Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 5, 1889
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinElizabeth Ramsay (stepmother), 1026 Cornwall Street, New Westminster, British Columbia
Trade / CallingFiler
Service Details
Regimental Number1012752
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion230th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentVancouver, British Columbia
Address at Enlistment1026 Cornwall Street, New Westminster, British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentNovember 6, 1916
Age at Enlistment27
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathAugust 7, 1964
Age at Death75

Ramsay, Andrew

Private Andrew Ramsay enlisted in November 1916 and served in France for a year with the Canadian Forestry Corps. He returned to Canada in May 1919.

Andrew was born on 5 May 1889 in the town of Rat Portage, Ontario. His parents, Andrew Ramsay Sr. and Janet Closs, were both born in Scotland. They were married in Glasgow in 1886 and immigrated to Canada a short time later. They spent a few years in Rat Portage, where Andrew Sr. worked in the lumber industry. Their first two children were born in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Robert in 1887 and Andrew in 1889. Around 1891 Andrew Sr. and Janet moved to New Westminster, British Columbia. Sadly, Robert died there in 1894, at age seven. Two more sons were born in British Columbia, Allan in 1895 and John in 1899. Andrew Sr. was a mill hand at the time of the 1891 census and a mill engineer by 1901.

Janet died in February 1902, at age 41, and she’s buried in Fraser Cemetery in New Westminster. Andrew Sr. remarried five months later. His second wife, Elizabeth Closs, was born in Hamilton, Scotland and may have been related to Janet. When the 1911 census was taken Andrew Sr., his wife and his three boys were living in New Westminster. Andrew (Jr.) was working as a sticker in a wood factory at the time. The war entered its third year in August 1916 and he enlisted that fall, signing up in Vancouver on 6 November 1916 and joining the 230th Battalion, a forestry unit. His occupation was filer and next of kin was his stepmother Elizabeth. He was sent overseas two months later with his battalion’s second reinforcing draft, embarking from Halifax on 26 January 1917 on the SS Grampian and arriving in England about ten days later.

Andrew was sent to France in February 1917 and he served for the next year with No. 23 and No. 24 Companies in the Canadian Forestry Corps. Both companies were in District No. 2, which was headquartered at Conches, south of Rouen. Forestry work included cutting timber, running sawmills, preparing railway ties and helping to clear terrain. Work listed in the war diaries included ‘clearing sites, ditching, draining, trimming and felling trees, hauling gravel, levelling, making culverts and drains, earthing, grading, ploughing, scraping, filling depressions, uprooting hedges, re-sodding, cutting pickets, stripping turf.

From 22 December 1917 to 15 January 1918 Andrew was in a hospital and a convalescent centre in Rouen getting treatment for a corneal ulcer. He was also in No. 41 General Hospital in Etaples from 12 December 1918 until 7 February 1919. By then forestry operations were winding down and Andrew returned to England in early March. He embarked from Glasgow two months later on the SS Cassandra, arriving in Quebec on 13 May. He was discharged on demobilization on 18 May in Vancouver. His brother Allan Ramsay had been called up for service in January 1918 and he served in France with the 29th Battalion. He returned to Canada just a few days after Andrew.

Andrew’s father had passed away in December 1917, at age 60. When the 1921 census was taken Andrew and his two brothers were living in New Westminster with their stepmother, Elizabeth. Andrew likely lived in New Westminster for the rest of his life and he had a long career in the lumber and woodworking industry. Later in life he married a widow, Esther Green (née Plester). Esther was born in New Westminster in 1894, the daughter of James Plester and Esther Thompson. She had married Arthur Joseph Green in 1919 and he died in 1923.

Andrew retired in 1956 and passed away in the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster on 7 August 1964, at age 75. His brother Allan died at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver in 1969 and he’s buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Burnaby. Andrew’s wife Esther passed away in a hospital in Salmon Arm, British Columbia in 1995, at age 99. Her cremains are probably buried with her first husband, Arthur Green, as her name is engraved on his grave marker in Fraser Cemetery, New Westminster.

By Becky Johnson

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