Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 21, 1884
Place of BirthWinnipeg, Manitoba
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinFather, Wilson James McMaster. Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
Trade / CallingGunsmith
Service Details
Regimental Number1988963
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion94th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 16, 1916
Age at Enlistment31
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJuly 7, 1968
Age at Death83
Buried AtShoal Lake Cemetery, Shoal Lake, Manitoba

McMaster, Charles Wellington

Charles was one of those recruits who faked his birth date when he enlisted for the Canadian army but unlike most recruits who fibbed about their ages, he took three years off his life instead of adding them on. He was 37 at the time. The army’s age limits were 18 years to 45 years and the average age of Canadian soldiers during the course of the war was 26 years.

Charles signed up in Kenora on February 16, 1916 and his attestation form asserts that he was a tinsmith though there is no indication of who his employer was. He had worked as a surveyor and as a labourer for the Keewatin Lumber Company and it is probable that he was doing tinsmith work for a local contractor. He lived at the Russell House in Kenora.

He was born in Winnipeg on December 21, 1884 to Mary (nee Leytle) and Wilson James McMaster and had four brothers, William (b. 1878), James (b. 1879), Joseph (b. 1881) and Harry (b. 1888). His mother died when Charles was just 5 years of age and at the time of Charles’ enlistment his father lived in Portland, Oregon.

Charles was assigned to the 94th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) and he sailed to England on the SS Olympic on June 28, 1916.

When he arrived in Europe he was sent to a Canadian forces training camp in East Sandling, Kent and on August 24th he was sent to France to be posted to the 43rd Canadian Infantry Battalion. After some time with an entrenching battalion he joined the 43rd Battalion on September 20th, when they were engaged in the battle of the Somme.

On October 11th Charles took a gunshot wound in his right hand and he was immediately moved from the firing lines. He was sent to a field hospital in Etaples, France and then shipped to England for recovery. He spent six months convalescing in hospitals and camps in Kent and returned to active duty in the Spring of 1917. He was assigned to the 14th Canadian Reserve Battalion. In November 1917 he was transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps and he spent the next eighteen months serving with them in Scotland.

On May 14, 1919 Charles returned to Canada and he was discharged from the army in Winnipeg on May 30th. He received a medal presented by Mayor Cornish in a ceremony that recognized all Keewatin residents who had enlisted and his name appears on the honour roll of two memorial plaques in Keewatin.

In 1920 he went to work as a farm labourer in Shoal Lake, Manitoba, and worked most of his active life on the farm of John Eastcott. He never married.

Charles died in Winnipeg at the Deer Lodge Hospital on July 7th, 1968 and was buried in the Shoal Lake Cemetery in Shoal Lake, Manitoba. He was 83 years of age.

By Don Cameron

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