Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 31, 1892
Place of BirthArbroath, Forfarshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMinnie Elliott (mother), Montreal, Quebec
Trade / CallingHotel Clerk
Service Details
Regimental Number424765
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Depot Battalion, Alberta Regiment
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentDauphin, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 4, 1915
Age at Enlistment22
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 18, 1959
Age at Death66
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
Plot24E-32-4, Hush Incline Block

Elliott, Richard Hingston

Acting Sergeant Richard Hingston Elliott enlisted in February 1915 and served for more than four years in Canada, England and France. He was wounded at the Battle of Mount Sorrel but he survived the war and returned home in September 1919.

Richard grew up in Arbroath, Forfarshire, Scotland, one of eight children born to Arthur Hingston Elliott and his wife Williamina (Minnie) Barrie. Arthur worked in the insurance business and he was originally from London, England. His wife Minnie was born and raised in Arbroath, a maritime town on Scotland’s east coast. They were married in 1889 and they had six sons (Arthur, Richard, George, Harry, Edmond and William) and two daughters (Mabel and Emma), all born in Arbroath between 1890 and 1900.

When they were still in their teens Richard and his older brother Arthur immigrated to Canada. They arrived in October 1906 on the SS Sicilian and settled in Montreal. Their brother George joined them in 1908 and their mother and brother Harry came in 1910. Some of Richard’s family stayed in Montreal but he moved west to the prairies and by the time he enlisted, six months after the war started, he was working as a hotel clerk in Dauphin, Manitoba.

Richard enlisted in Dauphin on 4 February 1915, signing up with the 45th (City of Brandon) Battalion. That spring they trained at the exhibition grounds in Winnipeg and in June they moved to Camp Sewell, a military camp just east of Brandon. After spending the summer and fall at Sewell (later renamed Camp Hughes) they returned to Winnipeg for the winter. The battalion left the city by train on 8 March 1916, on the first leg of their journey overseas. They embarked from Halifax on the SS Lapland on 17 March and arrived in England eight days later.

After six more weeks of training Richard was transferred to the 49th (City of Edmonton) Battalion and sent to France. The 49th was in the 3rd Canadian Division and that spring the Canadians were in the Ypres Salient, holding the front line between Hooge and St. Eloi. When Richard joined his new unit in early May they had just been relieved after an eight-day rotation in the trenches, where they suffered over 50 casualties. The next two weeks were spent in brigade support with the battalion providing daily work parties of several hundred men. On 22 May they were back in the trenches, this time for nine days. The unit was relieved on 31 May and went into divisional reserve but their rest would be a short one.

The Battle of Mount Sorrel started on the morning of 2 June with a massive bombardment of the Canadian lines followed by the explosion of underground mines. Trenches and equipment were destroyed and some companies were almost wiped out. After the barrage German infantry advanced and captured Mount Sorrel and nearby areas. A counter-attack was planned for 3 June and along with other units the 49th Battalion was ordered to proceed to Sanctuary Wood. The men left Ypres around midnight and during their advance they faced heavy rifle, machine gun and artillery fire. Some trenches had been destroyed in the barrage and others were congested with troops and equipment. The men made it to Sanctuary Wood but it was well after dawn on 3 June, and some of them were caught in the open with little protection. The entire area was shelled that day causing heavy casualties. The battalion held its position until being relieved at midnight on 4-5 June, suffering 375 casualties over the two days

Richard was one of his unit’s casualties on 3 June, with a severe shell or gunshot wound to his right hip and lower back. He was evacuated to No. 11 General Hospital in Camiers on 4 June and five days later he was admitted to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, England. Over the next two months he was a patient at three other hospitals in Bromley, Epsom and Shorncliffe. On 21 August he was well enough to be discharged to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre.

Richard spent the rest of the war serving with several different units in England, some of that time as a clerk. From August 1916 to October 1917 he was with the Adjutant’s Staff, the 2nd Canadian Corps Depot, the Alberta Regiment Depot and the 9th Reserve Battalion. In October 1917 he was assigned to the 21st Reserve Battalion and he served with them for 20 months, getting promoted to Acting Corporal in October 1918. The Armistice ended hostilities in November but it would be months before all of the Canadian troops returned home. In June 1919 Richard was transferred to the Alberta Regiment and in August he was promoted to Acting Sergeant with the Permanent Cadre.   He finally returned to Canada that fall, arriving in Halifax on the SS Regina on 19 September 1919. He was discharged in Winnipeg on 23 September with his intended residence listed as Dauphin.

His brother George Hingston Elliott had enlisted in September 1915 and he was killed at the Battle of Passchendaele while serving with a machine gun unit. Their brother Harry Hingston Elliott also enlisted and he survived the war, returning to Montreal in June 1919. After the war their mother Minnie moved back to the UK and made her home in London, England, where her husband and daughters were living.

When the 1921 census was taken Richard was staying at the King George Hotel in Kamsack, Saskatchewan and working as a trainman for the CNR. Within a couple of years he had moved to Kenora, Ontario where he worked in the bakery business, first as an employee then as the owner of a bakery. He married a local schoolteacher, Ruby Isabella Jackson, on 21 July 1925. They had one son and three daughters: Richard Jr., Esther, Ruby and Carol. Richard was very active in community affairs including the Kenora Board of Trade, the winter carnival committee, hockey and rowing clubs and the Kinsmen and Rotary Clubs. He was also a member of the Kenora branch of the Canadian Legion and the Lake of the Woods Shrine Club.

Richard died in the Kenora General Hospital on 18 April 1959, at age 66. His wife survived him by twenty years, passing away in 1979, and they are both buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery.

By Becky Johnson

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