Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 18, 1885
Place of BirthOttawa, Ontario
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs Lucy Torrance, wife, Norman, Ontario
Trade / CallingMill Hand
Service Details
Regimental Number198257
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion43rd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentNorman, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentNovember 17, 1915
Age at Enlistment30
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 15, 1937
Age at Death51
Buried AtTranscona Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Torrance, Victor

Victor Torrance was born on 18 December 1885 in Ottawa, Ontario. His parents William Torrance and Sophia Johnston were both from the area, William from Ashton and Sophia from Gloucester. At the time of their marriage in 1879 in Ottawa William was working as a carpenter. Also born in Ottawa was Victor’s older brother Robert. By the time of the birth of their next son Charles in 1894, the family had moved to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario where William found work as a sawmill filer. A daughter Jenny joined the family the next year. By the 1901 Canada census both Robert and Victor were working as labourers in a local sawmill. Victor’s father became involved in the hotel industry as owner of the Lake of the Woods Hotel.

On 12 January 1911, in Kenora, Victor married Lucy Garrow. The daughter of Joseph and Eliza (née McKinnon) Garrow, Lucy had been living in the Peterborough area for the 1901 Canada census. At some point after the death of her father in 1900 in Haliburton, she had moved to Kenora with her mother and some of her siblings. Victor and Lucy were to give birth to three children, Olive, Charles, and Agnes.

With occupation given as mill hand and his wife Lucy in the nearby community of Norman where the family was living as next of kin, Victor signed his attestation papers on 17 November 1915 in Kenora. With recruitment taking place throughout northwestern Ontario, the 94th Battalion had its headquarters in Port Arthur. In mid May of 1916 Private Victor Torrence, along with a number of other local fellows, left Kenora by train for the Lakehead, wished well by a large crowd that gathered to see the boys off. In early June the battalion moved to Valcartier, Quebec for further training before embarking for England from Halifax aboard the Olympic on the 28th.

Once in England Victor was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion and then on to the 43rd Battalion, arriving in France on 28 August 1916 and joining the battalion on the 26th of September. The 43rd Battalion had arrived in France in February of 1916, serving with the 9th Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Division. In late June of 1917 the battalion was in action again, attacking the positions facing Avion. On the 27th Victor was admitted to the No 6 Canadian Casualty Clearing station, reported as dangerously wounded due to a gunshot wound to the chest. The bullet had entered on the right below the 11th rib and exited immediately anterior to the 9th rib, causing damage to the abdominal wall. Victor spent weeks in the 18th General Hospital in France and was transferred to East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital in late July. In late August Victor was moved to the Military Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park in Epson for ten weeks followed by three months spent at Moore Barracks. Vomiting after meals and during exercise was common for Victor, requiring a special diet differing from the army rations. Found medically unfit for further service, Victor embarked for Canada on 3 March 1918, with final discharge in Winnipeg on the 28th. He is commemorated for his service on the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Roll of Honour.

After the war Victor, Lucy, and the children were to make Transcona, Manitoba their home as did his parents and siblings. The 1921 Canada census found the family living on Madaline Street with Victor employed as a boilermaker for the Canadian National Railway. He was a member of the Transcona Branch of the Canadian Legion and the Knights of Pythias, Riley Lodge No 31.

Predeceased by his father in 1922 and his mother in 1933, both in Transcona, Victor died on 15 February 1937 in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg. His Veteran Death Card listed his wife Lucy Torrance of Winnipeg as his next of kin. With cause of death given as a ventral hernia, it was deemed due to his war service. Later that year Victor’s daughter Agnes Richmond died, followed by his wife Lucy in 1961. His son Charles died in November 1977 followed by his daughter Olive five days later, both in Winnipeg. Victor and Lucy, his parents, and daughter Olive are interred in the Transcona Cemetery. According to his obituary Charles served overseas with the Canadian Army from 1939-1945.

Victor’s brother Charles, a physician, served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps, going overseas in 1917 as a Lieutenant and returning to Canada in 1919 as a Captain. Charles died in 1943 in Russell, Manitoba of lobar pneumonia, his death also classified as due to his service during the war.

by Judy Stockham

Torrance-Victor-1 Torrance-Victor-2 Torrance-Victor-3 Torrance-Victor-4 Torrance-Victor-5 Torrance-Victor-6 Torrance-Victor-7 Torrance-Victor-8 Torrance-Victor-9

Lucy’s grave marker photograph by Donald Schmidt,

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