Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 5, 1889
Place of BirthToronto, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWilliam John Robert Morrison (father), 315 Lorne Street, Edmonton, Alberta
Trade / CallingLumberman
Service Details
Regimental Number77738
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion16th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentVictoria, British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentNovember 10, 1914
Age at Enlistment25
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 30, 1940
Age at Death51
Buried AtBurnsland Cemetery, Calgary, Alberta

Morrison, Norman

Private Norman Morrison enlisted in November 1914 and served in France with the 16th Battalion. He was seriously wounded in May 1915 at Festubert and invalided back to Canada a year and a half later.

Norman was the son of William John Robert Morrison and Sarah Stinson of Edmonton, Alberta. Sarah was born in Toronto and John, a baker and confectioner, in Peel County, Ontario. They were married in Toronto in 1881. Their first child, Herbert, was born in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba in 1883. The family was back in Toronto for the births of sons John Sebastian (1886) and Norman (5 October 1889). From there they moved to Winnipeg where two children were born, Hazel (1893) and Byron (1895). By 1899 they were in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), in northwestern Ontario, where they lived for at least twelve years. They had two more daughters, Ada (1899) and Fanny (ca1905). Around 1912 the family moved west and settled in Edmonton, Alberta.

By the time he enlisted, on 10 November 1914, Norman was living in British Columbia and working in the lumber industry. He signed up in Victoria, joining the 30th Overseas Battalion. The battalion was mobilized in Victoria and the troops trained at Willows Camp. They embarked for Great Britain on 23 February 1915 and in England the unit became the 30th Reserve Battalion. Two months later Norman was drafted to the 15th Battalion and sent to France, arriving there on 30 April. He joined his new unit in the field on 15 May. Four days later they took part in the assault at Festubert and Norman was among the wounded that day. During the charge he was hit in the groin by a machine gun bullet, which fractured his pelvic bone and the top of the femur.

Norman was taken to a casualty clearing station then moved to No. 13 Stationary Hospital in Boulogne on 21 May. Two days later he was evacuated to England where he spent five months recovering at Edmonton Military Hospital. On 23 October he was moved to Monk’s Horton Convalescent Hospital and a month later to Granville Special Canadian Hospital. Complications developed, including an abscess, and in July 1916 Norman had surgery on his thigh and also had two ingrown toenails removed. He was invalided to Canada that fall, embarking from Liverpool on 10 October on the SS Mauretania and arriving at Halifax eight days later.

On 1 November an article in the Kenora Miner and News mentioned that Norman, a former Kenora boy, had passed through by train the day before on his way west. On 2 November he was admitted to Strathcona Convalescent Hospital in Calgary, where he recovered until 17 December. His official discharge from the army was on 11 January 1917. His brother Byron Morrison had enlisted in July 1916. He was seriously wounded at the Battle of Passchendaele and invalided back to Canada in December 1918.

Norman was married in Calgary in 1920. At the time of the 1921 census he was living in Calgary and working as an inspector for the civil service. His wife, Gladys Emily Doncaster, was born in 1892 in Sackville, New Brunswick, the daughter of Frederick Balcom Doncaster and Annie Laura Richardson. Gladys and her twin sister Louise (Mrs. Joseph Tuttle) both moved to Calgary. Norman and Gladys had one son, Norman Robert, who was born in Calgary in 1923. Norman passed away in Calgary on 30 November 1940, at age 51. He’s buried in Burnsland Cemetery.

Norman Robert served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. On the night of 24/25 June 1943, after a successful bombing operation over Germany, his plane was shot down and crashed into the North Sea. All eight crew members were killed including 19-year-old Norman Robert, one of the gunners. His body was not recovered and he’s commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, England.

Gladys married again and lived in Vulcan, Alberta with her second husband, John Willard. She passed away in 1958 and she’s interred at Burnsland Cemetery. Norman Robert is commemorated on a marker there.

By Becky Johnson

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