|Date of Birth||October 11, 1900|
|Place of Birth||Rat Portage (Kenora), Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Matilda Linn, mother, Drumeller, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Tinsmith|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||Young Boys Battalion|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Drumheller, Alberta|
|Date of Enlistment||June 6, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||15|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||December 17, 1993|
|Age at Death||93|
|Buried At||Stavely Cemetery, Stavely, Alberta|
Hugh George Linn was born on 11 October 1900 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario, date confirmed by his Ontario birth record. By 1899 his father William Linn, born in the township of Smith, Peterborough in Ontario, had been living in Rat Portage and working as a drayman. On 27 November 1899, in Rat Portage, William had married Matilda Ritchie. Born on 2 August 1879 in Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Matilda was the daughter of David Ritchie and Margaret Haddon who had married on 4 December 1864 in Pitsligo. After the death of her mother, Matilda, her father, and a sister immigrated to Canada in 1898, arriving on 1 July aboard the Pomeranian, on their way to Rat Portage. The couple gave birth to Hugh the next year, and by the time of the 1901 census they were lodging with John and Sarah Gibson and family, with William working as a stone cutter.
By the next year William, Matilda, and Hugh had moved to Alberta, giving birth to daughter Matilda Mae that year. The family was to homestead for a number of years in the area of Erskine, a community about 70 kilometres east of Red Deer. By the time of the 1916 census they had moved north to Drumheller where they farmed and William also worked as a drayman. Other children born in Alberta were David Frederick (1904-1904), Jessie, Walter, Helen (1909-1911), and Orville. It appears that the couple gave birth to a stillborn child in 1916.
Both William and Hugh, age 15, signed their attestation papers on 16 June 1916 at Sarcee Camp, Alberta. Hugh gave his date of birth as 11 October 1899, occupation as tinsmith, and his mother Matilda in Drumheller as next of kin. As Privates with the 175th Battalion, father and son embarked from Halifax aboard the Saxonia on 3 October 1916.
Once in England Hugh was admitted to the Ravenscroft Military Hospital at Seaford in Sussex on 21 December with rubella (measles). Discharged on the 31st, Hugh was transferred to the 21st Reserve Battalion on 10 January 1917. On 1 June he was admitted to the Canadian Military Hospital at Bramshott with a hernia, having surgery on the 4th. He was transferred to the Bearwood Canadian Convalescent Hospital on 21 July, discharged on 2 August. With his age uncovered, Hugh was transferred to the Young Soldiers Battalion that December. The battalion had been created to protect underage boys who had enlisted and made their way to England and some to France. Some boys were sent home while others trained in England until they were of age to serve. Hugh embarked for Canada aboard the Aquitania on 22 November 1918 and was discharged from service as underage on 8 January 1919 in Calgary. His father, having returned to Canada medically unfit and overage just days after Hugh, was discharged the same day, also in Calgary.
Hugh returned to his family in Drumheller, found working as a teamster in the 1921 census. On 7 August 1926, in Burnaby, British Columbia, Hugh married Lillie Marjorie Jane Wilson. Born in 1902 in Red Deer, Marjorie was the daughter of George Hunter Stewart and Lillie Linn. At the time Hugh was working in Canford, BC as a labourer and Marjorie as a housekeeper in Vancouver. In 1929 the couple, along with child Kenneth, moved to Helena, Montana where daughter Betty Lorraine was born later that year. At the time Hugh was working as a telephone lineman.
The marriage did not survive, with Hugh later marrying Ann Latham. Born in 1917 in Tyldesley, Lancashire, England, Ann was the daughter of Daniel Latham and Julia Gallimore. After the death of her father, Ann, her mother, and siblings, had immigrated to Canada in September of 1926, arriving aboard the Montclare on the 26th on their way to Calgary. Hugh worked for the Department of Highways for a number of years in the MacLeod district, with the family living in Stavely, Grantum, and Claresholm at various times. Hugh and Ann had four known children, sons David and Charles (Chuck), and daughters May and Shirley. His parents having separated, his father William lived with the family for a while in Grantum. After his retirement, Hugh was hired by the town of Claresholm as Commissionaire in 1966.
In December of 1953, in Stavely, a presentation of a Coronation Medal was made to Company-sergeant Major WO2 Hugh G. Linn, a member of C Company. Colonel Tennant congratulated CMS WO2 Linn, saying, ‘When you wear this, wear it proudly, as it is symbol of the Queen.’ The citation accompanying the award read: ‘By command of her Majesty the Queen the accompanying medal is forwarded to Company Sergeant Major WO2 H. G. Linn to be worn in commemoration of her Majesties Coronation, 2nd June.1953.’ CMS WO2 Hugh G. Linn. 53 years of age. served in World War I, World War II and the Reserve Army under three sovereigns. (Lethbridge Herald, 17 December 1953)
Predeceased by his father in 1951 in Calgary, his mother Matilda in 1972 in Hanna, and some of his siblings, Hugh died on 17 December 1993. Ann died in 1995 and is interred with Hugh in the Stavely Cemetery. It appears that Hugh’s first wife Marjorie and Ken ended up in Vancouver, whereabouts of daughter Betty unknown.
By Judy Stockham
gravemarker photo: courtesy of Bear Hugs, findagrave.com