Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 5, 1874
Place of BirthCharlotteville, Norfolk, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinHarriett Millican, sister, 506a 6th Avenue, Medicine Hat, Alberta
Trade / CallingSaw Filer
ReligionPresbyterian
Service Details
Regimental Number1038018
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion238th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentAugust 10, 1916
Age at Enlistment42
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathOctober 25, 1951
Age at Death77
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
Plot51E-20-3

McCall, Alfred Thomas

Although he gave his place of birth as Simcoe, Ontario, Alfred Thomas (Thomas Alfred on birth registration) McCall was born on 5 May 1874 in nearby Charlotteville, Norfolk. His parents Lewis and Prudence (née Cassills) McCall had married on 29 December 1869 in Charlotteville, Lewis’ occupation given as farmer. Children born to the family were Harriet (b 1870), Amelia (b 1872, d bef 1881), Alfred (1874), Wallace (b 1877), Bertha (b 1881), Charlotte (b 1884), and Walter (b1890, d1892).

In 1883 the family moved to Rat Portage, Ontario  (where Lottie and Walter were born) as Lewis, working as a millwright, found work in the local sawmills, over the years working at Ross, Hall, and Brown sawmills and the Rat Portage Lumber Company. He worked as a conductor for the Canadian Pacific Railway for a time before moving to nearby Keewatin to work as a millwright at the Lake of the Woods Milling Company in 1904. Prudence died in Rat Portage in 1891, followed by baby Walter in 1892.

Alfred enlisted in Kenora on 10 August 1916, giving his birth year as 1876. With the occupation of saw filer, he embarked from Halifax a month later with the 238th Battalion on 11 September 1916.

Once overseas the battalion  was absorbed  by the Canadian Forestry Corps. Although no mention was made of it in his medical examination in Canada, Alfred had suffered severe frost bite in 1903 that required multiple surgeries  that left him with  the loss of two toes and a deformed foot. As a result he was unable walk or march for long distances, soon discovered after his arrival in England. For a short period he was attached to the Royal Flying Corps in London in late 1916, early 1917 but was returned to the CFC where he worked in Britain in his chosen profession, a saw filer (a person who maintains and repairs saws in a saw mill). In January of 1918 he ‘ceased to draw tech pay as a saw filer’ and was appointed Acting Sergeant with pay at Southampton. In January of 1919 he was returned to Base Details after being granted a Christmas leave with free warrant, 20-29th December 1918. He was granted another leave in April of 1919 before returning to Canada in June.

Although Alfred returned to Kenora, on 25 September 1922, in Detroit, he married school teacher Ruth Edna Munn, daughter of Elfred and Isabelle (née Broas) Mann of Belding, Michigan. The couple returned to Kenora in October. Over the years Alfred worked as an engineer for Ontario Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company, retiring in 1946,  and was a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers, a member of Pequonga Lodge, and of Knox United Church.

Predeceased by his father in 1916 and his wife Ruth in 1947, Alfred died in Vancouver, British Columbia on 25 October 1951. After the death of his wife, Alfred had moved to British Columbia to live with his sister Bertha (Swinburne). His remains were returned to Kenora for interment in Lake of the Woods Cemetery with Ruth.

Alfred’s brother Wallace, a railroader, also served during the war, enlisting in Vancouver on 14 August 1916 with the 239th Battalion. Once overseas, the 239th was absorbed into the Canadian Railway Construction Corps. Survived by his wife Sevina (Newsham), Wallace died in Kamloops, British Columbia  in 1928.

by Judy Stockham

McCall-Alfred-Thomas-2 McCall-Alfred-Thomas-3 McCall-Alfred-Thomas-4 McCall-Alfred-Thomas-5

Alfred’s grave marker was installed in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in 2018 by the Last Post Fund.

 


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