|Date of Birth||February 2, 1988|
|Place of Birth||Carnwath, Lanarkshire|
|Next of Kin||Barbara Masterton, mother, 55 Colder Street, Motherwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Address at Enlistment||Post Office, Keewatin, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||October 10, 1917|
|Age at Enlistment||30|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||April 3, 1971|
|Age at Death||83|
Alexander Masterton was born on 2 February 1888 in Carnwath, Lanarkshire, Scotland. His father John Masterton, a railway labourer, was from Carnwath while his mother Barbara Walkinshaw was from Carlops, Peeblesshire. The couple married on 21 January 1880 in Carnwath. Barbara had given birth to daughter Annie Walkinshaw in 1878 in Carnwath, Annie later assuming the surname of Masterton. Son John was born a week before the couple married. Other known children were Thomas (1881), David (1883), William (1885), Alexander, Helen (1891), and James (1893). At some point after the 1901 census the family moved to Motherwell where father John died in 1910.
Alexander immigrated to Canada in 1913, arriving in Quebec aboard the Athenia on 23 June. Travelling with him was his cousin William Lamb. William and two of his brothers had been living with the Mastertons at the time of the 1901 census. On the passengers list Alexander’s occupation was given as steelworker and William’s as wagon builder, destination given as Kenora. Alexander ended up living in Keewatin, a small town about 6 kilometres west of Kenora. The town had a number of industries that attracted recent immigrants including a flour mill, the Lake of the Woods Milling Company.
With the onset of conscription during the latter part of the war, Alexander had his medical examination in Kenora in October of 1917. He was called up the following January, signing his recruitment papers in Port Arthur, Ontario on 14 January 1918. His occupation was given as labourer and his mother Barbara in Motherwell in Scotland as next of kin. With the 4th Draft of the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment Private Alexander Masterton embarked from Halifax aboard the Cretic on 19 February 1918.
Once in England Alexander was posted to the 11th Reserve Battalion. In mid October he was on command to the 18th Reserve Battalion Signal Base before proceeding overseas in November to the 16th Battalion, arriving in France on the 18th. With the end of the war Alexander returned to England in January 1919 and embarked for Canada aboard the Cretic on 13 March. He was discharged from service on the 28th, intended residence given as Winnipeg.
Alexander’s brother David, a Corporal with the 10th Battalion Gordon Highlanders, was reported as killed in action on 25 September 1915. He is commemorate on the Loos Memorial, a WW1 memorial forming the sides and rear of Dud Corner Cemetery, located near the commune of Loos-en-Gohelle, in the Pas-de-Calais département of France.
A notation in Alexander’s service record indicated that he was living in Keewatin in 1926 but it is likely that he was in Winnipeg, a 1935 Voters list listing him in Winnipeg and working as a mechanic. Sadly, in October of 1943 Alexander’s cousin William Lamb was found dead in the Red River in Winnipeg. He had been working as a baggage porter for the Canadian National Railway for a number of years out of Winnipeg. Alexander was living in Winnipeg at the time and was mentioned in the death notice.
Alexander made a number of trips back to Scotland, all to Motherwell. In 1924 he left Canada on 4 July, returning in early October, on his way to Winnipeg. His second trip was in 1929-1930, gone from December until March, and a third trip 12 August-30 October 1932. His occupation on the passenger lists was given as blacksmith. It appears that Alexander’s final trip to Motherwell, Scotland was in 1950, arriving in Glasgow on the 19th October aboard the Empress of Scotland. Predeceased by his mother Barbara in 1934 in Motherwell, Alexander died on 3 April 1971 in Law Hospital in nearby Carluke. His usual residence was given as Avon Lodge, a seniors’ home, in Motherwell on his death record.
In August of 1919 the town of Keewatin held a demonstration to honour all their citizens who had served during the war. The veterans and the families of the fallen were presented with badges and medals, with Alexander’s name appearing on the list of those honoured as published in the Kenora Miner and News. He is commemorated for his service on the Lake of the large Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour plaque.
By Judy Stockham