Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 22, 1888
Place of BirthSetter, Sandwick Parish, Shetland Islands
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJohn Nicolson, father, 5 Barclay Place, Edinburgh, Scotland
Trade / CallingBank Clerk
Service Details
Regimental Number3084353
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Depot Battalion 1st Quebec Regiment
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at Enlistment1575 Mance Street, Montreal, Quebec
Date of EnlistmentMay 13, 1918
Age at Enlistment30
Theatre of ServiceCanada
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 14, 1966
Age at Death78
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Nicolson, Laurence Sinclair

Laurence Sinclair Nicolson was born on 22 April 1888 in Setter, Sandwick Parish, Shetland Islands, Scotland as confirmed by his birth record. His father John Nicolson, a fisherman, was from Hoswick while his mother Margaret Sinclair was from Setter where the couple married on 16 December 1875. Laurence had two known siblings, Davina (1877) and John (1880). By the time of the 1901 census the family had moved to the Morningside area of Edinburgh where John Sr was listed as a warehouseman in the census and John Jr as a grocer’s shopkeeper. The family also took in three lodgers.

Having entered the service of the Dominion Bank in London, England, although an immigration/passenger list was not found, it appears that Laurence immigrated to Canada in early 1911. An age appropriate Laurence Nicolson was found living in Hamilton for the 1911 census, working as a ledger keeper at a bank. By the time he was drafted under the Military Service Act of 1917, Laurence was living in Montreal and working as a bank clerk. His date of birth was given as 10 April 1888 and he gave his father back in Edinburgh as next of kin. Laurence was called up on 13 May 1918 in Montreal, having his medical examination the same day. Due to his preexisting valvular disease of the heart (heart murmur), he was classified as C3, fit for service in Canada only. As a Private with the 1st Depot Battalion 1st Quebec Regiment, Laurence was discharged from service by reason of demobilization on 12 December 1918 in Montreal.

With his career with the bank, Laurence was to live in a number of cities in Canada including Brandon, Fort Frances, Montreal, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, The Pas, Winnipeg, and Kenora. In 1928, in Calgary, he married Mary Anna Grant. Born in Eureka, Pictou, Nova Scotia on 30 September 1900, Mary was the daughter of Donald MacDonald Grant, a retail merchant, and Christina Grant. Over the years Laurence and Mary gave birth to two sons, Donald and David. The family moved to Kenora in 1937 where Laurence became manager of the bank. After retiring in 1953, he worked for WH Marr Ltd and John Kron and Son. Laurence was a member of the United Church, a life member of the Masonic Lodge in Brandon, a member of the Kenora Bowling Club and the Lake of the Woods Club, and campaign chairman for the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Red Cross Society for a number of years.

Laurence made at least three trips back to Scotland. Living in Brandon, Manitoba at the time, Laurence returned from a trip overseas in March of 1921 aboard the Empress of Britain. A second trip while living in Moose Jaw was in 1928, leaving Canada on 13 May aboard the Regina and returning on the 15th of July aboard the Antonia. Retired and living in Kenora, a third two month vacation was in 1955, with Laurence arriving in Liverpool aboard the Nova Scotia that May.

Laurence died suddenly at his home on 1st Avenue South on 14 February 1966. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Mary, son Donald of Fort Frances, David of Toronto, and two grandchildren. Mary later died on 8 September 1986 in the Pinecrest Home for the Aged in Kenora. Laurence and Mary are interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

By Judy Stockham

Nicolson-Laurence-Sinclair-2 Nicolson-Laurence-Sinclair-3

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