|Date of Birth||July 2, 1887|
|Place of Birth||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Next of Kin||George Victor Hastings (father), 55 Donald Street Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Barrister|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||September 23, 1914|
|Age at Enlistment||27|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Decorations and Medals||Military Cross|
|Date of Death||19320111|
|Age at Death||44|
|Buried At||St. John's Anglican Cathedral Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
Captain Victor John Hastings, MC, enlisted shortly after the war started and served for five years in Canada, Great Britain, France and Belgium. He was awarded the Military Cross in January 1916.
Victor was the oldest son of George Victor Hastings and Margaret Ferguson Anderson of Winnipeg, Manitoba. George was born in Quebec and Margaret in North Dumfries Township, Waterloo County, Ontario. They were married in North Dumfries in 1886. George’s mother was an Ogilvie and George had started working for the family firm, the Ogilvie Milling Company, at an early age. He spent some time in Winnipeg in the 1880s and became involved in the founding of the Lake of the Woods Milling Company. After marrying George and Margaret settled in Winnipeg and Victor was born there on 2 July 1887. He was followed by a daughter, Agnes Stuart, in 1889. A short time later the family moved to Keewatin, Ontario, where George was the superintendent of the Lake of the Woods Milling Company’s flour mill. A son, Walter, was born in Keewatin in 1890. They returned to Winnipeg after a few years and had a daughter, Margaret Helen, in 1896.
When the 1911 census was taken Victor was living at home in Winnipeg and employed as a student in a law office. He attended the University of Toronto and became a barrister and solicitor. By the time he enlisted he and a partner had formed their own firm, Myers and Hastings. The war started in August 1914 and Victor went to Valcartier, Quebec to enlist in the first Canadian contingent. He had his medical exam there on 20 September and signed his attestation paper three days later, getting commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 16th Battalion. His unit embarked for England on 30 September, leaving from Quebec City on the SS Andania. They were part of a convoy of 32 transport ships protected by a Royal Navy escort because of the danger from German submarines. The convoy arrived safely in Plymouth, England about two weeks later.
The Canadians trained on Salisbury Plain in southern England for several months before being sent to France in February 1915. In early April they moved to the Ypres Salient in Belgium and on 23 April Victor was appointed Temporary Captain. He was poisoned by drifting gas at the Second Battle of Ypres and later suffered neuresthania. He was granted three months leave to Canada, from 7 July to 7 October. He landed in Quebec on 25 July on the SS Missanabie and was given a big welcome when he arrived in Keewatin. He visited his parents at their summer home on Calypso Island, Lake of the Woods, before going on to Winnipeg. When he returned to England in October he was transferred to the 43rd Battalion and he served as officer in charge of embarkation. On 31 December he was Mentioned in Despatches and on 14 January 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross, which he had earned at Ypres.
By the summer of 1916 Victor was fit for front line service again and he arrived in France on 7 July. He rejoined the 16th Battalion and was appointed Temporary Major while commanding Company A, then reverted to Captain due to illness. The Canadians were in the Ypres Salient again that summer and Victor was wounded by an artillery shell on 3 August at Hill 60. He suffered injuries to his chest, face and arm. He was admitted to No. 7 Stationary Hospital on 4 August and reported as seriously ill with haemoptysis. After about two weeks he was well enough to be evacuated to England. He recovered at the 4th Northern General Hospital in Lincoln and the I.O.D.E. Hospital in Hyde Park, London. He was diagnosed with haemothorax which left him very weak. By December he was fit for Home Service in the UK and he was appointed secretary of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
Victor served for another 20 months but remained in the UK for health reasons. On 7 August 1917 he was brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable services rendered in connection with the war. On 6 December he was appointed Commandant with the rank of Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel while so employed. He suffered from chronic bronchitis during his remaining service. He embarked for Canada on 13 August 1919 on the SS Baltic, arriving in Halifax about a week later. He was discharged on demobilization on 27 August in Winnipeg. His brother Captain Walter Anderson Hastings also enlisted and he served with cavalry units for two and a half years.
After the war Victor returned to his law practice at first then later worked in the financial and insurance businesses. He was married on 1 June 1927 in Fergus, Wellington County, Ontario. His wife, Ida May Alpaugh, was the daughter of John Henry Alpaugh and Mary Ann Berwick. Ida was born in Fergus on 25 April 1897 and her younger brother John Louis Alpaugh was a veteran of the war. Victor and his wife lived in Winnipeg and he continued to suffer ill health due to his war injuries. He passed away at home on 11 January 1932, at age 44. His funeral was held two days later and he’s buried in the Hastings family plot at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral Cemetery. He was survived by his wife Ida, his mother and his brother and two sisters. His mother died in 1939 and she’s buried at St. John’s along with Victor and other family members.
By Becky Johnson
Photo of Victor is from the Royal Canadian Legion Military Service Recognition Book – Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario Command – Volume 6.
Grave marker photo courtesy of Bocephus on findagrave.com.