Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 9, 1897
Place of BirthGravenhurst, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinRobert Strain (Father), Post Office, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingFireman CPR Rail
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number2383457
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion27th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at EnlistmentPost Office, Kenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 10, 1918
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 24, 1968
Age at Death70
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Strain, Edgar James

Edgar James Strain was born on 09 August 1897 in Gravenhurst, Ontario.  His parents were Robert William Strain (1868-1940) and Minnie Maria Smith (1875-1908). The extended family (grandfather, grandmother, aunts, uncles) having resided in the Gravenhurst area for two or three decades, moved to Rat Portage in 1899. They spent the first winter in Slabtown in Keewatin. Edgar’s parents purchased a lot in the Rideout Estates and built the family home the following year. In 1901 the grandfather passed away and the remainder of the extended family (grandmother, aunts, uncles) moved to Fort Frances, establishing that branch of the family. Edgar’s sister, Edith (1901-2000) and brother, David (1903-1929) were born and raised in Rat Portage (Kenora). Robert worked the first years as a labourer, going into business shortly thereafter. Minnie passed away from tuberculosis in 1908.

We think Edgar began service with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) as a wiper in 1916, although the 1916 census shows him working on a farm in Argyle, Manitoba. He continued employment with the CPR in the running trades as a fireman through 1917.

Edgar was conscripted into service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and signed his attestation papers on 10 January 1918 in Port Arthur, Ontario. By February of 1918 he was aboard the S.S. Cretic on his way to England. He arrived at Liverpool and was taken on strength by the 11th Reserve Battalion at Dibgate. On 21 June 1918 Edgar was sent to France and attached to the 27th Battalion. He joined his unit in the field on 4 July 1918 and served until the spring of 1919. Oral history is that he received and was treated for shrapnel wounds sometime before the Armistice.    Edgar sailed back to Canada aboard the S.S. Northland arriving in Halifax on 23 May 1919.  He received his official discharge due to demobilization on 28 May 1919 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Edgar returned to his employment with the CPR in 1919.  On 11 March 1920 he married Eva Jane Wilson(1901-1974). They moved to the family house on 6th Avenue South, Kenora in 1921, where they remained for the next 50 years. Edgar and Eva had five children: Edgar Wilson (1922-2012, RCAF WW11, married Isabella Love); Thomasina (1924-1976, WRCAF WW11, married Ted Jorgenson): Neil Gilbert (1926-1989 – RCN WW11, married Shirley Conlon); Lois (b. 1927, married Nick Hoshwa) and Lorne (1934-2009, married Josie Koraluk). They had a niece, Edith’s daughter Lorrie (1935-2013); nephew, David’s son Robert (Bob – 1926-2013, RCN, WW11); and 12 grandchildren.  Edgar worked on the CPR from his return from WW1 in 1919 to his retirement on 1 September 1962 with significant interruptions during the Great Depression, first as fireman and then engineer from 1943 on.

Edgar was a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Engineers. He worshiped at St. Alban’s Pro Cathedral.

Edgar James Strain passed away on 24 March 1968 and is buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. His wife, Eva, was laid to rest beside him in 1974.

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