Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 8, 1888
Place of BirthRat Portage (Kenora), Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinCharles Patrick Linklater, father, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
Trade / CallingTeamster
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number187620
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion8th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentLockport, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentNovember 12, 1915
Age at Enlistment27
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 14, 1917
Age at Death29
Buried AtNo Known Grave/Vimy Memorial

Linklater, William

William Linklater was born on 8 April 1888 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario He was the fifth born child of Charles Patrick Linklater and Margaret Donald who had apparently married on 12 March 1880 in the RM of St Andrews in Manitoba, both having Métis roots in the Red River Settlement. It appears that the couple gave birth to son Frank in 1881, daughter Mary in 1883, followed by Thomas Charles in 1884 and Margaret Jane in 1886, the latter two births registered in the nearby RM of St Clements. At some point before the birth of William the family had relocated to Rat Portage. However, the marriage failed and by the time of the 1891 census Charles had moved to Winnipeg while Margaret was living in Rat Portage with George Millward, a cook who was originally from England. A daughter Nellie had been born in 1890, birth registered with Charles as the father but her surname later changed to Millward. At the time of the 1891 census children living with George and Margaret were Frank, Mary, and Nellie, Margaret’s occupation given as laundress. Son Thomas was living with the William and Elizabeth Irving family, daughter Margaret Jane with Charlotte Hanger, and William, listed as an adopted son, with John Flett, all back in Manitoba.

The 1901 census found William living with Archibald Flett and family in the RM of St Clements, listed as a domestic on the census. His father Charles had married his second wife Mary Elizabeth McDougall in 1893 in Winnipeg, Charles and Mary Elizabeth giving birth to three children Elizabeth Gertrude (1894), David Charles (1896), and Harold (1901). Back in Rat Portage his mother Margaret and George gave birth to four children George (1892), Mabel (1894), Arthur (1896), and Joseph (1899). Sadly Arthur died in 1904 followed by Margaret in 1905, both interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. By the time of the 1911 census William was living in Souris, Manitoba with his uncle and aunt John and Mary (née Linklater) Scott and family where they farmed.

When he signed his attestation papers on 17 November 1915 in Winnipeg, William was living in Lockport, Manitoba, the community part of both the RM of St Andrews and the RM of St Clements. His occupation was given as teamster, his date and place of birth as 24 May 1888 in Lockport, and his next of kin as his father Charles in Portage la Prairie. As a Private with the 90th Battalion, William embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 31 May 1916.

Once in England William was transferred to the 11th Reserve Battalion before proceeding overseas to join the 8th Battalion in the field in August. In September William was transferred to the 176th Tunnelling Company, returning to duty with the 8th Battalion in mid December. That December, back in Canada, William’s father died in Scanterbury, Manitoba, interred in the St Philips  Cemetery.

On 14 April 1917 while in the trenches east of Willerval during the Battle of Arras, the 8th Battalion was ordered to furnish an advance guard for the 2nd Division and the 1st Canadian Division. However ‘apparently the 2nd Division failed to carry out the instructions with the result of 1 Officer killed, 2 Officers slightly wounded, 14 O.R. killed   and 35 O.R. wounded as an unsupported advance against a strongly held and strongly wired Trench was manifestly impossible.’ (8th Battalion War Diaries). Private William Linklater was reported as killed on action that day. With no known grave he is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.

Many of the children of both Charles Linklater and Margaret Donald served during the war. Their son Frank enlisted in September of 1914, going overseas with the 8th Battalion. First listed as wounded, Frank was reported as missing and presumed dead as of 24 April 1915 at Gravenstafel during the 2nd Battle of Ypres. With no known grave he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial. Charles’ sons David and Harold Linklater both enlisted, David going overseas with the 79th Battalion and serving in Belgium and France with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. Suffering shell shock, trench fever, a gunshot wound, and gassing, David returned to Canada in May of 1919. Harold enlisted in 1917 in Lindsay, Ontario with the 252nd Battalion, transferring to the No 3 Special Service Company before being discharged as underage. Margaret’s sons Edwin and Joseph Millward also served. Edwin signed his attestation papers in Portage la Prairie in 1915, going overseas with the 44th Battalion. He served in France and Belgium as a Sergeant with the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps. Joseph enlisted in Winnipeg with the 200th Battalion in April of 1916, serving overseas with the 78th Battalion.

William is commemorated on page 275 of the First World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, and along with his brother Frank is commemorated on the Selkirk War Memorial in Selkirk, Manitoba. The monument was erected in commemoration of people from the Selkirk, St Andrews, and St Clements areas killed during military service.

By Judy Stockham

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