Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthMarch 25, 1898
Place of BirthFort William, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJohn Whitehurst, father, 113 Dease Street, Fort William, Ontario
Trade / CallingElectrician
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number859912
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion179th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentFort William, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentApril 2, 1916
Age at Enlistment18
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJanuary 7, 1937
Age at Death38
Buried AtMountain View Cemetery, Thunder Bay, Ontario
PlotBlock 57, R-1, Lot 13

Whitehurst, Clifford Gerald

Clifford Gerald (Gerry) Whitehurst was born on 25 March 1898 in Fort William, Ontario. His father John (Jack) Whitehurst was from Birmingham, England and had immigrated to Canada in 1888 to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a wiper. Lodging in those early years at the Queen’s Hotel in the Westport area of Fort William, Jack met his bride to be, Christie McDonald of Kincardine Township, Ontario who was employed as a cook at the hotel.

Jack and Christie married in 1891 in Fort William. The couple had four children: John Allen (1891-1930), Angus Clarke (1894-1952), Walter Reginald (1896-1948), and Gerry. Jack held various positions for the CPR, wiper, fireman, brakeman, and was a passenger train engineer at the time of his retirement in 1929.

Gerry signed his attestation papers with the 179th Battalion in Winnipeg on 2 April 1916. He gave his occupation as electrician and his father back in Fort William as next of kin. Organized in February of 1916 with recruitment in Winnipeg, the 179th Battalion spent the summer training at Camp Hughes and embarked from Halifax aboard the Saxonia on the 3rd of October.

Once in England the battalion was absorbed by the 17th Reserve Battalion at East Sandling. In December Gerry was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion. In late January of 1917 he was admitted to the West Cliff Canadian Ear and Eye Hospital in Folkestone suffering from trachoma (eye infection). Discharged in March he was posted to the 12th Reserve Battalion but in May was admitted to the Canadian Hospital at Etching Hill and then back to Folkestone with reoccurring trachoma in June.

In September of 1917 Gerry was posted to the 116th Battalion and on his way to France. In December he was admitted to the No 8 Canadian Field Ambulance with PUO, fever of unknown origin, transferring to the No 83 General Hospital in Boulogne the next day. Later that month he was invalided to the No 10 Canadian General Hospital in Brighton, diagnosis of trench feet. After spending time at several other hospitals Gerry was discharged in early May of 1918. He was posted to the 2nd Central Ontario Regimental Depot and then to the 2nd Casualty Convalescent Depot where he was appointed Acting Sergeant with pay in August. That December he was transferred back to the 2CORD. After another couple of transfers Gerry arrived back in Canada on 24 August 1919, landing in Halifax aboard the Saxonia.

Gerry returned to Fort William and on 19 June 1920 he married Ada Beatrice Rose. The daughter of James and Minnie (née Holding) Rose, Ada was born in 1899 in Chapleau, Ontario. Gerry and Ada were to make their home in Kenora where they lived on River Street. The couple gave birth to two daughters, Merle in 1921 and Geraldine Joyce in 1924. Sadly, Geraldine, known as Babe, died of infantile paralysis in 1928. Over the years Gerry worked as an electrician for the Canadian Pacific Railway. He joined the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion in 1933 and was active in municipal affairs, serving on the town council for at least a half a dozen years.

Gerry died on 7 January 1937 in the McKellar General Hospital in Fort William, Ontario. His Veteran Death Card listed his mother, Mrs J Whitehurst of Fort William as his next of kin. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife and daughter, his parents, and two brothers Angus and Walter. Gerry is interred in the Mountain View Cemetery, Fort William (Thunder Bay).

Gerry’s mother Christie died in 1943 and his father Jack in 1954, both interred in the Mountain View Cemetery. Daughter Merle married Mackenzie Gilmour and they lived in Gravenhurst, Ontario where Mackenzie worked as an electrician. The couple had three daughters. Gerry’s wife Ada moved to the Eglington area of Toronto where she worked as a recreation director/instructor, found on a number of Voters lists. For a while her brother Lawrence lived with her and later her mother Minnie. Ada died in 1966 and is interred in the Westminster Memorial Gardens, Toronto.

Gerry’s brother Walter enlisted on 29 December 1914 in Port Arthur, Ontario and went overseas with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft of the 52nd Battalion, embarking from Montreal aboard the Missanabie on 4 September 1915. He returned to Canada in July of 1919 aboard the Olympic.

by Judy Stockham

Queen’s Hotel photograph from the Thunder Bay Museum website
Gravemarker photograph provided by Lynda Piilo
Clifford’s obituary courtesy of the Thunder Bay Public Library

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