Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 18, 1886
Place of BirthGuysborough, Norfolk County, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMr. Morison Kyle (father), P.O. Box 1929, Calgary, Alberta
Trade / CallingClerk
Service Details
Regimental Number117344
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion2nd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentCalgary, Alberta
Date of EnlistmentAugust 16, 1915
Age at Enlistment29
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 30, 1941
Age at Death55
Buried AtMountain View Cemetery, Vancouver

Kyle, Charles Morison

Sergeant Charles Morison Kyle enlisted in August 1915 and served for three and a half years in the UK, France and Canada.

Charles was the oldest of five sons of Morison Kyle and Jessie Bell Stuart of Calgary, Alberta. Morison was born in Glasgow, Scotland and immigrated to Canada around 1880. Jessie was born in Middleton, Norfolk County, Ontario to Scottish parents. They were married in Aylmer, Elgin County, Ontario in May 1885. Jessie was living in Aylmer at the time and Morison was working as a merchant in Guysborough, Norfolk County. Their first son, Charles, was born in Guysborough on 18 March 1886. His birth was registered as William Charles although he was known as Charles Morison.

When Charles was still a baby his parents moved to the town of Rat Portage (later called Kenora) in northwestern Ontario and four more sons were born there: Louis Alexander (1888), Roy Stuart (1891), James Arthur Gladstone (1892) and Stuart Robertson (1896). Morison was listed as a general merchant in the 1891 census and a miner in 1901. By 1903 the family was living in Vancouver where Morison was the provincial manager of an insurance company. From there they moved to Winnipeg for a short time before settling in Calgary.

Morison became involved in theatrical entertainment and he was the owner and manager of Calgary’s Empire Theatre, which was built in 1908. The theatre was listed in the city directory up to 1913 and in 1914 Morison was the branch manager of Bow Valley Oils Ltd. However, he continued to be involved in theatre in Canada, the U.S. and Scotland. By 1919 he was writing plays, a career that would span more than twenty years. His father Morison Kyle (Sr.) in Glasgow was a music publisher and also involved in theatre and opera.

Charles worked at the CPR wharf in Vancouver when his family lived there and in Winnipeg and Calgary he was employed as a clerk and stenographer. He enlisted in Calgary on 16 August 1915, just as the war entered its second year. His brother Louis Alexander enlisted two months later. Charles joined the 12th Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles and said he had been serving with the Canadian Army Service Corps, likely in the militia. About a month after enlisting he was on his way overseas. His unit embarked from Montreal on the SS Missanabie and arrived in Devonport, England in October.

In January 1916 about 300 soldiers from Charles’ unit were drafted to the 2nd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles and sent to France. Charles was in the draft and he joined his new unit in the field in mid-February. In May he was sentenced to 28 days of Field Punishment #1 for drunkenness and being absent without leave. Over the next few months he was sentenced to punishments several more times for being absent without leave. In August 1916 he was sent to signalling school and he rejoined his unit at the end of the month. That fall they were at the Somme Offensive, where the Canadians suffered 24,000 casualties in less than three months. Charles said he was poisoned by a chlorine gas shell on 17 September at Moquet Farm and it affected his health later in the war.

Charles had a leave of absence in the UK from 29 November to 9 December 1916. He likely spent at least some of his leave with his father, who was living in Glasgow at the time (his address c/o the Alexandra Theatre). Charles became ill while he was on leave and he was admitted to the 4th Scottish General Hospital in Glasgow on 13 December. He was diagnosed with tonsillitis and he spent about a month recovering. He served for the rest of the war in the UK and Canada.

Charles had bronchitis in March 1917 and when he recovered he was assigned to the Canadian Forestry Corps Base Depot in Sunningdale. In May he was promoted to Corporal then to Sergeant. The after-effects of gas poisoning continued to bother him and in the summer of 1917 he was returned to Canada to serve out the war there. He embarked from Liverpool on the SS Megantic on 14 August and arrived in Quebec about two weeks later. On the ship he was diagnosed with vd and he received treatment for eight months, from September 1917 to May 1918, at hospitals in Victoria and Vancouver.

On 18 May 1918 Charles was transferred to the 11th Battalion, Canadian Garrison Regiment and he served with them for the next nine months, at least some of that time as a clerk. His brother Roy Stuart had been conscripted and he was serving in the same unit. Charles was married in Vancouver on 12 July 1918. His wife, Gertrude Isabine Olts, was a stenographer. She was born in Woodstock, New Brunswick to George William Olts and Bertha Gertrude Macdonald and her parents had moved to Vancouver when she was a child. Charles’ parents also returned to Vancouver sometime during the war. Charles was discharged from service on 28 February 1919 in Vancouver, with his character described as very good. He was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.

Charles and Gertrude spent some time in Ottawa before returning to Vancouver in the mid-1920s. They had at least one daughter, Mildred, and two sons, Kenneth Morison (born 1922 in Ottawa) and Charles Stuart (born 1930 in Vancouver). Charles worked as clerk, editor, reporter and court stenographer. He passed away in the Vancouver General Hospital on 30 December 1941, at age 55, and he’s buried in Mountain View Cemetery. His son Charles died in a car accident in 1952, at age 21, and Gertrude passed away in 1956, at age 59. They are interred at Ocean View Burial Park in Burnaby along with Kenneth who died in 1974.

By Becky Johnson

Photo at the top is the Victory Medal.

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