Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 24, 1865
Place of BirthGreenock, Renfrewshire
Marital StatusWidower
Next of KinCecilia Swan, daughter, Kemptville PO, Ontario
Trade / CallingAgent
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number725565
Service Record
Battalion109th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentFenelon Fall, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentDecember 21, 1915
Age at Enlistment50
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 23, 1927
Age at Death62
Buried AtKemptville Public Cemetery, Kemptville, Ontario

Swan, Henry Ross

Henry Ross Swan was born on 24 May 1865 in Greenock, Renfrewshire in Scotland. His parents Allan Swan and Cecilia Brymner, both from Greenock, married on 31 January 1856. Over the years Allan worked as a writer as well as procurator before the Sheriff’s Court, enabling the family to employ a couple of servants. Henry had five older siblings, Allan, Elizabeth Harrietta, Alexander Brymner, Cecil John, and Graham Brymner, and two younger sisters, Ann Eliza and Agnes McDonald. By the time of the 1881 Scotland census Henry was working as a bank clerk. In 1887, along with his brothers Cecil and Graham, Henry immigrated to Canada. Arriving in Quebec on the Norwegian, the destination given on the passenger list was Grenfell, NWT, now part of Saskatchewan. By the 1891 census the three brothers were living in Winnipeg where Henry was working as a bank clerk. His father had passed away in 1880 followed by his mother in 1890.

According to an online family tree, Henry married Elizabeth Jamieson on 18 June 1895 in Vankleek Hill, Prescott, Ontario. Born in 1887 in VanKleek Hill, Elizabeth was the daughter of Dougald Jamieson and Jessie Ferguson. By the time of the birth of their first child in 1896, daughter Cecilia Jessie, the newlyweds were living in Keewatin in northwestern Ontario, just west of present day Kenora. With Henry working as a bank manager, in 1898 they gave birth to son Douglas Alan. From there the family moved to Kemptville, Ontario where Henry became the manager of the Bank of Ottawa, relocating by the time of the 1901 census. Children born in Kemptville were twins Joscelyn Mary and Florence Isabella (1901), Genesta (1902), Henry Brymner (aka William) (1906), and Gerald Ferguson (1909). As the result of an accidental fall on ice, sadly Henry’s wife Elizabeth died on 20 December 1912 in Kemptville.

Henry was living in Fenelon Falls, Ontario and working as an agent when he signed his attestation papers as a Private with the 109th Battalion on 21 December 1915. He gave his date of birth as 24 May 1870 and his daughter Cecilia in Kemptville as next of kin, address later changed to Ottawa. Promoted to Sergeant during training, he arrived in Liverpool in England aboard the Olympic on 31 July 1916. After going through a series of transfers in England, by mid 1917 he was posted to the No 1 Detachment of the Canadian Army Pay Corps in London with rank of Acting Company Quartermaster Sergeant. Reverting to the rank of Private at his own request a short time later, in March of 1918 he was appointed Acting Sergeant. With the end of the war Henry returned to Canada aboard the Regina in mid September 1919 and was discharged from service on demobilization on the 27th in Halifax.

Henry’s son Douglas enlisted with the 38th Battalion in February 1915. He first served in Bermuda before arriving in France in August 1916. As the result of being buried by a shell explosion at Vimy Ridge in April 1917, he returned to Canada in April 1918, discharged from service as medically unfit in June.

For the 1921 census Henry and all the children were living in Ottawa with the exception of Douglas who had moved to Michigan. Survived by all his children, Henry died on 23 May 1927 in the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Cecilia died in 1960 (Ottawa), Douglas in 1949 (London), Joscelyn (Richard) London in 1967 (Ottawa), Florence in 1965, Genesta in 1970 (Ottawa), and Gerald in 1961(Ottawa). Henry, Elizabeth and Cecilia, Genesta, and Florence are all interred in the Kemptville Public Cemetery in Kemptville.

By Judy Stockham

Grave marker photographs by Maureen Norman,

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