Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 9, 1890
Place of BirthFergus, Ontario
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinMrs George P Weir, wife, 1316 Cariboo St., New Westminster, British Columbia
Trade / CallingManufacturers Agent
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental NumberNA
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentVictoria, British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentJune 2, 1915
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Decorations and MedalsMilitary Cross
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 15, 1960
Age at Death70
Buried AtSt Francis de Sales Cemetery, Smiths Falls, Ontario

Weir, George Patrick

George Patrick Weir was born on 9 August 1890 in Fergus, Ontario. His father William Anderson Weir was from Glasgow, Scotland and had immigrated to Canada in 1883. His mother Josephine Van Felson was born in Quebec City where the couple married in 1889. The marriage registration gave William’s occupation as employee of the Imperial Bank in Toronto.

Shortly after the marriage William and Josephine moved to Fergus to manage the town’s Imperial Bank. In 1891 the family relocated to Rat Portage (later named Kenora) in northwestern Ontario, once again to manage the Imperial Bank. Children born to the family in Rat Portage were Jessie Helen (1892), Wilhelmina Emily (1895), Arthur Van Felson (1898), James William (1900), and Alice Mabel (1903).  In 1905 the family moved to Quebec and then on to Winnipeg, Manitoba  in 1910 where William had secured the position of manager  of the Sterling Bank. In 1916 he was appointed Secretary of the Western subsection of the Canadian Bankers Association and manager of the Winnipeg Clearing House, a position he held until his retirement in 1940.

Sometime after the 1911 census George moved west to Harrison Mills, British Columbia. In January of 1912 in New Westminster he married Lucy Victoria Bourke, daughter of David and Jessie (née Cameron) Bourke. Her father, born in Ireland,  had been an overseer of  the Stony Mountain Penitentiary Hospital in Manitoba where Lucy was born, while her mother was from Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Lucy had moved to New Westminster in 1906 with her  parents and some of her siblings  when her father became a prison administrator for the BC Penitentiary. George’s occupation on the marriage registration was given as clerk.

Having served for four years with the 10th Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, George signed his attestation papers in Victoria, British Columbia on 2 June 1915. His occupation was given as manufacturer’s agent and his next of kin his wife Lucy who was living with her parents in New Westminster. The 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles had been organized in December of 1914 and mobilized at Camp Willow, Victoria. The unit embarked from Halifax aboard the Megantic on 12 June 1915. On board was Lieutenant George Patrick Weir.

George arrived in France with the 3rd Canadian Mounted Rifles in September of 1915, and with a reorganization, was transferred to the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles in early January of 1916. In February he was buried by a high explosive shell and was semi conscious until dug out; a rivetting stake fell across his lower left side in the process. He was granted a leave in March of 1916 that was extended as he was admitted to the 2nd Scottish General Hospital in Edinburgh suffering from gastritis, inflammation of the  lining of the stomach.  Discharged in July, George was attached to the Canadian Convalescent Depot and his leave was once again extended until October when he returned to France and the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. However by December George was once again struck with ill health, first diagnosed with POU, fever of unknown origin, and later with trench fever, place of origin ‘Arras Front’. Transmitted by body lice, trench fever symptoms included high fever, severe headaches, rashes, pain/inflammation  of the eyes, and soreness of the muscles of the legs and back. Admitted to No 8 Canadian Field Ambulance and later to No 42 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, George rejoined the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles on 20 January 1917.

Following a gassing while asleep in his dug-out earlier that month, in mid  April of 1917 George was invalided to the 4th  London General Hospital in England, diagnosed with broncho pneumonia and deafness. Discharged 21st of May, he was found fit for general service and posted to the 19th Reserve Battalion  at Bramshott.

Although the date of his actions are not known, on 23 June 1917 Lieutenant George Patrick Weir was awarded the Military Cross. George was unable to return to France as in late September of 1917 he was admitted to the Canadian Military Hospital in Hastings with myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscles. By mid October it was decided he  was to be invalided to Canada. On 2 July 1918 he was officially discharged from service in Winnipeg as medically unfit.

At some point during the war George’s wife Lucy had moved to Winnipeg to reside with George’s parents. It appears that they had given birth to two sons, William Bourke born in late 1912/early 1913 and George  Kitchener born  in August of 1915 in New Westminster.  Upon George’s return the family later moved to Saskatchewan where Lucy Victoria Weir died on 13 November 1918 in Moose Jaw. It is  possible that she died as a result of  the birth of their third child, a daughter named Maria, or the Spanish flu that was epidemic in Moose Jaw at the time. Lucy is interred in the Moose Jaw City Cemetery.

With occupation given as civil servant, George married Mary  Alice O’Leary, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth/Bridget (née Mahoney) O’Leary, on 7 April 1920 in Ottawa, Ontario.  George and Alice were found on the 1921 census as living in the same neighbourhood as his parents in Winnipeg, his occupation was given as manager. Children in the family were Bourke, age 8, Kitchener, age 5, both listed as born in British Columbia, and Mary (Maria), age 2, as born in Manitoba.  By 1922 the family was back in Ottawa where they gave birth to a son Edward Douglas McMahon Weir who died nine days after birth. George’s father  William died in 1946 in Winnipeg and at that time George was living in Hamilton, Ontario. His mother Josephine  died in 1950 in Winnipeg, and by then he had moved to Toronto. A Voters List for 1949 listed George P Weir, president, and Mary Alice Weir as living on Denison Road East in York.  For the 1953 Voters Lists George and Mary Alice were in Smiths Falls, Ontario with  occupation for George listed as ‘insulation’. By 1957, in Smiths Falls,  he was working for the Ontario Hospital.

While attending the Eastern Ontario Trade Fair, George Patrick Weir died suddenly on 15 September 1960. He is interred in the St Francis de Sales Cemetery in Smiths Falls. Over the years he took a keen and active interest in veterans’ affairs. Pallbearers at his funeral were his associates  in the Canadian Legion. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Alice, his two sons William Bourke and George F, his daughter Maria, as well as his siblings Arthur, Jessie (Charles) Short, Wilma (William Mingaye) Grant, and Alice (JA) Robins. Mary Alice later moved to Kingston, Ontario where she died in 1989 at the age of 98. She is also interred in the St Francis de Sales Cemetery in Smiths Falls.

George’s sister Jessie also served during the war, going overseas in September of 1916. She first served   as a Voluntary Aid Detachment and later as a Nursing Sister. She returned to Canada in January of 1919.

Following in  their  father’s footsteps, both of George’s sons served for their country. William Bourke Weir served and received the Canadian Forces Decoration in May of 1954 as a Sergeant with the RCDC. George Kitchener Weir served during WW2 as a merchant marine. He was found on the passenger list of the USS Ozark that left Manila, the Philippines  in late December of 1945, heading for Los Angeles, California which was also  his last permanent residence. Predeceased by his wife Helen Thompson and his son Robert G Weir, George Kitchener Weir died on 1 May 2009 in College Station, Texas.  For a number of years he had worked in the area as an oil field engineer.

by Judy Stockham

Obituaries provided by Smith Falls Public Library
George’s grave marker photograph by Geof Wyght, findagrave.com4

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