Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 13, 1900
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinRobert McGregor, father, 1656 39th Avenue, South Vancouver, BC
Trade / CallingClerk
Service Details
Regimental Number826325
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion143rd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentMarch 27, 1916
Age at Enlistment15
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 3, 1985
Age at Death85

McGregor, Donald

Donald McGregor was born on 13 December 1900 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His father Robert McGregor was from Scotland while his mother Emma Howland was from England, the couple marrying on 1 October 1897 in the District of Thunder Bay in Ontario. At the time of the marriage Robert was working as a carpet weaver. The couple moved to Rat Portage a short time later, with Robert listed as working as a hotel clerk for the 1901 census. The family moved to Brandon, Manitoba in time for the 1906 census, taking in three boarders. By the 1911 census they were living in Vancouver with Robert working as a hotel clerk. Once in Vancouver Robert and Emma gave birth to three children, Dorothy (1909), Robert Frederick (1916), and James (abt 1917).

Donald enlisted on 27 March 1916 in Vancouver. Likely to appear older, he gave his year of birth as 1897. At the time he was living at home with his parents and working as a grocer’s clerk. The 143rd (BC Bantams) Battalion had begun recruiting in 1916 throughout Western Canada. Bantam units were organized to recruit men who were shorter than the standard 5-foot-4-inch (163 cm) height required for joining the army. The battalion had barracks at Beacon Hill Park and trained for the months of July through October 1916 at Sidney Camp. During training Donald was fined a number of times for being away without leave. As a Private with the 143rd Battalion, he arrived in England aboard the Southland on 27 February 1917.

Once in England the unit was disbanded and Donald was transferred to the 24th Reserve Battalion. In late April he was admitted to the Canadian Military Hospital in Eastbourne with pariotitis (mumps). Following his discharge on 18 May, Donald was taken on strength with the 1st Reserve Battalion. In June he was drafted to the 47th Battalion, arriving in France on the 21st. Confirmed as underage, in March of 1918 Donald was returned to England and then on to Canada. He was discharged from service as underage on 5 June 1918 in Victoria, character and conduct described as good. During Donald’s service overseas with the 47th Battalion he would have participated in the Battle of Passchendaele.

On 2 March 1920, in Vancouver, Donald married Ivy Lillian Page. Born about 1902 in London, England, Lillian was the daughter of Arthur Page, a butcher, and Hannah Marie Hollingsworth. Along with her parents and siblings, she had immigrated to Canada in 1905. In February of 1921 Donald and Lillian gave birth to daughter Dorothy Lillian, the young family found living with Donald’s parents on Argyle Street in Vancouver South at the time of the 1921 census. Donald’s later British Columbia death record indicated that his occupation for most of his working life was a salesman.

It appears that the marriage may have failed or Lillian died although a death record was not found. Donald later married Anne Hardy. Born in 1900 in Beverley, Yorkshire in England, Anne was the daughter of Robert Hardy and Sarah Firth. Anne had previously been married and had a daughter named Gracia. Donald and Anne gave birth to at least two children, daughter Barbara June in 1930 and son Donald Samuel.

Donald died on 3 December 1985 in the Surrey Memorial Hospital. At the time of his death he was survived by his son Donald and his wife Marguerite, stepdaughter Gracia Williams and her husband Jack, four grandchildren, and his brother Jim. He was predeceased by his father Robert (1926), mother Emma (1943), daughter Barbara (Robert) Richardson (1959), siblings Dorothy (Alfred) Goodwin (1981) and Frederick (1983), and his wife Anne (1984). Although Donald’s daughter Dorothy was not listed in his obituary, she later died in 1996 in Orange, California, surname of Lepage. A memorial service was held for Donald at the Port Kells United Church in Surrey, disposition by cremation via North Shore Crematorium in North Vancouver.

By Judy Stockham

Obituary provided by Mike Melen.

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