unit that was being raised in Winnipeg as part of the third overseas contingent. After training in Manitoba over the winter the battalion headed east in the spring, passing through Kenora on 29 May 1915. McKay, however, had been held back in Winnipeg and he was discharged there on 31 May, his ‘services no longer required.’

Little else is known of McKay’s life. His brother Matthew and sister Ruby both moved to Alberta. In 1921 Julia and Ruby were living with Matthew and his family in the village of Langdon, just east of Calgary. In the late 1930s McKay moved to Vancouver and worked as a bridgeman. He passed away in the Vancouver General Hospital on 1 September 1950, at age 66. He was unmarried and the informant on his death registration was his sister Ruby (Mrs. Hall) of Calgary. McKay is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver.

By Becky Johnson

Grave marker photo taken by cemetery staff and uploaded to by Islandergirl with permission.


« Back To Soldier Biographies