|Date of Birth||November 12, 1891|
|Place of Birth||Rat Portage (Kenora), Ontario|
|Next of Kin||George Creighton, father, St George St, Augusta, Florida|
|Trade / Calling||Trainman|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||February 5, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||23|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||March 26, 1930|
|Age at Death||38|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Robert Bathgate Creighton was born on 12 November 1891 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His father George Creighton, the son of Irish immigrants, was from the Waltham area of Quebec and had married Margaret Gardner, the daughter of Scottish immigrants, who was from Dalhousie, Lanark, Upper Canada. By the mid 1970’s the couple was living in Fort Frances, Ontario where George was working in the lumber industry. Three children were born in Fort Frances, John William, Edith, and Mabel. By the 1880’s the family had relocated to Rat Portage as George began working for the Mather Lumber Company. A son George was born in 1883 followed by son James in 1885, James surviving for only six weeks. The family then operated a large dairy farm on the outskirts of the town. Sadly, Margaret and Edith died in 1888. The next year George married widow Margaret Paterson. Born in Elora, Ontario, Margaret was the daughter of James and Beatrice (née Ritchie) Gerrie. She had married James Paterson in 1875 in Elora and the couple had one child, a daughter Clementina. Robert’s mother too was to die young, passing away in 1903 in Rat Portage. Robert’s half brother, John William, died in 1909 in Kenora.
With occupation given as trainman and his father George in Augusta, Florida as next of kin, Robert signed his attestation papers in Kenora on 5 February 1915. He served with the 44th Battalion from March 1-15, and then transferred to the 52nd Battalion. However on 4 May 1915 Robert was discharged from service as medically unfit. By June Robert had travelled to Camp Sewell in Manitoba where he signed attestation papers on the 19th, using the alias of Robert Crayton and with a birth date of 12 October 1891. On this set of attestation papers he gave his sister Mabel Young of Kenora as next of kin and his occupation as brakeman. As a Private with the 44th Battalion Robert embarked from Halifax for overseas on 22 October 1915 aboard the Lapland. Kenora newspaper reports had mentioned that Robert was granted a furlough for a few days in July to come home to visit family and then another one in October spoke of him passing through Kenora by train on the first leg of the journey overseas.
In November 1915 Robert sprained his ankle and would spend time in various hospitals in England until discharged in February of 1916. That June Robert was transferred to the 51st Battalion and then back to the 44th in July, arriving in France in mid August. In mid September Robert again sprained an ankle and was admitted to the No 12 Canadian Field Ambulance on the 14th with discharge on the next day. However the ankle continued to cause grief and he was sent back to England to convalesce. Robert would return to France but was plagued with a series of health issues that saw him in various field ambulances and hospitals. From October 1916 until January 1917 he had problems with the interconnective tissue of a finger and in January and February of 1917 with abrasion of the right heel. In March he rejoined the unit in the field and was awarded a Good Conduct Badge on the 30th of June. That December he was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK, returning in mid January of 1918. In late August of 1918 Robert was admitted to the No 14 Canadian Field Ambulance suffering from boils on the buttocks, rejoining the unit in early October. In late November he was granted a fourteen day leave to the UK and while on leave he was admitted to the Etching Hills Hospital, discharged on 1 March 1919. After going through a series of transfers in England, Robert returned to Canada aboard the Cassandra, embarking on the 2nd of May. Robert was discharged from service on May 15th in Port Arthur, returning to Kenora.
On 3 December 1919, in Winnipeg, Robert married Elizabeth Kathleen Kelly. Born in Rat Portage in 1896, Kathleen was the daughter of Irish immigrants Henry and and Mary Kelly. Robert continued to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a conductor. The couple gave birth to a daughter, Peggy. Robert was a member of the Masonic Lodge and the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen.
Predeceased by his father George in 1925 in Knoxville, Tennessee, Robert died of pneumonia and heart failure on 26 March 1930 in Kenora. He was survived by his wife Kathleen, daughter Peggy, brother George of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and sisters Mabel (Allan) Young and Clementina (George) Rioch of Kenora. Kathleen stayed in Kenora and worked for a number of years for Breslauer and Warren Jewellers. She died in 1976 in Kenora. Robert and Kathleen are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. At the time of Kathleen’s death she was survived by daughter Peggy (Mrs Robert Beach) of Ottawa and five granddaughters. Robert’s sisters Clementina Rioch died in 1940 and Mabel Young in 1975, both in Kenora.
Living in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Robert’s brother George signed recruitment papers in Regina on 5 January 1918. His occupation as given as salesman and his next of kin as Mrs Allan Young of Kenora. George was also later found medically unfit for service and discharged that July. George died in 1932 and is interred in the Rosedale Cemetery in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
Robert is commemorated in Kenora on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.
by Judy Stockham