Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 19, 1886
Place of BirthLanark, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinOswald Montgomery, father, 1 Cathedral Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingFarmer and Locomotive Engineer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number2379592
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at EnlistmentHeadingley PO, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentNovember 14, 1917
Age at Enlistment31
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 15, 1963
Age at Death77
Buried AtChapel Lawn Memorial Gardens, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Montgomery, Oswald Francis

With a family of eight children, five of the Montgomery sons were to enlist during the war.

The Montgomery family had its roots in Lanark County in Ontario. Oswald Montgomery Sr, the son of a farmer and local justice of the peace, was born in 1857 in the township of Drummond. On 11 June 1884, in the nearby township of Bathurst where she was born in 1859, he married Elspeth Rutherford Spalding. After the marriage the couple were to farm in the Drummond area, giving birth to sons Roy Spalding in 1885, Oswald Francis in 1886, and Clyde McIlquhan likely in 1888. By the time of the birth of their next son, Thomas Rothwell, the family had moved to Glenborough in South Cypress in Manitoba where Oswald Sr was a hotel keeper. By 1892 and the birth of son William Earl, the family was living in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario, Oswald once again working as a hotel keeper. A short time later they relocated to Winnipeg where Oswald Sr’s brother Thomas was living and the two brothers went on to own and operate the Winnipeg Hotel on the west side of Main Street. The facility featured a restaurant and bar on the main floor and 60 beds on the upper two floors. In 1901 the brothers enlarged the property by buying the former Dominion Hotel next door. The property was further enlarged in 1903 when they acquired a 100-foot frontage on Fort Street behind their building. On 10 March 1904, the Montgomerys sold the hotel to Maurice Nokes for about $125 000 and they began construction of the Queen’s Hotel at the intersection of Portage Avenue and Notre Dame Avenue which they eventually renovated into the Montgomery Block. Children born to the family in Winnipeg were Samuel Clifford (1894), Allan Ross (1896), and Elsie Kathleen (1898).

With the onset of conscription in the latter part of the war, Oswald had his medical examination in Winnipeg on 14 November 1917 and was called up on 9 January 1918. He was living in Headingley on the outskirts of Winnipeg, working as a farmer and a locomotive engineer. His date and place of birth was given as 19 March 1887 in Perth, Ontario, and his father Oswald Sr in Winnipeg as next of kin. As a Private with the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment, Oswald was struck off strength on return to Register’s Records on 15 May 1918 in Winnipeg.

The five Montgomery boys that enlisted were Oswald, Clyde, William, Samuel, and Allan. Allan was the first to enlist, signing his attestation papers at Valcartier on 23 September 1914. He went overseas as a Private with the No 1 Divisional Ammunition Park, later transferred to the 3rd Divisional Supply Column. However Allan suffered from rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatism and was returned to Canada in October of 1916, discharged from service on the 16th in Quebec. William was the next to enlist, signing his attestation papers in Toronto in December of 1914. He went overseas as a Private with the 2nd Divisional Ammunition Sub Park, arriving in France in September of 1915. In January of 1916 he sustained a detonator wound to his left hand and was returned to Canada in September of 1916, discharged from service that December as medically unfit. Samuel enlisted in February of 1915 as a Gunner with the 1st Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. Commissioned as   Lieutenant and serving latterly with the 7th and 5th Brigades, CFA, he was mentioned in despatches in 1917 and came home with a Military Cross. With a draft of the 76th Depot Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, Clyde arrived in England in November of 1917 and was to serve in France/Belgium with the 3rd Brigade Canadian Garrison Artillery. He returned to Canada in May of 1919.

On 3 September 1919 in the district of Assiniboia, Manitoba, Oswald married Agnes Schultz Taylor. Born on 12 November 1894 in Headingley, Agnes was the daughter of farmer and MLA John Taylor and his second wife Frances Jane Brown. The 1921 census found Oswald, Agnes, and baby daughter Margaret living with his parents and some of his siblings on Cathedral Avenue in Winnipeg but the family was to make Headingley their home. Oswald Jr was an engineer with the Canadian National Railway for many years, also farming in the Headingley area.

Oswald died on 15 May 1963 in the Winnipeg General Hospital. At the time of his death he was survived by his siblings Reverend Roy Spalding Montgomery of Winnipeg, Clyde of San Francisco, William Earl of Headingley, and Elsie Kathleen (John) Johnson of Winnipeg. He was also survived by one grandchild. Oswald was predeceased by his father in 1926, his mother in 1950, both interred in St John’s Anglican Cathedral Cemetery in Winnipeg, his brother Allan in 1951, his daughter Margaret Curry in 1954, his wife Agnes in 1958, his brother brother Thomas in 1961, all in Winnipeg, and his brother Samuel, likely in British Columbia. Clyde later died in 1964 in San Francisco, William Earl in 1966, Elsie in 1972 and Roy in 1973, the latter three in Winnipeg. Oswald and Agnes are interred in Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens in Winnipeg.

By Judy Stockham

Montgomery-Oswald-Francis-2 Montgomery-Oswald-Francis-3 Montgomery-Oswald-Francis-4 Montgomery-Oswald-Francis-5 Montgomery-Oswald-Francis-6

« Back To Soldier Biographies