Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 19, 1899
Place of BirthOttawa, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs Elizabeth Craig, mother, 422 Tweed Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingTeamster
Service Details
Regimental Number2503828
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionCanadian Railway Troops Depot
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at Enlistment422 Tweed Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentApril 18, 1918
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 27, 1957
Age at Death58
Buried AtTranscona Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Craig, David Hill

David Hill Craig was born on 19 March 1899 in Ottawa, Ontario. His father John McFarlane Craig was from Paisley, Scotland while his mother Elizabeth Hill was from Ireland. The couple married during the month of August in 1886 at the Saint Andrew Presbyterian Church in Montreal, Quebec. Settling in the Ottawa area, at the time of the 1891 census John, Elizabeth and their children were living with John’s parents, with John Jr’s occupation given as miner although he would later work as a carpenter. Children born in Ottawa were Walter Robert (1887), Christina McFarlane (1889), John McFarlane (Jack) (1891), Ellen Hill (1894), Henry Hill (1896), David, Edna Adelaide (1902), and Wilhelmina (1905). Moving to the Winnipeg, Manitoba area, children born in Manitoba were Elizabeth Hill (1908), and Thomas Alfred (1911).

With occupation given as teamster and his mother Elizabeth in the Elmwood area of Winnipeg as next of kin, David enlisted in Winnipeg on 18 April 1918. With the 54th Draft of the Railway Construction Troops he arrived in England aboard the Waimana on 7 July 1918 and taken on strength with the Canadian Railway Troops Depot at Purfleet the same day. From late August to mid December he attended a Farriers course at Woolwich. During the course he was hospitalized with influenza for eleven days in the Brook War Hospital.

In January of 1919 David was given permission to marry and granted a leave. Registered during the first quarter of 1919 in Lewisham, London, he married May Birkhead. Although a birth record would be needed to confirm, May Simpson, the daughter of Eliza Alice Simpson, was born on 5 May 1899 in Rochdale, Lancashire. Registered in the second quarter of 1902 in Rochdale, her mother later married Ben Birkhead. At the time of the 1911 census May’s family was living in Rochdale where Ben was working as a engineer/iron turner, with May and subsequent children using the surname of Birkhead. With the end of the war, David and May arrived in Quebec aboard the Metagama on 3 June 1919, on their way to Winnipeg. David was discharged from service on demobilization on 6 June 1919 in Quebec.

David’s oldest brother Walter enlisted in February of 1917 in Winnipeg with the No 1 Section Skilled Employees, Canadian Railway Troops. Once overseas the unit was later redesignated as the 12th (Canadian) Light Railway Operating Company, Royal Engineers on 16 March 1917 and as No 58 Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company (Canadians) Royal Engineers on 7 April 1917. He later briefly served with the 13th Battalion, CRT. Walter married Hester Bull during the 3rd quarter of 1918 in the registration district of Romford in Essex. They returned to Canada in August of 1919. David’s brother Jack was drafted under the Military Service Act and served overseas with the 5th Battalion, Canadian Engineers during the last months of the war. His brother Henry was also drafted and after being given a leave, was later discharged from service in Winnipeg in early January of 1919.

Although his obituary later said that David began working for the Canadian National Railway as a fireman in 1920 and moved to the Transcona area of Winnipeg the next year, according to the 1921 census David, May, and their one year old son Leslie Hill were living in the Elmwood area where David was working as a teamster. Moving to Transcona, David first worked as a fireman for the railway, later retiring as a locomotive engineer in March of 1957. The couple gave birth to two more sons, David Glen and Harry.

David died on 27 November 1957 in St Joseph’s Hospital in Kenora, Ontario. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife May, sons Leslie, Glen, and Harry, and two grandchildren. He was also survived by sisters Christina (William) Stilwell of Shuswap Lake, British Columbia (d 1963 in Vancouver), Ellen (A) Carter of St Clair Shores, Michigan (d 1986 in Mount Clemens, Michigan), and Edna (Laurence) Toby of Victoria, BC (d 1974), and brothers Walter (d 1960 in Winnipeg) and Thomas of Winnipeg (d 1983 in Victoria, BC), Henry of Kenora (d 1975), and Jack of Seven Sisters Falls, Manitoba (d 1980 in Beausejour, Manitoba). He was predeceased by his sister Elizabeth in 1916, mother Elizabeth in 1925, father John in 1929, all in Winnipeg, and sister Wilhelmina (Harry) Almond in 1949 in Windsor, Ontario. David’s wife May later married John Robert Brown in 1961. Born in England in 1902, John worked for the Canadian National Railway Stores Department. Living in Transcona, his wife Mathilda had died in 1958. May passed away on 18 November 1982 in the Park Manor Personal Care Home in Winnipeg. David and May are interred in the Transcona Cemetery on the outskirts of Winnipeg.

By Judy Stockham

Grave marker photograph by Donald Schmidt,

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